AC Adapter Tip Sizes and Colors: What Do They Mean?

By content at June 28, 2011 14:47
Filed Under: Laptop AC Adapter
Anyone who has owned many electronic devices over the years can attest to the fact that AC adapters for recharging these devices can come in a variety of shapes and sizes. When it comes to laptops, one might think there is more of a standard, but this is often not the case. Laptop AC adapters generally come with a variety of different voltages, tip sizes, and sometimes even tip colors. Why is there so much difference between AC adapters and what do the differences mean?

First, let us look at why manufacturers choose to use differing tips and color markings for their products. For example, Compaq laptop AC adapters may use the same voltage and amperage as Gateway laptop AC adapters, but they are often not compatible with each other. The first reason for this is to differentiate their products from each other and from those of other manufacturers. This can often be a safety concern, as plugging the wrong adapter into a laptop could cause damage to the adapter or the laptop. The second reason for the differentiation is that by requiring a unique tip shape or size, manufacturers require consumers to buy additional adapters exclusively from them.

When comparing tip sizes and color markings, there is very little standardization. The most common tip size is 5.5 mm in diameter and 9.5 mm in length, and is used in many laptop designs, but the size does not often correspond to specific voltages or amperages. Most manufacturers use a variety of tip sizes within their model line so that similar-looking adapters are not confused.

Color markings on the tips of adapters are most common on third-party adapters, particularly universal adapters. The colors are used to help users easily identify the correct tip for a particular device. For example, a user may remember that the blue tip should be used for their netbook, while the red tip should be used for the laptop.

Be sure to check out our online store to find a compatible AC adapter for your specific laptop model. This avoids much of the confusion when it comes to tips and color markings, and ensures you have a suitable replacement.

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