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Comment Re:You're doing it wrong... (Score 1) 137

Questions:

1. How do you know it was a surge that killed your PSU?

2. What else was your laptop plugged into when it got roached?

I was in India (Goa) and was awoken in the middle of the night to the overhead fan spinning crazy-fast, like it was going to take off. Half-asleep, I tried adjusting the switch to put it on a lower level, but it had no effect so I just turned it off. During this I noticed the a light outside seeming unusually bright, but then someone stepped out and turned it off. I went back to sleep, not realizing that what just happened was a surge - and that my laptop was plugged in to the AC (and only the AC - no network cables or anything else). When I woke in the morning I noticed my laptop was running on battery power. I checked to make sure it was plugged in and noticed this - the surge protector (a laptop specific one). It fried it (and warped the plastic casing as you can see) and killed my Thinkpad PSU as well. The laptop was fine, though I have to wonder if it would have still been fine if the surge protector hadn't been there.

Now I know 1. the symptoms of a power surge and 2. not to leave anything plugged in and unattended when in surge-prone countries. But still I'm concerned about it enough to think about carrying surge protection.

The comments here have left me thinking that maybe I'd be just as well off, or better off, with something containing a replaceable fuse. I assume that a surge like that would've killed the fuse and left my PSU undamaged, and a few spare fuses weigh practically nothing.

Alternatively, maybe I should not worry about it and just have a spare PSU in a box ready to be shipped to me if need it.

Comment Re:You're doing it wrong... (Score 2) 137

OP here. My situation isn't critical enough to warrant carrying more than a half-pound of extra gear, which rules out an extra power supply and certainly a 2nd laptop. As you mention, I can always use my phone.

As for a "phone that requires the original power supply" - that was misleading. All my devices (save the laptop) can be charged from from USB, but the laptop USB ports tend put out the standard 500mAh, so it can be a long time charging compared to a 1000mAh USB charger. Also, I have encountered devices (the HP Touchpad) which, if depleted to 0% battery, will not charge without the stock charger. I no longer use a Touchpad, but the experience taught me that "USB charging" isn't so universal and the stock charger may be necessary.

Comment Re:Not what your asking for due to weight constrai (Score 1) 137

OP here. I see some GFCI single outlet adapters on the market, but no GFI (and I'm not sure of the difference). If it matters (I think it does), some of the places I've been have used outlets that aren't even grounded, which further complicates the whole surge protection defense of sending excess current to ground.

Here's a question: I have a cheap international plug adapter that has "surge protection" built-in in the form of a standard user-replaceable fuse. What about using that, and maybe even putting in a lower-rated fuse?

Comment Re:220V should be sufficient (Score 1) 137

OP here. Your assumptions are correct: both power supplies (laptop & USB power adapter) are 100V-240V compatible. Your suggestion to simply use a 240V-rated surge suppressor even when on 110V is one I hadn't considered, and your reasoning seems sound. If anyone has actually tried this with without problem, please post about it.

Comment Re:220V should be sufficient (Score 2) 137

OP here. I appreciate your theory, but sorry, this isn't an advertisement in disguise - and if you believe one can arrive in a developing country and just buy a surge protector within the hour, I would guess you haven't been to the kind of countries I'm talking about (or arrived at 3am when local shops are all closed). When my Thinkpad power supply got fried in India (as mentioned in the OP) I literally spent weeks trying to find a replacement: I'd call a local shop, they'd say they ordered it and it would arrive in 2 days and they'd call me. 4 days later I'd call and they'd say it would be there in 2 days and they'd call me. (They never called). I'd change towns and go through a repeat of the same situation. I finally gave up trying.

Keep in mind as well: not wanting to waste time searching for a new surge protector every time I switch to a different region; wanting to use a quality surge protector from a brand I know is reliable, and not a cheap one as you suggest.

Comment Re:Surge protectors *must* be voltage specific (Score 2) 137

OP here. If surge protectors must be voltage specific, that doesn't explain how the laptop-specific surge protectors can be 100V-240V compatible.

As for carrying a spare laptop power supply, that would be just as much weight/bulk as a 2nd surge protector, so kind of defeats the point.

Submission + - Ask Slashdot: Surge Protection for International Travel?

gaiageek writes: As someone who has lost a laptop power supply (and thus use of the laptop) due to a late-night power surge while traveling in a developing country, I'm acutely aware of the need for surge protection when traveling abroad. While practically all laptop and phone power adapters these days are voltage auto-sensing 100V-240V compatible, most so-called "travel" surge protectors are restricted to either 110V or 220V. Given the space and weight constraints of carry-on only travel, I'd like to avoid having to carry two separate surge protectors knowing I may go from Central America (110V) to Southeast Asia (220V). Strangely, laptop specific surge protectors typically are 100V-240V compatible, but this doesn't provide protection for a phone or tablet that requires the original power supply (can't be charged from a notebook USB port).

Is there really no solution out there short using a 110V-240V notebook surge protector with an adapter to go from a "cloverleaf" notebook plug to a 5-15R (standard US) plug receptacle?

Comment Re:Don't speak for 'all of europe' (Score 1) 460

Once Uber has driven its competition out of business, anyone will be able to offer a service like Uber.

No, because this type of service is a natural monopoly, especially when operated by a large multi-national. Nobody wants to use a different app for every city. It would be just like trying to compete against eBay in the online auction market.

Not really. eBay has a monopoly in that, if you're a buyer looking for something rare or unique at auction, eBay is where you're going to look first, and thus as a seller, eBay is where you're going to look at selling first. But it's not like a ride is anything unique, it's not like Uber's customers have brand loyalty, and AFAIK it's not like an Uber driver can't also work for a competitor (that's an interesting question actually). Plus, I'm guessing the majority of Uber users are only using Uber in their home city. I'm guessing all it would take for anyone to try a competitor is hearing "they're cheaper than Uber". And a competitor could do that if they're giving a higher percentage to the drivers.

Time will tell, but what may be more telling is what happens once autonomous taxi services enter the picture. If Uber doesn't get on that themselves, I could see that putting them out of business.

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