Technically curious

Apple laptop power adapters can be dangerous

apple power adapter

Apple laptop power adapters can be dangerous. Don’t use them with the two-prong-only adapter, use the one that is grounded instead.

Why am I saying this? I tried to plug my two-prong Apple 96W adapter into my outlet in my apartment and it sparked greatly with a blue/white arc and damaged the power adapter. I called Apple about it and told them that the same thing had happened 9 years previously with another Apple MacBook Pro adapter. It sparked and then when it was brought into the Apple store it exploded when it was plugged in to test. Fortunately, no one was hurt. They replaced the adapter.

I suspected there might be something wrong with the outlet. Perhaps a short. I called the building people and they just stopped by. The electrician tested the circuit and it was good and no short. So it clearly was the adapter that caused it. Then he said that without a grounding plug, this kind of behavior is likely to happen and I should only use adapters with grounding plugs in the future.

This makes complete sense. I had used the two-prong adapter since I didn’t need a great distance, but if that is the only way it can safely be done then I am using the 3 prong adapter.

Apple is replacing the power adapter and they didn’t argue when I explained what happened and send a picture that showed pitted metal and black damage. The electrician noticed the damage as well. How unfortunate that Apple ships a dangerous adapter. What made it worse is that my apartment has an AC power outlet next to the window which he said had higher voltage to account for the extra draw of an AC unit. So this was even more likely to happen in this situation.

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Be safe out there!