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Consolidated "In Seat Power Issues/Experiences/Questions"

Consolidated "In Seat Power Issues/Experiences/Questions"

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Old Feb 24, 19, 5:24 am   -   Wikipost
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Two common power issues
1. Changer draws more than 75W -- most on-aircraft AC outlets are limited to max 75Ws
Fixes
Purchase a 75W or less charge for your computer
Change computer settings not to charge the battery, reducing power drain
Remove your computer battery (if removable)
2. AC plug will not stay in place or power module will not fit
Fixes
Use 3-prong adapters -- such as USA 2 to 3 prong adapter or UK adapter
Use a short travel extension cord
Slightly bend prongs outward (very slightly)
AC Power not available?
-- for some aircraft power is available on landing/takeoff (until 10,000 ft ?)
-- sporadic reports (just certain aircraft) that due to excessive overall passenger AC power usage, some seats will have their power disabled -- very unclear how this works "Rotating" availability of electricity on 737s?
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Old Jan 23, 13, 6:51 am
  #1  
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Laptop charging issues in the air (greater than 75 W chargers) [Consolidated]

Hi. New to this forum. Hope I'm posting in the correct section. I'm new to world of nonrev travel. Started making domestic and international flights on United Airlines.

I realize Continental-United merger + different plane configurations makes my question difficult so let's focus on international Doing 777 and 787 aircraft.

The 777 I flew on is ex Continental with regular AC two prong power outlets throughout the plane. I was able to plug in my little Apple USB square and charge an iPhone. However the same plug would NOT charge or run my 17" Dell Inspiron Laptop. What gives? Tried other economy seats and same problem. I did not try first class...

I was thinking of downgrading to a 15.4" Macbook. But I'd like to confirm what the problem is before I buy one. FYI, I was told by flightcrew that all United planes will now have regular AC outlets. Though they didn't know why my laptop wouldn't run on them. I figure it's the watts. I had same trouble trying to run this behemoth on my cigarette lighter inverter. Had to keep the van engine running or the inverter switched itself off.
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Old Jan 23, 13, 7:00 am
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The outlet power output is limited (75 watts, I believe), and that's not enough to power a large laptop when actively using it. The laptop power adapter usually has power consumption data on a label. What does yours say?
One workaround is to run the laptop on battery power, and then turn it off when charging it, since charging alone draws less current than when you're actively using the computer.
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Old Jan 23, 13, 7:03 am
  #3  
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There is already a good thread previously posted in this Forum with good discussion. I hope it helps you. Here is the link :
http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/unite...ad-merged.html
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Old Jan 23, 13, 7:14 am
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Welcome to FT.

The 110V outlets on the aircraft have a safety feature. You have to plug in the item. The prongs slide in and trigger a switch that then gets the juice going. So, sometimes you'll see a small (1 second or two) time delay from when you plug things in, until the juice starts flowing. Make sure the prongs on your Dell's plug are not damaged.

Additionally, the outlets are rated to a maximum output wattage. Some of the larger laptops have A/C adapters that pull up to 100 watts. My co-worker's 17" HP has a 90W power adapter, so it will definitely not charge (while running) on an aircraft. IIRC the PMCO aircraft are rated at 75W.

Most 15" laptops have 65W adapters. Check the adapter label.
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Old Jan 23, 13, 7:15 am
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Originally Posted by SittingUpFront View Post
One workaround is to run the laptop on battery power, and then turn it off when charging it, since charging alone draws less current than when you're actively using the computer.
Conversely (when I needed to continue working after the battery drained), I've used my laptop without the battery and it works fine, although if you accidently unplug it, you're....
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Old Jan 23, 13, 7:24 am
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I've used 15" MB Pro on sCO 762 and 764 (with empower), no issues.
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Old Jan 23, 13, 7:35 am
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I've had problems with even my 11.6" laptop (45W charger) on the sCO metal (764, 772), although sCO 788 was fine.
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Old Jan 23, 13, 8:00 am
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If you disable battery charging while in use, you should be able to get it to work. The laptop will pull just too much power to both run itself and charge the battery simultaneously, and it will trip the cut-out in the power outlet.

Both the 110V outlets on PMCO a/c and select PMUA a/c and the EmPower-style outlets on PMUA a/c have this limitation.
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Old Jan 23, 13, 8:08 am
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Lugging around a 17" laptop on a plane? Why? That's some serious viewing space for a plane. Playing first person shooter games?
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Old Jan 23, 13, 8:16 am
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Sometimes the outlets do not "start". You have to have load on the charger, meaning you have to have the notebook connected to the charger. Try again a few times, suddenly it will work.
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Old Jan 23, 13, 8:50 am
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Originally Posted by y2k1jetta View Post
Lugging around a 17" laptop on a plane? Why? That's some serious viewing space for a plane. Playing first person shooter games?
"Desktop replacement" laptops for some business travelers. I know quite a few folks who want to use the same computer at work as they do on the road, and that often means a clunkier, larger laptop.

For someone like me, I need to be able to do photographic processing while on the road, meaning I need a decently large screen (I have widescreen 16") with good brightness and accurate color representation with a large gamut (often not available on smaller laptops), and of course gobs of processing power. All of this of course requires electrical power, too: I run into issues if charging the battery and doing photo processing simultaneously, and often have to disable battery charging altogether.
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Old Jan 23, 13, 8:58 am
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Yeah when I used to be a mac genius, this was a common question.

From the apple store page for the adapter that is sold for EmPower ports: " Using the MagSafe Airline Adapter provides power for your computer but does not charge the battery "

As for just using the regular adapter, the other posters are indeed correct you're not gouing to get enough juice to power the unit

And with no removeable battery, your only option is to just leave it plugged in the entire time...

See http://support.apple.com/kb/PH11206 for a quick note directly from apple
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Old Jan 23, 13, 9:24 am
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Originally Posted by exerda View Post
I run into issues if charging the battery and doing photo processing simultaneously, and often have to disable battery charging altogether.
How does one disable battery charging altogether? In which OS is this possible?
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Old Jan 23, 13, 9:36 am
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Another workaround is to swap down to a smaller power supply.

I have a 17" desktop replacement laptop, and the power supply that comes with it is the size of a large brick. It can pull 150 watts plus.

But Dell power supplies are interchangeable, so I carry a separate 65W power supply, and when I'm on a plane, use that power supply instead.

Only downside is the battery charges very very slow if I'm using the laptop and charging at the same time, but it works.

Another alternative you might consider is forgoing using the plugs entirely, and buy an extra battery or two. Charge 'em up before you get on the plane, then when your battery is running low just swap to another one.
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Old Jan 23, 13, 9:46 am
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Thanks for all your answers.

FYI, my Dell 17" laptop is a desktop replacement that I use for photos. New Macbook Retina display will probably allow me to go down to a 15" (but 13" is pushing it). Someone commented they had same problem on a netbook? Absurd, how do they keep these things in the air...LOL...Better not turn on the overhead light to find that plug!

Actually I was wondering if anyone knows how 787's recent lithium battery issues might effect laptop users. Electricity seems to be an issue even on the Dreamliner!

Not sure how to disable battery charging. I'm running Windows Vista. I can probably figure that out though...google.

I was going to return my Dell airplane adapter. I thought it was obsolete. But from some comments seems some United planes still have them?? When is it expected that the fleet will be converted to two prong outlets?
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