Electronicsfilter: AC adapter compatible w/ off-brand (System76) laptop?
November 2, 2013 11:51 AM   Subscribe

Can you help me figure out which affordable AC adapter would be compatible with a System 76 Bonobo Extreme laptop ?

I'm likely to buy that machine in the near future.

When I buy a new laptop, my habit is to also buy four AC adapters so that I can leave one in each of the four locations where I frequently work.

Past laptops have been more common brands, and I've been able to buy knockoff AC adapters, made by third-party producers but specifically designated as compatible with the laptop, for about $12 apiece.

But I haven't been able to find knockoffs that advertise compatibility with a System76. The non-knockoff is $170, and I'd really rather not drop $700 on power bricks.

(There's some discussion that this converter will work on other System76 machines, but nobody specifically mentions the Bonobo there, and anyway I don't know that I can count on a reference in an isolated Amazon comment.)

Do you either:

(1) know of a knockoff AC adapter compatible with the Bonobo Extreme?
(2) know how to determine whether a given adapter is both electrically and physically compatible with the Bonobo Extreme?
(3) know of another solution to this problem?

Thanks in advance for all help!
posted by foursentences to Technology (4 answers total)
Disclaimer: I know the folks who work there.

You should be able to get an off brand adapter, the adapter will have the specs on it, and you'll just have to find one with the same specs and connector.

I have texted their support guy to see if he can send me specs on Monday (or sooner if he knows off the top of his head).
posted by HermitDog at 12:32 PM on November 2, 2013

"... (2) know how to determine whether a given adapter is both electrically and physically compatible with the Bonobo Extreme?"

Power bricks are typically made by companies who make them as either bespoke accessories for particular electronic gear under contract to their OEM, or as generic items that are selected from catalogs by OEM for inclusion with their products. In the latter case, the brick will certainly have a sticker with data on the acceptable input power range (voltage, amperage, and frequencies) and the output rating (usually in DC voltage and amperes (current rating)), as well as applicable testing and fire certification agency ratings (Underwriter's Laboratory, etc.). Buying any brick with equivalent DC voltage and amperage ratings, and suitable AC specs, with appropriate connectors for the local AC wall outlets and the DC plug to the laptop, should get you working solutions.

If the OEM brick is for some reason supplied without such stickers, it may be because it is supplied as a part of a larger system, where only the entire system was tested for conformance to fire and safety codes, and in that case, you'd only really be able to get it as an OEM supplied part. This is possible, but it is discouraged as design practice, and I'd be surprised if it was the route taken by any OEM or distributor of a consumer type electronic product in these litigious days.
posted by paulsc at 12:38 PM on November 2, 2013

Ohhhh, I just remembered, the newer Bonobo has a MASSIVE brick. So I'm not 100% positive if it has a generic, I'd imagine it does, but I'll update you once I hear officially.
posted by HermitDog at 12:42 PM on November 2, 2013

Upon some deep internet searching, that looks like a rebranded clevo(and i KNEW IT when i saw it, i was like OH OH I KNOW THIS I KNOW THIS)

it's one of these!!

This brick is technically correct, but is intended for if you have SLI. It's an extra 100w for another 100w GPU.

This(select p177sm barebones and male plug) would be more reasonable for the specs you have, if you have a single CPU. 220w is what the dell precision 17 inchers come with so there's no way you're going to be starving your VRM board for power.(not enough wattage will overload the brick causing voltage drops as it struggles to push out the 11-13 amps or so of current, then you overheat the brick, and as the voltage drops the VRM in the laptop will start to overheat. bad fucking news, you'll kill the motherboard over time this way)

Do not buy a knockoff that's a lower wattage. 220w isn't bonkers for a high perf 17in machine like this with the capability to handle dual GPUs. my friends 6990m equipped clevo p150 takes a 180w. You will overheat a smaller brick than the stock unit. You will also likely damage any converter that isn't a solid piece inside(ala the converters people use on asus laptops to change the straight plug into an L plug, not applicable here). Do not use any "universal" charger or anything with some adapter, they aren't designed to handle >10 amps of current.

$170 is highway robbery though. even the 180w bricks for the asus laptops are only like $50. $100 is reasonable because this is a multiple voltage output high power unit, and is about what the dell precision power supplies(which are VERY similar) cost. There won't be anything much under i'd bet around $80 for these as it's a weird specialty part and not exactly cheap to make either.

If you want to 100% verify that this will work with your unit(the 220w one, which i mean, it will, but still) you can call a clevo reseller like malibal, avadirect, etc and say you have one of their p370sm's with a single GPU and want to verify that the 220w brick is certified/verified to operate that machine.

For what it's worth though, i've swapped around power supplies on machines like this a lot, and as long as the pinout and wattage is correct and it's a quality unit(there are very few shitty REPLACEMENT POWER SUPPLY FOR TOSHIBA LOL $6 jobs that weigh 2 ounces in this wattage and class of PSU above 150w) you'll be fine.

If you have any further questions post back and i'll check my recents. but the cheapest p177/4 pin male 220w power brick you can find should work great with this machine. Doesn't have to be that one i linked if you can find one cheaper on amazon marketplace or something.
posted by emptythought at 3:07 PM on November 2, 2013

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