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Flipit lets you charge devices from outlets that are in use

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October 3, 2011

The Flipit is a charging device that draws power from electrical outlets that are already ...

The Flipit is a charging device that draws power from electrical outlets that are already in use

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Perhaps you've encountered a travel scenario like this before ... you arrive at your hotel room and go to plug in your mobile phone, only to discover that the bedside lamp and clock radio are already occupying both plug-ins of the most conveniently-located AC wall outlet. While there might be room on another outlet, it could involve your having to squeeze in behind the TV, or leaving your phone someplace where you might forget it. If you had a Flipit USB charger, however, you could draw power from that first outlet, while still leaving the light and the radio plugged in.

The Flipit works via a flat conductive "power tab," which folds underneath the main unit for storage. When you want to use it to charge your mobile device, you fold out the tab, unplug one of the existing appliances from its outlet, run its prongs through the holes on the tab, then plug it back into the outlet. While the appliance will still receive a sufficient operating current, the Flipit will draw from it, providing 1 Amp of electricity through its USB-out port. A standard USB cable will convey that current to your device.

Most mobile devices are compatible with the charger, although the iPad is one notable exception. The Flipit is available on Amazon for US$15.99. There are presently no models for non-North American style plug-ins.

Source: 7 Gadgets

About the Author
Ben Coxworth An experienced freelance writer, videographer and television producer, Ben's interest in all forms of innovation is particularly fanatical when it comes to human-powered transportation, film-making gear, environmentally-friendly technologies and anything that's designed to go underwater. He lives in Edmonton, Alberta, where he spends a lot of time going over the handlebars of his mountain bike, hanging out in off-leash parks, and wishing the Pacific Ocean wasn't so far away.   All articles by Ben Coxworth
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14 Comments

Or you could spend less than half as much on an outlet splitter.

Slowburn
3rd October, 2011 @ 11:35 pm PDT

Almost two years after its introduction, people are still spreading the myth that the iPad somehow won't work on regular USB chargers? A 1A (5W) charger like this can't charge an iPad while you're using it because it uses about that much power in operation. But it absolutely can charge an iPad if you turn it off. The only time you need the iPad's own 10W charger is if you want to use it and charge it at the same time.

Gadgeteer
4th October, 2011 @ 04:52 am PDT

Not the safest of bits of equipment - it's the equivalent of poking a couple of bare wires in with the plug.

The safer way is, as Slowburn says, to use a double adapter.

ivan4
4th October, 2011 @ 06:17 am PDT

One that makes me say "why didn't I think of that?" Great idea and easy to adapt for other countries. I'm sure they could print a sheet with circuits suitable for most countries on the same plastic...

Of course the load can only be minimal, you're not going to run a hairdrier off this...

agulesin
4th October, 2011 @ 07:06 am PDT

@Slowburn - but you still have to carry a charger and forgetting a splitter is easier than forgetting something with a cable on it...

@ivan4 I'm sure the design is safe - there's no exposed conductors...

agulesin
4th October, 2011 @ 07:42 am PDT

It does not look unsafe to me. Just not the most cost effective way of getting the capability.

Slowburn
4th October, 2011 @ 07:48 am PDT

I'd have to go with the splitter. I already have a couple spares, and if I need one on the road I can always pick one up at Walgreens or Walmart for a couple bucks.

William H Lanteigne
4th October, 2011 @ 11:50 am PDT

Or you could spend $15 and get 5 of the Liberator cords from Ziotek and others.

http://www.amazon.com/Ziotek-ZT1212518-Liberator-Through-5-Pack/dp/B003YFIRR6/ref=pd_cp_hi_pw_1

For travel I take the cheapest and therefore the lightest power strip I can find and then put one adapter plug on it for an outlet. Advantage of the $4 plastic power strip is that I can then plug in 4-5 devices without needing a special adapter and the power strip is on a flat surface. Often the available outlets are in a location where it is not practical to plug in a device for recharging as when it is behind the headboard of a bed or in the bathroom over the sink or in the side of a ceiling lamp.

Calson
4th October, 2011 @ 11:51 am PDT

There's these great things called power strips, I don't know if you've heard of them.

This seems like a terminal case of over-thinking something and making it more complicated.

Carson Kerr
4th October, 2011 @ 02:10 pm PDT

@Gadgeteer

The USB 2.0 spec is limited to 500ma per USB buss. Most computers have two USB buss's.

If you have the iPad plugged into one USB port and you are sharing that buss with a second usb device, like a thumb drive, there will not be enough power to charge the iPad. And if you attempt to do so, you run the risk of frying your motherboard.

Just sayin

Ed
4th October, 2011 @ 02:59 pm PDT

agulesin, the only two countries I can see this working in are the US and Australia.

The UK plugs have an insulated section to stop anyone getting their fingers on the pins before they are disconnected. The European sockets are recessed for the same reason and most other countries follow those two standards.

The other thing is, what happens when someone pulls on the USB cable and the plug gets partly levered out of the socket and a young child investigates - zap.

ivan4
4th October, 2011 @ 04:13 pm PDT

Much simpler solution would be the stackable power plugs like millwalki drill pack chargers use now. Full power connection, stack two or three as you need, as long as you don't overload the house wiring.

kellory
4th October, 2011 @ 04:54 pm PDT

agulesin - October 4, 2011 @ 07:42 am PDT

If your not bright enough to always leave the charger plugged into the splitter when your done charging your device us a dab of Gorilla Glue so they can not come apart.

Slowburn
4th October, 2011 @ 07:28 pm PDT

I agree on the factor. when they said use an outlet that is in use and I saw the first image I pictured it as able to slide in behind without unplugging the current user. If I have to unplug the currently plugged in cord to add and remove this a standard socket splitter would be better.

If however they opened those holes into groove so it could slide in behind it might be worth a couple extra bucks to avoid the headaches.

VirtualGathis
13th October, 2011 @ 12:05 pm PDT
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