Ask LH: How Can I Keep My Laptop’s Power Cord From Getting Damaged?

Ask LH: How Can I Keep My Laptop’s Power Cord From Getting Damaged?

Dear Lifehacker, I move my laptop around a lot, and the power cord often gets bent in every possible place. Over time the bends stick in this position, some ends fray, and I end up having to replace it. How can I take care of it so I’m not buying another one in six months? Thanks, Crazy Cables

Title image remixed from CODIY and Yiyi

Dear CC,

We’ve encountered this problem many times. While we’ve talked a lot about how to wrap your headphone cables, it’s even more important that you wrap power cables properly. Every cable is different, and some are more susceptible to damage than others (I’m talking to you, Apple power brick). In general, the key is to wrap your cable loosely.

The traditional method of wrapping the cable tightly around the power brick bends the wires inside, over and over again until they break. Even if the plastic casing doesn’t break, the wires can. As Instructables user bmlbytes explains, it’s like when you bend a paper clip back and forth in the same spot over and over — it will break from the repeated stress.

Here’s what I do: instead of wrapping your cable tightly around the power brick, hold your power brick in your hand — making sure the cable coming out of it is straight — and just coil your cord loosely, as shown in the video above (you could probably even coil it a bit tighter than that, but we were being conservative for the sake of time). If you really want to go bonkers, you can use the over-under method we used for wrapping headphones, but it’s a bit more work and probably not necessary. You can then thread the end around the loop, clip it on, or wrap some velcro around it to keep it in place. We’ve used a MacBook power cable in our example, but this will work with any laptop power cable you have.

This isn’t the only way to do it, of course. Some people recommend wrapping it in a loose figure eight and then wrapping the excess around the middle, but we like to be on the safe side and keep the entire thing kink-free. Experiment and see what works for you. As long as you keep that cable on the looser side, you will be much better off.

Cheers Lifehacker

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