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Can the wrong power cord harm a desktop computer - my daughter used a TV power cord and the computer will not turn on. Thanks!

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Do you mean she used the wrong cord with "brick" adapter? – Keltari Jun 15 '13 at 15:59
up vote 6 down vote accepted

If you are only talking about the passive part of the cable, i.e. this one:

Power cord

(or similar designs), then no, or at least vanishingly unlikely.

If you are talking about the transformer portion, i.e. this part:


then perhaps, but the connector should most likely not fit if there would be a problem (but that is not fail-safe). These external adapters are more or less exclusively used for laptops, but there are desktop computers that use them. Thought I'd mention it since we don't know exactly what kind of desktop computer (or TV, or cord) it concerns.

With "perhaps" I mean that if the voltage rating doesn't match what the laptop wants, then it will not work, but if it goes as far as damaging it or if it has safeguards protecting it against things like that is difficult to say without more information. The first thing that would stop functioning would probably be the adapter in itself.

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It's like the first one without the brick. Thank you for answering my question. It's actually a Mac Mini 2011 i5 2.3GHz she used the wrong power cord on. The day before the computer was working. Then the next day after she plugged it in it stopped working. Meaning, the computer did not start up when she used the incorrect power cord. We tried the correct power cord, but nothing, no start up. Now the internal power supply and the logic board are "fried". Would you agree with the incorrect power supply caused the problem? PS: Thank you! – Mark Jun 16 '13 at 2:14
@Mark: The outside chance of it being a Mac Mini was more or less the sole reason that I included the part about the transformer, even though you said "desktop computer" :-) . If all that changed was the passive cable between the wall and the brick as you said, then it should not be a factor at all. The power involved is far from the maximum ratings of these cables. If the transformer has stopped working, it was most likely a pure coincidence. Since you don't say that the transformer (brick) portion was changed, there is no reason to believe that the problems depend on the switch in itself. – Daniel Andersson Jun 16 '13 at 9:58
Hi Daniel: I believe I understand your answer to mean using using a standard cord (in your first answer and first illustration) without the "transformer portion" (first answer and second illustration - which we do not have), would not cause the internal power supply and the logic board to fail. Thanks! I am trying to find the part where I award you points for your efforts. Have a once Sunday! Mark – Mark Jun 16 '13 at 12:36

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