An Environmental Issue We Can All Agree With

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admin

Audioholics Robot
Staff member
My desk is messy, but I never really thought about why until I read this recent article on an industry group aiming to reduce the number of power adapters in the world through standardization. It seem that if consumers had the power, they’d banish most of the power adapters in their homes. At least, that’s the primary finding of a new nationwide survey, conducted by Synovate for Green Plug, which revealed that more than 60 percent of American consumers regard the status quo in consumer electronics as “wasteful” or “frustrating.”


Discuss "An Environmental Issue We Can All Agree With" here. Read the article.
 
birdonthebeach

birdonthebeach

Full Audioholic
yeah, I could go for that. One step in this direction seems to be the USB cable, of which many of my newer devices can share for power. I'd love to see standardization though!
 
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AdrianMills

Full Audioholic
Every time I travel I think half the weight and volume of my hand luggage is taken up by power adaptors; it's a freaking PITA and it's about time someone tackled the issue.
 
gliz

gliz

Full Audioholic
I am a bass player and I have effects pedals each one seems to have a little different power adapter on is center positive one is center negative. Gets old standards would be great for this application for sure
 
corysmith01

corysmith01

Senior Audioholic
This seems like one of those "no-brainers" for the electronics industry. The amount of raw materials used to make all of the various power adapters makes me sick to think about. And, to benefit manufactures, wouldn't standardization mean lower costs? If they're all the same and everyone is using the same, wouldn't manufacturing costs go down with regards to a cost-per-unit? This seems like win-win all around. I don't understand the thinking behind having all of these different power supplies for all of your different electronics.
 
majorloser

majorloser

Moderator
Ok, I admit I remember the old days. Back when we weren't worried about how small and compact a device case was made. Back when the transformer was built into the device.

Yes, manufacturers went smaller and more compact for the consumer. But we also went to "two piece" devices.

I HATE WALL WARTS!
 
C

corey

Senior Audioholic
While we're at it, how about standardized USB cables too?
 
K

kleinwl

Audioholic
Not an easy solution

This is not going to be easy. The main reason for all the different power cords and adapters is because most electronics do not run or charge on the same voltage. The whole point of having a unique adapter is to make sure that someone doesn't accidentally plug a 3.3V charger into an electronic system designed for 1.5V, frying the delicate electronics. It's not reasonable for small handheld electronics to have a transformer built in, since this would increase the size of the system significantly. It is equally unreasonable to have a standard charging voltage, since this is determined by the thermal dissipation capability of the system (obviously the higher the voltage, the faster the charging, which means the higher the thermal "heat" generation).
The only way of getting around this is having variable transformers that receive charging information from the product they are charging so that they increase/decrease the voltage they are providing to the product in question. The problems with this is that the charger would be pretty large, fairly inefficient, and would only be able to work with the components it's programed to recognize. Still, it's a workable solution.

P.S. What is not standard about USB cables? Male/Female, Type A, Mini B. What more do you want?!!?
 
yettitheman

yettitheman

Audioholic General
I prefer the old days where the power supply is INSIDE what you want to use.

Well... the old PS2 and PS3 have internal PSUs.... I like that because I can use a standard computer cable.

The XBOX 360... external. Oh boy. Laptops... it makes sense why it's external.
 
N

niget2002

Junior Audioholic
P.S. What is not standard about USB cables? Male/Female, Type A, Mini B. What more do you want?!!?
I want companies that make scanners and digital cameras to stop swapping the TX and RX pins so that I can use a standard cable with them... or for media card readers to put the 4-pin connector on the edge of the device instead of so far in it that only their extra long connector will reach it.

I know there might not be that many companies out there that still do this, but I seem to be a magnet for them.
 
Clint DeBoer

Clint DeBoer

Banned
I think it's likely that most CE products can use similar current draws and voltages if they are manufactured to a new standard. I'm not saying that's what's best, but there is a fine line between thinking 5V and 6V can't somehow be compromised on...
 
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kleinwl

Audioholic
I think 5V and 6V is too far apart to compromise on. Though, it may have been worthwhile to limit the poliferation somewhat.

My Backberry runs on 5V, my cameria charges on 4.2V when the battery is in the charger and 3.7V when it's in the cameria, and my bluetooth headset is on 5.9V. The cameria at least could have standardized, and it would be nice to use the same charger for the bluetooth as the blackberry.

If people are willing to sacrifice their recharge time/battery life then I think reasonable compromises are possible. Personally though, I would rather have an extra 30min of use and lug around another charger.
 
Halon451

Halon451

Audioholic Samurai
I think it's likely that most CE products can use similar current draws and voltages if they are manufactured to a new standard. I'm not saying that's what's best, but there is a fine line between thinking 5V and 6V can't somehow be compromised on...
I would have suggested this as well, however I really don't see it happening anytime soon unfortunately. It would take a long time before the majority of devices in consumers' hands were of the new implemented standard. My question is why didn't this standardization develop in the first place? Some sort of proprietary stronghold amongst the various manufacturers? I agree, I think at the PCB, chip level it would not be a stretch to utilize either 5V or 6V DC - some go as high as 10-12VDC, but why?

Meanwhile we all continue to find creative ways to jam yet one more wall wart into an already packed surge protector...

I'd say, first standardize the V and I requirements on all CE devices - then come out with a self contained modular rail that can supply these standardized values to multiple devices at once, much like a power strip built specifically for low voltage DC devices.
 
Halon451

Halon451

Audioholic Samurai
If people are willing to sacrifice their recharge time/battery life then I think reasonable compromises are possible. Personally though, I would rather have an extra 30min of use and lug around another charger.
I believe this could be negated by proper engineering of the internal components and configuration, even with a standardized voltage. Maybe I'm wrong though... :eek:
 
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kleinwl

Audioholic
A voltage regulator could be built in, thus allowing for standard voltage... but then you are in the same boat. You have increased your BOM cost and the size of your product... If you have and your competitors haven't then your at a significant disadvantage.

Nahh... a standard power supply (or even several standards) would be nice... but it's very unlikely due to the market forces at work. Providing a standard MAY help the consumer and the cost of the product manufacturer... but it only helps if everyone does it. Since whomever DOESN'T do it has an advantage over everyone else... it almost certainly guarantees that we will not see a standard anytime soon.
 
Halon451

Halon451

Audioholic Samurai
Providing a standard MAY help the consumer and the cost of the product manufacturer... but it only helps if everyone does it. Since whomever DOESN'T do it has an advantage over everyone else... it almost certainly guarantees that we will not see a standard anytime soon.
I don't know - the consumer is what drives business in the first place. I'd wager a bet that if some kind of standardization came along that people felt comfortable with, the consumers would naturally gravitate towards products that adhere to said standard, which would in turn leave any company not holding to the stadard on the outside looking in. I agree, it would take a very concerted effort amongst many different manufacturer's to achieve this result, and with the number of up to date products on the market today that obviously only adhere to their own design principles (no standard) it will take years even if they agree to do it. All speculation of course... :)
 
G

gsilas2007

Enthusiast
I also agree on the USB cable thing. My new cell phone came without it, and I have to say that I do miss it dearly.
 

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