USB tentacle dismay
January 7, 2014 11:17 AM   Subscribe

I have a lot of USB-connecting equipment to sync and charge. Not everything uses the same USB interface, and all the cables are the opposite of tidy. How can I make this work?

So my wife and I have e-readers, phones, a tablet, and cameras. These all need to be plugged into either a power source (to charge) or the computer (to charge and sync). About half of them are on USB Micro B, the tablet is proprietary, and my camera is on USB mini... something. My computer inevitably ends up with cables dangling out of this and electronics stashed wherever they fit on my desk. This is annoying. I would like a way to have my electronics stashed more neatly and see less black cables everywhere, but I'm not sure how to get there. If it helps, I am usually not charging or syncing more than two at a time.
posted by selfnoise to Technology (9 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Me and my partner use those usb chargers that you plug into the wall, and the wires hang from a row of nails above the outlet.
posted by aniola at 11:25 AM on January 7, 2014 frequently posts about cable maintenance (here's a starting point).
posted by RobinFiveWords at 11:40 AM on January 7, 2014

How abot this?
posted by wildrider at 12:03 PM on January 7, 2014

You don't say how many, or how much room you have, or how much space you'd like to use, but generally the Google-able term is "charging station." These will show you ways of hiding cables, but with tablets and such you might want to think about more than one, possibly shelved on something like In/Out trays.
posted by rhizome at 12:33 PM on January 7, 2014

I have a charging station that works mostly. It's sort of in a desk and it works like this.

- extention cord that goes from wall into underdesk location
- all USB cables stay plugged in (buy duplicates if you don't have duplicates)
- only the black cable ends come up on the desk and they can come up through a decently non-big hole to one part of the top of the desk (like the In/Out trays that rhizome suggests)

It doesn't look totally lovely in this photo but you can sort of see how it works. It also means I lose cables and peripherals less often because I'm not plugging them into random parts of my house.
posted by jessamyn at 1:43 PM on January 7, 2014

CableAdvice is a Reddit community dedicated to addressing this sort of issue.
posted by ceribus peribus at 3:40 PM on January 7, 2014 [1 favorite]

Antec hub charger Has four USB ports sharing a total of 5A, plus it doesn't have a wall wart. I have these built in to my wife and my bedside tables. Each drawer also has the cables for the devices we each use most often.
posted by fief at 8:47 PM on January 7, 2014

I use a laptop, so when it goes elsewhere, I'm left with cables all over that I'd rather not have on the desk, so I got a bit creative about this.

My desk has a hutch portion on top, and I have those little bitty stick-on hooks in clear stuck to the upper sides. Each cable gets a binder clip that's large enough the cable fits through the middle without being squished, but that the plug won't fall through. And all those cables get hung up by the handles on the binder clips, and they're up and away. Plus, no more worries about them falling down behind the desk, which I hate.

Something similar might work for you?
posted by stormyteal at 9:48 PM on January 7, 2014 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: So I just wanted to follow up with what I ended up doing. I had some relatively deep shelving I had just put into an odd corner in my bedroom, so I bought a charging hub similar to the one fief lists above, then I put it behind a wooden tea tray that had been sitting unused in my kitchen. I stuck 3M command strips on each side of the tray, the kind that clip closed and hold cables. I shortened the USB cables with cable ties, then threaded them first through the clips and then through the handles on the tea tray. Then I just put my devices in the tea tray and called it a day. It actually looks pretty good.

Thanks for all your suggestions... it was useful in formulating ideas and gave me some ideas for my desk cables as well.
posted by selfnoise at 3:54 PM on February 22, 2014

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