It may not happen to everyone and it may not happen often, but you definitely don’t want it happening to you. Today we’re talking about power cords melting: the how’s and why’s and what to do if you suspect it happening to your electronics.
A while ago, for example, there was a recall in which HP laptop power cords were overheating and melting. HP received 29 reports of melted power cords, some of which caused minor burns and property damage.
So what caused this?
- It could be that the DC jack or power cord connector is damaged and not making proper electrical contact causing resistance, which then turns into heat – burning the plastic. A poor solder connection or crimp job on the connector can also be the culprit.
- The contacts of a power supply can cause arcing – this could lead to a spark and potentially melt your power cord.
- A short circuit may be the problem. If you suspect this to be the case, do not re-connect anything until the source of the circuit is determined.
- Excessive amperage. It could be that your power cord is rated at 10A but your device is drawing 13A. Your power cord will then go into overload causing the cord to heat up.
- Strain relief damage – where a cable separates from the end of the connector or from the power adapter. This usually happens as a result of a cable being wrapped around an adapter under repeated use. For example, a laptop power cord that is wrapped and traveled with on a daily basis. When used excessively, the cable may become deformed and wire can expose, creating a safety hazard.
- Faulty components in your power cord can be the main source of a problem. If you find this to be the case, check with the original manufacturer to see about a replacement or if the product is under warranty.
- Finally, counterfeit power cords are becoming increasingly popular. Check for signs such as misspelled labels and low-quality build – there’s a chance it could be counterfeit and not working.
With rechargeable batteries used everywhere nowadays, it is increasingly common for electronics to heat up. Some brands and retailers even address this with the consumer. However, it’s best to use common sense if you suspect your power cord or device is abnormally hot. If the cord is overheating, discontinue use immediately and give the connecting plug an inspection. There’s a good chance it needs replacing.