Choosing the Right In-car Adapter Charger for Your Laptop

Laptop computers are highly portable and convenient work tools for people who are always on the move. You can power up and continue working while in the park, at a restaurant or any room in your house. In order to make sure that your work goes uninterrupted because of low battery power, always keep a power adapter near you.

What are the different types of laptop chargers?

  • AC adapters - AC stands for alternating current, which is the electrical power coming from plugs and sockets in the home or office. The adapters convert this into a low power direct current which the laptop uses. Most of them usually have the label, AC/DC written on them.
  • DC adapters - Laptops run on direct current (DC), which is low power. You can almost connect them directly to the power source. Most DC outlets like the ones found in cars can only give out about 12 volts of power. Most laptops need about 18-20 volts to charge properly. DC car charger adapters convert the power into a higher voltage that suits the device. The Lenovo ThinkPads and Lenovo Ideapads use 20V DC car chargers.

How to select a laptop charger?

For Lenovo devices, get the laptop's model number and look it up on the internet for compatible Lenovo chargers. This is one of the easiest ways to find the right power adapter for your laptop. To make yourself absolutely sure of the compatibility, check the power output on the charger and the type of connector it uses. Compare these features with what you have on the laptop.

How do I check the voltage?

Pick up your old AC adapter charger and read the bottom label for the part number. You can find similar Lenovo ThinkPad adapters just by using the part number. The current and voltage are usually written on the charger's label as well.

How do I check the connector type?

Even if the power adapter has the same current and voltage as your laptop, it won't do you any good if the connector cannot go into the laptop.

  • USB connectors - These have a rectangular connection tip. There are different types of USB connectors, USB-A, USB-B, USB-C, and many others. Most Lenovo devices use a type-C connector. You can get a power conversion cable for car chargers which have a similar power output but different connector.
  • Barrel connectors - They are cylindrical connectors designed to fit in round power connection ports on the computer. Most devices use this kind of connector even though the diameter of the barrels may vary.

Most notebook manufacturers are switching from barrel connectors to slip tip connectors like the C type used on the ThinkPad.

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