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Swapping AC Adaptors

Discussion in 'Laptops' started by AH, Sep 3, 2003.

  1. AH

    AH Guest


    Can I safely use the Sony AC adapter described below to power a Sony
    laptop computer that it didn't come with (described below)?

    I own a Sony PCG-GRX600 series laptop computer with an AC adapter
    model number PCGA-AC19V3.

    I also have a Sony PCG-F560 series laptop computer with an AC adapter
    model number PCGA-ACX1.

    Both AC adapters appear to have identical specs, except for one minor
    difference in their outputs:
    19.5V --- 2.15A output for the F560 adapter (AC19V3)
    19.5V --- 4.1A output for the GRX600 adapter (AC19V3)

    Can I safely use the F560 adapter (AC19V3) to power my PCG-GRX600
    series laptop computer?

    Thank you for your help.


    Alan Hammes
    AH, Sep 3, 2003
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  2. AH

    Quaoar Guest

    No. Or...probably not. The GRX wants an 80 watt supply (19.5x4.1) and
    the F560 only supplies max 40 watts. The G series Vaios are
    power-hungry. I would be surprised if the GRX would not require at
    least 40 watts just sitting there doing nothing with the screen at half
    bright on a charged battery. Have you tried eBay? You might pose the
    question on the Sony laptop forum where there are a couple of real
    experts: http://pub173.ezboard.com/bunofficialsony

    Quaoar, Sep 3, 2003
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  3. It will probably work, but it's not a safe substitute.

    Laptop chargers broadly fall into two categories: Those that have only
    a 2-wire interface to the laptop, they supply power only, and those that
    have part of the charging circuit in the charger and that consequently
    have more than a 2-wire interface to the laptop.

    The chargers with more than a 2-wire interface are generally unique to
    their mfgr. and a couple of specific models. For these, there is
    usually no substitute for a factory original charger. Fortunately, this
    configuration is in the minority and is dying.

    For 2-wire charges, there is very little that is unique about them, they
    are just power supplies, and any power supply will work with really only
    the consideration of 4 issues:

    -Polarity of the Connector

    Focusing on current for the moment, you are trying to use a 2.15 amp
    supply where the original supply was 4.1 amps.

    Current, it should be noted, is a Maximum rating. The fact that a
    supply is rated at 4.1 amps only means that it is capable of supplying
    4.1 amps, not that it will do so. Basically, the charger (power supply)
    "offers" 4.1 amps and the laptop takes what it needs.

    The reason that the 2.15 amp supply will probably work is that, first,
    it's probably capable of supplying more than 2.15 amps (although there
    is no certainty of that, or of knowing how much more), and that the
    laptop, while offered with a 4.1 amp supply, almost certainly draws less
    than 4.1 amps. In particular, it's reasonable to say that the laptop
    never drew more than 4.1 amps under any conditions. But the maximum
    "draw" would only occur in a worst case situation: completely
    discharged battery, every drive running at once (and burning if the
    laptop has a CD-RW burner) and the CPU running a worst-case mix of
    instructions with the screen at maximum brightness, and cards in both of
    the PC Card slots with all USB ports drawing the maximum 500ma (and,
    also, the PS/2 port drawing the max. current if so equipped). Since
    this is highly unlikely, in a typical or even a "best case" scenario,
    the actual current draw will be FAR less than the maximum.

    Now, however, 2.15 to 4.1 amps is a BIG mismatch, and even if it works,
    you could burn up the power supply (charger).

    Going back to the beginning, if this is just a "2-wire" power supply,
    there are LOTS of "universal" laptop power supplies available that will
    fit the bill nicely. You can get them from, among others, Targus
    (probably the best source), Fellowes and Radio Shack.

    If you do want to try the 2.15 amp adapter, assuming that the voltage,
    connector and polarity are the same, do it conservatively. In
    particular, charge the battery with the laptop off, and only run the
    laptop with a fully charged battery (or no battery at all), and be
    extremely conservative in terms of use of peripherals. Even so, there
    is still some risk, but if the voltage is correct, my guess is that it's
    more likely than not to work. However, given the size of the current
    mismatch, I'd be inclined to do this only on a very temporary basis.
    Barry Watzman, Sep 3, 2003
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