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Issue 4.5


PS-AC4 AC Adapter for G4 PowerBook

Issue: 4.5 (May/June 2006)
Author: Brian Rathbone
Article Description: No description available.
Article Length (in bytes): 3,848
Starting Page Number: 9
Article Number: 4505
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Full text of article...

Few things are as disappointing as spending thousands of dollars on a new laptop only to realize that the hardware was poorly designed. Such was the case when I unboxed my Apple PowerBook G4. I immediately became suspicious of the power adapter, as it failed to light up or charge the battery. After twisting the connector, it lit up, but I wondered how long it would last. The answer turned out to be one year and one week, just long enough for my warranty to run out, and there was a lot of connector twisting along the way.

Left with a laptop that was unusable without power, I looked into getting a replacement power adapter. A quick trip to the online Apple store, and I found the replacement available for a jaw-dropping $79.99. Then I noticed the 1.5 star rating and 10 pages of reviews, mostly from outraged users. After reading a few of the reviews, I became very concerned. User experiences ranged from separating tips to shooting sparks, and even catching on fire--many stated that they gave it one star only because the system would not allow them to give it none. A few individuals claim to have had years of faithful service from their Apple provided power adapters, but they were greatly outnumbered.

Unwilling to part with $79.99 for such a poorly rated product, I began searching for an alternative solution. That's when I found the Macally PS-AC4. I wasn't thrilled with the $39.99 price tag, but it was far better than $79.00. I was unable to locate any user reviews for the PS-AC4, but given the fact that unhappy users tend to be more vocal than those who are satisfied, I took this as a good sign.

When my PS-AC4 arrived, I was immediately suspicious of the insert and twist connector for the cable that goes between the power supply and the laptop, but it has not given me any problems thus far. The round connector that connects to the laptop lacks the pretty light-up ring, but it provides a snug connection. While the power supply sports a power indicator light, this light only indicates that the power supply is receiving AC power; it does not give any indication as to whether the laptop is actually charging or not. The lack of a charging indicator has proven to be a minor inconvenience, but is certainly worthy of note.

The PS-AC4 comes with a 10' cord and an attached Velcro strip for tidy storage. While it is not as visually attractive as the original, the cord is heavier gauge and the construction appears to be sturdier. The unit charges the battery while the system is on, off, or in sleep mode, and it comes with a one-year warranty.

If you find yourself in need of a replacement power adapter for your PowerBook or newer iBook, or if you just want a spare, the PS-AC4 is a reliable alternative at half the cost of the Apple unit.

End of article.