Monday, April 08, 2013

Keeping your Stuff Charged

The kitchen counter or the table next to your bed can resemble a plate of spaghetti with wires of all lengths and a pile of different chargers required for each of your portable digital devices.  Kindles, iPhones, tablets and MP3 players need to suckle on the power grid almost every night so when you need them the next day they are ready to serve.

A few years ago the European Union folks got together and developed standards for chargers for mobile phones and other portable digital devices.  You may have noticed that your new cell phone (other than Apple) uses a standard micro USB connector and that most of your other devices use the same connection.  The hope was that drawer full of chargers and cables incompatible with your new phone would be a thing of the past.

While we are not there yet, there are a few new devices that can help clean up that tangle of wires and chargers on the kitchen counter. 

You might like to replace one of the AC outlets in your kitchen with one that has both a 110v standard outlet and a USB port.  The later provides the correct voltage and amperage required to charge most any mobile device.   Instead of needing different chargers for each device, you just plug one end of the USB cable into the phone and the other end into the wall socket.  Since many have two USB ports you can charge two devices at the same time.

The special outlets are available at Home Depot, Lowes and other big box home goods stores.  They run from about $15 - $20 and install just like any 110v AC receptacle and will work for most any device other than some Apple products.

Since some devices, like the iPad, require a bit more amperage for charging, you need to go a different route which is a bit more expensive but really easier to install.   One device is the TargusPlug-N-Power Station which plugs into the standard wall outlet covering it with a slightly larger 1 inch thick plate.  The device has two standard AC plugs and two USB ports with enough amperage to charge your iPad.  Other devices requiring less amperage can still be charged safely.  To find where to buy one of these higher powered models just go on line and search for “iPad chargers.”


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