USB outlets

gwloloDecember 31, 2012

In our remodel, we have some outlets, where it would be useful to have USB along with or even instead of regular outlets. I see some outlets on the web but the feedback is sketchy. Any advice or experience would be great? Will the USB outlets have enough power to charge a iPad or a cell phone in a time equal to the plug or faster? Which brand is worth considering.

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Ron Natalie

Many of these are capable of charging / power the iPad/phone at the rate the device can accept it. It likely be any faster than the charger than came with the device can.

I don't have recommendations for brands. Make sure however if your jurisdiction requires TR receptacles that you use one that meets this requirement.

    Bookmark   December 31, 2012 at 7:46AM
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While it's great that some mfgs have agreed to use USB and mini/sub-mini USB connectors to charge devices (but still create proprietary cables/connectors through internal pull up/pull down resistors) it it really necessary to have USB 5VDC connectors built into your outlets?

Use the wall-wort that came with your device. Once there is an agreement on inductive charging standards, which hopefully will happen soon, those USB charging connections will just be an irritant when you want to plug something in.

    Bookmark   December 31, 2012 at 9:43PM
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My wife and I just bought two of these after doing some comparative research. They are more expensive than some, but have been great so far. I can charge two USB devices and still make use of both standard outlets. They seem to charge my iPhone much faster than before and have enough juice to charge my iPad, elimininating the need for the additional adapter. We're buying more now to put in our guest rooms.

You'll no doubt come across a cheaper variant with the spring loaded gates covering the USB outlets when not in use. All our research shows these are bad news due to the way they are constructed, cutting off power to the outlet unless your USB plus is large enough to hold the gate open fully. That's why we opted for these instead.

Hope that helps, I can answer more questions if you have them.

Here is a link that might be useful: FastMac USB outlets

    Bookmark   January 5, 2013 at 11:47AM
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I just changed our an outlet in our bedroom for a Leviton USB outlet with 2 USB ports on top and a regular outlet below. I used a 3 slot faceplate, and on each side added a device holder, also by Leviton. Makes a great little charging station for our phones! No extra prep is needed for the holders, they attach to the faceplate. If I didn't have so much trouble getting the wires out of he existing outlet it probably would have only taken me about 15 minutes to install.

    Bookmark   January 12, 2013 at 9:17PM
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I just saw some reports from CES 2013 that RCA come out with some new versions. These were plug in types but have options to support the various charging amperage that the different vendors are standardizing on (Apple, Blackberry, Samsung, etc.)

Also saw some new 22 watt versions that can charge 4 devices without any vampire usage when there are no devices attached.


Here is a link that might be useful: RCA USB outlets

    Bookmark   January 13, 2013 at 3:35PM
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I'm building a new home and would love advice on how to best approach the wiring for the rooms. Here is what I'm trying to accomplish:

1) Cable TV (HDMI) in Great Room, 4 bedrooms and outdoor room
2) Wireless internet
3) Surround sound in great room for TV and audio in the ceilings and outdoor room.

I'd really like to do the work myself. I have a friend who just had this done and it cost him around $3,000 to run cat 5 and audio wire. Below are pictures of what he had done. I'm trying to accomplish the same thing he has paid to have installed and I posted these pictures as examples.

Many thanks for your opinions.

    Bookmark   January 13, 2013 at 6:08PM
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I much prefer the RCA (Audiovox) adapters, from the link posted by sacto_diane that simply plug in, as opposed to the hard wired outlets.

While somewhat of a convenience for consumers, what this is really all about is that mfgs have found they could shave off the cost of including AC adapters for their products simply by saying they can be recharged through any USB connector. My MP3 player wants me to run my notebook computer for hours just to recharge it's battery?!

USB was designed as a PC communication interface, whose protocol could also provide limited DC power to the connected device, basically for communications and later for limited power applications - it was not meant to be charger circuit.

    Bookmark   January 13, 2013 at 7:47PM
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jbc1-jax, while your post has nothing to do with this thread, I assume it's meant to be a joke - if not, your friend and you need some serious help with any future low-voltage projects. :)

    Bookmark   January 13, 2013 at 8:00PM
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Thanks for the RCA link. I think we are going to go that route as well. Seems much simpler than the built in USB outlets.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2013 at 12:11AM
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Yeah, we saw these too, but for us, we preferred in the wall in order to not have to move the nightstands out from the wall more than necessary. Plus I have a fan and reading lamp plugged in. The RCA versions force you to give up one of the standard outlets. In-wall gave us two outlets and two USB ports. Installation took about 5 minutes, and the FastMacs have a polarity mismatch led indicator, so you can't foul it up.

Your circumstances may be different, but I did want to highlight the pros and reasoning behind our decision for others finding this thread.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2013 at 12:42AM
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I just installed an outlet from Cooper Wiring (purchased from Lowe's) that has two AC outlets and two USB sockets between them. I tried it last night and am to charge two iPads simultaneously, which is very nice.

Here is a link that might be useful: Picture without faceplate

    Bookmark   February 3, 2013 at 5:40PM
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    Bookmark   February 3, 2013 at 10:22PM
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I think they're a cool idea, but they will be powered on, all the time. People talk about "vampire power," devices drawing power when they're switched off...these are going to draw power for their entire service life. You can't unplug them.

Still, they're cool.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2013 at 2:14AM
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