Saturday, August 28, 2021

Project adapter

Some things don’t start out as projects, but kind of become one all on their own. I was reminded of that recently by charging cables for my devices.

Back in June, I talked about a charging cable that Leo accidentally broke. In that post, I also talked about a couple reinforced alternatives I bought, and that’s what sparked the mini-project.

I talked about the second set of charging cables, reinforced with aluminium mesh, that I got back in July. In that post, I said that the one I was using—which was the nylon mesh reinforced one—was working well. What I didn’t talk about is how I’d accidentally created the mini-project.

When I ordered the nylon mesh cable, I moved a little too quickly and accidentally ordered one with a USB-C end, rather than the usual USB-A end that charging cables use. That mattered because all my AC adapters are USB-A only, so I had nothing to plug the cable into.

My next step was to go back online and search for a new AC adapter, and the one I found (photo above) is from the same store that I bought the cable from, and I got it the next day by Click and Collect. A bonus is that the charger also has a standard USB-A port, so I can plug in ordinary cables to charge devices (like my Kindle), too.

The package claimed that the AC adapter charged faster than ordinary chargers, and I’ll admit being a bit sceptical. Turns out, though, it actually IS noticeably faster, though I have no idea how much faster: I don’t have an accurate way to measure the difference between the new adapter and the old ones, so I’ll just say it’s faster and leave it at that. Because it is.

The whole point of the new cable was actually that the end is more robust, and that’s where I’ve had several cables fail. I decided to slow damage even more by turning my iPad on its side while it’s charging to reduce the strain on the connection (the photo below demonstrates the difference). While it’s true I never thought of that before, part of the reason is that at the last house, turning it on its side would’ve meant I’d have to lean over to pick it up, not just reach down. The fact is, I use that iPad mainly for leisure, and I take that aspect very seriously. Obviously. At some point, I’d like to lay the iPad on a table while it’s charging to further support the cable, but that requires a decluttering project (the table near my chair has too much stuff on it).

I did put an aluminium mesh cable in my car—the shortest one, which turned out to be only slightly shorter than the old one. Still, it’s clearly more robust than the old one, and that’s important in the car. Plus I have two reinforced back up cables, so, bonus.

The story, then, was that someone we’ll call “Leo” accidentally broke a charging cable, I replaced it, but then had to replace the AC adapter, too. Then, I changed the way I position the thing when it’s charging. It ended up being much more complicated than I’d thought it would be. On the other hand, I knew exactly what to do.

I’ve had lots of projects to deal with over the past year in particular, and most of them have had little to do with Nigel or having to figure stuff out how to do stuff that he would’ve done for me. Even if the broken cable incident had happened while he was still alive, I’d probably still have solved it myself. On the other hand, if I screwed up the adapter, I probably wouldn’t have admitted it to anyone. These days, admitting mistakes is part of talking about how I move forward through a project. I kind of like that.

Left: How I used to plug in the cable. Right: How I plug it in now.

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