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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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  • by Timesprout (579035) on Sunday August 13, 2006 @01:43PM (#15898954)
    Its low quality electricity causing the problems
    • Re:Not poor design (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Ant P. (974313)
      Which is why these little things called "fuses" were invented.
    • I couldn't agree with your post more!11!!!!11!!

      The thought that one of Apple's many chinese hardware subcontractors could possibly have made a boo boo in a small batch is utterly inconcievable!11!!!!

      I say anyone who questions the quality of Apple's hardware is an M$ shill.
      • So then, as somebody named Whiney Mac Fanboy, I understand very well that you know who is a shill and who is not a shill. However, the author states:

        I spent time closely inspecting the original adapter that came with my PowerBook and caused the problem, comparing it to the model Apple sent me as a replacement and another Apple branded power adapter I purchased new from a local computer store. They were all identical. The reinforcing rubber "bootie" was the same. The cable appeared to be the exact same gaug

        • Re:Not poor design (Score:5, Interesting)

          by anagama (611277) <obamaisaneocon@nothingchanged.org> on Sunday August 13, 2006 @04:25PM (#15899529) Homepage
          Maybe a problem, likely not. Mac users tend to go nuts about manufacturing errors more so than others. Anyway, I got a macbook a couple weeks ago -- has the magsafe connector. I recall not too long ago tons of news about the magsafe burning up at the computer side. I noticed that when I pull the connector straight out from the computer, it stresses the joint where the wire and plug meet. Thing about a magnetic connection is that it is hard to pull the two sides straight apart, but easy to break if attacked from an angle. So now I just push on one side of the connector and it breaks away without difficulty or wire stress.

          I know everyone always claims to be gentle on their machines, but when I look at other people's laptops -- I suspect the truth is much rougher. Anyway, don't yank the adapter around by its cord and I bet it'll fine.
    • by thelost (808451) on Sunday August 13, 2006 @02:15PM (#15899079) Journal
      This is closer to the truth then you could start to believe! I have recently seen pieces of heavy electricity literally falling off power lines. I can quite imagine that too much heavy electricity could easily crush an Apple power adapter and cause serious danger.
      • I can quite imagine that too much heavy electricity could easily crush an Apple power adapter and cause serious danger.

        Like a ton of invisible lead soup [ruthlessreviews.com]?

      • by igny (716218)
        That reminded me of a story about an instructor of parachuting who said that if you are landing on a power line then try not to touch the bottom of the line. When confused listeners asked him why, he said that heavier electricity flows on the bottom of the wires and that is why you don't see birds sitting on the wire electrocuting themselves.
    • by reporter (666905) on Sunday August 13, 2006 @02:30PM (#15899125) Homepage
      Power adapters are low-tech, commodity devices. Since their profit margins are very low, Apple management probably subcontracted their design and assembly to a generic company in mainland China.

      One thing that we know about China is that (1) it has few laws ensuring product safety and (2) that Beijing rarely enforces those laws. As a result, many products from China are just dangerous.

      Consider the recent case of lead contamination of children's toys [chicagotribune.com]. The toys had 5x the amount of lead that is considered safe.

      Now, consider the case of a bracelet that was 99% lead [bbc.co.uk]. A Chinese company made the bracelets for Reebok. A child who accidentally ingested the bracelet died.

      Now, consider Chinese honey that is contaminated with a dangerous antibiotic [ens-newswire.com].

      Here is the summary reduction. The price of a product imported from China is $X. The price of a product made in the USA is $Y. Generally, $X is much less than $Y. The difference in price represents the "cost" that you paying for tough, enforced regulations and for higher ethical standards. Most American consumers do not want to pay this cost directly, so Walmart (a.k.a. the clearinghouse for Chinese products) prospers. Still, most Americans do pay this cost indirectly via, e.g., higher medical bills.

      • "The difference in price represents the "cost" that you paying for tough, enforced regulations and for higher ethical standards."

        Not quite. That difference is enlarged by many other factors such as unions, bribery, and unenforced monopoly laws.
      • Apple management probably subcontracted their design and assembly to a generic company in mainland China.

        As opposed to every other part of every computer?

      • Power adapters are low-tech, commodity devices.

        Dispite just about every device using them coming with a lable stating that you should only use the right one...
      • Consider the recent case of lead contamination of children's toys. The toys had 5x the amount of lead that is considered safe.

        And crazy Americans put cyanide in Tylenol capsules. What was your point?
      • 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...

        Are you saying that Apple buys cheap parts and then resells them at a premium price?

        1. Buy cheap parts.

        2. Sell at a big markup as expensive special Apple parts.

        3. Profit!

        • 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 nicetie
    • I don't know how dangerous Apple's adapters are, but they sure put a rather nasty load on the two inverters I regularly use my PowerBook on.

      Both inverters will only start if only the Apple adapter is putting load on them. One of the inverters will crash and reboot if you put additional load on it together with the Apple adapter (1 kW inverter producing 220 volts from a 305 Ah battery.) I have never seen this behavior with any other load I have put on those inverters.

      • by NoMaster (142776) on Monday August 14, 2006 @01:54AM (#15901069) Homepage Journal
        This sort of behaviour is fairly common with small switchmode supplies - in fact, it's more likely if the power supply is well-designed and over-rated.

        It's to do with the current waveform. Any switchmode supply tends to have a very spiky current load, as it switches on an off to keep the output voltage stable. A cheap switcher, if it's lightly loaded, will draw huge spikes of current only in the early part of each half-cycle - so it's current load looks just like one or two noise spikes, which get absorbed by any output filtering &/or ignored the protection circuitry in the source UPS/inverter.

        A better switcher, on the other hand, will spread that current draw over the each half-cycle - so it's current load looks like a continuous noise hash to the supply. Enough hash to get back past any output filtering on the UPS / inverter and trigger the protection circuitry.

        Hence the reason any decent UPS or inverter has specific warnings and / or deratings when used with switchmode loads.

        (Yup, that's a simplified explanation - but it's also basically correct...)

        In your case, it would probably work better with a smaller inverter, or a cheaper & nastier one without such good protection circuitry ;-)

  • by talkingpaperclip (952112) on Sunday August 13, 2006 @01:45PM (#15898961) Homepage
    "Is this the end for Apple?"
  • by Animats (122034) on Sunday August 13, 2006 @01:51PM (#15898983) Homepage

    Apple had a power adapter safety recall by the Consumer Product Safety Commission [cpsc.gov] back in the G3 era, and a battery recall last year. Is this a new problem?

  • No facts (Score:4, Insightful)

    by wackymacs (865437) on Sunday August 13, 2006 @01:52PM (#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.
    • These power adaptor fail all the time. I have already had one fray and or break in the same location this author was writing about (with the newer reenforced cord). Moreover, my art director has had this happen several times.

      Although in all cases, our power adaptors simply stopped working. They did not spark. However, they did look fine on the outside.

      As a matter of fact, this is so common that the Apple store replaces these things with no questions asked.
    • My wife and I had some experience with this problem. My power adapters would not fail, but hers would. What it was is that my power wire would route relatively straight out of the back/side of my computers and to the floor. Hers would turn 180 degrees and do the same thing.

      The problem is that it is very easy to unintentionally and repeatedly bend the wire where it connects to the plug, causing the wire to break. We've since solved the problem by using the clip that is on the wire to form a loop when the
    • Oddly enough my PowerBooks adapter died three weeks ago now. It was chargaing overnight on the kitchen table and I awoke to find a quite smoky kitchen and a pretty obvious short on the DC cable side of the adapter(it got quite hot apparently and left a burnt mark on the table). Im not bagging Apple here at all... Im very happy with my PowerBook. But I took it into the London Apple store for replacment(Applecare is a good idea it turns out). Had this unit for 2.5 years now and other than the hard disk dying
    • I don't currently own any computer as I am backpacking around the world, but...

      In the last 5 years, I have owned 2 Apple notebooks with their respective power adapters: a late 2001 600MHz G3 iBook and a 12" 1.25GHz Powerbook. Both power adapters (which I wound up using both on the PowerBook after the iBook finally kicked it) lasted, and as far as my knowledge still last, up until I sold the PowerBook with both adapters before my trip.

      I know full well that the singular of data is not anecdote, but it seems

  • by truthsearch (249536) on Sunday August 13, 2006 @01:54PM (#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.
    • 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

      There's some rule about the number of reports versus the number of problems. I'm not going to give any numbers because I frankly have no idea what they are, but I remember it being some insanely small percentage of people actually bother to complain. Meaning, of course, that a "few dozen" complaints could mea

      • There is a correlation most likely, but it probably has a lot to do with what type of problem and so can't accurately be generalized to all product flaws. If my adapter stops working, I'm probably just going to get a new one. If my adapter explodes and plants a triangular piece of PowerBook shrapnel in my eye, I'm probably going to, you know, mention it the next time I'm in close contact with Steve Jobs or one of his many associates, perhaps weilding a knife of some sort.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 13, 2006 @01:54PM (#15899003)
    In other words, the words you wanted to say...

    Dell and other PC notebooks suck and blow, but mostly Dell, cause that Dell guy said something bad about Apple, which makes them the worst. So we all know that Dells exploding and killing puppies and children is just another Tuesday.

    Of course Apple has always been perfect. Many people even actually sit around wondering just how it is they stay so perfect. I know because I'm in a club. That's why it just boggles they mind that somehow something isn't perfect with the power adapter. Probably because they got it from Dell. So just know it's less than absolutely perfect and keep an eye on it.
  • Not exactly new (Score:5, Interesting)

    by pvera (250260) <pedro.vera@gmail.com> on Sunday August 13, 2006 @01:55PM (#15899005) Homepage Journal
    Anyone that has owned powerbooks or ibooks knows about the crappy power adapters. I have personally lost three, of which only one was covered under warranty. The two biggest weak points:

    1. the connector that plugs into the laptop did not have enough ribbing material, so it frayed easily.
    2. the thin cable that runs from the laptop into the brick had zero ribbing, it just simply ran into a hole. Frayed easily, I even had one catch fire.

    After three Apple laptops I even started noticing how Apple tried to attack these problems. If you look at the last power supply shipped before the magnetic connectors came out, you will see that the "thin" cable is almost twice as thick as the one that shipped with iBook G3s and Titanium Powerbooks. You will also notice much thicker ribbing at both ends of that cable.

    The worst of this is that the apple branded adapters were $79 apiece, while a perfectly working replacement, with much sturdier cables, could be had for $35.
    • After 3 Apple laptops, I've had no problems, I've had a G3 iBook, a G4 Alubook and now I am on a G4 iBook.
      • "After 3 Apple laptops, I've had no problems, I've had a G3 iBook, a G4 Alubook and now I am on a G4 iBook."

        I owned a Dell laptop that never caught fire.
      • 3 Mac laptops; 0 PSU failures.

        Maybe it's because we're from the camp who don't abuse their belongs though. If the cable is getting enough tension on it to cause tearing and fraying, you've been doing something wrong for a very long time. It doesn't take a genius to look at a power adapter with cabling and ribbing the size of a minijack headphone plug to realize, "maybe I should baby this a little."
  • Blogs = Science? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Gothmolly (148874) on Sunday August 13, 2006 @01:55PM (#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?
    • I don't approve of guilt-by-association. Nowhere does anyone claim this is science, not even the guy himself.

      If someone knowledgeable about power adapters takes one apart and sees that it's horribly constructed and writes about it, that text means the same thing no matter where it's published - a napkin, his personal web site, the local rag, Playboy, NY Times or Popular Science.

      The text itself doesn't change no matter where it's published. If it's crap and it's in Popular Science (although thanks to peer re
    • The # of slashdot posts won't tell you anything. What you need to do is count the number of posts to usenet! Now that's real data. After all, it's how we figured out BSD was dying.
  • ... not much in the way of actual numbers.

    This quickly attracted many thousands of visitors, some of whom contacted me to share similar stories with me.

    Talking to a few people associated with some Apple Authorized Resellers & Service Providers found they had seen this failure many times before.

    "some of whom", "many times" ???

    How many millions of these things were sold, how many had problems? Until we know those numbers, this is nothing more than someone sitting in a room by himself and sta

    • Re:Lots of FUD... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by v1 (525388) on Sunday August 13, 2006 @03:24PM (#15899320) Homepage Journal
      Apple Authorized Service Provider. hey, that's me :) Certified to work on everything apple sells, warranty repair.

      I have yet to see a single pack catch fire. And I've replaced quite a few of them. Damaged, yes. They definitely need to improve their strain reliefs, and magsafe is brilliant. But defective by design? Not from a safety perspective. They DO need to improve the strain reliefs though.

      If one tire in 20,000 started to bulge on the sidewall after 30,000 miles, and the owner didn't notice it until 2 months later the tire blew, you can't blame that entirely on Goodyear. All products break, and the consumer does have a reasonable responsibility to identify a product that has failed and may create a safety hazard.

      Now take the ibook g3 logic board recall. Now those I have seen maybe 4 dozen of. THOSE are defective. But THIS, this is just a blip.

      Actually now that we have magsafe, I don't expect this to even happen once in a blue moon. The power cords are 2x as thick, and if you are a total yutz trying to use your macbook 5.95 feet from the wall using a 6.00 foot power cord, POP and out releases the magsafe before you can jack up your cord. Something tells me OP will just glue it in, break another cord, and cry for us some more.
  • There is no warranty on anything, only legal devices to recoup losses. Quality workmanship and products are expensive, and there is a reason they are. All of this outsourcing of manufacturing will come back to bite the company that does it, this is but one example of how it will do so. If you want a brand name associated with quality, you have to build quality products/services, and they will always cost a bit more. That is the normal manner of things anyway. Honda proved this wrong in the auto market, seve
  • by mpcooke3 (306161) * on Sunday August 13, 2006 @02:25PM (#15899113) Homepage
    I have a HP omnibook 6000 and the connection near the laptop started to short. There is a lot of pressure on this part of the connector as you move about with your laptop. Probably the inner wires can rub bare before you notice any damage to the exterior.

    I was wearing boxers and the shorting wires were against my naked leg when i discovered the problem, so I have limited sympathy for this guy with his burnt paper.
    • Not just that. When my wallstreet (g3 powerbook) started failing to charge, I noticed I could wiggle the cord where the DC jack was in the computer and it would work.

      So I tore it apart to repair/replace it, and I was amazed that when I removed the plastic jacket of the cord, the outer braid (the ground conductor) of the cord fell to the desk in a pile of a milllion little 3mm long pieces of copper strand. The braid had just shattered from repeated bending, and when I just shook the cord there was NO coppe
  • Count me in, I'm one (Score:4, Interesting)

    by X43B (577258) on Sunday August 13, 2006 @02:38PM (#15899155) Journal
    Whoa, I thought my incidident was isolated. My power supply for my iBook shorted right where wire goes into the connector that plugs into the computer. Some magic smoke was released and the connector/power supply was inoperable. Apple sent me a new power supply under my AppleCare plan. I don't know if they would have charged me otherwise.

    About a month later my motherboard died. Again everything covered under AppleCare.
  • Guy is not an EE (Score:5, Informative)

    by morcheeba (260908) * on Sunday August 13, 2006 @02:39PM (#15899160) Journal
    I don't think he's qualified to say that his adapter has zero short-circuit protection.

    Here's what he says: Meaning, I can short the adapter on the DC side, generate a spark, and repeat again and again without causing the adapter to power off or any circuit breaker/fuse/GFCI outlet to cut the power.

    He's expecting the wrong results. Sure, shorting any supply with output capacitors will generate a spark -- that's typical good design. The spark doesn't last long and it isn't indicative of the total energy released.

    Now, if his circuit breaker or fuse triggered, I'd be concerned. That means the adapter is shorting out the mains voltage -- very bad, very dangerous. But, it apparently is not. It's good that this doesn't happen, but the guy seems to think it should. And a GFCI wouldn't trigger due to a hot-neutral short [wikipedia.org] -- he would have to throw the adapter in a bathtub to have a chance of it tripping.

    I'm not saying there are no problems with the adapter, but his assertion is unsupported by his evidence. I suspect that the adapter has an internal short-circuit protection that kicks in milliseconds after the spark is seen. He would need to use a current meter to detect if the circuit exists.

    (why, yes, I'm an electrical engineer)
    • The power supplies I've used (PC supplies) cut out immediately if shorted and need to be unplugged before they will provide any more current.

      The Apple supply design is not good. A fault can exist and be undetected by the user for some time, until eventually someone uses their power supply around flammable materials.
    • Sure, shorting any supply with output capacitors will generate a spark -- that's typical good design. The spark doesn't last long and it isn't indicative of the total energy released.

      And furthermore, a spark doesn't mean a damn thing. I can generate a spark with a regular 1.5V AA-size dry cell and a bit of wire. Piezoelectric lighters make sparks from the energy you expend in pushing the button down. You can make sparks from tiny amounts of energy, and unless you're really experienced you can't determine th

    • by tcgroat (666085)
      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
  • this is very true. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by jeffehobbs (419930) on Sunday August 13, 2006 @02:40PM (#15899162) Homepage
    I'm on my second Aluminum PowerBook AC adapter after the first one crimped, then frayed, then went up in a literal puff of smoke. The worst part is I had to buy another of the clearly faulty adapters. You'd think they'd beef up the design a bit around the part that breaks for everyone, but no... Read the reviews on Apple's own page on store.apple.com for this adapter (average rating: 1.5 stars out of five), and it becomes clear that there's a very specific reason they redid the power connector ("MagSafe") for the new MacBook and MacBook Pro models.

    Shameful -- and doubly a shame because this PowerBook (one of the original Aluminum PowerBooks) has proven to be a champ for over two years.

    ~jeff


  • I bought a laptop for my wife about a year ago and we're on our fifth power cord.

    The first place where there's an accordion-like piece of rubber bends a lot, particularly as I sit on the couch with it sitting on a decent size of plexiglas I've used as a lap desk for twenty-five years. The rubber starts fraying, the cover of the electrical cord becomes open to the outside, then it becomes a matter of moving the cord just so until it's in place and we see the icon in the system tray whilst calling Dell f
  • by Lifix (791281) on Sunday August 13, 2006 @03:17PM (#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.
  • Fud (Score:5, Interesting)

    by John Nowak (872479) on Sunday August 13, 2006 @03:29PM (#15899336)
    I work in a lab where we have dozens of these bricks. We lend them out to students all the time, who do god knows what with them. Over the course of several years, we've not had one problem. No shorting out, no signs of wear, nothing. I personally have one as well, going on three years now. I take it with me every day, usually just throwing it in my bag. It looks the same as the day I got it and shows no signs of wear upon serious inspection. Mac users are a VERY VOCAL bunch. It is impossible to gauge the severity of a problem by listening to the Mac community.
  • by 5plicer (886415) on Sunday August 13, 2006 @03:58PM (#15899440)
    After a bit of searching, I found an alternative [newertech.com] to Apple's power adapters. This one sells for $50 (much cheaper than Apple's). I'm sure there are other companies doing the same thing as NewerTechnologies. Of course, as I mentioned in a previous comment, you could built your own using this Apple tech note [apple.com].
  • FWIW... (Score:3, Informative)

    by Phroggy (441) * <slashdot3@nospaM.phroggy.com> on Sunday August 13, 2006 @04:07PM (#15899473) Homepage
    Two years ago I was on vacation and staying with a friend when her pet rat decided to chew through my iBook G4/800's power cord. I wrapped a piece of duct tape around it and it seemed to be OK, but a few days later I plugged in the power cord and heard a clicking sound coming from the adapter brick. The inner insulation had been breached, and the two wires were touching.

    I cut and stripped the wire with a pair of fingernail clippers, twisted it back together, and wrapped it back up with the duct tape. Several months ago the duct tape came loose and the wire shorted again. I re-spliced it, and wrapped it with Scotch tape, which was all I had on hand at the time. About a month ago the Scotch tape started coming off (as I had known it would), so I retaped it with white electrical tape.

    I do freelance IT work, and haul my iBook everywhere. My power cord gets unplugged, wound up, stuffed into a backpack, unwound and plugged in somewhere else pretty frequently. Even when completely shorted out, all it did was make a clicking noise. The adapter brick can get pretty warm, especially when it's not well ventilated, but not uncomfortably so.

    Please keep in mind that most of us never have a problem, even in unusual circumstances.
  • by StandardCell (589682) on Sunday August 13, 2006 @05:31PM (#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...
    • "taking legal action to recover their money"

      how is this an option? suppliers negotiate their contracts so if they lose money it's their fault.

      Dell is better at negotiating with suppliers than the competition. That's good business, not abuse. A vendor can choose to not do business with Dell and some do.
  • by Nice2Cats (557310) on Sunday August 13, 2006 @05:50PM (#15899784)
    Fortunately, this is America, so it is very easy to figure out if this is a widespread problem: If there is no gimme-a-million-bucks-I-deserve-it class-action lawsuit ongoing, forget it. It is that easy.
  • The adapter that came with my PowerBook G4 one day sparked and burned some of its own insulation. The reason being, is I had put too much stress on that area of the cable (next to the plug that goes into the computer) over a year and it had become frayed. It was out of warranty so I bought an adapter off eBay and now I make sure to put no stress on the cable if I can avoid it.

    I'd say that this could happen to any electrical device.
  • by YesIAmAScript (886271) on Sunday August 13, 2006 @08:41PM (#15900315)
    This article makes some sense. But when he tries to explain that it should trigger an GFCI (or even AFCI), he gets way off track.

    It would never trigger an AFCI, because there's too much smoothing circuitry between the output and the wall plug. No matter, as an AFCI is designed to protect against arcs in the walls and frayed AC power cords. So the AFCI comment didn't make sense.

    Also, the GFCI comment doesn't make sense either. A GFCI is supposed to notice power being drawn and not returned on the neutral. The Apple power supplies are designed to be 2-prong devices, so they could never dump significant power on the ground pin and trigger a GFCI. The only way it could trigger a GFCI is if you shorted the live end of the cable to a separate return, like earth ground or a hot tub or whatever. Then the power would not come back on the neutral and would trigger the GFCI.

    Anyway, a GFCI is supposed to prevent against things like dropping a live appliance into a puddle of water or whatever, not shorts internal to low voltage cables.

    His spark test maybe means something, I see what he is talking about there. But I'm not sure about his testing methodology. Maybe he's testing a case expecting it to shut down and instead Apple just current limits, which is an acceptable alternative. I just can't tell with only the data on that page.

    The article summary is definitely full of unwarranted hyperbole. The article isn't even close to triggering a level of "source of some serious safety concerns".
  • I recall that when MS a similar type of issue with the XBox 360 everyone on here was SCREAMING "WTF!!1!1? We've been screwed!!!" Where are all these people today?
  • Dare I say "Me Too"? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by skingers6894 (816110) on Monday August 14, 2006 @04:54AM (#15901456)
    We've had two of these go.

    I have a photo on our blog too:

    http://homepage.mac.com/skingsley/xemaybe/C1935475 274/index.html [mac.com]

    About 4 headlines in.

    You'll notice from the blog I'm pretty much an Apple Fan Boi (tm) but even I in my Appleuphoria can see that this is a problem.

  • by niktemadur (793971) on Monday August 14, 2006 @09:48AM (#15902644)
    My wife's iBook power adapter malfunctioned a couple of months ago, it started to crackle and even let out a few sparks! The replacement runs for about US$80.00, a ridiculous amount for a product that is raising a stink in forums all over the web because of its' horrible quality.

    However, I decided to inspect the adapter, detached the A/C plug, which snaps on and off the corner of the adapter, and was horrified to notice it was thoroughly charred on the inside. Then, I vaguely recalled that a power cord came with the iBook, in the box. This is what I'm talking about: http://www.shentech.com/aprepog4ib65.html [shentech.com]
    To my great relief, the new power cord snapped neatly into the corner slot of the adapter, and ran smoothly. It was the detachable A/C plug that was defective, not the adapter itself. Now, not only could we throw the defective plug where it belongs (in the trash), we also had made our device safe, as well as doubled the length of the cord, and saved ourselves $80.00 to boot! My wife and I were happy campers that day.

    So, if you have an Apple laptop, check this out for yourselves and I'm sure it will allow you to solve/avoid this exact problem, and even if it's not malfunctioning yet, do it now, no use putting your expensive computer at risk. Also, even if you've misplaced the box and/or cannot find the power cord, buy that instead, as it's price starts at around $10.00, saving you quite a bit of cash in the process.

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