A better, smarter power adapter

A better, smarter power adapter

Consumer products ranging from calculators to cellphones, and PCs to printers, have long come with wall transformers or adapters designed just for them. With consumer products leading ever shorter lives, millions of perfectly good adapters make the trip to the landfill each year.

An alternative power interface called Green Plug technology from Green Plug, San Ramon, Calif. (, is designed to work with any Green-Plug compatible device. Besides eliminating drawers full of adapters, Green Plug is also designed to save energy when possible. For example, with battery-powered devices, the new adapter adjusts voltage up or down depending on battery-charge level or to compensate for voltage drop across the power cable, which saves energy and time. And conventional adapters consume power all the time they are plugged into the wall. But Green Plug senses when there is zero load and remains shut down most of the time, saving 90% of the power compared to conventional adapters.

The entire system has three major components, power processor, load processor, and associated hardware and software. The power processor controls the power supply and communicates with the device it is powering. The load processor installed on the consumer device communicates with the smart power supply and makes the device compatible with power processor. And Greentalk is the software and hardware protocol stack that provides the intelligence and gives the load and power processors the intelligence to communicate.

The company can make adapters that work with more than four devices and which supply up to 180 W to each device. Devices that need more power can get it by using several ports. The power, as well as two-way communications, travel via a thin cord between the adapter and device.


Green Plug demo:

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