Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Things I Learned Today #6 - Power Adapters

At about 5:30 pm this evening, I took advantage of the primary laptop benefit - portability - unplugged my laptop from its power adapter, and carried it upstairs to listen to some internet radio while I worked on a couple things in my room. At 6:00 pm, I utilized that exact same portability, carried my laptop downstairs, and plugged it back into the power adapter. To my great distress, the computer's battery did not begin to recharge, the screen did not return to regular brightness levels, and a high-pitched whine began to emit from within the brick portion of the power adapter. "That's weird", I thought, "maybe I should try a different outlet." I tried another outlet with the same affect. "Huh, maybe I need to check the connections." I unplugged and replugged the necessary wires, stuck it in the wall again, and finally determined that my laptop power adapter had completely died. I am fascinated by this occurrence.

I had absolutely no idea that a laptop power adapter could die. In my mind, it is a wire that transmits electricity from point A to point B, and probably does not contain parts that can break. Apparently not.

However, it does appear that some companies have anticipated this type of failure and know better than me, as is evidenced by the fact that there is an ample supply of universal power adapters with swappable adapter heads at places like Best Buy or MicroCenter. These companies also anticipated that people like me, with meetings tomorrow and tons of data to show on my computer, would be completely under their thumb because I do not have the opportunity to comparison shop or purchase online. All of the available replacement power sources at these stores cost between $90 (my high-end choice) and $200. They take you to the freaking cleaner on this one. For alot of people, that's about 1/3 of the cost of the whole laptop. I would think this should be against some kind of law against screwing your customers. Oh well. At least next time I know that it is probably worth considering buying a backup power adapter before the need is absolutely critical.

1 comment:

Jeff Caminsky said...

Actually, I suspect there may be an entire course of study at business schools on "How to Price Replacement Parts to Gouge Customers Just Enough to Maximize Profits and Not Make Them Kill You."