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OtleyLad

USB Socket charger - good or bad?

We've both got phones and tablets and this means there is always a tangle of chargers and wires on the already crowded kitchen worktop.
Then I saw one of these.

It looks like it would be a good solution and most reviews say that it charges a variety of phone/tablets ok.
Being an energy miser though I wondered if it continues to draw power when nothing is plugged in the USB sockets?
Hairyloon

I saw those. Looked a bit dear IMO.

I've never really understood how something like a phone charger which is basically just a transformer, actually draws power when it doesn't have a circuit.

Aren't you an electrician?
If you think something like that is the solution, then why not fit one up yourself? Then you can put a switch on it to be sure it doesn't use power.
Treacodactyl

They seem quite common on electrical equipment sites, Screwfix etc. The reviews might be of help.

I wouldn't like one but then I like to keep things simple. If you're worried about leaving them on you can get unswitched single gang ones and that could be connected to a switchable FCU.

I would only buy a well know branded USB thingy though.
RichardW

Only 12 HERE

Interestingly they say not to megga test the socket as it will blow the usb part.


Or this metal one for 15.50
kGarden

We have a multi-way power socket/block thingie for folk to charge things, and that is on a timer. Plug in your device and choose a suitable time duration. Nothing it on when folk are not using it for some sort of charging (which is usually over night)
Hairyloon

I would only buy a well know branded USB thingy though.

Perhaps I have misunderstood, but for charging purposes, all that is expected is a stable voltage across the relevant pins, which is not at all a difficult task to accomplish, so why the need to be picky?
Nick

Because an unstable current from a cheap chinese version might fry your expensive gadget?
Hairyloon

Because an unstable current from a cheap chinese version might fry your expensive gadget?

That was what I thought, but I think the task is simple enough that even a cheap Chinese one should manage without problem.
I am open to correction: I would not claim that this is my field, but I think that you get a voltage regulator on a chip, and more than likely the bespoke expensive gadget charger uses exactly the same chip* as the cheap one.

{* from a chip factory in China}
Nick

You would think, but I have too much experience of cheap chinese stuff having forged bits, forged paperwork and catching fire to believe that, I'm afraid. vegplot

I've had two chargers explode one of which was a USB charger. Hairyloon

You would think, but I have too much experience of cheap chinese stuff having forged bits, forged paperwork and catching fire to believe that, I'm afraid.
I see your point, but for the type of chip we are talking about, I think it would be a whole lot more expensive to forge than to buy.
Of course the build quality of the wiring to the chip is another matter.
vegplot

You would think, but I have too much experience of cheap chinese stuff having forged bits, forged paperwork and catching fire to believe that, I'm afraid.
I see your point, but for the type of chip we are talking about, I think it would be a whole lot more expensive to forge than to buy.
Of course the build quality of the wiring to the chip is another matter.

It's not the manufacturing that costs but cheap products tend to be poorly designed and fail CE testing hence why a lot of rubbish product enters the supply chain through the back door with non compliant certification.
Hairyloon

I do not disagree with what you say, but if we are talking about general tendencies of cheap goods, then we are drifting rather from the specific question of USB power outlets.
Also, if we're tlaking about knock-off copies of things, then isn't the point that they've pinched the design?
Which is always a good excuse to trot out the tale of the sweat shop that lost its contract with a designer label, and continued making the exact same clothes and selling on the black market...
Word is that they got caught because the quality was too high.
Nick

No, they got caught because the quality was identical, just they no longer had the licence to produce it, so even tho it was identical, it's technically fake.

They now tag some goods with DNA to certify and track it.
Hairyloon

Do you know that, or are you making the assumption?
If the latter, then have you considered that the firm to whom they lost the contract may have been cheaper because they were not making them so well?
Nick

I know that. I do some work with the tagging firm. Treacodactyl

I would only buy a well know branded USB thingy though.
Perhaps I have misunderstood, but for charging purposes, all that is expected is a stable voltage across the relevant pins, which is not at all a difficult task to accomplish, so why the need to be picky?

I had a quick google when I saw the original post and read of ones for sale overseas that were not certified for use in the UK. Knowing that some chargers have caught fire and knowing the variable quality of overseas items (some good, some not so good) I wouldn't take the risk to save 5. If you're happy with the risk then fine, although you could be breaking the law.

My other reason is that I've not found cheap UK certified electrical switches to be worth using as they fail more than a branded items that has a 10 year guarantee.
kGarden


Which is always a good excuse to trot out the tale of the ...

Which reminds me of the Patent Attorney's joke:

Customer: "I have this plastic cupholder, can you manufacture me 1,000,000 of them?"

Chinese supplier: "Is it patented?"

Customer: (excitedly) "No!"

Chinese supplier: "Sorry, cannot make them"

Customer: (crestfallen) "Why not?"

Chinese supplier: "No drawings" Laughing
JB

I saw those. Looked a bit dear IMO.

I've never really understood how something like a phone charger which is basically just a transformer, actually draws power when it doesn't have a circuit

The mains side of the transformer still has a circuit so without a switch it is still current going through a wire and that will draw power
JB

We have had problems with Chinese manufacture in the past. The equipment we had made failed testing and was all returned as not fit for purpose. The next thing we find it is reappearing through various dodgy supply chains with someone else label stuck over the top or through small ebay suppliers and people are buying this rubbish finding it doesn't work and expecting us to support it, we also found the same circuits and layouts appearing even cheaper and poorer copies of the equipment we had rejected!

I suspect this is a problem any time anyone is unable to manage a manufacturing chain or has to use an unreliable manufacturer and not something unique to the Chinese but in our case it was a Chinese manufacturer that did that.
RichardW

Chinese stuff is crap cos we (not just the consumer but the corporate buyers) want it made & sold cheap.

Its that simple.
vegplot

iPads and other Apple products are made in China. Nick

Chinese stuff is crap cos we (not just the consumer but the corporate buyers) want it made & sold cheap.

Its that simple.

Some. Not all.
Hairyloon

I think one of the problems with Chinese manufacturers is that they leave quality control to the customer. Most times that I have bought something unsatisfactory they have sent a refund or replacement without quibble, on a few occasions even before I'd wanted one.
As long as you know that when you're buying, I don't really see it as a major problem: quite a lot of what they make is very very good. I'll bet they make Rover cars better than we used to.
Treacodactyl

https://www.aldi.co.uk/en/specialbuys/thur-22-jan/product-detail/ps/p/double-wall-socket-with-usb/?pk_campaign=uk_product_newsletter&pk_kwd=2015-01-19_17-39 stumbling goat

Aldi kit is normally pretty good, so I would trust that.

But, will the socket front with the added bulk fit in your domestic flush fitted metal box?

The USB socket 240V switched sockets I have seen seem to be a lot thicker or deeper than the usual double switched socket front.

sg
dpack

for electrical goods genuine certs and paperwork are a very good idea.

once i got my "pissa pan" out of the box and read the documents i decided my best interests lay in never plugging it in and writing off the 15 Laughing

i has been worth the money to show folk the instruction leaflet that includes such gems as "when cleaning your pissa pan place thumb over intimate orifice or unit may become out of service or on fire " Surprised
Falstaff

Aldi is very respectable multi billion pound German firm - eminently sueable if they cause fires otl - I'd say buy it and use it - if that's what you want ! Very Happy Gervase


But, will the socket front with the added bulk fit in your domestic flush fitted metal box?
Unlikely unless you have boxes at least 35mm deep. On stud walls you may have, but chased boxes on masonry tend to be as shallow as possible, so do check before ordering.
Rich.h

I have used these for both my own home and customer houses and they are about as safe as a standard socket when fitted correctly. The usb sockets do always draw power, however when not connected to a device they go into a low power mode (though I have yet to stick a meter on one to find out what amount is drawn).

For folks worried about some of the cheaper ones from China I would not fret, remember that some of the most technical and expensive things in western homes today (tv, pc, phone, etc) are all made in a factory somewhere in Asia. Whether it happens to be an unknown knock off company or Apple they all use the same components, the same tools, and the same labour. One just happens to over inflate the price to make a higher profit margin which they then hide in some offshore bank to avoid taxes, the other just sidesteps the entire process and sells it at a market stall at a lower cost to the end customer.
Hairyloon

I would tend to disagree.
They may use the same componants and techniques, but one company has a good quality control mechanism where the other just punts any old stuff out and accepts that they will have to replace some of it.
Hairyloon

Re: USB Socket charger - good or bad?

It says 2A on the faceplate. Is that 2A per socket or 2A total? Rich.h

Re: USB Socket charger - good or bad?

It says 2A on the faceplate. Is that 2A per socket or 2A total?

Stick a multimeter on each output and you will find out easily enough. I would though be stunned if one of those was able to produce 4A total output.
Hairyloon

Re: USB Socket charger - good or bad?

It says 2A on the faceplate. Is that 2A per socket or 2A total?

Stick a multimeter on each output and you will find out easily enough.
Not sure that'll work: it surely depends upon the load, and an ammeter on its own is a short circuit.
Quote:
I would though be stunned if one of those was able to produce 4A total output.

Is only about 20W. Doesn't sound that much to me. Confused
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