Can plugging a wrong cord into something like a laptop ruin it?

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Other answer:

JaNE Doe:
hen a laptop power adapter is plugged in to a laptop and the laptop is turned on, you will notice the adapter may be warm to the touch. The more the laptop gets used, the warmer the adapter may become. A relatively warm power adapter is normal, especially when the laptop is being used and the battery is being charged.
However, if the adapter is quite hot, enough that it could hurt your hand after touching it for just a few seconds, this is a potential problem. An adapter that hot is a warning sign that something could be wrong with the adapter or the laptop.
The first thing to check is whether the laptop battery is gaining any charge with the adapter plugged into an outlet. If it is, then the issue is most likely with the adapter itself. If the battery is not charging, there could be an issue with the power connection in the laptop, as well as the adapter.
Also, check the end of the adapter cord that connects to the laptop, as well as the power connection on the laptop, for any possible damage. This damage may include a bent pin inside the connector or bend/break marks in the metal jacket of the connector. If you notice any damage, replace the adapter or have the laptop repaired.
If you notice the adapter is very hot, turn off your computer and unplug the power adapter from the wall outlet. Let it cool down completely, then plug it back in to the wall outlet and turn on the laptop. Monitor the temperature of the adapter for a while and if it becomes hot again, take the laptop and power adapter to a computer repair shop and have them check it. An issue like this is not something you want to ignore, as it could cause serious damage to a laptop or even potentially start a fire.
goodros_nemesis:
Are we talking about power here? Most modern laptops run at about 19- to 21 volts, but can use as much as 8 amps. Older machines used much less power. Around 12 volts at 2-3 amps.

If the amperage output from the adapter is low, the battery will charge very slowly or not at all when the computer is in use. If the amperage is higher than the laptop wants, it's not a big deal — the laptop just won't use the extra power.

If the VOLTAGE is low, the laptop probably won't even think it's plugged in when powered on. If the voltage is high, though… ouchie. You may have a fried mainboard. Obviously, the display and processor use the most power, and they are the prime candidates for being destroyed by high voltage. This basic rule is pretty consistent across all electronic circuits.

Steven:
Yes
StalePhish:
If it's not the right cord, it won't fit into the plug. You can't fit a square peg in a round hole, and such. Though if you do jam something in where it doesn't belong, of course it may hurt something. Like trying to jam a screwdriver into the USB charge port on your cell phone.
turley:
Yes
carly:
Yes
hamilton:
Yes
Richard:
Data cables generally will not plug into the wrong receptacle. Unfortunately, many laptops have similar power receptacles, and plugging one with the wrong voltage (a higher voltage or reversed polarity) may do major damage.

I hope this helps.

Marcus:
If the cord does not fit and you have forced it in the port than is can most likely damage the port so you can't put anything in there. If it has the same cord then you should be fine.
Smokies Hiker:
If you forced the wrong cord into the wrong computer connection, then yes, the computer could have been damaged. If the cord fit but was too loose, then the computer should be fine.

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