Of rivers of mud and expendable power supplies…

So several days ago we got a lot of snow all at once after a deep cold snap, followed by 3 days of increasing warmth and sun. The result was inevitably going to be epic mud.

The worst was over by yesterday’s Monday water run. But there were still a couple of shaded places and one steep uphill patch that Neighbor L found a bit of an adventure. Just something you have to live with, and a reason I really kind of like extended dry spells.

And I fully intended to post the above yesterday, but couldn’t because when I sat down at the ‘pooter to do so I couldn’t get a connection. Sometimes the wireless connection is wonky, especially in the evening, always has been and that’s the way it is. But lately I’m having special trouble getting my phone’s connection to come back after I lose it in some dead spot, and that would have been particularly galling if it happened this morning with two blog posts backed up. I rely on the phone for all my connectivity: No phone, no internet, no blog.

So I carefully managed the morning walkie to minimize moving through known dead spots and actually still had a connection when we got home. I gave Tobie his treat, took off my coat, sat down at the Official TUAK Desk and opened the laptop…which did not oblige me by turning itself on like it’s supposed to.

Oh, not again. This is the second time this has happened in as many days. The battery was dead.

Sitting on my desk, permanently plugged in, and I can’t keep the battery charged. Further, this isn’t even the first time it has happened. These things…

…appear to have a limited useful lifespan. Is this a thing? Am I the last person to know about this? It’s the second time I’ve gone through this, which means after the first time I decided to treat power supplies as expendable equipment, which of course means I have a spare. And I dug out and connected the spare this morning, and it appears to be working substantially better than what it’s replacing.

This makes no sense to me. Macbooks and iPhones are wonderfully well-designed gadgets. Why are their power supplies such crap?

About Joel

You shouldn't ask these questions of a paranoid recluse, you know.
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11 Responses to Of rivers of mud and expendable power supplies…

  1. Malatrope says:

    I’ve never had a wall wart die on me. Is your inverter a pure sine wave, or a modified? A modified sine wave inverter is actually pretty hard on electronics.

  2. Joel says:

    That’s a very good question I had not considered. In fact I don’t have a true sine wave inverter and it’s been a problem with appliances in the past.

    But the problem with these chargers doesn’t appear to involve the brick but the connector. It’ll appear to be connected and charging or charged, green light, but in fact it isn’t doing anything.

  3. TGold says:

    Yes I’ve noticed the same thing. Definitely a finite lifetime, so I keep a couple of spares around.

  4. Mike says:

    I have some bad news for you, Joel. In cell phones or laptops, Lithium-ion batteries have a limited amount of charge cycles.

    For iPhones, the battery is designed to retain 80% of its maximum capacity by the time it reaches 500 charge cycles.

    As for laptops, the average lifespan of a laptop battery is about 1,000 charge cycles (+ -) depending on the laptop’s brand, type of battery and how it’s used. It’s also important to remember that performance will degrade over time.

  5. Joel says:

    Well, sure. I already had to replace the iPhone battery when it got hot, bulgy and scary. Since I never owned a new laptop this is the first one I ever owned with any functional battery at all. Just always kept them plugged in. So degradation of battery life doesn’t bother me, but having the thing not able to draw power from the wall sure does.

  6. Terrapod says:

    Joel and gang, yep, the weak point on all Apple wall chargers is the wires right at the plug ends, that means both the fire wire or whatever they now call it end and the USB end fail. I replace the wires for my wife’s many Apple gadgets on a regular basis. The flexing when plugging and unplugging, and the tendency of Chinese plastic white apple cords to get brittle with age, makes them fail. I order half dozen packs from Amazon and keep them around just for that purpose. I did buy some of those heavy duty braided wire types for the car, seeing that they have to put up with even greater temperature extremes. So far they seem to be holding up.

  7. wow says:

    The only ones I ever had fail also had problems where the cable comes out of the brick. Had one burn through and a couple of others split over the years and always right there.

    You need an extra charger?

  8. Mark Matis says:

    By the way, what’s the latest on the Jeep transmission not going into reverse?
    Did you get that fixed?

  9. Joel says:

    There’s nothing obviously wrong with the linkage, no broken clamps or obvious sloppiness. I don’t think it’s a valve body problem because the manual valve obviously works and the transmission shifts through its gears in Drive. It really acts like a major misadjustment: It’s in Neutral when Reverse is indicated and apparently going into Reverse (or at least in some driving gear, since the engine bogs down) when the selector is in Park.

    I read through the manual on the subject, and found it lacking in useful detail. Apparently the cables can be adjusted but I’m damned if I can figure out how based on that information. No doubt there are youtube videos that will explain all, and I’ll do more research when the weather makes me want to be outdoors for more than ten minutes at a time. Right now I’m just living with it and using the Jeep minimally.

  10. Mark Matis says:

    Which manual do you have? If not one of these:
    I’ll be glad to get one for you.

  11. Anonymous says:

    I’m on the third charger for my MacBook so it is definitely a thing.

To the stake with the heretic!