What is this?
April 5, 2021 10:25 AM   Subscribe

We were given this item as a small thank-you gift for our volunteer work, and I'm grateful for it, but I cannot figure out what it does.

It's a black plastic piece with a carabiner-type clip, and three cables coming from it, each ending in a different USB male connector type (A, A mini, A micro). There are no other connectors, so it can't serve as an extension cord. I can't tell if the cables are connected to each other inside the plastic part.
posted by davcoo to Computers & Internet (12 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Is it this kind of thing? You could plug in the USB to a powered port and charge devices with the other connectors.
posted by TORunner at 10:29 AM on April 5 [7 favorites]

I received a promotional gift like this at a conference, it was a charger.

Mine had additional connectors and the USB A was longer, so you could plug it in easily. When it plugged in there was a little light that glowed.
posted by dazedandconfused at 10:30 AM on April 5

So I don't know for sure but it looks like a charger cable that goes to two different terminals, either mini-B or micro-B. My guess is both B ends connect to the A end so you can't really use them at the same time.

I guess the idea is you can clip it into a bag you carry around so you always have a charger cable conveniently at hand. It seems similar in concept to this.
posted by GuyZero at 10:31 AM on April 5 [2 favorites]

It's a charging 'squid'! A multi-purpose charging connector for anything that's those connectors.
posted by ApathyGirl at 10:31 AM on April 5 [7 favorites]

I have one connected right now. One if those prongs is connected to a USB wall charger. Another is charging my android phone.
posted by vacapinta at 10:33 AM on April 5

Another vote for charging squid. My company has handed them out and I have 1 or 2 in my bag. They're quite handy!
posted by jquinby at 10:40 AM on April 5 [1 favorite]

Nthing the "it's a charger". I have one that I literally used this morning at work; you plug the USB end into your computer and then you plug the items that need charging onto the other ends.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:41 AM on April 5

It looks to me like it's USB A (often the "wall" plug), USB C (current Android and lots of other stuff), and Lightning (Apple products), but it's hard to tell from this angle.

USB C and Lightning would make the most sense if you recently received it; it'd be obnoxious of them to hand out old tech.

It's going to depend on the particular one if you can charge more than one item at a time. I have a triple one that has a long USB A, and short lightning, USB C, and mini USB, and it'll charge on all three at once. (And it wasn't spendy, either, just a random purchase for $10 at a craft store.)
posted by stormyteal at 10:41 AM on April 5

I agree with the others, and ApathyGirl I'm tickled that it's just me that calls them squids!
posted by orrnyereg at 10:52 AM on April 5 [1 favorite]

Is it really actually a "charger"? This 'squid' is sounding more like a three-way "Y" adapter that can use the juice from a device connected to one branch, to charge something connected to the other two. In a worst-case scenario, with all three on battery, I can imagine the voltage equalizing among all three, leaving you with not enough power for even one.
posted by Rash at 11:22 AM on April 5

I think it might be exactly this item?


(Not hyperlinked on purpose. I don’t know anything about this company but there’s a good description of the item on the page.)
posted by Night_owl at 12:15 PM on April 5

If it were me, I'd check to see if it had storage -- oh, actually, I'd probably throw it away (or take it apart/turn it into a weird craft project) because it _might_ have storage and I have no way of knowing what's stored on there, so it might be risky to just plug it in to a computer.
posted by amtho at 12:21 PM on April 5 [2 favorites]

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