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I’ve found some old external USB drives and drive enclosures. Some of them, I found the power bricks and cords for, others I haven’t, and a few have cords damaged sufficiently that they are unsafe to use. For the ones where the brick is missing or the cord damaged, can I purchase an "off-the-shelf" brick-and-cord system and use it successfully, provided that the brick’s output (both voltage and amperage) is equal to or higher than that required by the drive/drive enclosure, and that I have a compatible plug?

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    Provided the brick supplies the same voltage it should be fine. The brick can support higher amperage, but if a device attempts to draw more amperage then the brick can support, that can be a safety issue. You typically just want to use a power brick that can supply exactly the same power as the OEM brick. – Ramhound Jan 17 '19 at 16:29
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Generally, yes, it would be okay to purchase a generic power supply for your device; there isn't a specific requirement that the device must have its original power brick/supply

When looking for a replacement power supply, the voltage provided by the supply must be approximately the voltage required by the device, although there is a tolerance, so usually it's no problem to e.g. supply a 5V device with 5.5V.

With regards to amperage/current, however, the device will only take what it needs.

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  • So if I need to deal with devices that need 5V and devices that need 12V, I need two separate bricks? A single 12V brick risks damage to the 5V device? – Jeff Zeitlin Jan 17 '19 at 16:02
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    Yes, that's correct; voltage is pushed, amperage is pulled. If you plug a supply rated 12V into a device that accepts 5V, it will damage it. – Rowan Richards Jan 17 '19 at 16:12

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