wall warts for free - who wants 'em
January 17, 2008 12:47 PM   Subscribe

Three mysterious power adapters. How to get rid of them?

I have three power adapters here for which I can't find any corresponding gadgets. I want them gone, but I don't think it would make sense to throw them away -- I've gone looking for power adapters before, and had to order through the net.

So, I went looking for "match power adapter" and "free power adapters" web sites and then my creativity ran out. If there's a web site that exists for have-one, give-one, need-one, get-one of power adapters, I'd love to find it.

I'd also love to find a "what does my wall wart go with" database of some kind, but I'm not holding my breath.

Then I took a look at my local Craigslist. I'm posting an ad, but I'm not hugely optimistic that the right person(s) will find it.

On a whim, I did a search for the serial number for one (it's a Motorola 7442030001, with three output voltages listed), and came across this seeming forum posting; although it's old, I'd love to let these electronicfied.com forum members know about my "free" adapters, but I can't figure out how to join or anything about the forum. I even tried a whois lookup of the domain name - the contacts seem to be to web hosting folks.

If there's some local group that collects these, that would be awesome.

I know I might be able to list them on ebay; I'm trying to avoid that. I don't want to think that much if I can avoid it. But if you feel that's my only option, please tell me so.

I've got the Motorola 744203030001 (output is a circular 7-pin dealie), some anonymous model JOD-57U-O2 (output is ~5mm circular, 14.5V/1500mA), and a TML Technology Co 91-57197 (output a slightly different 5mm, +5V/1.5A), in case that makes any difference.
posted by amtho to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (13 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
These things are so ubiquitous and disposable that I'd be surprised if you find any takers. I threw out about 10 old adapters not too long ago. I hate to waste them, but in general, the product wears out long before the adapter does, so there ends up being a surplus of these power blocks.

Craigslist is a free alternative to ebay, but I doubt you'll find many takers there, either.
posted by chrisamiller at 12:53 PM on January 17, 2008

FreeCycle and Craigslist would both be great places to list these.
posted by DMan at 12:53 PM on January 17, 2008

Thanks for the suggestions. I mentioned "Then I took a look at my local Craigslist. I'm posting an ad, but I'm not hugely optimistic that the right person(s) will find it.", so that's in progress.

Merci! But I'm not giving up hope for a central clearinghouse. There really should be one, shouldn't there?
posted by amtho at 1:01 PM on January 17, 2008

If there are no takers on craigslist, here's how you can find electronics recyclers in your area: Earth 911.org
posted by sharkfu at 1:04 PM on January 17, 2008 [2 favorites]

sharkfu - I couldn't find anything about "power adapters" on that site. Can you offer any additional guidance? Even silly/obvious suggestions?
posted by amtho at 1:18 PM on January 17, 2008

You can give them to your local Goodwill so people like me can buy them for ~$2 when we need them for electronics projects. Win-win-win.
posted by 0xFCAF at 1:19 PM on January 17, 2008 [1 favorite]

Ebay isn't your only option but I've used it to get rid of power adapters. Ones that are proprietary or hard to find can bring a surprising amount of $.
posted by aerotive at 1:26 PM on January 17, 2008

Amtho-- the computer recycler near me takes all peripherals too-- printers, modems, etc-- including their power adapters. Maybe it would be the same in your area. I don't know that they would necessarily be able to recycle parts/ metals from them, but I figured it would be better than trashing them...
posted by sharkfu at 1:28 PM on January 17, 2008

The local thrift store might end up being the winner - thanks for the note, 0xFCAF

Thanks, sharkfu. There's a chance these might be from computer stuff; I mean, they probably are, but they might go with an audio device, too. I'm just not sure.

aerotive - I'm thinking about the ebay, too. I think I saw the Motorola one listed for $85 or something.
posted by amtho at 1:31 PM on January 17, 2008

FYI power adaptors don't generally need to "go with" the stuff that they originally worked with. There are only a few parameters for a power supply (ignoring for a moment that some of them are of such poor quality that using them with audio equipment can cause a lot of noise)

* voltage
* maximum current rating
* plug size
* polarity

You can use almost any wall wart power adaptor with any device you want, provided that the voltage is at or very close to the desired voltage, the current drain is equal to or greater than that of the original wall wart, and as long as it fits into the hole and properly over the pin. Polarity is another consideration, there is a "+" and a "-" side to the adaptors, one of them will be on the inside and the other on the outside of the plug.

Anyway, that's why they could be of use to other people, who are willing to sift through a bunch of junk to find one that fits. That is, you don't need to find someone with the same exact device who is missing their power supply.

Personally I have plastic bins full of them but I do lots of electronics crap and I always need more. In a pinch you can even use them as output transformers for low wattage amplifiers.
posted by RustyBrooks at 1:41 PM on January 17, 2008 [1 favorite]

Oh. Hmm. On further re-reading it sounds like some or all of them are kind of non standard power adaptors with weird plugs and extra pins. Those would be more tethered to the original device although an entrepenuring individual could still use them.
posted by RustyBrooks at 1:43 PM on January 17, 2008

I feel compelled to share that I occasionally volunteer with an electronics recycler and we can't give these things away. Wall warts, wall warts, piled high to the sky. You want em? All yours. Same for CRT monitors and inkjet printers and old keyboards and mice - even if they work just fine we're able to reuse only a fraction of what we take in because supply just dwarfs demand and we don't have room to store it all. People would be amazed at how utterly valueless this old stuff is.

I don't know how these things get recycled but I know we have to pull them out of the standard stream (which I think winds up in a big shredder) and put them in a separate bin. I suspect they are difficult to recycle properly and there isn't much recoverable material in them. Recycling is likely marginally better than trashing but probably not by a whole lot.
posted by PercussivePaul at 2:12 PM on January 17, 2008

I always pick them up when I find them free. But then I use the guts in my electronics projects when I need a small power supply for something. So if you have a friend like me give them to him.
posted by 6550 at 8:17 PM on January 17, 2008

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