Will 4.5 amps do ? May 18, 2007Posted by dorigo in computers, humor, personal, travel.
Yesterday morning I woke up at 4AM, packed my luggage, and headed to the airport. Venice to Munich, then Munich to Chicago. I got upgraded for free to business class on the intercontinental flight, and got my reservation for a compact car also upgraded to a nice Mazda 6 (the very car I own, and even the same color!) by ACE, the rental company I use at O’Hare. However, in spite these small encouragements, my mood stayed gloomy.
Spending a week on shift is not the best of worlds – you are doing something useful for your experiment, but time is spent doing nothing – no chance to use the small time fragments between a phone call and a e-log entry to concentrate on real work; the environment also lacks the necessary secludedness I have grown accustomed to, in order to have my neurons fire uninhibited and free.
And there is more: the shift is an Owl, running from midnight to 8AM.
Anyway, I am even more gloomy than I would need to be today, because as I got to my office at Fermilab I discovered I had left the power adapter for my laptop at home, 6000 miles away. I hate that! I cannot live without my laptop, and the thing has less than five hours of battery life before it runs out of juice.
So this afternoon I went to a computer store, where I found a “universal” power adapter. The thing does have the correct plug for my Sony Vaio, and it does output 16 Volts – the required voltage. However, I am now balking. The output of the transformer is 4.5A, while the standard adapter outputs 4A. The extra 8 watts of power could overheat, or melt, or ignite, my precious instrument. Should I plug the darn thing in and see what happens ? In principle, 4.5A is the maximum possible draw of current – it should not harm, but… I have burned things in the past for being overconfident!
Here is an instance when I would appreciate feedback: please tell me what to do. Should I put the laptop aside for a week, and live out of linux terminals in the lab, thereby restraining my hunger for continuous internet usage ? My blog would suffer a reduced posting rate then. Or should I plug the power in, and check carefully whether I see any sign of overheating ? Or is it really so safe to go 12.5% above the nominal power that I should not even stop thinking about it ?
There is one more option – I could try it at 15V (the universal adapter has a switch allowing the selection of 15V, 16V, 18V, all the way to 24V), which would make the wattage a bit smaller: 15×4.5=67.5W instead than 16Vx4.5A=72W. Maybe this is the first thing to try… Any hints ?
Oh, and forget advices such as “ask Sony”… They will tell me to only use their own power cord. On the other hand, the manufacturer of the universal adapter has no information on the item in their web pages… So I am really on my own here. Or not. Maybe you can help ? My laptop is a Sony Vaio VGN-T2XP, and the adapter is a “Cables Unlimited” PWR-LAP-SP11. They say “works with most notebooks” on the package… Which serves no purpose other than producing further inflamation, should the laptop get blackened in a blaze.
Update: I decided the current mismatch was not going to be a problem, and plugged the thing in… And… Nothing. The led on the transformer box is lit, but no power gets to the laptop – which only means that the provided plug (none of the nine provided, that is) does not fit well enough in the laptop power inlet (it does look like it’s not the correct one in fact). So I bought the power supply for nothing… Tomorrow I will bring it back and try to order the right one from Sony.