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#200899 - 04/26/11 05:50 PM Snake oil or great idea?
ghost307 Offline
Member

Registered: 05/09/05
Posts: 884
Loc: Chicago Illinois USA
I recently was asked about a combination duplex receptacle and dual USB port wiring device.
It's not UL Listed based on my research to date and it looks like a doohickey cobbled together to jam 120V and 5V in the same box.
Does anyone have any knowledge of these things?
It's being hawked by a company called fastmac, which handles stuff designed for Apple products.
http://www.engadget.com/2011/03/17/fastmac-u-socket-review/
Thanks
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#200900 - 04/26/11 06:23 PM Re: Snake oil or great idea? [Re: ghost307]
Niko Offline
Member

Registered: 08/17/06
Posts: 358
Loc: Campbell, CA
I have heard about them but haven't used one. It seems to be a good idea at least one in every room for cell phones.

Also they are not Tamper Resistant.
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#200901 - 04/26/11 06:29 PM Re: Snake oil or great idea? [Re: ghost307]
jdevlin Offline
Member

Registered: 08/07/02
Posts: 402
Loc: welland ontario canada
Is the only reason for them to charge Iphones? I don't own anything that charges from a USB port. Is that a common thing?

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#200904 - 04/26/11 08:43 PM Re: Snake oil or great idea? [Re: ghost307]
twh Offline
Member

Registered: 03/11/04
Posts: 898
Loc: Regina, Sask.
From their site: "Safety Agency Approval(s)- TUV Rheinland"

Why didn't they just get UL approval, since it's made in the USA? Maybe that was the rigorous testing they claim.

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#200905 - 04/27/11 12:52 AM Re: Snake oil or great idea? [Re: ghost307]
gfretwell Offline

Member

Registered: 07/20/04
Posts: 9045
Loc: Estero,Fl,usa
There is no "legal" difference between U/L and TUV. They are both NRTLs. I assume they used TUV because this was developed in Europe.

USB charged devices are actually pretty common. I am looking at 2 right here on my desk. (an MP3 player and a wireless blue tooth keyboard)
A lot of mobile devices charge on a USB port.
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#200912 - 04/27/11 07:40 AM Re: Snake oil or great idea? [Re: gfretwell]
Texas_Ranger Offline
Member

Registered: 12/17/01
Posts: 2343
Loc: Vienna, Austria
Quote:
I assume they used TUV because this was developed in Europe.

... or because (I think) there's a Chinese branch of TUV Rheinland...

I definitely don't like that beast! If it were a single with two completely sealed USB ports in place of one of the two faceplate openings I'd say ok, but with a mostly open circuit board and exposed USB shield inside the box? Sounds like a 120/5V crossover from faulty isolation (think nicked wire or ancient crumbling rubber) waiting to happen.

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#200959 - 04/29/11 01:29 PM Re: Snake oil or great idea? [Re: ghost307]
NJwirenut Offline
Member

Registered: 09/15/01
Posts: 816
Loc: Bergen County, NJ
Actually a pretty neat idea, although the physical execution could be improved along the lines mentioned above. Would also make it compatible with standard faceplates.

They should also rig some kind of mechanical switch that only powers up the 5V power supply circuitry when a USB plug is actually inserted into one of the DC ports. Otherwise, it is a bad a power waster as any other "wallwart" type adapter.

These would be nice in hotel rooms. Recharge phones, GPS, handheld games, etc.

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#200976 - 04/30/11 01:22 AM Re: Snake oil or great idea? [Re: NJwirenut]
Trumpy Offline

Member

Registered: 07/05/02
Posts: 8540
Loc: SI,New Zealand
So I take it that each one of these devices has a small transformer and rectifier behind the plate, to derive the 5V?
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#200980 - 04/30/11 10:10 AM Re: Snake oil or great idea? [Re: ghost307]
gfretwell Offline

Member

Registered: 07/20/04
Posts: 9045
Loc: Estero,Fl,usa
Probably a switching regulator.
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Greg Fretwell

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#200983 - 04/30/11 10:53 AM Re: Snake oil or great idea? [Re: ghost307]
NJwirenut Offline
Member

Registered: 09/15/01
Posts: 816
Loc: Bergen County, NJ
To meet USB 2.0 specs, each port should be able to provide 500 mA @ 5V. A small switching power supply is all that would be needed. Could easily be built inside a package the size of a GFCI receptacle.

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