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Laptop Power Supply Polarity

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Posted 09 March 2015 - 06:52 PM

Can I use a Dell power supply on an HP laptop?

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#2 Chris Cosgrove

Chris Cosgrove

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Posted 10 March 2015 - 07:50 PM

Maybe yes and maybe no !


Your best and safest course of action is to buy a replacement power supply for the HP, preferably HP branded, but if you want to try -


The first thing to consider is the power rating of the two power supplies. This should be printed on them and you are looking for the output figure which should be quoted as so many volts at so many amps. Most laptop charging units run at between 18.5 and 19.5 V, but the current rating can vary a lot depending on the laptop they were designed to work with. The voltage is less important than the current - a 1V or even 1.5V difference is not serious, but the current rating is. You cannot use a lower rated current output on a unit which demands a higher current supply - it will overheat and be a serious fire hazard. To explain with numbers :-


If the HP requires 19V @ 4.5A and the Dell is rated at 18.5V @ 5A you could use it.

If the HP requires 19V @ 4.5A and the Dell is rated at 19.5V @ 3A you could NOT use it safely.


There is also the problem of the connector - the bit that plugs into the laptop. To my knowledge it is highly unlikely that a Dell plug will directly fit an HP socket but if you are willing to use a soldering iron you can remove both plugs and fit the HP plug to the Dell cable. You will need to be careful about polarity. Usually the outer surface of the plug is the 0V line and the inner the +V line. Use a multi-meter to check. You will also need to insulate your soldering when you have done. Heat shrink wrap is the insulation of choice, available from any electronics supplier.


One other factor you need to be aware of. A modification of this type if done properly will work fine at home, but if you are taking the laptop into work it will almost certainly not pass a safety inspection.


Chris Cosgrove

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