So, I have this problem. When I plug my laptop
charger into an outlet, that weird box between the plug and the part where it connects to
my computer, it gets super hot, like I can’t even touch it.
So, I’ve invited Audrey Quinn from NPR’s Planet Money team to help explain what’s
going on with my super-hot laptop charger. So, Audrey, what’s the deal?
QUINN: “The first thing you have to understand is that the kind of power that comes out of your
wall is actually different from the kind of power that your electronics want.
It comes out in the form of alternating current electricity. That means the electrons are pulsing
back and forth And your electronics want what’s called
direct current power, that’s where the electrons are flowing straight like a river
So, they have to convert it. And  when they do that conversion is energy is wasted, so
what you’re feeling is energy lost in the form of heat.”
Okay, so, why can’t I just alternating current? If that’s coming out of the wall?
QUINN: “Yeah, that works just fine for things like lightbulbs or a hairdryer, but electronics
are a little more complicated.—- If you were to send that alternating current
directly to your laptop, you’d probably see a puff of blue smoke.”
Oh god, that sounds bad. Okay, so, if DC power is so great, why don’t
we just have it in our houses in the first place?  
This goes back to the late 1800s. There were two guys who represented the two different
kinds of power. There was Thomas Edison, he was all about
DC power, and then there’s Nikola Tesla, he’s your AC guy.
They’re totally duking it out. Every time a new building goes in, it’s kind of this
‘oh, what’s going to happen? Are they going to use AC or DC?’
What happens eventually is that AC power is much better at traveling long distances.
So, ultimately, the entire power grid gets set up to spread AC power.”
But today we have all of these devices. We have smartphones, we have electric cars, we have tablets, we have computers, and all these things are hungry for DC power. Do you think we could ever switch back and maybe realize Edison’s original dream of DC power in every home?
QUINN: “The US has one of the best, most reliable power grids in the world, so people aren’t
saying ‘let’s knock out this entire grid.’ You could just have one converter box in your
house, and that way you’re not converting AC to DC at the level of every single device.”
So, if we can reduce the number of conversions from AC power to DC power, even a little bit, we’re going to save a lot of energy.

Why your laptop charger is so hot
Tagged on:                             

100 thoughts on “Why your laptop charger is so hot

  • May 26, 2018 at 3:53 am
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    I personally hate Thomas Edison

    Reply
  • May 26, 2018 at 3:55 pm
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    Wow this video is bad, read DC comes in different voltages, this is why DC voltage converters exist, holy crap is this disappointing Vox needs to remove this video I just unsubscribed after watch 20 videos and then subscribing in joy, that's how bad this video is.

    Reply
  • May 26, 2018 at 3:58 pm
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    Wow it seems like no one at Vox has any interest in science, this video is literally aggravating. But it kinda shows how smart people, even groups of smart people can be so shortsighted. kind of humanizing, but also flippin annoying… 😕

    Reply
  • May 29, 2018 at 7:55 pm
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    This is the most mind-numbing I have ever watched. My god this is hilarious.

    Reply
  • June 12, 2018 at 4:15 pm
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    You couldn't have dc coming from the sockets. That would be pretty deadly.

    Reply
  • June 14, 2018 at 12:08 pm
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    I still don’t know why my laptop charger is so hot. All that was mentioned as the cause of excessively hot chargers in this video was a tiny line about ‘…waste[d] energy…” Vox totally f*#%=^ up with this video by combining a click-bait-y title with very little in the way of actual facts and information. Just a vague outline of the history of AC and DC power…

    Reply
  • June 17, 2018 at 4:53 pm
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    their voices ew

    Reply
  • June 23, 2018 at 12:17 pm
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    this did nothing to explain current draw or heat in the charger.

    Reply
  • July 3, 2018 at 1:14 pm
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    hey anyone wanna help me out? so in December my original laptop charger snapped in half so i brought a replacement and a month later the converter started crackling and popped the AC cable…. so i brought another replacement this time from a different source one saying it was an official replacement everything was fine for another couple months and then i picked it up because i heard a crackling noise and bam the case for the converter crackled and stopped working… so i got a refund and brought another one this time i went out of my way to make sure it was a 100% official replacement not even a week later and same issue this time burning my hand when i tried rushing to turn off the power point… im on my 5th charger and its just started to heat up again and tonight i heard a slight "crack" noise coming from it
    i dont think its the laptop (i cant really check as the battery is locked away in the case thanks lenovo) and wanna know how to stop the shorting/overheating problems im having
    would a surge protector help? how do you throttle how much its drawing up, would that even slow down how hot its getting?

    Reply
  • July 17, 2018 at 11:41 pm
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    I thought they would remove this video

    Reply
  • July 26, 2018 at 11:58 am
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    This is so dumb on so many levels dont know why 11k people watched it and said yes this deserves a like.

    Reply
  • July 26, 2018 at 12:04 pm
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    How is this expert saying to have one converter box .That is a terrible idea.None of your devices would work except for very niche category of devices that don't use a transformer and work on the exact voltage .

    Reply
  • July 29, 2018 at 5:49 pm
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    For a phone or tablet you use ac adapter then you connect USB on the ac adapter

    Reply
  • August 3, 2018 at 7:55 am
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    If we changed to DC which makes no sense you would need far thicker wires and along with that you would be wasting more energy, right now the set up we have is just perfect.

    Reply
  • August 3, 2018 at 5:48 pm
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    I’m sorry, usually it’s better to thumb down and move on but this was so dumbed down, watered down, and condescending.

    Beginners tutorials are important but they shouldn’t insult the viewer.

    I’ve seen other Vox shorts where they mispronounce the name of their subject. Come on people. This is supposed to be professional.

    Reply
  • August 5, 2018 at 2:08 pm
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    The explanation about why we use ac instead of dc is not full and if someone doesn't know, this won't give the right information.
    Just saying…

    Reply
  • August 7, 2018 at 7:04 am
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    Help my charger isnt working

    Reply
  • August 7, 2018 at 5:03 pm
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    What a worthless ridiculous video.

    Reply
  • August 11, 2018 at 8:35 pm
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    when I saw the title of this video my immature brain was something funny I'm surprised alo t of the comments are not jokes about the title and actually about the video

    Reply
  • August 13, 2018 at 12:07 am
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    Why dont we just use ⚡ACDC⚡

    Reply
  • August 13, 2018 at 11:07 pm
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    English is my second language, and i can hear this girls speaking with a weird accent, like the end of every word they say it with their throat vibrating and making it longer, so strange.

    Reply
  • August 14, 2018 at 10:33 am
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    My computer gets hot instead
    im not the only one is see

    Reply
  • August 17, 2018 at 10:59 am
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    Isn't it what every person with a basic school education should know? Wtf

    Reply
  • August 18, 2018 at 8:16 pm
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    it can double as a heater

    Reply
  • August 21, 2018 at 3:52 pm
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    There is no need for this video it’s not complicated ac is much better

    Reply
  • August 23, 2018 at 6:47 am
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    Imagine having direct current we would have wires running from each house and every building it would be a jumbled nightmare more than a pair of tangled earpods. Nikolai Tesla would have been awesome if he would have finished his invention of wirelessly transferring electricity through his Tesla coils.

    Reply
  • August 24, 2018 at 2:23 am
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    Hey Vox, contrary to your mission this video by Liz Scheltens just added to the noise and misunderstanding. Sad.

    Reply
  • August 27, 2018 at 1:03 am
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    I think everything would've been better if Tesla managed to finish his very last project. Electricity in the air? all around us? Charging your device almost where ever you are?
    But nah no one helped him finish the thing. Idk for what cause, but I'd say it's probably because of greed.

    Reply
  • August 27, 2018 at 1:06 am
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    Thought it was going to set on fire.

    Reply
  • August 30, 2018 at 5:18 am
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    R E SE A R C H
    Ask your coworkers about it.

    Reply
  • August 30, 2018 at 2:22 pm
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    I use it to heat my legs in the winter lol

    Reply
  • August 30, 2018 at 3:42 pm
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    Energy lost in form of heat

    Reply
  • August 30, 2018 at 3:44 pm
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    Energy lost in form of heat

    Reply
  • August 30, 2018 at 10:45 pm
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    it doesnt get hot to me

    Reply
  • September 2, 2018 at 12:03 am
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    Cal right you Japanese , Chinese, And Money hunger Westerners I got an idea how about make a mini grill/burner on these things
    No heat(less heat) wasted!

    Reply
  • September 4, 2018 at 4:24 am
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    Come on Vox
    This is grade 10 science
    Love your videos but this was just a catastrophe

    Reply
  • September 4, 2018 at 5:13 pm
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    I dont like the voice who's explainning this stuff.

    Reply
  • September 5, 2018 at 7:56 am
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    Because your laptop charger is too sexy

    Read more

    Reply
  • September 5, 2018 at 3:41 pm
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    Fukin bullshit !!! not for that reason.

    Reply
  • September 6, 2018 at 2:04 am
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    One converter box for your house??? That’s not solving the problem that’s just moving the heat around a bit. If the box is set up for your most powerful device like a laptop, you would still need to create heat by stepping down the voltage for a chrome book, tablet, phone, smart watch, headphones, and other small things. You would also be creating heat with the box converted because nothing is 100 percent efficient so you would just be spreading out the heat a little bit.

    Reply
  • September 6, 2018 at 1:35 pm
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    Apple chargers from China gets very hot in just one min

    Reply
  • September 14, 2018 at 12:15 am
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    This reminds me of that line in Red Dwarf where holly asks how simple the explanation should be and the response is ‘simple enough for Lister to understand.’ Holly then replies ‘oh dear’

    This video is factually incorrect in some places and sketchy on research overall.

    Reply
  • September 18, 2018 at 2:04 pm
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    Call the transformer a "wierd box" and expect me to take you seriously?

    Reply
  • September 20, 2018 at 4:07 am
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    Incorrect. You also hired someone from Planet Money, not an electrician.

    Reply
  • September 22, 2018 at 8:18 pm
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    This video is so inaccurate in so many levels

    Reply
  • September 24, 2018 at 1:43 am
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    Nicolas Tesla is rolling in his grave.

    Reply
  • September 27, 2018 at 5:08 pm
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    The engineers were all idiots who never thought of that!!! It is sad, Vox had to be there to lay out the grid. t would have been so much better.(!)

    Reply
  • September 29, 2018 at 4:37 am
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    My Macbook charger is constantly plugged in (thanks to a horrible battery) but it never gets hot

    Reply
  • October 2, 2018 at 6:32 pm
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    To sum up the video:
    Why is your laptop charger so hot?
    Because power runs through it dummy!

    but honestly if your power adapter is so hot that you can't even touch it for more than a few seconds then you might have something wrong with it, and it could affect your laptop. You should look into it to see if its common for your model or just shut off your laptop for a few minutes to half an hour.

    Reply
  • October 17, 2018 at 4:31 pm
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    We couldn't "save energy" energy can't be destroyed or CREATED but can be converted to mass and mass can be converted to energy (e=mc²) and mass has a ton of energy. You should have said" conserving resources that help in production of electricity"not energy

    Reply
  • October 24, 2018 at 5:33 pm
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    Audrey, I love you. You are the 1 percent that understand power. Especially ac power grids! I love you! Your friendly EE!

    Reply
  • November 3, 2018 at 11:29 am
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    Because so hot you need rest your phone and charger to its hot
    You will hot your charger because yoh are charge your phone always no rest!

    Reply
  • November 14, 2018 at 3:28 am
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    I’m no electrical engineer, but the comments section was far better at explaining this than the video. The heat generation, apparently, comes from the voltage step down from the 110-120v coming from a North American outlet to the 5-10v required for most mobile devices, not from the AC-DC conversion.

    Thank you, commenters!

    Reply
  • December 10, 2018 at 9:38 pm
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    I mean really? Women…

    Reply
  • December 17, 2018 at 4:24 pm
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    Same with me, but the actual thing that plugs into into the wall, there is no brick on mine so ye

    Reply
  • December 21, 2018 at 5:47 am
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    Does it reduce game fps when laptop adapter is hot?

    Reply
  • December 26, 2018 at 7:00 pm
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    That weird box???Im out😂

    Reply
  • January 4, 2019 at 10:16 am
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    The flow of the video sounded too naïve, as if AC/DC is a new technology that needs to be demystified so much. Might work for elementary kids.

    Reply
  • January 24, 2019 at 12:56 pm
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    God her voice is soo annoying

    Reply
  • January 29, 2019 at 7:17 pm
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    vocal fry

    Reply
  • January 31, 2019 at 5:25 pm
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    A lot of comments on how this is wrong, and perhaps it is…but regardless.., THIS was so damn confusing, didn't learn a thing. so not only is it wrong its all confusing. ugh.

    Reply
  • February 4, 2019 at 4:19 am
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    Wow, this video is so naïve

    Reply
  • February 6, 2019 at 4:34 am
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    Doesn't explain how can we avoid the AC power to be no so hot. Getting another plug.. or other thing.

    Reply
  • February 11, 2019 at 5:22 pm
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    So there was this one time where my "box" exploded on an older laptop I had. That was the day I got a new computer

    Reply
  • February 14, 2019 at 2:04 pm
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    I have a charger it made my box less hot

    Reply
  • February 16, 2019 at 9:37 am
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    Beating around the bush

    Reply
  • February 20, 2019 at 5:34 am
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    no, it is hot so you can heat your snacks if they need to be warmed up again

    Reply
  • March 3, 2019 at 5:28 pm
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    Just delete the video thumbs down are enough

    Reply
  • March 24, 2019 at 4:49 pm
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    They should of asked an electrical engineer, I think they would had have a better idea of explaining it

    Reply
  • March 25, 2019 at 2:56 am
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    Tesla was a beast!!!! One of the greatest human beings that has ever existed on our Earth! He is proudly standing amongst Einstien abd Newton. We have to be greatful to him for all electronics and computers that have been developed and explored due to his acheivements

    Reply
  • March 26, 2019 at 1:40 pm
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    So this is still up

    Reply
  • March 26, 2019 at 1:41 pm
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    Take this down

    Reply
  • March 28, 2019 at 2:24 pm
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    "OK, So"….whoa, bro…..like…..wha'?

    Reply
  • March 28, 2019 at 10:08 pm
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    Why r u talking about history of electricity. Your topic should be why and how to solve the problem of what u wrote in the title not history lesson

    Reply
  • April 2, 2019 at 11:13 pm
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    Very calm and collective voices that i can listen to all day long

    Reply
  • April 8, 2019 at 1:42 pm
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    Dumb video

    Reply
  • April 11, 2019 at 6:14 pm
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    I thought it just makes us feel better((((((

    Reply
  • April 14, 2019 at 5:58 pm
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    Because its mine

    Reply
  • April 17, 2019 at 3:58 pm
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    This video is stupi, im 15 and I already learnt this in school 2 years ago…

    Reply
  • April 18, 2019 at 1:21 am
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    From an Asian student's perspective: P=W/t=UIt/t=UI

    Reply
  • April 27, 2019 at 7:48 pm
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    2 Way Magnetic Cable For Macbook & Phones!
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0M9ERPtpRO4&t=3s

    Reply
  • May 10, 2019 at 3:05 pm
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    Thomas Edison & Nikola Tesla together are the AC/DC.

    Reply
  • May 20, 2019 at 7:00 am
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    I asked my friend (who has a master's in electrical engineering from ucsd) and he said this video is completely wrong

    Reply
  • May 24, 2019 at 6:56 pm
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    Can anyone tell me should i keep my laptop charger ON when i play Games, or Should i keep it OFF and turn it ON only when the Laptop battery becomes low?.

    I have noticed that if i keep it OFF while playing then i get less Frame rate in game.
    Please reply.

    Reply
  • May 25, 2019 at 1:37 pm
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    You know what, I use cooling fan for laptop power brick.

    Reply
  • May 28, 2019 at 7:44 am
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    Lol so many comments bashing the video, like one is enough. People need to chill.

    Reply
  • May 30, 2019 at 3:37 am
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    This video is for stupid people

    Reply
  • May 31, 2019 at 7:13 pm
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    This literally makes no sense, it went off topic REAL QUICK

    It gets hot because it has to convert voltage or something along those lines

    This is why I dont use vox, so much useless and unhelpful filler

    Reply
  • June 9, 2019 at 6:30 am
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    I know this is old, but I just wanted to know if it was safe for my charger to be that hot, I didn’t need a history lesson.

    Reply
  • June 10, 2019 at 8:05 pm
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    What's wrong with my super hot box?

    Reply
  • June 29, 2019 at 5:28 pm
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    My phone charger is hot

    Reply
  • July 19, 2019 at 4:38 am
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    worthless video ever

    Reply
  • July 20, 2019 at 4:30 pm
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    If i use volt guard does my overheating battery cool down?

    Reply
  • August 1, 2019 at 9:26 pm
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    I came here for a solution and you’re taking me back to the 1800👉🏼👌

    Reply
  • August 7, 2019 at 8:02 pm
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    I expected an answer to my question….. oh wait its vox never mind.

    Reply
  • August 10, 2019 at 5:06 am
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    Can I have my 1 minutes back?

    Reply
  • September 18, 2019 at 5:47 am
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    8th grade science tells you that energy conversion and transferral has side effects such as heat.

    Reply
  • September 22, 2019 at 7:31 pm
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    Tip: speed it up to 1.25.

    Reply
  • November 16, 2019 at 6:57 pm
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    Because it works out. badum tsss

    Reply
  • December 3, 2019 at 7:42 pm
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    This happen but it Brun

    Reply

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