Are there any cheap, reliable electronics shops in Washington DC?
November 20, 2008 10:09 AM   Subscribe

Travel with Electronics to Washington DC filter: are there any reliable, inexpensive electronics shops in D.C. to find an AC-to-USB converter?

My wife and I are going to D.C. for Thanksgiving week, and we are bringing our music players along. She has a Creative Zen Vision:M and I have an iPod Classic. Neither came with wall chargers, and in my last-minute efforts to find something to charge our music players, I turned to Circuit City in hopes of finding things on sale due to that whole bankruptcy thing. Alas, things looked to be at "normal price," so I took note of what I found and went back home to check other price options.

I found the slightly shady looking NexxTech USB Wall Charger for $25, and the Griffin PowerDuo Universal for $39. Amazon carries the latter for $27, but we leave on Saturday, so I either ship it to my sister-in-law out there and hope it arrives in time, buy it locally and relax, or try to find it in DC.

We're bringing my wife's laptop computer, but as much fun as it would be to plug it in every time we need to recharge our players, I know wall adapters would require less unpacking and repacking, and they should charge faster than the USB jack.

I hesitate to buy the cheaper model because I've read a few reviews where AC-to-USB adapters end up bricking the music player. I'm cheap, not completely foolish.
posted by filthy light thief to Shopping (8 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
If it was me just look up Best Buy and see which store is closest.
posted by stbalbach at 10:33 AM on November 20, 2008

The Radioshack near me (about 1.5 miles NW of the White House) has this and this in stock. As long as you make sure the voltage of the charger isn't greater than the MP3 player can handle, you'll be ok.
posted by longdaysjourney at 10:40 AM on November 20, 2008

There is an Apple Store at the Pentagon City Mall, which is right off the Yellow Line at Pentagon City Station (about 5-10 minute from downtown D.C.). The Apple Store carries the standard USB wall charger for $29. Not sure if it will work with the Creative player, but it is standard USB, so you'd think it should.

There are two Best Buys in D.C.: One right off the metro at Tenleytown Station, and one right off the metro at Columbia Heights Station (in a complex that also houses a Target). Depending on where you are in town, they're both ridiculously convenient.
posted by General Malaise at 10:44 AM on November 20, 2008

If you're looking for metro-accessible stores, there is a Target right next to the Columbia Heights metro stop (Green and Yellow) and an Apple store in the Pentagon City Mall, as well as a Sony store that might or might not have what you're looking for (Blue and Yellow). Otherwise, there are mass-market electronics stores all over the place.

I've had very good luck shipping things to DC; seems to be faster than other places I've lived. So that could definitely be an option too, especially with the backup laptop-as-charger.
posted by charmcityblues at 10:46 AM on November 20, 2008

Most phone stores should have an AC-to-USB option, too, and there's a ton of those around.
posted by inigo2 at 10:51 AM on November 20, 2008

There are Radio Shacks all over downtown; the closest one I know to a Metro is across the street from the Arch at Gallery Place/Chinatown.

There is also a Best Buy at Pentagon City, across from Marshalls in the little enclosed mall opposite from Pentagon City Fashion Center.
posted by brownpau at 12:39 PM on November 20, 2008

Thanks for all the info! I've gone and made it a moot point - I went to the local apple store, and found the Belkin Mini Surge Protector for $25. But if this fails for some reason, or I'm in need of more technology, y'all have me covered. Thanks again!

(Sidebar: the local Apple Store doesn't have cash registers or stationary employees - some folks have holstered barcode scanners / credit card readers, and it pulled my email address from my Itunes Store account. This is new and weird to me.)
posted by filthy light thief at 1:07 PM on November 20, 2008

Addendum to follow-up: the Mini-Surge Protector seems to charge USB items really slowly, from my limited use of the item. I'll test it more later.
posted by filthy light thief at 8:58 AM on December 21, 2008

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