New power cord not exactly what I expected, should I return it?
September 20, 2010 9:01 AM   Subscribe

My laptop power cord's ground prong (the third prong) broke off, and it stopped working in most wall plugs. I ordered a new one and when it came, it didn't have a third prong, but it works fine. Why is that? And more importantly, is there some future situation where I'm going to regret not replacing the old one with a new, three-prong plug?

When I ordered the new power cord, it looked like from the picture that it had three prongs, but the one that came is actually designed for my laptop, even though it's an off-brand replacement. I'm just wondering if I should go through the trouble to return it now while I still can, or if I should just roll with it.
posted by malapropist to Computers & Internet (4 answers total)
Best answer: When you say you got a replacement power cord, do you mean including the whole power supply (the "brick" part), or literally just the cable that connects between the brick and the wall outlet?

Because if you got a whole replacement power supply, then the new one is designed not to need a ground connection and it'll be fine. There are many laptop power supplies like that.

Whereas if what you got was just a new cable to plug into the old power supply, it would be a little weird for it to even fit if the power supply is designed for a grounded supply cord. Usually the connector on the power supply is quite different for grounded vs. ungrounded supply cords.
posted by FishBike at 9:55 AM on September 20, 2010

Best answer: You are converting to DC power, and the case is almost certainly plastic, so that third prong really isn't very crucial. Apple laptop power bricks, for example, come with an extension cord that has three prongs, but also a little dohickie that folds up into the brick that only has two prongs. Unless you spend a lot of time surfing the web in your bathtub, (or there are other situations where the brick part will get wet...) the third prong isn't really necessary.

for a rather amusing (and informative) bit on the origins of prong number and outlet shape, check out
posted by rockindata at 10:05 AM on September 20, 2010

Response by poster: Yeah, I got the brick and the whole power cord. Glad to hear this is not a problem, guess I was being a bit paranoid.
posted by malapropist at 10:07 AM on September 20, 2010

If it broke because the plug was yanked out of a socket violently then I suggest that the more likely scenario is that one of the two main connectors became internally disconnected in a way that wasn't externally visible and that's why it stopped working, not anything having to do with ground or the lack thereof.
posted by Rhomboid at 10:25 AM on September 20, 2010

« Older Best earbuds for iPod?   |   How to break into tech writing in 30 minutes a day Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.