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Power2U offers USB charging straight from the wall

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January 9, 2012

The Power2U AC/USB Wall Outlet lets you charge devices via a USB Cable, directly from the ...

The Power2U AC/USB Wall Outlet lets you charge devices via a USB Cable, directly from the wall

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While it's certainly convenient that most mobile devices can be charged via one of your computer's USB ports, what happens if all of the ports are in use? Even if they're not, you don't always want your devices and their cables cluttering up your desk. You can buy USB adapters for wall outlets, but then you end up needing to find an available outlet, and subsequently occupying it (in older homes especially, unused AC outlets are often something of a rarity). Now, there's an alternative to using your computer or an adapter to charge your gizmos - it's the Newer Technology Power2U AC/USB Wall Outlet.

The outlet can reportedly be easily user-installed, in place of an existing wall outlet on a 15-Amp circuit. It incorporates the usual two AC receptacles, but it also features two USB 3.0/2.0 ports. All four plug-ins can be used at once, with a power-saving feature delivering only enough power to the USB ports necessary for charging the attached device.

When a device is unplugged, a spring-loaded safety shutter snaps into place, both protecting the USB port and completely shutting off its power supply - so, there's no "vampire power" draw when it's not in use.

The Power2U outlet is compatible with all models of iPhone, iPad and USB-chargeable iPods, along with Android devices and pretty much anything else that can be charged using a USB 1.1 or higher cable. It's available for US$27.99 via Other World Computing.

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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15 Comments

Only for American wall sockets!

Henry Van Campa
9th January, 2012 @ 12:44 pm PST

Nice idea. But China will just copy this and sell it 90% cheaper using political prisoner labour and design it so everyone who isn't living in the 'US' of A can buy it.

This is why American inventors always lose.

SpaceBagels
9th January, 2012 @ 07:20 pm PST

Oh get over it Henry, you ever see me whine for European only stuff? And just to make sure to get your undies in a bunch, I am gonna order FOUR, yes 4 of them,, BAWAHH,, I am gonna have USB outlets in the living room, kitchen, bedroom, and yes, I will be able to charge my camera,,, ahhem, yes in the bathroom, wo. wo, wo, phew, OMG, sigh, breathing hard, yeah sarcasm

Bill Bennett
9th January, 2012 @ 09:07 pm PST

If I have kids, I would rather have them plug their usb toys into a computer than to plug it into a jack so close to the AC main, especially one that is not GFCI protected.

MrGadget
9th January, 2012 @ 10:10 pm PST

Why not just keep using your laptop or desktop - unless you need more than 0.5 amp output this works perfectly, and your machine is designed to do this.

Facebook User
10th January, 2012 @ 02:09 am PST

@Bill Bennet - Before you order, make certain that the circuit where you intend to use the device is not wired to a 20 AMP circuit breaker (common in newer homes).

@MrGadget - You can make the socket GCFI by upgrading the circuit breaker.

@Michael JR - Many devices plug into USB to recharge. For example, phones, tablets, and remotes.

flink
10th January, 2012 @ 04:08 am PST

CAUTION!!!

If your socket is a 20 AMP device (i.e., if it has one hole that looks like a "T"), you CANNOT safely use a Power2U device. It will fit, but if there is a overload on that line, the extra 5 amps that the circuit breaker allows will fry the 15 amp Power2U device and can easily start a fire.

The sockets that are shown in the Power2U FAQ are 20 amp devices. Those are the type that you can't replace with a Power2U device.

flink
10th January, 2012 @ 04:33 am PST

Don't listen to these guys, that's not true. The plugs are 15 AMP plugs, and it isn't a pass through device. There is nothing that prevents you from putting this on a 20 amp circuit, you can't though plug in a 20 amp device. That's why the device has a 5-15 NEMA receptacle.

I do think the snap close off switch is neat, so long as you remove the attaching cable. I think that having a cell charger cord dangling permanently might be more the use case, but it's a cool option.

noriega
10th January, 2012 @ 09:17 am PST

Perhaps you haven't heard of the U-socket? These have been selling at retailers for over a year. This is just another same priced version.

Kim Smed
10th January, 2012 @ 11:17 am PST

Looks like a better version of Cooper Industries TR7740, which was announced

last July (IIRC). I've got a couple of those waiting to be installed. The Cooper product has an LED to indicate "charging" (but the spec sheet fails to comment on "vampire" draw).

Stan Sieler
10th January, 2012 @ 12:21 pm PST

@ Henry Van Campa;

Get over yourself. These things have to start somewhere. Not everything is centered in Europe.

JMOdom
10th January, 2012 @ 01:51 pm PST

Lots of misinformation here, including in the article. These don't provide "USB 3.0/2.0 ports." They provide USB power. That's all. There are no data lines. They are not full USB ports.

Gadgeteer
11th January, 2012 @ 03:50 pm PST

I like the CurrentWerks' versions better. They charge the iPad at the maximum rate (10W)

kingofkickflip
12th January, 2012 @ 05:46 pm PST

Kim Smed and kingofkickflip...BIG difference in ours...it's the ONLY UL Listed device of its type. Putting a non UL listed device like others on the market is a VERY dangerous thing to do in a home...not to mention it can cause financial ruin if a fire is traced back to such a device. Beware imitators or those that mislead about UL....if it doesn't have that UL logo....avoid!

OWC Grant
17th January, 2012 @ 01:31 pm PST

Why can't all adapters have a "spring-loaded safety shutter" so they shutdown when not in use. Or I suppose some electronics to detect use would be better.

iWonder
20th January, 2012 @ 09:27 am PST
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