Reducing cable strain on your laptop charger

Posted On: 2014-11-18 12:03:13 ; Read: 2030 time(s) | 

Whilst the vast majority of our laptop chargers are never returned faulty, one of the common causes of failure for those that are returned is a damaged cable. Of course our customers are rather disappointed to learn that the manufacturer guarantee does not cover damaged cables.

In order for manufacturers to keep the size and weight of chargers to a minimum the cables used can not be heavy duty cables and therefore a certain amount of care needs to be taken to ensure the thin wires inside the cable to not become damaged.

Learn how to reduce cable strain on your laptop charger.

Proper usage and maintenance of your laptop charger can substantially increase the life of the charger.

While a laptop charger is designed to travel with your laptop, certain usage patterns can contribute to the fraying or breaking of cables. The laptop charger cable, like any other metal wire or cable, is subject to becoming weak or brittle if repeatedly bent in the same spot. Follow the recommendations below to reduce the likelihood of damaging the charger.

Inspection

The most important way to maintain charger health is to regularly inspect the cables, connectors, and the charger itself for any kinks, breaks, bends, or other damage. Should you find any such damage, discontinue use of the charger to prevent potential electric shock.

Setting up and using your charger

When unwrapping the cord from your charger, be sure to support the weight of the charger (Figure 1). If the connector is held and the weight of the adapter is used to unfurl the cable (Figure 2), the cable or the charger itself could be damaged.

When unwrapping the cord from the adapter, be sure to support the weight of the adapter
Figure 1
If the connector is held and the weight of the adapter is used to unfurl the cable, the cable or the adapter itself could be damaged.
Figure 2

Excessive bends in the cable may ruin the cable over time. The most likely points where excessive bending may occur are near the charger brick (Figure 3), or the laptop connector itself (Figure 4 and Figure 5). Ensuring slack in the cable at these particular points (Figure 6) preserves the durability of the charger. Aim for gentle curves instead of angles. Proper usage increase its longevity.

Bending by the charger cable
Figure 3
Strain at the laptop connector
Figure 4
Strain at laptop connector
Figure 5
Slack cable at laptop connector
Figure 6

Routing the charger cable

If you need the cable for the charger run to the opposite side of the computer, run the cable around the back (Figure 7) instead of under the computer (Figure 8). Make sure there is plenty of slack on the connector side and that the connection is not strained.

charger cable run around the back of the computer
Figure 7
charger cable run under the computer
Figure 8

Always keep the area around the adapter and its cabling clear. Some items that come into contact with the cable could cause significant damage. The cable shown in Figure 9 is likely to be run over by the wheel of the chair which could cause a break inside the cable.

Cable likely to be damaged by objects in the workspace
Figure 9

Disconnecting and storing the charger

Properly disconnecting the charger connector from the computer can prolong the life of the adapter. Using the connector itself instead of the cord is advised to prevent damage to the cable.

Improper wrapping of the cord around the charger brick may cause issues similar to bending the cable. When wrapping up the cabling, be sure there isn't additional strain on the cable where it connects to the adapter brick. Figure 10 shows excessive stress and Figure 11 shows proper wrapping. Wrap the cable loosely to avoid creating undue stress or harsh angles with the charger cable.

Excessive strain on cable when wrapped
Figure 10
Properly wrapped cable
Figure 11

If the computer is being used regularly in the same locations, consider obtaining a charger for each location. Having a dedicated power source in each location limits the need to setup and store the charger on a frequent basis and helps avoid potential strain relief issues all together.