I've lost the AC adapter, and I need to turn this laptop on.
April 4, 2008 10:48 PM   Subscribe

Is there a cheap (free) way to get information off my old Toshiba Satellite laptop now that I've lost the AC adapter? Read more about my plug-holes of differing sizes inside.

I feel like I'm so close to finding the solution for this problem that it's really frustrating, but I can't figure it out, so here I am.

I have an old Toshiba Satellite (model# ps261u) that I'm no longer using. However, I was just looking for some older documents on my current laptop (another Toshiba Satellite [model# M55-S139]), and they aren't there, so I'm sure that they are on the old Toshiba.

The problem is that I've lost the AC adapter for the old one and none of the AC adapters for *anything* that's in the house (I've checked them all) fits the plug-hole on the old laptop. The metal thingy in the middle of the old plug-hole is thicker than all of the new laptop plugs. (Wow...this sounds dirrrrty.)

Among the current AC adapters I've tried (in case this helps):
New Toshiba laptop
Girlfriend's Toshiba laptop (newer still)
An older-model Dell laptop
DSL Router
Electric Drill charger

All too small.

My plan is to power it on, put in a jump drive and away I go...it's the powering it on that's the problem.

Is there some way I'm not thinking of to power this thing? Also, if it's more feasible, should I take out the hard drive and plug it in to something (this is less than ideal, of course) and get the documents that way?
posted by cheeken to Computers & Internet (7 answers total)
Removing hard drives is usually pretty easy, and 2.5" enclosures can be had for ~$10 (try dealextreme.com if you don't mind waiting a couple of weeks), as long as you didn't have any encryption or anything.
posted by alexei at 10:55 PM on April 4, 2008

Yeah, just take out the laptop hard drive and put it into an enclosure.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:10 PM on April 4, 2008

Remove the hard drive.
posted by beerbajay at 12:23 AM on April 5, 2008

"Universal" laptop power adapters are pretty cheap on eBay these days; it'd be less hassle to get a new power adapter than to take the laptop apart, and a new power supply would also of course make your old laptop a much more salable item.

It is important to know the voltage the laptop expects, and also the polarity. (Barrel-plug adapters are usually outside-terminal-negative, inside-terminal-positive, but you don't want to bet your laptop's life on that.)

So it's probably just as well that none of the adapters in the house fit; most of them probably wouldn't have had enough voltage to do the laptop any harm, but it's perfectly possible to blow up a laptop, a plugpack (through excessive drain - few plugpacks can deliver the tens of watts a laptop needs), or both, by injudicious power-supply selection.

It's not terribly difficult to find the voltage and polarity for any remotely recent laptop, though, and the universal adapters come with a bunch of different-shaped plugs, one of which should be at least a near-enough fit.
posted by dansdata at 2:56 AM on April 5, 2008

I'd do the external hard drive, but you could also look on craigslist for somebody selling the same model for parts. If it's busted they'll sell cheap and you can just buy for the power supply. Then you've got a working computer again.
posted by powpow at 7:53 AM on April 5, 2008

You can buy a 2.5" HDD enclosure at Best Buy. Snag one, pop the hard drive out and fire it up on another computer. You can snag your data in a few minutes.
posted by bprater at 11:08 AM on April 5, 2008

it'd be less hassle to get a new power adapter than to take the laptop apart

On many (most?) laptops, removing the hard drive does not require taking the laptop apart. You remove one or two screws and then the chassis that contains the HD pops out just like the battery does.
posted by winston at 5:55 PM on April 5, 2008

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