First power. Most netbooks and notebooks use power supplies that are specific to their equipment. The Dell power supplies have a signal that is used to tell the netbook that a Dell adaptor is attached to it (it is the center pin on the power supply connector). Without that signal, netbooks and notebooks won’t charge so if you are considering any other netbook or notebook besides Dell, you would have to replace all the power supplies with one specific to that manufacturer – but they should plug into the AC Controller box like the Dell power supplies do. However, the number of power supplies is limited to 24 with power-factor correction.
There are harmonic currents with power supplies that are rated at 65-watts or less. Basically the current is about twice what you would expect for the wattage with the non-power-factor corrected power supplies. The 90-watt power supplies have power-factor correction so that the input current is what you’d expect for the power consumption. The netbooks are limited to about 40-watts with firmware. This gets us to 12-amps maximum AC cart input current with 24 netbooks, an Ethernet switch and WAP installed. If you use a netbook or notebook that uses more than 40-watts or at 40-watts with a non-power-factor corrected power supply, the current can be twice what the Dell system is or about 24-amps. The maximum current that the National Electrical Code allows is 12-amps. So, if you are going to change to another notebook or netbook, it needs to be 40-watts or less and use a power supply with power-factor correction to keep the system from tripping wall breakers and internal circuit breakers.
Next is cooling. We specifically designed the cart to cool the 24 netbooks – any other netbook or notebook may or may not cool properly during charging and managing – this would need to be tested.
Connecting the power and Ethernet cables will be a challenge if trying to auto-dock the new netbooks or notebooks. The slots were designed to specifically mate up with the Dell netbooks. But, you could manually connect the power and Ethernet cables.
Finally regulatory. We had to design the cart to meet the US legal requirements for Electromagnetic emissions (FCC part 15) and Safety (UL60950 and 1667). If you make changes to the cart, you would be required to test and mark the cart as safe and meeting the FCC limits with the new configuration.
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