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Surface Pro 2 Power Trip

1536 adapter frayed cordIf the electrical cables on your school’s Surface Pro 2 power adapters have started fraying, you’re not alone. It’s a common fault with the systems and for safety’s sake, it makes sense to get rid of them right away. After all, the shorted circuits can cause them to overheat or worse.

Since all SP2 systems are long off warranty, you’ll need to get a replacement power supply. Happily, there are a multitude of choices when it comes to solving your Surface Pro power problems.

Eb9378d6-2583-46fb-8e22-109c4f83e953_1.50875b4ba77af87db6b1a77f2958cc8fFor most, the first stop will be the online Microsoft Store to get a direct replacement adapter. If you like, you can get the exact replacement adapter (model 1536) from Microsoft for $80. It puts out the same 48-watts that the Surface Pro 2 needs to recharge and has a USB port for charging a phone or tablet at the same time. It should fit right in with a magnetic power port that snaps right into the SP2. That said, you can do better on price.

Delta surface Pro 2To start, you can get the exact same adapter from Delta, the OEM manufacturer that makes the original for Microsoft. It costs $38 – half as much and not only puts out a steady 12-volt stream at up to 48-watts it looks the same and comes with the needed magnetic power cord. Like the original, it has the Surface Pro 2’s oddball magnetic power port and you can plug it right into an AC outlet or use the included cord. A bonus is that the power brick has a USB power port.

Runpower sp2Runpower has a clone of the Surface Pro 2’s original AC adapter that sells for less than $25 – one-third that of the Microsoft adapter -- yet matches the original 48-watt adapter spec for spec. It not only has the SP2’s unique magnetic plug, but the same bulky AC plug. Like the original, it also has the handy USB power outlet for charging a phone or tablet and is thermally protected against overloads.

24W-200x200A good stand-in for the Microsoft original is Laptop Charger Factory’s $23 replacement AC adapter. Although its 45-watt output is a little below-spec and might require slightly more time to get a full charge, you probably won’t notice the difference. It has the Surface Pro 2’s magnetic power plug and has a big bonus: you can plug the Laptop Charger Factory's AC adapter right into an AC outlet rather than using a traditional power cord.

Bolweo sp2At about $16, Bolweo’s Surface Pro 2 power adapter is a bargain basement power supply and one-fifth the cost of the Microsoft replacement device. On the downside, it puts out only 43- versus 48-watts for the original device, so you might need to spend some extra time charging the system’s battery pack. The Bolweo adapter may be larger and not look like the original, but it has the SP2 unique magnetic connector, is UL certified, supplies the right voltage and protects against overheating or overcharging.

Listen to them Charge

Easy-Doks CR25With Dok Talk’s CR25, you can charge and power up to 5 USB-based devices. The power strip has an output of up to 10-watts per device, making the CR25 about as powerful as it gets for energizing phones and tablets; each has surge protection against current spikes. Regardless of what’s going on in the classroom, the CR25 continues to listen for Alexa commands and contains a wireless surround sound speaker system. It costs $189.


Toolbox in a drawer

DSCN34542-HighIt’s hard to believe that you can squeeze a whole toolbox into one of Kelvin’s handheld toolkits. The Kelvin.23 and Kelvin.36 tool kits are like Swiss Army knives on steroids that fold open to reveal a surprising variety of tools. While the Kelvin.23 has everything from a level and screwdriver to a corkscrew and bottle opener for after-school teacher “conferences.” The Kelvin.36 adds an LED headlight, hammer and other useful tools. Both are rugged enough to be run over and can help to tighten the leg on a desk or hang banners. They cost $30 and $50, are available in several colors and one should be in the desk drawer of every teacher.

Big Sound, Small Mixer

QscIf you think your auditorium needs a full-size audio mixer, look at QSC’s TouchMix-30 Pro. The mixer is just 7.5- by 18.1- by 16.9-inches and weighs 18-pounds, but has a prominent 10-inch color touch screen. Inside is a 32-channel mixer with 16 outputs, making it one of the most powerful small sound boards you can get. It features anti-feedback and room tuning set ups and the system has a 1/3 octave graphic equalizer for its outputs. Best of all, the whole thing can be controlled with an iOS or Android app so the room’s sound can be fine-tuned while walking around or sitting in the back row. It costs $1,900 and is light enough to be moved from room to room or school to school as needed.

Gotta Charge ‘Em All

Udoq_zpsimqvnjuqKeeping up with charging every phone and tablet at school is a daunting task, but one taken up by udoq. The charging docks come in a variety of sizes that can accommodate up to eight devices. For instance, the $129 tray is 10-inches long, while the $230 flagship is 27.6-inches long, although both come with four plugs to charge devices. The key is that the udoq’s charging rail has Lightning (for iPhones or iPads) or micro-USB (for Android systems) plugs that can be swapped and moved around to accommodate a variety of different designs. This gives uduq an incredible degree of flexibility.


Power Center

Powramid_Air_Black_Side_grandeEvery classroom needs at least a couple of power strips these days to keep everything from tablets to STEM gear fully charged up and ready for teaching. Accell’s $36 Powramid Air Power Center and USB Charging Station delivers 120-volt AC as well as more recent USB power in a single unit. Its six AC outlets are widely spaced around the circumference of the Powramid Air, leaving more than enough room so that none of those pesky AC adapters take up two outlets. There is also a pair of USB power outlets for phones and tablets on the edge. The whole thing is protected against a 1,080 Joule energy surge and the circular power strip has a 15-amp circuit breaker for extra protection.

Sound Foundation

BuddysmallerTo prevent hearing damage to young ears, BuddyPhones Explore headsets have a volume limiting circuit that doesn’t allow the audio to exceed 85dB. This is the World Health Organization’s safe limit and just above the level of the typical face-to-face conversation.

The headphones have a detachable cable that has a built-in microphone for video conferences or recording a podcast in class. Inside, the headphone’s 1.2-inch neodymium magnet drivers deliver audio with a frequency range of 20 to 20,000 hertz.

BuddyphonesThe headset sounded surprisingly good to a Kindergartner doing her school work, but the Explore is not just for single students. A key step forward for the Explore headphones is that the audio jack has a built-in splitter with room for another input so two can share a single audio source. If you have other BuddyPhones, up to four can be used at once, something that other headphones can’t do. More to the point, the BuddyPhones are durable and adjustable for a variety of small children. The headphones have soft earcups that are made of anti-allergic material and each set includes a storage bag. They come in four colors, include personalizing stickers and cost $30. 

Audio All Around

VG1-white-angle-lanyardWith SoundCast’s latest speakers, you can take digital audio everywhere the class goes, including outdoors and field trips. That’s because the VG1 handheld speaker not only delivers high-quality sound, but is waterproof and ruggedly built to stand up to abuse. The 1-pound package connects to phones, tablets and PCs via Bluetooth and has its own battery that can last for more than a full school day. It costs $149.99.

Hear without Fear

Jlab headphonesJLAB’s JBuddies headset are not only inexpensive at $20 per set, but have a circuit that limits its output to no more than 90dB so that no harm comes to your students’ delicate hearing. Available in black, purple, pink and blue, the JBuddies come with a lifetime warranty.


Light Up My Life

LB120(US)1.0-01_1473153047839aWhat if your classroom’s lighting responded to your mood or the time of the day rather than just pumping out a harsh white light? That’s the idea behind TP-Link’s Smart WiFi bulbs. They screw into a standard socket and look like a regular old incandescent light bulb, but inside is a bank of LEDs that respond to the company’s Kasa app. The bulbs are the equivalent of 60-watt incandescent bulbs, work with Androids and iOS systems and let you not only dim the lights but change the color from 2,700- to 6,500-Kelvins. You can even automatically change the quality and intensity of the light during the day. They’re expensive at $35 a piece but will likely never need to be replaced and use a lot less electricity than incandescent lights.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in Tech Tools are strictly those of the author and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Scholastic, Inc.