One USB charger to replace lots of wall warts?
December 28, 2007 2:12 AM   Subscribe

Like most mefites, I have far too many gadgets, and the wall warts to match. I suspect most of them could be replaced with a single USB charger - is this something that already exists?

Wall warts are annoying. They take up space, add to the clutter, and they're overly bulky - especially when I'm trying to cram them into a suitcase.

I have a number of devices that all take small amounts of power for charging - small enough that they all (individually, not collectively) could theoretically be charged via USB, if not for the wide range of physical plugs they take. Is there a company that sells a USB charger for these things? Something like the iGo or Zip-Linq, but with more adapters. Those two companies have a lot of adapters that work with Model X cellphone or Brand Y PDA, but none (or very few) of this sort, and they're marked by brand/model, not size.

Ideally, I'd like one brick that I plug into my USB port, and several interchangeable tips. Bonus points if I can plug two or three into the dongle at a time. If the USB-to-DC is all one unit (one for each type of plug) as opposed to a single power supply with interchangeable tips, that'd be okay too - as long as it's all somewhat less bulkier than what I'm dealing with now. My soldering skills are minimal, so the DIY route is not something I'm interested in (right now, anyway).

As an alternative, are there any AC power supplies that would let me travel with just one wall wart, and plug adapters into it? (If it makes a difference, assume North American 110V.)
posted by spaceman_spiff to Technology (8 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
 
Well, you could buy a powered usb hub and then buy a retractable usb cable charger cables for each of your devices.
posted by cwhitfcd at 3:27 AM on December 28, 2007


That's one option I looked at, cwhitfcd, but I haven't found many (any) USB-to-coax cables.
posted by spaceman_spiff at 4:11 AM on December 28, 2007


There's the Chargepod. I was looking for one to mount inside a cabinet for our array of gadgetry so we didn't have to look at it & had less wartage to look at.
posted by yoga at 4:44 AM on December 28, 2007 [3 favorites]


It's a good idea you've got, USB supplies 5 volts of power (though some devices need 9or 12.)

You could create this very cheaply with a soldering iron and a trip to digikey.com.

Soldering is the melting of tin to adhere wires together, I bet you know a neighborhood kid who could do it if that sounds unappealing to you.
posted by oblio_one at 7:49 AM on December 28, 2007


Try Gomadic. They sell a nice kit with USB, Car and wall chargers that all use the same, interchangeable tips. Sounds like exactly what you want and they have a huge selection.

It would be dificult to plug multiple chargers into a USB cable, due to the low power.

FYI- I do have a charger for my Wiimote that is charged through the Wii's USB port. I only mention it because it came with an adaptor which plugs into the wall and has a powered USB port on it. That way you can charge the USB device even without a PC or other USB port handy.
posted by slavlin at 8:07 AM on December 28, 2007


I've been wanting one of these for a while. It's a usb changer for iPod, DS Lite, PSP, and more.
posted by advicepig at 10:04 AM on December 28, 2007


advicepig, I would steer away from using that charger for more than one device at a time myself. I know that charging the PSP from the USB cables is MUCH slower than charging from the wall charger. Charging more than one device at a time from a USB cable would slow it down even more.
posted by slavlin at 10:34 AM on December 28, 2007


Duly noted, but really I just want to just have one cable in my bag for the iPhone and the DS Lite.
posted by advicepig at 9:32 PM on December 28, 2007


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