Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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plug & play power

Plug design to support a variety of current requirements
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Like the "smart power outlets" this would be an outlet / plug design that could support a variety of voltages / currents. But instead of doing this by electronic singalling between the device and power supply, the plug and outlet would accomplish the same thing through the physical design.

It would work like this: Both the plug and outlet would have a "contact array" not unlike the kind you see in computer interfaces such as USB, firewire, or a hotsync cradle for a palm pilot. It would have to be something that can take a lot of wear and tear, without pins that can get bent. There could be 6 contacts for voltage (3v, 4.5v, 6v, 9v, 12v, 24v) and six more for current (250ma, 500ma, 1a, 2a, 5a, 10a). There could also be contacts added for AC/DC or polarity. Plugs would simply have to have contacts in the correct "positions" to receive the current they need.

You could take the same design to make an "everything" plug that could include power, data, telephony, cable, etc...

imagicsp, Aug 02 2001


       Yeah maybe something as simple as a "key" type plug, which has "notches" that represent the "requested" values in voltage, current, etc... and the outlet provives the current based on the "request"
imagicsp, Aug 03 2001

       Might also make it a little safer, make it harder for people to poke stuff into the slots and get the 'burnt toast' effect. Leave one of the low power ones easily touched to give a warning zap, but hide the lethal ones.   

       Where would this be converted, though? For all those voltages and amps, you'd have to have lots of transformers somewhere, and would that be more efficient than a couple of wall warts?
StarChaser, Aug 04 2001


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