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AC/DC Power Adapters

Guidelines for Choosing the Right Power Adapter

Make sure you have the facts needed to order the correct power adapter!

Determine output voltage
and current type required

For most household applications, this
will be between 3 V and 24 V. Most
adapters are DC (direct current), rather
than AC (alternating current),but don't
take it for granted!

Determine whether you need a
regulated or unregulated adapter

Some devices require a regulated power
adapter, which keeps output voltage and
current constant. Never use an unregulated
power adapter to replace a regulated one!

Determine your device's
current draw

This will be measured in Amps or
Milliamps (A or mA). Never replace an
adapter with one rated for less current,
although in some cases it may be
acceptable to increase the current rating.

Is it USB?

Originally developed for computer peripherals, USB is becoming
a popular way to power and charge electronic devices. It may
seem simple, but you'll need to navigate current rating and the
differences between USB, USB Mini, and USB Micro.

Determine the plug's style, shape, and polarity

The most common style of power adapter plug is the 2.1 mm
or 2.5 mm "barrel". Knowing the characteristics of the plug
that matches your device's socket is essential to choosing the
correct adapter.

Power Supply Selection Guide from Parts Express
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