How can I swap out my laptop cable to work in Denmark?
September 11, 2010 10:18 AM   Subscribe

I've moved from the USA to Denmark and have brought a laptop. I brought an voltage/plug adapter with me, but I would like to see if I can just swap out the cable part so I can stop using the adapter. It's a little bulky. Anyone know how I might go about this or know of a good supplier?

I have a Sony laptop, the power unit is the VGP-AC19V37. This piece consists of two parts: the part that plugs into the laptop with a round connector and ends with a large block part (the AC adapter?), and then a second, simpler cable that runs from the (AC Adapter?) to the wall.

This is a pretty good picture I found of it. Notice the two parts:!Bi7UloQBmk~$(KGrHqYOKj4Es-Uv8hevBLRVbvJkmQ~~_35.JPG
( I'm assuming this picture might disappear at some point, but if it does, just do a search for the product code on Google images)

Anyway, I know very little about power cables, but I'm interested in just swapping out the second, simpler part. After having done a little research, I think the current one I have is a C7 unpolarized input to a US wall plug. (the product on it says Longwell 7A125V, as well as two codes: LS-7C and LS-7J)

What I would like to do is just swap out that smaller cable, so that I can plug in a C7 unpolarized cable to the AC adapter block and then plug the other end into a Denmark power outlet, thus avoiding having to carry around the voltage/plug adapter.

Is this unreasonable or a bad idea for some reason? Is there any good place I can get this cable on the internet? I've gone around to some local shops and nobody has anything like it. It seems like just swapping that section of the cable alone would be cheap and easy.
posted by hopperseerielight to Technology (11 answers total)
This is exactly what I did in the UK when I bought a US laptop. In London at least (Tottenham Court Road) it was easy to find a generic cable with a UK plug. It seemed like there were just two varieties, one with a round figure 8 plug, the other with one side of the figure 8 squared off.
Maybe try 'Pixmania' for this cable if you can't find it locally.
It's a pretty good online electronics retailer - based in France but with sub-websites catering to many other countries.
posted by Flashman at 10:27 AM on September 11, 2010

What do the specs say on the adapter? If it says something like "100V-240V, 50-60Hz" then it's good to go, you just need to switch the mains cable. If it only says "120V 60Hz" then it's not okay.
posted by Rhomboid at 10:38 AM on September 11, 2010

Best answer: Is what you have a voltage adapter or a plug adapter? I suspect it's just a plug adapter (and the voltage step down is handled by the sony brick). IF SO, then why not just go to your nearest electrical store and ask for a plug, then change the plug... it's not hard. If you don't feel confident changing a plug you could always ask for help in the electrical store. I doubt you need a whole cable.
posted by itsjustanalias at 10:38 AM on September 11, 2010

After googling, it appears that your power supply is the universal kind (most laptop converters are) so if you can't find a replacement mains cable you can just get a plug converter. This is different than the full voltage converter you're using now because it doesn't transform anything (i.e. it's tiny and light), it just allows what you have now to fit in the different socket.
posted by Rhomboid at 10:54 AM on September 11, 2010

Best answer: Yeah, this will work just fine. I've done it in the UK with a variety of those two-part power adapters, and as long as the block itself is 120/240V, it will do the AC-DC conversion.

Simple C7 cables used to come with all sorts of electrical kit: you might have luck if there are charity/thrift shops selling old electronics such as cassette recorders and boom boxes, as they tended to come with C7 inputs and detachable cables to make it easier to sell them internationally. (In fact, I'm sure they're still common with things like digital TV tuners and DVRs.)

If Wikipedia's to be believed, Denmark has an idiosyncratic socket standard -- "no electrical equipment sold to private users is equipped with a type K plug" -- so perhaps you're looking for something that doesn't exist in that precise form, and instead need to seek out C7 cables with the compatible "Europlug" instead. That means you don't have an earth/ground connection, but the US version doesn't either.
posted by holgate at 11:00 AM on September 11, 2010

Almost all power supplies for just about every modern electronics will accept international currents WITHOUT having to futz with an adapter. Just plug your US plug into a plug converter, which weighs a couple of ounces.
posted by ethnomethodologist at 11:02 AM on September 11, 2010

Response by poster: The adapter is a single device which is both a voltage AND plug adapter at once, but, yes, I suppose the voltage part is redundant since the brick is doing the voltage stepdown (it does indeed say:
INPUT 100-240V~1.3A 50-60hz
OUTPUT 19.5V ===3.9A

So, on reflection I could definitely get away with just getting a much smaller plug adapter, but I would still be interested in finding a cable replacement, if only to make it slightly tidier. :)

Lots of good answers, thanks I very much appreciate it.
posted by hopperseerielight at 11:06 AM on September 11, 2010

Just plug your US plug into a plug converter, which weighs a couple of ounces.

Plug adapters are great for short-term/travel use, but they're not ideal for extended use. I think you'd be all right, but your insurance company might not agree.

This is the kind of cable you're looking for, with the CEE 7/16 (Europlug) and C7 ends: perhaps print out the diagram and take it to an electronics shop?
posted by holgate at 11:22 AM on September 11, 2010 [1 favorite]

Hologate's got it. All you need is a cable with a figure-8 plug (technically called a "C7") on one end and one matching your local wall socket on the other. Any decently supplied electronics or computer shop should have one. Just bring the brick part of your adapter in and tell them you need to plug it into the wall.
posted by Ookseer at 11:45 AM on September 11, 2010

You can get a proper cable nearly everywhere.
I have only seen three types of plugs that plug into laptop bricks so far. It's either the same cable that plugs into desktop computers, a two pin "pig snout" or the annoyng "pig snout with a third eye" (for bricks that need to be grounded because they need a lot of current , but the manufacturer wanted to keep the form factor small. Otherwise they would have gone iwth the normal desktop cmputer plug.)
Just to be annoing, I'll link to the german wikipedia: Desktop Plug, pig snout, enlightened (third eye) pig snout. For all three plugs there should be the proper plug to danish socket cables available and every electronics stoere or your local amazon website.
posted by mmkhd at 1:53 PM on September 11, 2010

Oops, to late. (about two hours too late. Talk about previewing.) Holgate probably has it. DO NOT buy the plug adaptor Holgate didn't recommend. I find them insanely insecure, since you can pull out the American plug and touch the metal before it is totally pulled out of the adapter. (But htese things only make the connection when the American plug is fully inserted, don't they? I wouldn't trust them to keep to that)
posted by mmkhd at 1:59 PM on September 11, 2010

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