August 15, 2012 7:24 AM   Subscribe

I'm trying to find a USB hub with at *least* 4 ports that will charge all my devices as a standalone charging station, not plugged into a computer. It is difficult to distinguish from product descriptions which devices expect to have a computer attached.

So I thought I was so smart, reconfigured my desk so it was computer stuff only and moved all the stuff that just needed recharging to the front hallway, plugged into my USB hub which was plugged into the wall. I only had a couple of outlets available and not much room for a power strip, so this seemed ideal.

Except my Nook Color did not charge at all, after being plugged in overnight. Hrm. Nooks are evidently like iPads in that they require more power than is standard.

So can someone tell me which hub can function as a standalone charger, with the possibility of providing more than the standard amount of charge to at least one port? I will have plugged in cables for:

Nook Color
Kindle keyboard
Zune HD AV Dock
Motorola DEFY XT (soon)

Although I doubt I will have all the actual devices plugged in simultaneously at any time. Probably just 2 at a time.

If I could mount this permanently to the bottom of a shelf it would be a bonus, but I can approximate that with adhesive if it's not designed that way.

You'd think there would be more of a market for multiport chargers now that everyone has several devices, but they are remarkably hard to find.
posted by timepiece to Technology (11 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
I got one of these. Only catch is they only supply 250mA of current, which means that ipads will say Not Charging when plugged in and on, but they're not telling the whole truth. There isn't enough power for the display and charge the device, so if you put it to sleep, it will charge up (but at a much slower rate).
posted by Arthur Dent at 7:36 AM on August 15, 2012

This would be the mac daddy of the chargers that you could use, but what about something like this that is probably a heap more affordable, or something like this too.
posted by deezil at 7:53 AM on August 15, 2012

Any powered hub (comes with AC adapter) can function as a standalone charger. It's the charging configuration of your Nook that's giving you trouble.

Your Nook is looking for a resistor combination across cable pins which tells it how much current to draw. iDevices do this, too.

This is the official charging cable (is it the one you are using now?)... it's not that it requires more power, it's that it's looking for a sign that it is connected to an "official" charger.

If you're the hackin' type, as I am, cut a standard micro USB cable open and short the data lines as described here, plug your Nook cable into it, and your Nook will charge again. According to the post a standard micro USB cable will also work. I would be watchful the first few times I charged it with this method.
posted by fake at 8:44 AM on August 15, 2012

I do have the "official" Nook USB cable, so I don't understand why it isn't charging if any powered hub will do. I have a Nook wall charger, I'm just trying to get my wall warts down to 2 (one item isn't USB).

If it makes a difference, I purchased my hub in January 2008, I don't know if that means it's outdated or what.
posted by timepiece at 8:57 AM on August 15, 2012

Any powered hub (comes with AC adapter) can function as a standalone charger.

This is not true. Most powered hubs will not source any current at all unless connected to a host PC that switches on power for the ports. You will need a hub that is specially designed as a charger as several people have suggested above.
posted by JackFlash at 9:15 AM on August 15, 2012 [1 favorite]

So, the GWC HU2x40 looks like it might work, right? - sadly, no reviews and I can't find it on any other sites.

That Converge hub would be awesome if it weren't white. That thing would have fingerprints and black cat hair stuck all over it in no time.
posted by timepiece at 10:00 AM on August 15, 2012

I use this wall charger from Monoprice to charge all my family's gadgets (iPhone, iPad, Kindle Fire, Kindle keyboard, Galaxy Nexus). The key is the single 2 A slot for the iPad. Everything else charges fine in any of the three 500 mA slots. Cables at Monoprice are basically free, so just buy extras for the ones you need and keep them plugged in all the time.
posted by Uncle Jimmy at 10:02 AM on August 15, 2012 [3 favorites]

Each device connected to USB port is allowed to draw up to 500mA of current. (Assuming USB 2.0 here). If the device you are charging requires all of the current is it allowed then for each extra port you need, you also need another 500mA of current. So assuming your devices don't have special requirements (like the ipad which needs 5v & 2A of current) then the way to know if a hub is going to do the trick with all your devices connected at once is to multiply the number of devices by 500mA. 5 devices? you need a hub whose external power supply provides at least 2.5A (1A = 1000mA). 10 devices? 5A etc...

The power supply will almost always say what power its rated for. Thats where to look.
posted by postergeist at 4:42 PM on August 15, 2012

and yes, the GWC HU2x40 will do the trick. theres a picture in the gallery showing you the back of the unit with the power info. Output= 5v up to 3A. 4 ports at 3A= 750mA available current per port with all devices connected. You're good to go.
posted by postergeist at 4:46 PM on August 15, 2012

Well, I'm going to try this Plugable 2.5A hub and see what happens. It doesn't mention Nook but does specifically say it will charge a Kindle Fire, which is probably very similar in power needs. And it says "fast charging", which is promising.
posted by timepiece at 6:14 AM on August 16, 2012

The Nook Color power adapter says it needs 1.9A which means you could use the same charger that the ipad2 or 3 use. In theory, unless the battery on the nook is almost dead, it should charge from any standard USB port albeit really f'ing slowly. The thing I don't know how to answer, and an electronics guy could, is whether or not all 2.5A become available to one USB port if the others are not being used, or whether it limits the current to .5A max to each. In theory (again), if nothing is connected to the hub and you plug in your nook (with its own cable since they short the data pins), it should charge nicely. Personally I would go with the first hub you mentioned.. the GWC one. Looks sturdier and plus it plugs right into the wall instead of adding yet another wire to the spaghetti mess.
posted by postergeist at 7:48 AM on August 16, 2012

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