Why aren't power supplies more modular?

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Why aren't power supplies more modular?

Having slept through too many EE courses in college, I'm confused as to why power supplies/chargers/adapters aren't more modular and standards-based.

First, why don't laptop manufacturers and cell phone manufacturers agree on respective common voltages and hardware interfaces? Why do the Treo 600 and the Treo 650 have different adapters?

Second, if we're going to have to carry around power bricks, can we figure out a way to make it plug in to the car and airplane in addition to the wall, all in the same brick?

Eric Daugherty (not verified)
Well, for the Treo, the

Well, for the Treo, the change had to do with the Handspring/Palm merger. The 650 is the first real 'Palm' version of the Treo so they changed the plug to their 'standard' interface for all palm devices. Understandable (at least they are standard within their product line).

In general though, what is the incentive for these guys to standardize?

Ron Repking (not verified)
I agree this is annoying to

I agree this is annoying to have to continually buy new adapters, but Eric's right, there's no incentive for them to standardize, even if it's the same manufacturer.

I finally just bought an DC to AC Power Inverter so that I have an AC plug in my car and don't ever have to buy a car adapter again!

I'd think standardization

I'd think standardization would go like many technology standards: a standard is named by an independent or joint organization, some manufacturers rush to get the early publicity, others follow suit to keep up.

But I think the main driver would be cost... isn't it more expensive for Dell to manufacture or source a power supply that is different than IBM's?

Matt Whitlock (not verified)
Manufacturing costs may be

Manufacturing costs may be lower if there was 1 universal standard, but there's probably 2 issues with standardization.

1. The power needs of all devices is different, so if 1 standard was chosen it could stifle innovation in product design.

2. The prospective manufacturers would lose money from lost sales of accessories. (most likely the biggest reason why they don't)

Maybe someday we'll see some standards come out in power accessories for devices, but in the short term, we'll have to continue buying new power accessories whenever we change devices.

No, I'm going to have to make

No, I'm going to have to make the argument that it is wrong for laptop manufacturers not to standardize power supplies; it is a form of price gouging.

The vast majority of laptops use 70V or 90V; the power needs are not that different. Creating different power supplies for each line of laptops is, at worst, a way for manufacturers to artificially inflate the price of their products and, at best, wasteful laziness. Manufacturers should work to make their products better and more convenient for their customers.

It would not be unreasonable to me for a laptop manufacturer to provide industry leadership by making power supplies optional on new laptops in order to reduce the price on their laptops.

Eric Daugherty (not verified)
Jace, while you are correct

Jace, while you are correct that it would be better, I just don't see it happening.

I'm just happy when a single brand maintains a consistent power supply across their product line!

vernon 50
I think that the reason is

I think that the reason is money pure and simple if the power supplies were all the same or had a control to adjust them , the companies would lose money . Batteries can be made the same for most electronic devices. Just think how much they cost and how much hazard the are for the environment. Now tell me does anyone follow the safe disposal for small batteries?

Hi I'll come back to psu's

Hi I'll come back to psu's another day but here's a way to beat the battery rip off situation. I bought my son a s/h midisc rec/player (we have a Sony mains job) for £30.00 (Aiwa, nice people) with a shed load of dics and psu. the Fe ion battery was long gone and the best price on the web was £40.00!

A trip to Maplin, batt holder3XAA's, pp3type batt lead, power plug (had to buy a set to get the right one but no matter) Half an hour with the trusty Weller and he has a portable psu. AND, three good Q alkalines last longer than the original internal battery according to the spec'!

Way under a tenner.


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