Each time you get a new laptop, netbook, iPad, tablet, camcorder, or other electronic device … it inevitably comes with a new kind of power adapter to keep it charged. Occasionally, you can re-use the adapter from a previous model from the same manufacturer, but most of the time the adapter has a different power rating or a different tip than other gadgets in your collection.
… about 218 million laptops, netbooks, and tablets were sold worldwide. Even if only half of those were replacements for an existing product, that is still a mountain of power bricks and wall warts, and nearly all of them were probably perfectly good. What a waste!
IEEE, an electronics standards organization, has been working on a solution to this problem known as Universal Power Adapter for Mobile Devices (UPAMD). The general concept here is that a single adapter can be used to power multiple devices. The universal adapter will support power delivery between 10W and 130W, which covers the vast majority of consumer portable electronics in use today.
The concept even extends beyond mobile electronics, to include devices like printers, LCD monitors, networking equipment, and many other devices that are power hungry in our ever-more-connected world. The UPAMD has the following stated goal:
The goal of this project is to greatly reduce the electronic waste caused by the inability to reuse a power adapter with changing devices. Acquisition cost of new mobile devices could also be lowered by 10-15% with the reuse of already owned power adapters. This waste of resources, money and materials, has existed for too long. This project focuses on a generic, reusable, power interface designed for reuse across brands, models, and years.
Let’s hope this initiative will lead to better reuse of electronics adapters, and reduced waste. No one wants to see stuff like this at the local landfill: