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I work for a a Public Utility in IT Asset Management, and we have been buying these auto air adapters (Dell's description) from Dell for our field workers. Each one comes with an adapter that goes between the cigarette lighter adapter for cars, and an unknown type of electrical socket that I have never seen before:

adapter

Adapter and cigarette lighter adapter

It has a four contact input:

adapter input

One of my co workers suggested it might be for aircraft use? I would figure it's for either General Aviation Aircraft, Helicopters or Business aircraft, if it's for aircraft.

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  • $\begingroup$ I've never seen anything like that, but that doesn't mean much in isolation. Are you asking about charging from a passenger seat in the back of an airliner, or while riding in something small like general aviation Cessna/Beech/Cirrus/Piper/etc, or in helicoptors, or riding in something higher-end, like King Airs or business jets etc? A more specific target in mind may attract answers from those most knowledgeable about those particular aircraft. $\endgroup$
    – Ralph J
    Oct 30, 2022 at 20:57
  • $\begingroup$ Not entirely sure, I would suspect not an airliner, since they appear to have something more consumer friendly (based on a different question) like 110v outlets. I would figure it's for either General Aviation Aircraft, Helicopters or Business aircraft, if it's for aircraft. $\endgroup$
    – Davidw
    Oct 30, 2022 at 21:19
  • $\begingroup$ It appears to be this product. The description is not enlightening. dell.com/en-us/shop/dell-auto-air-adapter-90w/apd/450-aelt/… $\endgroup$ Oct 31, 2022 at 2:50

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This is an EmPower Classic connector. It supplies 15 V at up to 75 W and saw limited availability on some aircraft, particularly in business/1st class. As far as I can tell, it's almost entirely obsolete/defunct and no longer promoted. It's been superseded by universal AC plugs and USB ports.

SeatGuru claims to track seats with this connector but with 5 minutes of poking around I wasn't able to find any flights where the EmPower Classic connector is marked available.

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  • $\begingroup$ The intent of the proprietary plug was to limit use of the outlet to approved devices. I have an older version of the Dell car/plane power brick and the label says it's DO-160 compliant. $\endgroup$
    – user71659
    Nov 1, 2022 at 0:43

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