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Creating Universal AC Adapter

Posted on 2011-03-08
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Last Modified: 2012-05-11
Hello,

I am sick and tired of misplacing AC adapters. I have a drawer full of various ac adapters, with literally 20 different types and still it seems I can never find the correct type, because the voltage or amp rating are always different. A quick web search of variable AC adapters returns products that are still very limited in DC output voltages, usually supplying a range of only several different voltages.

I would like to buy a variable DC power supply, perhaps 0-30V rated to deliver around 3 amps, (maybe even 5 amps to cover everything) a couple of allagator clips, and a crapload of DC device plugs. This way I can dial in any of the millions of different voltages that home electronic products require as input. Hopefully a 3-5 amp power supply will cover anything as most charging requirements are between 100ma - 2A. It's my understanding that as long as the power supply provides enough current for the charging device it's ok to hook up a 50ma device to a 3 amp power supply.
With the DC converter plugs I'd like to just strip and solder longer wires that would then connect to the variable power supply. Maybe even buy a little breadboard with plus/minus plug in connections for power supply and DC adapter plug.

Questions:

1. Is this a good solution? and if so....
2. What are the positive and negitive connections for DC female plugs? Is the inside positive and the outside negitive? Or is that also variable between devices (wouldn't surprise me).
3. Same question for a male DC plug (if there is any)
4. Can anyone reccomend a good variable power supply? I already have an accurate voltage meter to verify correct charging input voltages for each specific device.
5. Can anyone reccomend a good selection of plugs that will cover most home devices (from camcorders to laptops to beard trimmers) Again I would need to strip the wires for power supply connections.

Thanks!!
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Question by:Link
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Author Comment

by:Link
ID: 35073377
This is not really adjustable to me since the adapter has only 7 different voltage settings. It has: 1.5v, 3v, 4.5v, 6v, 7.5v, 9v, and 12v choices to choose from. There are way too many other different voltage requirements (like 3.8 and 5 ) required by cameras, tools, electronics etc. It's also limited to 300ma which isn't compatible with lots of other things.
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by:Rob Hutchinson
Rob Hutchinson earned 400 total points
ID: 35073908
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Accepted Solution

by:
_ earned 1600 total points
ID: 35078709
Back to the basic questions:

1. Is this a good solution? and if so....

It's doable.

2. What are the positive and negative connections for DC female plugs? Is the inside positive and the outside negative? Or is that also variable between devices (wouldn't surprise me).

Usually the center is Positive, but not always.

3. Same question for a male DC plug (if there is any)

If I remember correctly, the tip is usually Positive, but not always.

4. Can anyone recommend a good variable power supply? I already have an accurate voltage meter to verify correct charging input voltages for each specific device.

Can't help you with this one.

5. Can anyone recommend a good selection of plugs that will cover most home devices (from camcorders to laptops to beard trimmers) Again I would need to strip the wires for power supply connections.

You can try Radio Shack (aka: Ripoff Shack) or a decent Electronic Supply store. But in my experience, a fair number of device plugs are anything but standard.   : /

I have a couple of boxes full of collected power adapters, and I still have to cross my fingers when I go digging for for a plug to fit something.

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Author Comment

by:Link
ID: 35084100
Does anyone know why these varable power supplies would have a current adjustment? I thought current was simply drawn (by the device being powered) from the power supply, taking as much as it needs. If that is the case then why wouldn't you just keep the power supply current adjustment at the maximum setting all the time to cover the entire range amp draw of devices hooked up to it? Of course I'm assuming that all devices being powered are rated to draw less current than what the power supply max current specification is.
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by:_
_ earned 1600 total points
ID: 35088787
Mostly just to give you more control over the output.
Why have 5 amps available for something that only calls for 350 mA?
Things do happen...
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Expert Comment

by:_
ID: 35100222
Thank you much.   : )

Be sure to test on something  ...errr... expendable, first.    ; )
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