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Plug with USB?

 
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Has anyone used something like this at home?



I want to make it easy for me to charge USB devices overnight without creating more light in the bedroom, and I wondered if this might be the answer.  I'm renewing the plugs anyway.

But... would the plugs get in the way of each other?

Is there enough surge protection for the gadget?

Are there better options?
 
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I installed one at home so that I could have a wall-mounted Google Home device without cables hanging down the wall.



I haven't had any issue with using the two USB connectors and 2 AC power connectors at the same time.  I don't know about built-in surge suppression or residual current draw from the USB circuitry when no devices are connected.

The outlet is quite thick - make sure that the electrical box where you are thinking of installing it is deep enough (especially if it is a junction point and there are several wires terminating in the box.
 
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I've used these things, in hotels, and my experience has been pretty good. As long as you're not plugging things in, that have the huge box-plug, like some electronics have, they seem to work beautifully.
 
r ranson
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That's good to know.

Another thought was to install a regular plug and get something like this.

https://www.amazon.ca/gp/product/B07L49Q2ZQ/ref=ox_sc_act_title_1?smid=A1DB7AYXNAHVJI&psc=1

But it looks like this has a light.

I also thought one that plugs into both top and bottom would be better, but I can't find those anymore.
 
Ron McLeod
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You can solve the light problem with a bit of black electrical tape -- I do that when travelling.  Ambient light in hotel rooms is a big problem for me when I travel - so many devices with glowing lights.

I have bought those types of outlet expanders in the past, and have had them fail when plugging in high current draw devices such as iron, electric heater, vacuum, etc.  I guess if it was only for computer/monitor/lamp/etc, you might not have problems.
 
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Hello R!

I finished off my basement a few years ago and I did the wiring myself.  Those outlets are quite simple to hook up and they go great in convenient places.  I would look out for the higher voltage ones as those are faster chargers.

But they were not cheap.  I bought mine at Lowe’s and they were something like around $45/outlet!!  That was an outrageous price.  Maybe the costs have come down but my suggestion is to only put them in places you know that you are likely to use them.  We put our two next to a built-in bench.

Good luck!

Eric
 
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I am not convinced by them… tricky to replace when they fail. And they will be outdated in a year or two when the USB specification is advanced again. I think you will find far better USB chargers that plug into a socket.
 
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Sebastian Köln wrote:I am not convinced by them… tricky to replace when they fail. And they will be outdated in a year or two when the USB specification is advanced again. I think you will find far better USB chargers that plug into a socket.




I agree; I like keeping devices separate as much as possible, so only the part that has failed needs replacing.

USB is indeed likely to change several times before you wear out the AC plug.

And, AC plugs are entirely inert devices. No power draw. No failure points beyond physical wear and damage.

The USB plugs, not so much.


If I wanted wall-mount USB, I would give it a dedicated plate.

I am more inclined to put a USB adapter somewhere that a bunch of USB cables can stay connected, so when you want to connect something, the cable is there.
 
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D Nikolls wrote: AC plugs are entirely inert devices. No power draw. No failure points beyond physical wear and damage.

The USB plugs, not so much.



That answers another big question.

Personally, I don't like the way the USB plug looks.

I'm thinking maybe a short cabled PowerBar with USB option instead.  It looks to be the same price as the usb outlet
 
Eric Hanson
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Sebastian, D, R,

I don’t know what the wear qualities of the USB plug will be, but I am fairly certain that the power specifications will remain compatible.  The USB standard has a consistent history of backwards compatibility so personally I am not concerned on that front.  As far as getting it actually hooked up, it was no different than any other ac plug.  

For my part, I did not mind the appearance, and there are outlets that have two USB plugs right between the ac plugs.

I do agree that a little USB power strip is a quick, easy and relatively cheap option.  I actually like having them.  We can sit on our little bench, read a book and charge the phone.  My biggest problem is that the outlet was not cheap—around $45.  Therefore we only put in two.

Eric
 
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Any idea if that is pulling current all the time, whether you are using it or not?  I have power strips on which I can switch off individual outlets to avoid vampire loads.
 
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Eric Hanson wrote:I don’t know what the wear qualities of the USB plug will be, but I am fairly certain that the power specifications will remain compatible.  The USB standard has a consistent history of backwards compatibility so personally I am not concerned on that front.  As far as getting it actually hooked up, it was no different than any other ac plug.



The current "standard chargers" supply 2A at 5V. However there is a huge list of extensions to allow for higher voltage and current including detecting whether the cable can support that as well. Initially only low power devices used USB for their power, but with the ability to support more power, devices with more demands are also using it… So one can end up plugging a device into a socket that has no chance of supplying enough power to it.
 
D Nikolls
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Phil Gardener wrote:Any idea if that is pulling current all the time, whether you are using it or not?  I have power strips on which I can switch off individual outlets to avoid vampire loads.



It must draw a hair, but the vampire load should be really, really small.
 
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By the way, when I purchased a small device recently, the salesman told me to only charge it from my computer USB port. He said that reports of their device burning out or failing seem to happen when people charge directly on a fast charger. So I guess not all USB ports and devices are exactly equal!
 
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A lot of good info here. All I have to add is when I updated the wiring in our farmhouse a few years ago I put in two of these in the kitchen and it has been great. I have not had any issues with them failing. They are expensive though, as Eric pointed out. I bought mine at Home Depot and paid roughly $22 each for them. I did wire mine in on the protected side of a GFCI circuit.
While I do like the idea of having separate parts for ease of replacement, these are designed to be installed where it's not convenient to replace, so they are typically made of better stuff. That's my observation.
 
D Nikolls
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Rebecca Norman wrote:By the way, when I purchased a small device recently, the salesman told me to only charge it from my computer USB port. He said that reports of their device burning out or failing seem to happen when people charge directly on a fast charger. So I guess not all USB ports and devices are exactly equal!



Huh. That's a new one to me.

Seems like either the fast charger is providing an unacceptably high voltage, presumably as a cheap shitty way to avoid excessive sag from high draw devices..

Or, their device was improperly designed and tries to pull mre current than it can handle..
 
r ranson
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There was a news article last week about some new phone won't work with regular USB cables even though it has a USB micro plug?  I wasn't paying attention to what that was.
 
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We have had a lot of device-end plugs come and go, and will likely have more some day, though I haven't heard of any in the pipeline yet. Power-end hasn't had much competition though, I expect we will be seeing type-A for another 30 years since its "good enough" for most things and the industrial supply chain is in place.
The problem is what voltage is running through it. Most devices can safely charge from whatever, its part of the USB charge/communication chip. But for phones and newer laptops/tablets there are the fast chargers that become necessary once you start relying on them. For all kinds of low power USB stuff an outlet combo plug will work fine, but I wouldn't trust them to be future proof enough for what you might want to charge down the road.
USB_2.0_and_3.0_connectors.png
[Thumbnail for USB_2.0_and_3.0_connectors.png]
By Milos634 - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=42694553
 
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I have one of those combination outlets and the USB plugs failed. I only got to use them a couple times. I’m keeping them separate next time.
 
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I just built a tiny house and I used these "AC + USB" outlets in a few strategic locations.

They are just as easy to install as a regular receptacle. If/when the USB smarts fail, they are just as easy to replace as a regular receptacle. Not a big problem at all.

The phone-end of the USB cable keeps changing (micro-USB, USB-C, or Apple's Firewire(?) connector); however, the charger-end (wall-end) has been USB-A for a long time. That doesn't seem to be changing, and even if it does, these receptacles are easy to change.

I find them really handy. I have 2 AC outlets ready to be used, AND I can charge two USB devices. That's just handy.

Note: They sell standard-charge and rapid-charge versions of the USB-receptacles. I strongly recommend the rapid-charge version.

My only possible-negative on these AC+USB receptacles is that the USB circuitry is always on, at least a little, even when in Idle (not-charging). That's a small phantom load that your cannot switch-off. THat's one advantage of separate charging bricks (you can unplug them). Is that advantage worth it to you? To me, the convenience was worth the phantom loads.
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