Wall Warts: A rant and Rave
You have been warned.
OK, we live in the age of low power appliances and the way they make them smaller is to pull the AC power supply out and give you a MF'N wall-wart instead.
I would be more than fine with this IF one wall wart would charge all my stuff, but no, the camera, the Ipod, the HT all use different plugs, voltages and systems so each one has it's own supply.
So why don't they simply make 'em all 13.8 volts and be done with it? Even non-hams could figure out power pole connectors and use a small power supply and power-pole strip to charge up every gizmo they have at home and a single small wall-wart would serve any appliances on the road.
The Damn Plugs on those warts. Why don't they all come folding? My camera has a folding plug, my I-pod charger has one - these by far are the easiest to pack and I don't worry about the plug being bent or broken when I go to use it should the bag get rough handling.
It's one of those things that only seems to come on stuff where the designer thinks it will travel - what about all the ones rattling around in my drawer? The ones that only get plugged in when the devices needs it?
And speaking of that, how about a label on the damn thing? Why don't they identify the device that that wart is supposed to fit. Yea, I've got a Dymo label maker and I'm not afraid to use it, but still, how about the rest of the world?
Astron could make a fortune on the univeral power supply idea.
OH PIFFLE! If the prongs don't fold jam them into a block of Styrofoam and wrap some tape around it. Never mind that Dymo tape, if you want something that sticks to plastic try good old fashioned white adhesive tape from the drug store and write on it with a pen.
Like mommy said to me when I was just 5 years old; "Do I have to tell you EVERYTHING?"
I don't suffer from insanity, I enjoy every minute of it.
73 de Warren KB2VXA
I'd have to agree with 6WOU; any power supply company could clean house if they could do that. Maybe 5v and 12v standard would be OK too. But other things about wall warts that I never liked was the hum they would throw off, and the jack plug is never the same - always different. Absolutely no standard or voltage standard. And yes, there should be a more harmonious user voltage out to them. But the RFI on some of them - or the 60 cycle hum on most I've encoutered is bafflingly stupid and just too cheap for words. Lame is a better definiton...
Last edited by KI6USW; 01-11-2009 at 09:54 PM.
Mfrs HATE standardization. They want their stuff to be so different that (they hope) you just have to buy their accessories and replacements.
But there are some real advantages to using an off-board supply. Obviously saves space in the gadget. But maybe not so well understood is that if the wall-wart is U-L listed then the downstream gear usually does not have to be, a BIG savings to the mfr.
TOM K8ERV Montrose Colo
Come on guys, where are your creative construction skills here.
You could cover most applications for use in the home with a shack variable voltage psu and a variety of connection leads with banana plugs to plug into a patch panel.
The difficulty comes however with remembering/knowing the voltages and polarity required for each appliance, and making sure you get it right before contact is made.
Also some appliances us ac wall warts not dc, so another variable in the equation.
As ERV says you will NEVER get standardisation cos no-one will ever agree to a standard.
The above solution is unwieldy and therefore very impractical, although it could be adopted for some but never all appliances - so back to the drawerful of odd warts and a GOOD system of labelling.
I have SEVERAL drawerfuls accumulated over the years and can never be sure I have picked out the right one for some of the seldom used appliances.
Most devices have voltage regulators and can use a variety of input voltages.
It is quite possible that the wall warts included with each device were probably optimized for cost, not voltage, meaning that particular voltage was on sale from whichever chinese manufacturer for that production run.
The good news is that we are seeing some standardization for USB powered devices. All of them take the same 5v that the USB port delivers and can even be powered by a nearby computer.
One would expect that if No. 1 were the case, they would have selected a common voltage and China would only make 'em one voltage, but different amp capacities.
Originally Posted by N2RJ
As to No. 2 - yea, USB is ok for very small stuff alright.
That's the way I do it. A panel-mounted isolated Variac with meters, driving a 12v 1a wall wart. A jumper set of all the power connectors I can find, wired in parallel with a break in the + lead for a current meter, and a ground connecteion for a voltmeter. I can adapt and power most anything.
Originally Posted by G0BXU
TOM K8ERV Montrose Colo
I thought wall warts were the little bumps they used to give the walls texture.