What is a Power Brick?

A Kaminsky

When a computer user unpacks a notebook computer, one of the first components he will see is the power brick. This large, rectangular piece weighs a pound or two (0.45 to 0.9 kg), but is essential to the machine's operation.

A plug on one end of a power brick.
A plug on one end of a power brick.

The power brick is part of the external power supply and also provides the power for the computer to charge its batteries. Plugging straight AC from a wall outlet into a notebook would blow the circuits, so lower-voltage DC powers the computer. The power brick accomplishes the conversion. The computer is plugged into the brick, while a cord runs from it into a standard AC plug.

In many cases, a power brick will have a light on it to alert the user that it is functioning properly. If a notebook computer will not recharge its batteries, then this device may be at fault. They are manufactured by the computer companies themselves, however, and what runs one notebook may not power another. A user will have to look for a brick that is designed for his particular computer model.

Since power bricks are so heavy and bulky, they should lie flat at all times. The weight, if suspended, could pull the outlet from the computer, damaging both the notebook and the brick.

The device will also become warm when it is used, so it should rest on a non-flammable surface. It should be placed on a desk or on the floor, not on a rug or blanket. A user should never try to open or repair the brick, as this is a task best left to professionals. It should also be protected from being dropped and from spills, as with any electrical device.

Most computer supply stores and Web sites stock power bricks, so if a user needs one, they are readily available. They are available in a range of prices, but usually aren't too expensive. Comparison shopping is a must, because some stores will have differences of up to $20 or $25 US Dollars (USD), depending on the brand. It will always benefit the computer owner to check out several Web sites and call local stores to get the best price.

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Discussion Comments


@ Amphibious54- It is actually easy to find a new Xbox 360 power brick. You can find them for $15 to $30 dollars on sites like Amazon and eBay. Best Buy also sells them, but it will cost you twice as much as other stores. Just search for Xbox 360 power adapter. Make sure the brick you buy is for the US version, or whatever country's version Xbox 360 you own.


I recently moved and I lost my Xbox power brick. Where can I find a new power brick for my game console? I would hate to have to get rid of a nearly new Xbox 360 because of a dumb mistake.

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