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The DC end that goes into the laptop was unplugged and the AC end was plugged into the mains (actually the plug sucks, so it could have been that it was...you know...just on the border. Getting and losing contact many times in a short amount of time if I moved the cable a bit) ...So one of these times that I just touched the cable, it did this chirping cricket sound and I unplugged it immediately. It did smell a bit weird, but I'm not sure if that's normal (due to heat or whatever)..

So, should I be afraid of if? Can it kill my laptop if I try charging it? I only have around half an hour of battery left. Please help.

Hope this is the right StackExchange site to ask.

Thank you in advance

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migrated from serverfault.com May 7 '12 at 16:59

This question came from our site for professional system and network administrators.

    
If you mean that the wall socket is loose, the smell may have been from arcing at the socket. This can also produce a static-like sound that one might describe as a "cricket". Plug the adapter in somewhere else (without the laptop) and leave it 10-20 minutes (though keep an eye on it in case of fire!). If it doesn't smoke or get noticeably warm the adapter is PROBABLY OK. But if you have the means to check the voltage with some sort of voltmeter you should do that. –  Daniel R Hicks May 7 '12 at 21:07

4 Answers 4

I suspect you are taking a chance on a surge from what you describe. I would find another place to plug in and I would replace the defective receptacle.

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If the power adapter is relatively new... and I mean a week or two old... then it can be expected to still produce that odd, "electronic" smell.

If you have had the power adapter for months or years, it should not produce that smell any more. If it starts to do it again after all this time, something has changed... and it is rarely due to a good reason. I personally can't think of anything good that would cause it to smell as if it was burning, but I'm just covering all the bases there.

So, an audible from a device not designed to produce any sound, and an olfactory from a device that shouldn't produce a smell. Chances are, you will need a new power adapter soon... if not now.

Will using it damage the laptop? I'm not advising you to ever use that power adapter again, because I'm covering all the bases. Chances are that you could use it right up until it dies and nothing bad would happen to your laptop, simply because of the way that DC adapters are designed. DC adapters are designed that when they fail, they don't necessarily surge. Again, there are always exceptions and unique situations.

My advice is to replace the power adapter.

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As far fetched as that may sound: If you know anybody (Ham operator for example) with access to an oscilloscope, try to have him check with it what the adapter will output into a test load. A normal voltmeter will hide some types of periodic voltage excursions which could be harmful to your laptop, do not rely on one.

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I had that problem once. I fixed it by these 3 simple steps.

  1. If plugged into your laptop, unplug it.

  2. If the adapter is plugged in but your to scared to take it out, turn off the switch next to it (if you have one)

  3. Try plug it into the adapter (not into the laptop) and then plug in the adapter back into your laptop and turn your adapter on.

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