Everything You Need to Know about AC Adapters 2023

Last updated: December 23, 2022 at 16:10 pm

AC adapters are widely utilized to charge or power many common electronic devices, like external hard drives, laptop computers, or mobile phones. An AC adapter changes AC power from the electrical outlet to the voltage or power that an electronic device needs to work.

Normally, every device has a corresponding adapter pre-set for proper voltage conversion. For that reason, adapters are not interchangeable. 

Remember that a power adapter comprises a controller IC, a capacitor, an inductor, a transformer, an enclosure, a PCB, and other parts.

This post will explain what an AC adapter is and how it works. If you’re ready, let’s dive in! 

What is an AC Adapter (AC DC Adapter) and What Is It Used For?

An AC DC adapter converts AC into DC, which is necessary for laptop battery power. It’s essential as most laptops can only run on DC power. When the power adapter supplies power to a certain device, you can call it a power brick, wall wart, and charger adapter. 

You can plug many AC to DC power adapters into a wall socket, but you can also plug it into an AC power strip or surge protector. It also has a cord that plugs into the DC power output port. The adapter then converts the AC into DC and supplies it to the laptop via the cord.

On top of that, others have a power cord that you can plug in from the adapter. Some have a cord that doesn’t allow you to unplug from the adapter.

You see, there are numerous plug types designed for various electrical devices. A particular type of power adapter also accompanies every type of plug. 

Are AC and DC Adapters the Same?

When buying a power adapter for all your electrical devices, you will find two types: AD and DC adapters. They may look identical and have similar-looking outputs and inputs, but their functions are different. 

What is an AC power supply? 

AC power is the standard electricity format coming out from outlets. It comes from the waveform the current takes. As the electronics in an AC wave move more, they could move positively, corresponding to the upward part of the sinusoidal wave made by the current. The wave drops down when the electrons have a negative flow. 

Such waves come from the alternators at electrical power plants producing AC power. There’s a wire loop that spins inside a magnetic field inside an alternator. The spinning produces the waves of AC when the wire moves into areas of various magnetic polarities. 

For example, the current changes its direction whenever the wire pins from the north to south pole areas of the magnetic field. The waves produced in the alternator are important for AC power’s use. 

What is a DC power supply?

DC power utilizes electrons moving into a straight line. In contrast to AC’s wave motion, that linear movement offers this current its name. that form of current comes from alternators, fuel cells, solar cells, and batteries equipped with commutators that produce direct energy and rectifiers converting from AC to DC power. 

DC power is consistent in the voltage delivered; thus, many electronics need this power type. That is why electronic devices have DC power sources through batteries. Also, power supplies often have rectifiers designed along with transformers to boost or lower the voltage to the necessary level. 

Constant voltage for other devices is superior, like notebook computers. You require an AC-DC power converter for those devices, especially if you like to run those electronics from an outlet. DC for electronics is the choice, as the highs and lows of AC can damage the sensitive components inside electronic devices. 

AC and DC adapters are rated using the same units and terminology. Nonetheless, due to its constantly-reversing electrical current, AC electricity could damage other electrical circuits made for DC electricity.

Is there a difference? 

DC electricity will cause extra heat in some electrical parts, like transformers. It causes them to be destroyed and damaged. 

Since damage can happen if an incorrect adapter is plugged into an electronic device, it’s crucial to tell the key differences between the two. For instance, an AC adapter will list the electrical and voltage current settings it’s converting from. The voltage the AC adapter converts must show below the “from” voltage. 

AC voltage may be represented by a line that looks like a tilde. A good example of this would be 125 V ~ 1.5 A, 60 Hz. 

On the other hand, a DC adaptor will have the electrical current and voltage settings it is converting from listed first. Still, the voltage that a DC adapter converts to will be listed as DC or have a symbol with a dashed line below a solid line. 

What’s vital to note is the difference between DC and AC power transmissions. The power source and its supply are quite diverse—the source comes from the transmission lines. It feeds electricity straight into the device or via a power supply, which converts it into voltage or another form. 

When comparing AC and DC power sources, always consider whether the electricity comes from an outlet or a battery. Many outlets supply AC power, while batteries are a typical DC power source. 

How Do You Determine if a Power Supply is DC or AC? 

Are you wondering how to tell if a power supply is DC or AC? It’s important to know the differences between these two and be cautious of the device itself. 

One way to know if you have an AC-DC or a DC-DC power supply model is to check the device itself. Sometimes, the output and input information will show someplace on the surface. 

You have an AC-DC power supply if the input is AC. However, you have a DC-DC model if the input and output are both DC. 

You already understand that AC power sources include outlets. But that information becomes meaningless if you’ve decided about a ship or on a plane. How do those components get power? An engine battery or onboard generator could produce the electricity required.

If you are not confident of a device’s power source, contact Prowin Power. Our specialists will walk you through determining the type of power supply you need. 

On top of that, your power supplies are as essential as what you power. To safeguard your electrical devices from damage, give them the power supplies to produce the ideal voltage and current type the device needs without exceeding your budget constraints. 

If you have concerns or need AC or DC power supplies, Prowin Power can help. 

Types of AC DC Adapter

There are different AC adapter types based on their classification. You will find different types of AC DC adapters based on categories. 

  • Application: CCTV power adapter, laptop power adapter, LED power supply, telecommunication power adapter, medical power adapter, ITE power adapter, industrial power supply
  • Output Voltage: 5V ac adapter, 6V ac adapter, 9V ac adapter, 12V ac adapter, 15V ac adapter, 24V ac adapter, 36V ac adapter, 48V ac adapter.
  • Appearance: Wall-mounted power adapter, desktop power adapter, iron case ac adapter.

There’s also a classification based on the plug type. Various nations in the world utilize different wall socket designs. For instance, British plugs have three conducting pins, while Australian plugs have a 3-blade design. 

In America, they utilize a 2-blade arrangement, which you should often get when changing your AC adapter. If you’re a recurrent international traveler, we recommend getting a plug adapter that fits the wall socket design of your destination country. 

How To Plug in An AC DC Adapter?

Remember that an AC power adapter enables you to plug a device into a standard wall outlet. It converts the alternating current from the outlet into the direct current that your laptop or device needs. You can prevent using rechargeable batteries to power a device.

Moreover, a power supply plug adapter is an excellent way to keep all your devices powered up and good to go without running out of battery power.

The best part here is you can save a significant amount of money by preventing the purchase of new batteries constantly. 

Do not use faulty power outlets that aren’t protected with a circuit breaker. In that case, when a high voltage flows, it will go directly to your AC adapter, which may burn or even damage your device. 

Are you searching for an AC DC power supply adapter for your office works or home? Feel free to check Prowin Power’s assortment of AC DC power adapters near me. We provide various choices to meet your requirements and have a qualified customer service team to help you. 

How To Confirm If I Need an AC Adapter or Not?

As your laptop ages, it is common to experience fickle AC adapters. Over time, connectors and plugs begin showing quirks. You have seen cords held in a specific way to keep a connection. You have also seen those that stop charging the battery altogether. A few of those issues are DIY fixes. Often, the better alternative is just purchasing a new adapter. 

From there, you can purchase a replacement from your system’s supplier. Or you can always go with a third-party solution. With a new AC adapter replacement, you know what you are getting. However, a third-party’s solution might have more features.

It is a tough call. Before going to the third-party route, understand that using non-factory equipment could void your unit’s warranty. 

Your warranty stays intact as long as the third-party AC adapter supports the appropriate output, input voltage, and power specifications. If the charger does not match the original adapter’s specifications, damage happens, and the company might not honor your warranty. The reasoning here is sensible. It would 

How to Pick the Proper AC Power Supply Adapter?

When choosing an AC DC power adapter, you must learn the specifications of the AC power adapter. You can find the parameters on the power adapter’s label. You can also check the device’s manual for further details about your AC adapter’s electrical rating. 

Pick the proper power adapter specifications 

The rule is to match Voltage(Volt) and be equal to or greater than current(Amp). If you pick an AC adapter, ensure to check the following:

– AC to DC. As indicated by the symbol of a straight line above and three small lines beneath

– V = 19 Voltage

– mAh/A–0.94A


You need to know the amperage and voltage requirements. You can also find this data on the sticker on the laptop’s bottom part. You may try searching in the device’s manual if you can’t find it there.

Having that information will enable you to purchase an AC adapter. Ensure you get one particularly designed for your model and make. Get an adapter with the proper amperage and voltage rating, as it could ruin your device if it doesn’t.

 If you are uncertain which AC adapter to purchase, consult A Prowin Power for help. We are your professional power adapter manufacturer in China. 


Understand the brand and model of your device. For instance, a sticker on the device’s bottom will display that information. Try to look in your device’s manual if you can’t find it. 

Choose the ideal AC wall plugs and cords 

The International Electro-Technical Commission has a guide for AC wall plugs, normally categorizing pins with individual names. You need to consider two factors when choosing AC wall plugs:

– Would you use the power supply in any region or country? 

– You need a 2-wire or 3-wire connection for the application. Most nations’ plug-and-socket combinations, frequencies, and voltages are clearly defined. 

It will help if you pick a 3-wire AC wall plug. A ground wire will enhance the safety of electricity use and prevent you from getting an electric shock when using office electronic equipment and home appliances. 

Connector polarity 

You’ll find two types of connector polarity: center negative and center positive. The tip’s polarity is positive for the latter, while the ring has a negative polarity. Remember that a center negative connector has a similar opposite arrangement, while a negative tip has a positive ring.

Look for an AC adapter with a suitable connector for your electronic device. Your input power port and the adapter connector should fit. 

In other words, your AC adapter is compatible with your electronic device if:

  • the adapter connector fits the input power port
  • the adapter’s output current is equivalent to or greater than your device’s input current 
  • they have the same polarity
  • they have the same voltage 

What happens if you choose the wrong AC to DC Power Supply?

The adapter interface matches the device if the connector is too broad. Nonetheless, it won’t fit inside the device’s power port. It will produce a loose fit and fall off during use if it’s too narrow. 

If the voltage is too high, your AC adapter will be much hotter than normal. It will shorten the service life of your device or cause direct damage. 

The power adapter’s output current is too big if the voltage is correct. Selecting an adapter with a bigger current won’t harm your battery but will make the charging faster and less calorific. 

If your power adapter’s output current is too small, your device may not drive the equipment to run normally. Also, the power supply load will be higher than normal, the head generation will increase, and the reliability will be deducted. 

Tips Before Using an AC Power Adapter

Do you want to use an AC power adapter? Then it will help if you remember the following tips: 

Check the voltage 

Every time you use an AC power adapter, you must ensure the voltage rating is compatible with your device. You can damage your device with excessively low or high voltage. Use the adapter that came along with your device or one designed for that device. 

Check the adapter 

Check whether the AC DC switching adapter has been damaged if it is not working. It will help if you replace your adapters when there’s obvious damage, like a frayed cord or cracked housing.

If there’s no visible damage, try to plug the adapter into another outlet to know if it fixes the issue. 

AC power adapter polarity 

In AC adapters, polarity refers to the current flow’s direction. The negative and positive poles of the adapter should be connected to the proper terminals on the device for it to work correctly. 

If the AC power adapter polarity is reversed, your adapter won’t work. 


The role of an AC power adapter is mainly that of a rectifier and transformer. As long as you’re traveling, the adapter portion of the converter guarantees your plug fits a different wall outlet.

It’s about time you get durable power supplies to endure even the most extreme conditions. Whether you need DC-DC units to alter voltage without changing the current type or AC-DC power supplies that convert electricity, you can find them on our website. Feel free to browse our options to find the perfect devices for your needs.

While we provide a broad spectrum of power supplies, you have specific needs that need a particular option. Don’t hesitate to contact us if you can’t find the ideal power supplies in our catalog. 

Are you trying to get the right power supply vendor? Let a reliable supplier provide you with high quality power supply solutions.

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