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Dangerous Apple Power Adapters? 240

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the well-thats-just-no-good dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Even with all these exploding Dell notebooks and other notebook safety problems, Apple has seemed relatively immune. Every once in a while, some odd thing came along, but it seemed like relatively calm waters. Not anymore — Apple's notebook power adapters appear to be the source of some serious safety concerns. Every iBook and PowerBook user should read this and keep a close eye on their adapter — the adapters suffer from very poor design including wires that seem prone to short out and burn and zero short circuit protection."
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Dangerous Apple Power Adapters?

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  • Re:Not poor design (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Ant P. (974313) on Sunday August 13, 2006 @02:46PM (#15898965) Homepage
    Which is why these little things called "fuses" were invented.
  • No facts (Score:4, Insightful)

    by wackymacs (865437) on Sunday August 13, 2006 @02:52PM (#15898988)
    OK, so he cites that he himself had a problem with his adapter, and someone else. If this has not even happened to more than 5 people, I can't see how its dangerous by design. These seem like one-off individual problems, nothing wide-scale that would require a recall. I've had a PowerBook G4 since 2003, and the same adapter for 3 years, 0 problems.
  • by truthsearch (249536) on Sunday August 13, 2006 @02:54PM (#15899002) Homepage Journal
    I'm always curious to know exactly how many people are reporting issues when someone claims there's a major widespread problem. If a few dozen people complain of a problem it may sound like a lot. But if it's only a small percent of all customers it could be specific to only one lot of adapters or one specific subcontractor. He claims there's a design flaw but many thousands of people have been using these adapters for years with relatively few complaints.
  • Blogs = Science? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Gothmolly (148874) on Sunday August 13, 2006 @02:55PM (#15899009)
    So a guy writes an article on his personal website, and its data? Geesh, what's next, people using the # of Slashdot posts about a topic to judge its validity?
  • Re:Not poor design (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Bastard of Subhumani (827601) on Sunday August 13, 2006 @03:10PM (#15899064) Journal
    low quality electricity causing the problems
    Or the reality distortion field.
  • Re:No facts (Score:4, Insightful)

    by CastrTroy (595695) on Sunday August 13, 2006 @03:22PM (#15899101) Homepage
    No, to steal a quote from Fight Club, this is how a recall is done:

    Now, should we initiate a recall? Take the number of vehicles in the field (A) multiply it by the probable rate of failure (B) then multiply the result by the average out of court settlement (C). A times B times C equals X. If X is less than the cost of the recall, we don't do one.

    However, with computers, there's usually no out of court settlements, as they can usually just replace the part, with no harm done to the user. Therefore, it's very rare that you will ever see a recall on computer equipment. It's almost always cheaper to fix the ones that come back with defects, and leave the rest in the field.
  • by Lifix (791281) on Sunday August 13, 2006 @04:17PM (#15899306) Homepage
    From his website:

    "I'm currently starting up an exciting new company, Zink Foods. We are poised to revolutionize your perception of "healthy food" by combining taste and nutrition in a completely unprecedented way. Finally, real food, real taste, real nutrition!"

    This sounds like a real expert that we should listen to? I guess it's not that hard to use slashdot to drive up your pageviews afterall.
  • Re:caveat emptor (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 13, 2006 @05:05PM (#15899464)
    Sorry, but you have no idea what the hell you are talking about. You present generalizations based on your own perception of how things operate, but the reality is that your assertions are far from the truth.

    Many of the factories in Taiwan & China that manufacture and assemble the consumer electronics devices that you strap to your belt have ISO 9001 certifications, which gives you an idea of what their QA processes are like. Even with such a cert., you will almost certainly get a few devices that fail during their lifetime, so all of your bullshit about shoddy work done by outsourced manufacturing is way off base.

    I don't know why I even took the time to respond, but you are a moron.
  • by StandardCell (589682) on Sunday August 13, 2006 @06:31PM (#15899732)
    I think companies, including Apple but especially Dell, have issues with squeezing their suppliers just a bit too hard. They negotiate one price for a given volume and simply short-change the supplier. Then the supplier has to decide between (a) taking legal action to recover their money and thus kill their relationship, or (b) eat the margin. That's how companies like Dell figure it.

    Unfortunately, there is an option (c) that basically says they will cut just a few too many corners so that they can only just meet the bare minimum requirements and stick it back to their abusive customer. This is, at least in part, what you're seeing today.

    TANSTAAFL...
  • by tomstdenis (446163) <tomstdenis@NOSPaM.gmail.com> on Sunday August 13, 2006 @08:17PM (#15900047) Homepage
    That's not the same thing. If a batch of bracelets were made that way it shows the company is doing something wrong. The spiked tylenol was a single person on their own. Not the company being negligent.

    Tom
  • by tcgroat (666085) on Sunday August 13, 2006 @11:06PM (#15900572)
    The "fire" claim seems exaggerated, too. The paper under the adapter [zinkconsulting.com] has soot on it, but it doesn't appear to be charred or burnt. You can still see the writing through the soot, which is unlikely when paper smolders or ignites. The only scorched part of the cable is the small damaged area at the end of the strain relief. The fire didn't spread down the cable; the insulation damage is limited to a very small area at the end of the strain relief. It appears that the cable insulation self-extinguished without actually igniting the paper, just like it's supposed to. The mechanical design of the strain relief might be improved (larger bend radius), but it's neither a unique design nor the worst one on the market. This appears to be more a durability and ruggedness question than a safety issue.


    If the author believes that the power supply has ineffective current limiting or that it is a fire hazard, the complete circumstances should be reported to the Consumer Product Safety Commission and the test agency whose approval mark appears on the power supply. That's the way to resolve a suspected safety problem. Griping accomplishes nothing.

  • by ivan256 (17499) on Monday August 14, 2006 @09:07AM (#15901968)
    I thought the reason Apple computers were more expensive was because they spent more money on better compponents and that they didn't use the cheap low end parts like Dell uses...

    Whatever put you under that impression? Many of Apple's machines are made by the same manufacturing company as Dell's machines and many of their products use the same key components (like their monitors, etc...). Apple's are just generally designed more thoughtfully. This is even true of the power adapters, which often have niceties like built in cord storage.

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