Advice on installing a USB wall outlet
September 2, 2014 3:52 PM   Subscribe

I am thinking about putting in a new outlet with some built in USB chargers where I usually charge my devices. Is this a good idea? Also, I have heard there is a huge difference in quality in these things but I have no idea how to figure out what to get. Anybody have any advice?
posted by Foam Pants to Computers & Internet (11 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Is there a specific reason you don't want to just buy a $12 outlet extender with USB ports?
posted by rogerrogerwhatsyourrvectorvicto at 3:55 PM on September 2, 2014 [1 favorite]

Building in something like that faces the prospect that it might become obsolete. In this case, that's likely to happen sooner rather than later.

I don't use USB to charge my phone. I use this instead.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 4:15 PM on September 2, 2014

USB will be around for a long time yet. Even if it went away, swapping a outlet takes like five minutes. I would aim for a commercial grade one, like this one.
posted by rockindata at 4:34 PM on September 2, 2014 [2 favorites]

I think it's a great idea. Just be sure to get one that has high current capability, if you're charging tablets. I have a Cooper that I got at a big box hardware store with 2, 2.1A ports in between 2 AC outlets and it's been a boon.
posted by ftm at 4:35 PM on September 2, 2014 [1 favorite]

My advice is google, amazon, internet etc. Find model numbers and makers on Amazon, read user reviews, google the model numbers, etc. Just make sure you get one with at least 2.1amps per socket.

One of the main issues is the depth of the outlet, making sure it fits in your outlet box.

You are fine with USB, the USB-A connector that you find on these devices (and everywhere else) will be around for a long while yet.
posted by Cosine at 4:36 PM on September 2, 2014

USB charging is remarkably complex. In addition to power, another thing to worry about is whether it has a data line active. Some devices like PS3 controllers refuse to charge unless it's connected to something it thinks is an actual computer. No idea why, but it's a huge PITA.
posted by Nelson at 4:49 PM on September 2, 2014 [2 favorites]

Just make sure that it will never overheat. I would think about things like heatsinks if I were you.
posted by oceanjesse at 5:25 PM on September 2, 2014

I used this one in my last project. It works fine for charging my cell phone and the kid's tablet (a nexus 7) but you may want to spring for a newer model which provides higher power for the USB ports. Installing is easy if you already know how to replace an electrical outlet.
posted by Poldo at 6:07 PM on September 2, 2014

USB will be around for a long time yet.

USB 3.1 is going to allow up to 5A at 12V and 20V up from 1A at 5V for 2.x series. That's a big change. Even then Apple, Samsung and Blackberry all do funky extensions to the 2.0 standard. All to say, things are in flux right now because big phone and tablet batteries need more power than was planned for with USB 2.0.

I am sticking with an external adapter for a couple more years.
posted by bonehead at 6:35 PM on September 2, 2014

These ones by Anker are great, based on my experience. Perfect for travel too.
posted by bonehead at 6:42 PM on September 2, 2014

Building in something like that faces the prospect that it might become obsolete


But, it depends whether you know how to replace outlets yourself or will need to call an electrician, and also what your budget is for replacing outlets and for buying USB 3.1 devices.
posted by yohko at 4:10 PM on September 3, 2014

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