Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in
Your question

Power adapter gets hot

Last response: in Laptops & Notebooks
Share
February 4, 2010 9:54:35 PM

I have a 5 yr old Dell Inspiron XPS gaming laptop that has really not given me any problems. It uses the 150 Watt power adapter. The problem I'm encountering is the power adapter gets really hot when I use one of the USB HDs for very long. Can anyone suggest a fix besides disconnecting the HD and letting it cool off?

Thanks for any help!
Ruth

More about : power adapter hot

February 4, 2010 10:21:53 PM

Well the obvious solution is to buy a bigger power adapter (more wattage). That should cause less strain to its components, be more efficient and much cooler. Consult your local electronics shop for an appropriate adapter.

The solution would be to buy an external power adapter for the HD (if it accepts one). Hence all its power requirements will be fed by a different source, leaving your 150W adapter alone (and cool).
m
0
l
February 5, 2010 1:25:45 AM

Thank you for your suggestions. However, I don't think they even make a bigger adapter. Finding the 150 watt replacement wasn't easy. Lots and lots of smaller wattage ones available though and they're the ones that show up doing a search.

Both USB drives I use have their own power source (wall plug ins), unless you're referring to something different. I don't use them at the same time either.

Thanks again for your help. I appreciate it.
m
0
l
Related resources
February 5, 2010 1:51:40 AM

When you say you don't use them at the same time are you reffering to both of your drives or the drive's power sources or something else?

The idea is to lessen the stress of your 150W power brick (main PC power supply) that gets really hot if i understood well. Hence my suggestion is when you have your USB drive plugged in (one USB cable) you can you the USB drive's external power source brick as well to offload the 150W one.

If that is what you are saying and you are indeed using it like that then another solution would be to cool your power brick with an external heatsink (or if you are feeling more adventurous and are experienced, modify the whole thing with a different case and an internal heatsink and maybe a small fan to move air around!).
m
0
l
February 5, 2010 1:36:45 PM

darkguset said:
When you say you don't use them at the same time are you reffering to both of your drives or the drive's power sources or something else?

I don't use both USB drives at the same time. One at a time and of course the main one in the laptop.

The idea is to lessen the stress of your 150W power brick (main PC power supply) that gets really hot if i understood well. Hence my suggestion is when you have your USB drive plugged in (one USB cable) you can you the USB drive's external power source brick as well to offload the 150W one.

Yes, the main laptop power adapter gets really hot even though the USB drive is plugged into the wall, when it's being used.

If that is what you are saying and you are indeed using it like that then another solution would be to cool your power brick with an external heatsink (or if you are feeling more adventurous and are experienced, modify the whole thing with a different case and an internal heatsink and maybe a small fan to move air around!).


I'm not an electronics guru at all, so modifying or changing the adapter into another case is beyond me. I have always had the adapter sitting on one of (not what it's called but I can't think of the proper name) circle clamps that you use a screw driver to tighten, like what's used on car hoses. It elevates the adpter maybe 1/2 inch for air flow under it too.

Your suggestion of using a fan sounds like something to try.

Thank you again for your suggestions. I do appreciate your help.
m
0
l
a b D Laptop
February 5, 2010 5:20:41 PM

150W is a massive amount for an external AC/DC adapter. My Sager has a 120W model. It gets scorching when I game on it, but I counter with some old heatsinks (one Athlon 64 and one Athlon XP, sitting on top). They cool it pretty well. If you want you can also throw a fan on top, it wouldn't be hard to rig with another 12V power supply you may have laying around from some broken electronic part.
m
0
l
a b D Laptop
February 5, 2010 5:54:49 PM

A couple of questions:
(1) Is this a recent developement, or has it done it from day one.
(2) Is your external USB HDD getting its power from the USB port (ie a 2 1/2 In drive, or is the external drive a 3 1/2 in drive (requires +12) and you are usinf a seperate brick for it.
(3) does it get HOT when you are only using the laptop WITH external drive connected.

If it only gets hot with the external HDD pluged in to the USB port, Use one that uses a seperate Brick.

If this is a relatively new problem, How old is your Battery and/or does it get hot when used without the battery installed. An old battery (or one that is defective) could result in drawing excessive current.

This is a starter, so help is dependent on your responce.
m
0
l
February 5, 2010 6:42:03 PM

frozenlead said:
150W is a massive amount for an external AC/DC adapter. My Sager has a 120W model. It gets scorching when I game on it, but I counter with some old heatsinks (one Athlon 64 and one Athlon XP, sitting on top). They cool it pretty well. If you want you can also throw a fan on top, it wouldn't be hard to rig with another 12V power supply you may have laying around from some broken electronic part.


When I ordered my Dell I just assumed they'd send what I needed and the 150 watt came. That one lasted until a little more than a year ago. I ordered a new one from Dell, assuming the old one was just that! OLD, and it only lasted a year. That's when I really started paying attention to the heat coming off the brick. My Dell has 3 internal fans, which may be the other cause of bigger draw on the adapter and the reason such a big adapter was needed. I know there's no heat sinks around here, but I'll make sure to get a couple and try them out, along with a fan.

Thank you for your help. It's sincerely appreciated.
m
0
l
February 5, 2010 7:10:03 PM

RetiredChief said:
A couple of questions:
(1) Is this a recent developement, or has it done it from day one.

As I told frozenlead, I've really only paid close attention to the heat, maybe a year now.

(2) Is your external USB HDD getting its power from the USB port (ie a 2 1/2 In drive, or is the external drive a 3 1/2 in drive (requires +12) and you are usinf a seperate brick for it.

I'm using a 1T Seagate with the AC cord that came with it and it's connected to a CablesToGo 7 Hub USB 2.0. The main reason for the hub is because I prefer a corded mouse and to use the USB HD. Nothing more is being used at any one time.

(3) does it get HOT when you are only using the laptop WITH external drive connected.

It only gets hot when the Seagate is being used too.

If it only gets hot with the external HDD pluged in to the USB port, Use one that uses a seperate Brick.

I'm not familiar with USB drives coming with a brick, only AC power cords.

If this is a relatively new problem, How old is your Battery and/or does it get hot when used without the battery installed. An old battery (or one that is defective) could result in drawing excessive current.

My battery is only months old. The old adapter (and a l00 watt adapter I used as a fill in) killed off one new battery and I saved this one until I could get this new adapter. This new adapter is a Dell from a 3rd party and only a month or so old. It fully charged the new battery.

This is a starter, so help is dependent on your responce.


I hope I don't come across as completely dense. I feel with this heat problem it screwed up my Maxtor USB drive.and really want to prevent a recurrence with the Seagate.

Now how am I supposed to decide who has given me the best answer? Can I chose all 3 of you? You've all been very informative and helpful!! I very much appreciate all the help you've given.
m
0
l
a b D Laptop
February 5, 2010 7:24:12 PM

A heat sink sitting on top of a "brick" is not a lot of help. The bricks are either enclosed in plastic, or plastic with some vent slits. If totally enclosed the plastic reduces cooling (acts as an insulator).

What I would do is cut the sides and top off the brick, if that is still insuffient, then add a heat sink to the component(s). May Not look great!!!

If it has some vent holes use one of the Small chipcooler fan to get some cool air into it. Also a possibily if totally enclosed is to VERY CAREFULLY drill some holes on each side and mount the small fan on one side (would require a small brick to power the fan).

You still need to verify you are not drawing excessive current.

Added - I see you sliped a post in before I submitted my comment.
Your problem with the Brick Should not have screwed up your USB drive. Reason - The Brick for the computer does not directly supply power to the USB port. The Brick output is 12 to 17 Volts, The USB supplies 5V. Internally the computer converts the Higher Voltage to +5 (max Current 0.5 Amps I believe per port). For laptops, I always use a seperate Brick for external HDD and DVD writers)
m
0
l
a b D Laptop
February 5, 2010 10:40:33 PM

RetiredChief said:
A heat sink sitting on top of a "brick" is not a lot of help. The bricks are either enclosed in plastic, or plastic with some vent slits. If totally enclosed the plastic reduces cooling (acts as an insulator).

What I would do is cut the sides and top off the brick, if that is still insuffient, then add a heat sink to the component(s). May Not look great!!!


OP said he didn't want to dismantle the unit. Even though the heat flow is greatly reduced...the heatsinks I have on top of my PSU have been hot enough to burn me - in my case, it helps quite a bit.

Dismantling the case you also have to be careful not to get your fan assembly grounded - if you provide a lower resistance path and there happens to be a potential across the ground...well, that might not turn out so well.
m
0
l
February 7, 2010 5:11:55 AM

RuthB said:
When I ordered my Dell I just assumed they'd send what I needed and the 150 watt came. That one lasted until a little more than a year ago. I ordered a new one from Dell, assuming the old one was just that! OLD, and it only lasted a year. That's when I really started paying attention to the heat coming off the brick. My Dell has 3 internal fans, which may be the other cause of bigger draw on the adapter and the reason such a big adapter was needed. I know there's no heat sinks around here, but I'll make sure to get a couple and try them out, along with a fan.

Thank you for your help. It's sincerely appreciated.



Ok Ruth, the 3 fans do not draw power as to heat up your 150W power brick significantly so do not worry about them. Also regarding your hard drive, yes a malfunctioning power supply could help it go the way of the dodo, but that chance is very very small so i would rule it out. It was more probably a matter of coincidence (hundreds of hard drives die every day all over the world with no apparent cause).

Since you are not tech savvy i suggest this as a final solution:

Do not really worry about the brick getting too hot as they are designed to get there and operate within specifications. Keep in mind that i would only trust a BRANDED power brick in such a case, no cheap $10 made in China...
So my final suggestion if you cannot deal with a heatsink-fan on the brick would be to just find a cold surface (aluminium plate or a cold bench or something) and sit the brick on it. The surface should sufficiently remove enough heat. Keep in mind to keep the flat (big) surface of the brick in contact with the surface below. The greater the touching surface, the greater your heat removal will be.

Good luck and don't stress too much about it.

PS: You could also use Windows Power Management features (or HD manufacturer's tools - i know Western Digital have one because i use it) to keep your USB drives spun down while not in use, so while they will be connected they will not draw much power until they need to be used.
m
0
l
February 7, 2010 1:53:07 PM

darkguset said:
Ok Ruth, the 3 fans do not draw power as to heat up your 150W power brick significantly so do not worry about them. Also regarding your hard drive, yes a malfunctioning power supply could help it go the way of the dodo, but that chance is very very small so i would rule it out. It was more probably a matter of coincidence (hundreds of hard drives die every day all over the world with no apparent cause).

Since you are not tech savvy i suggest this as a final solution:

Do not really worry about the brick getting too hot as they are designed to get there and operate within specifications. Keep in mind that i would only trust a BRANDED power brick in such a case, no cheap $10 made in China...

<<<THIS I know enough about electronics to not try! I had bought a 100 watt Targus as a fill in only to have my laptop pop-up a notice that said "Detecting a 90 watt power supply in use". Being as I had paid extra for the 100 watt, needless to say I was ticked off! That was the largest that could be bought locally. What I do have now is identical to the original including the info on the back and saying Dell. >>>

So my final suggestion if you cannot deal with a heatsink-fan on the brick would be to just find a cold surface (aluminium plate or a cold bench or something) and sit the brick on it. The surface should sufficiently remove enough heat. Keep in mind to keep the flat (big) surface of the brick in contact with the surface below. The greater the touching surface, the greater your heat removal will be.

<<<Another good suggestion! Thank you! I'll hunt to see if there's such an animal around here. I'll try all the suggestions offered. I'm sure there's a solution in them and they are all worth trying except for opening the brick! I'd "light up my own life" with that one!!!>>>

Good luck and don't stress too much about it.

<<Thank you, all of you! Your information has been greatly appreciated, along with the time and trouble you've all extended in aiding me. >>

PS: You could also use Windows Power Management features (or HD manufacturer's tools - i know Western Digital have one because i use it) to keep your USB drives spun down while not in use, so while they will be connected they will not draw much power until they need to be used.

m
0
l
!