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URGENT laptop charger question

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I needed to use my computer at a hotel I am staying at, but I forgot the charger that comes with it. I had this old "universal charger" that you can switch the settings on. Here's where things get a bit more complex:

My computer requires the following for power (it is a Toshiba Sattelite) - DC 19V 2.37A. This universal charger can only go to 12V, 500mA (which is about 0.5 A, right?). Because of how much lower in both voltage and amperage the universal charger was, I figured that there wasn't much of a risk, and that the computer probably just wouldn't charge much.

When I plugged it in, the battery didn't seem to do anything (I was at 19%). I removed it quickly so no damage would be done, but then I looked down, and the battery level icon dropped to 0, and the computer instantly shut down. It will not turn back on. Tomorrow I am going to get a replacement charger and hope that it turns on.

I am so worried that all of my data will be lost. Replacing the battery is one thing, but could there have been any damage done to my hard drive? What if the polarity on the charger was wrong?

Is it possible that the computer just powered down due to a safety feature? The voltage and amperage was so much lower than what it should be for this computer, so I know that I didn't overload it.

Any help that can be provided is greatly appreciated. I am extremely concerned.
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    WTT Tech Teacher

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Hi AWynn and welcome to our forums,


Sorry to hear of the charging issues with your Toshiba laptop computer.


Here's some thoughts for you.


1 If the "universal charger" that you used has the correct polarity (centre is +Ve [positive] with the outer as negative then its unlikely that you will have done any damage.


2 However if the charger you used has a different polarity then its likely that the charging circuits on the computer's motherboard will have been damaged, and it will not charge again and probably not work at all even when connected to the correct Power Supply Unit that also acts as a charger.


3 If the polarity is correct then the low output of 12 v just means that it will not have any beneficial effect at all. The 500Ma ( 0.5A as you say) is immaterial in this situation.


4 It is important to always use the correct PSU/charger that has exactly the correct output both in terms of voltage and Amperage and NEVER EVER just plug in any device that happens to fit!


Do check the output carefully of the "universal charger" that you used..... there should be either a sticky paper label on it... or more likely the figures (or symbols in the form of a graphic) will be engraved into the plastic of the housing.... in any event the writing/symbol is likely to be quite small, so a hand lens may make reading it a little easier.



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