Power Adapters on a Plane!
July 17, 2006 6:08 PM   Subscribe

Help! It's my father-in-law's birthday and he wants a "power adapter so he can use his laptop on an airplane"... (details inside)

My father-in-law has a Dell Inspiron 5100 and wants a power adaptor that he can use to plug it in on an Airbus airplane. There seem to be plenty of adaptors from plenty of sites for plenty of computers OTHER than this particular model. The problem seems to be that this model draws 90 watts but the Airbus power source only puts out 75 watts (supposedly). I did find this Kensington product, but it says it does 120 watts! So... given the power conundrum, I don't see how it can possibly work, and don't want to blow the money if there's no way it can work.
posted by gregvr to Computers & Internet (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I know some people who like iGo products. They have power tips to fit most computers, it seems.

Looking at the Dell website, it appears that the OEM power cord is used for a number of different models including the 1100, 2600, and 2650. iGo lists the 2600 and 2650 on their site.
posted by cabingirl at 6:26 PM on July 17, 2006

What cabingirl said. Also, if the Kensington model can put out 120 Watts, you're fine. it doesn't need to be an exact match. What 120 Watts means is that the device will be able to power any laptop requiring up to 120 Watts so it will work with your laptop.
posted by McSly at 6:42 PM on July 17, 2006

I have an iGo Juice 70 and it works fine with my (older) Dell Inspiron. It came with about 10 adapters to fit nearly all kinds of popular laptops and Radioshack carried a bunch more to fit less popular models.

I bought mine for a trip to England to power my laptop, but my seat didn't have access to a power outlet...contrary to what iGo, the airlines, etc., want you to believe, power plugs are still a pretty rare commodity on airplanes, at least in the cheap seats. You can check Seat Guru to make sure your seat has a plug available.

If you are lucky enough to have an outlet available, I would just hit up Radioshack and get an iGo. As an added bonus, it will also come with a car power adapter, and for an extra $20, you can buy an accessory cable so it can charge your cell phone/iPod/whatever.
posted by jtfowl0 at 6:56 PM on July 17, 2006 [1 favorite]

If you are lucky enough to have an outlet available

This is the kicker. Outlets are rare enough in the aircraft that have them. You've no guarantee of getting one you can use.
posted by oaf at 8:04 PM on July 17, 2006

Power adapter wattage ratings are maximums, like the top speed of a car. It can provide up to 120 watts.

Now if by the "Airbus power source" you mean the socket the airplane provides (as opposed to an adapter you plug into it) only provides 75 watts, you may be out of luck.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 8:10 PM on July 17, 2006

I second & third the iGo Juice. I've used it on several planes and it works.
posted by Argyle at 9:40 PM on July 17, 2006

What jtfowl0 said - check Seatguru for your exact config and exact seat before buying a $130 power brick.
posted by nathan_teske at 9:50 PM on July 17, 2006

Check out this thread. There is some doubt as to whether the Kensington actually works.
posted by Xurando at 4:08 AM on July 18, 2006

Seatguru is great. Thanks, jtfowl0.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 4:09 AM on July 18, 2006

I just flew intercontinental on a A330 (US Airways Charlotte to London/Paris to Philadelphia). All the seats seems to have the airline style DC sockets underneath.

I bought a Targus PAPWR005U converter at the Charlotte airport. It was about $60.00 (which was way below the price of all the iGo adaptors - but froogle is listing it for around $40+). It provides 90W and has a car 'cigarette' style output and 3 prong US standard AC outlet.

Worked like a charm and didn't get two hot.
posted by schwa at 8:52 AM on July 18, 2006

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