Saturday, March 14, 2009


No, I'm not a pirate - just a bit frustrated with myself.

I am about to begin building the ACME QRP Gel Cell Charger kit today; and of course did another careful read through the assembly instructions. I was about to begin actual assembly when I thought I'd run down the basement to check my old junker Toshiba laptop's wall wart - just to make sure its output was in the necessary 16 - 22 Volt range. That's when I was rudely reminded that the Toshiba doesn't use a wall wart! It uses 115V AC directly - it must have a built in transformer to charge its battery!

The only wall wart I have that has the proper voltage is the one to my Dell laptop, which is my main shack computer. I'm not about to use that!

So a quick search on the E of Bay yielded several inexpensive 18V wall warts. I hit one of the "Buy Now" ones for $3.99 plus shipping; and got one for less than ten bucks.

So I will probably have the kit completed and "ready to go" for later this week, when hopefully, the wall wart will arrive. It's supposed to come via Express Mail - 3 to 5 business days from now.

With all the stupid little wall warts I have just hanging around the house, it's just my luck that I don't have ONE with the proper output voltage and that I had to end up buying one.


73 de Larry W2LJ


  1. I usually use desktop power supplies, if you have any of those laying around. It gives you 0, 5, 12, 3, possible 1.8, -5, and -12, so pulling 17V or 24V low current is possible. Though it may be a little too low current for what you want.

  2. I considered that, too. But I don't have any of those hanging around the house, either. What I should do is go to a consumer electronics store and do some dumpster diving! My luck, I'd get arrested.

  3. Just as a comment, that old Toshiba might not actually have a transformer. It's possible, even somewhat common, to build switching supplies without any transformers at all. You will need some inductance to provide smoothing on the output, but that can be in the form of a simple coil.