Wall Adapters & Table-Top Power Supply

Wall Adapters  |  Table-Top


A Jameco Buyer's Guide


By Robert Cong
Jameco Technical Copywriter

Basic terms of how to choose the right power supply.

Wall Adapter Power Supply

The Power

Wall adapters seem simple enough, right? You plug one end into the wall and the other end into your device. What some may fail to consider are all the other options which may help save energy, time and space. When considering a wall adapter, you need to know what type of voltage your device needs: AC or DC. You should also look for a recommended charging current listed on the device you are powering. From there, decide whether you want regulated or unregulated, and linear or switching.

Finally, take a look at your device's plug socket and match it with the supply's DC output connector. The most common types of connectors are 2.1mm inner diameter x 5.5mm outer diameter female, 2.5mm inner diameter x 5.5mm outer diameter female, 3.5mm male, and even screw terminal connections (Remember to also match center positive or center negative plugs).

If your device uses a plug connector, you can find out what size plug your device needs by using some calipers and measuring the inside diameter as well the outside diameter. Traditional rulers can also be used, but keep in mind that they usually aren't very accurate and may not measure in millimeters, which is the industry standard. Adapter kits are also available which contain several common size plugs.

Plug Connector
2.1mm x 5.5mm female DC plug connector with center positive connection


The "slim line" wall adapters are also very popular because they are smaller and take up less room. If you're using a power strip, you don't want a wall adapter to take up 2 or 3 of your outlet spaces. Also take into consideration the different agency approvals. CEC approved wall adapters have the highest energy efficiency levels, which may cost more up front but save you in long-term energy costs.

Finding a wall adapter that provides enough current to your device is critical for efficient charging. Your device will draw the appropriate amount of current from the adapter, but if the adapter cannot provide enough current, the device will take longer to fully charge. Be sure to choose an adapter that is able to supply the amount of current listed on your device.

Typical Symbols and Information on Wall Adapters Adapter shown

For your convenience, there are also interchangeable AC-DC regulated switching wall adapters. These adapters have AC input connectors that can be swapped for use in various countries. Plug types include: USA, European, United Kingdom, and Australian.

So next time you're searching for a wall adapter, keep in mind all of the different combinations available. Doing your research and preparation can save you any hassle in the future.

Type Description Plug Types

AC-AC Wall Adapters

Input: 120VAC @ 60Hz
Steps down the input AC voltage to a smaller AC output voltage
2.1mm x 5.5mm female
2.5mm x 5.5mm female
3.5mm male
Screw terminals

AC-DC Unregulated Linear Wall Adapters

Input: 120VAC @ 60Hz
Typically bigger in size and weight, but cheaper in price than regulated switching adapters
2.1mm x 5.5mm female
2.5mm x 5.5mm female
2.5mm male
3.5mm male
Stripped and tinned wires
AC-DC Regulated Linear Wall Adapters Input: 120VAC @ 60Hz
Better protection, but higher in price than unregulated linear adapters
2.1mm x 5.5mm female
2.5mm x 5.5mm female

AC-DC Regulated Switching Wall Adapters
Various input ranges
Also comes in "slim-line" types, CEC-approved, and adapters with interchangeable clips
Typically better protected, smaller in size and weight, but higher in price than other adapters
2.1mm x 5.5mm female
2.5mm x 5.5mm female
2.5mm male
3.5mm male
Screw terminals


Table-Top Power Supply

Table-top power supplies are very similar to wall adapters in that they both plug directly into the wall outlet and into your device. Table-top power supplies are able to provide more power than wall adapters, and also typically have a wider range of features and more agency approvals. Table-top power supplies usually have 2 components: the actual supply with a DC cord attached, and the AC power cord. Depending on which one you choose, the supply may or may not include the AC power cord.

If your supply does not include the AC power cord, there are three standard sizes that will fit on various table-top power supplies: a 2-prong Figure 8 style cord, a 3-prong standard cord, and a 3-prong Mickey Mouse style cord (comes in a flat cord or a round cord).

3-Prong Standard AC Power Cord2-Prong Figure 8 Style AC Power Cord
 
3-Prong Standard AC Power Cord3-Prong Standard AC Power Cord

3-Prong Mickey Mouse Style Flat AC Power Cord3-Prong Mickey Mouse Style Flat AC Power Cord
 
3-Prong Mickey Mouse Style Round AC Power Cord3-Prong Mickey Mouse Style Round AC Power Cord


The most important thing to look for is what type of DC connector your device will need. Various DC output connectors include: 2.1mm inner diameter x 5.5mm outer diameter female, 2.5mm inner diameter x 5.5mm outer diameter female, 3.5mm male, 4-pin, 5-pin, and 6-pin DIN male; and also stripped and tinned wires. Once you match up the DC plug connector with your device, find the appropriate voltage and current outputs. This should be listed on the actual device.

Just like wall adapters, it is important to provide enough current to your device for efficient charging, so be sure to choose a supply that is able to provide the amount of current needed for your device.
5V, 4A CEC-Approved Table-Top Power SupplyMean Well GS25A05-P1J
5V, 4A CEC-Approved ReliaPro Table-Top Power Supply


Typical Symbols and Information on Table-Top Power SuppliesTypical Symbols and Information on Table-Top Power Supplies
Label shown


Table-top power supplies come in 2-prong (also 2-wire) unregulated linear, regulated linear, regulated switching, as well as 3-prong regulated linear and regulated switching configurations.

You may also want to look for a table-top supply that has an LED indicator to know when it is actually drawing current from the wall, or you may want a lighter supply that weighs 0.5 pounds instead of one that weighs 2 pounds.

Adding to these options, there are also many CEC approved table-top power supplies which have the highest energy efficiency levels and are able to do the same job that an older supply can do while using less energy to do it. They are made to cut down on as much leakage of hazardous material into the environment as possible and although they may cost more up front, they'll save you in long-term energy costs.

Type Description Plug Types

2-Wire Unregulated Linear Table-Top Power Supply
Input: 120VAC @ 60Hz
Typically box-shaped and heavier than other table-top power supplies
Most include AC power cord
2.1mm x 5.5mm female
2.5mm x 5.5mm female
3.5mm male
Stripped and tinned wires

2-Wire Regulated Linear Table-Top Power Supply
Input: 120VAC @ 60Hz
Typically box-shaped and heavier than switching table-top power supplies
Most include AC power cord
2.1mm x 5.5mm female
2.5mm x 5.5mm female
4-pin DIN male
5-pin DIN male
6-pin DIN male

2-Wire Regulated Switching Table-Top Power Supply
Various input ranges
Typically lighter in weight
Also comes in CEC-approved supplies
Many do not include AC power cord
2.1mm x 5.5mm female
2.5mm x 5.5mm female
5-pin DIN male

3-Wire Regulated Switching Table-Top Power Supply
Various input ranges
Typically lighter in weight
Also comes in CEC-approved supplies
Many do not include AC power cord
2.1mm x 5.5mm female
2.5mm x 5.5mm female
4-pin DIN male
5-pin DIN male


Now that you know what to look for, make sure you have all the parts you need. If for some reason you can't find what you need, just write us a note and we'll do our best to find it for you.

Still have questions? Send an email to: Tech@Jameco.com


Jameco relies on our customers. We know you have all the experience, tips and tricks. We'd love to hearyour power stories, purchasing ideas or even product information. Share them with us at: MyStory@Jameco.com


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