Replace your AC outlets with this dual USB charger


#1

Originally published at: http://boingboing.net/2017/07/31/replace-your-ac-outlets-with-t-2.html


#2

Love these!

(h/t Reddit https://www.reddit.com/r/funny/comments/6qey7n/spent_the_afternoon_installing_these_my_wife/)


#3

The question is, what is the quality of the transformer that delivers DC to those USB ports? Is it going to kill your device? Is it going to kill you with a shock? Or is it just going to set your house on fire?

Was it actually built to meet EU/North American safety standards, or is it just some cheap crap tossed together by prison labour somewhere in China?

With a regular transformer, at least you can replace it if you suspect it’s dodgy. A bit more complicated if the damn thing is built into the wall outlet. I would stay far, far away from gadgets like this unless someone does a teardown and a power waveform analysis to show whether the transformer built onto the plug is any good or not.


#4

I found a picture of the back of it, and it appears to be UL listed, though I can’t be sure it’s the same plug. It’s definitely not the unmitigated pile that was torn to shreds here a couple of weeks back (which was why I went and looked). That one just had some janky spring steel pegs that contacted the existing connections on a standard plug. This at least seems to be a whole-plug replacement.

I’d still probably go for one of the APC or TrippLite multi-outlet + USB doohickeys if I were going to do that though.


#5

But, but, but…

It is only the white outlet that is available at this price. I’m not all that style-conscious but white would clash with everything else in my mid-60s house. The other colors are $ more.


#6

The Amazon description says that it is UL-certified. Yeah, I know, descriptions don’t always accurately describe the product but that is what they claim.


#7

The thing about UL listings is, the manufacturers lie. Maybe the wires are UL listed. Maybe the AC plug is UL listed. Is the whole enchilada, including the transformers for the USB ports, UL listed? who knows.

Also, lots of dodgy crap is UL listed. IIRC, It’s not a guarantee of quality, just of (minimum) safety. There’s big gap between “probably won’t kill you or catch fire” and “will not try to murder your phone.”

The price makes me instantly suspicious, because I know it’s hard to buy a good quality plain jane USB transformer for that much.


#8

Just so I can replace them with USB-C outlets in 6 months?


#9

The price wouldn’t really worry me specifically, but yeah, as to manufacturers lying about UL certification, I definitely get that. The APC dingus I was turned onto in the last BB thread isn’t really that much more:
https://www.amazon.com/APC-6-Outlet-Protector-SurgeArrest-P6WU2/dp/B01MSW5RNM/ref=sr_1_3?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1501534061&sr=1-3&keywords=apc+usb+outlet

There are also TrippLite and Belkin ones with various little features like independently articulated plugs and such. They all just plug in over the standard outlet and are all sub-$30.


#10

If one really did replace all umpteen electrical outlets in one’s home with these, what kind of passive load have we totted up?


#11

I wondered the same when I didn’t see a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) and researched a little more, as I’m looking forward to a kitchen and bathroom remodel.


#12

Surprisingly little: https://www.howtogeek.com/231886/tested-should-you-unplug-chargers-when-youre-not-using-them/

Eventually — with six separate chargers plugged in, filling up the power strip’s electrical outlets — we had a solid, measurable reading.
The combined total vampire power draw of this power bar, an iPhone 6 charger, an iPad Air charger, a MacBook Air (2013) charger, a Surface Pro 2 charger, a Samsung Chromebook charger, and a Nexus 7 charger read 0.3 watts.


#13

The better question is, how long will this standard be in use. USB-C is becoming increasingly more popular (along with USB-PD instead of proprietary solutions such as QuickCharge 3.0 and below), there’s already a limited benefit that’s growing smaller as connectors progress. And to add, what actual surge suppression is possible? I’m guessing none, and I wouldn’t risk my electronics to it.

EDIT: Sorry, accidentally clicked on the wrong person to reply to.


#14

I’d rather spend a little more on a brand that makes electrical outlets - Leviton or Lutron.


#15

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