In the space of two decades, USB has gone from a revolutionary way to connect peripheral devices, to a standard so common it’s used to power and charge all sorts of things. Rather than include a costly mains power adaptor, many devices now simply include a USB plug to charge. From a quadcopter to a GPS system, and of course, any mobile phone in the last decade (though some still fortunately provide a mains adaptor too). It’s great when things standardise, but how do we power and charge all these USB devices without enough USB ports?
We’ve all been in that situation... USB port required, but we’ve already used up everything we can find. Then begins the “natural selection process” of devices... trying to locate the device you don’t quite need right now to free up a port for something else. Fortunately, now there are many devices designed to make your life easier. From a 4-way USB outlet that looks like a double-adaptor, to clip-over face plates that will transform a standard mains GPO into a USB-equipped power outlet. This means you can leave the mains outlets for mains power, without cluttering them up with all those USB adaptors! See our range of clever mains to USB solutions.
While many new vehicles don’t come with “cigarette lighter” sockets any more (they usually include a few USB ports from the factory), there are still millions of vehicles on the road which have them (even though they began calling them power outlets instead of cigarette lighter outlets, because no heating coil was included). We provide many plug-in adaptors to provide USB power from a 12V cigarette lighter socket. If you would simply like to add more, our range of surface mount and panel mount devices will provide you endless power (well, as far as your vehicle battery will take you that is). This is especially useful for 4WD/RV/boating applications where you’re running more than just your standard GPS navigator. See our range of 12V USB solutions.
Ultimately if you’re not near a ready power source, the battery in your phone, GPS, or other device never seems to last long enough. This is where mobile power comes in. A portable battery / power bank contains a large battery (usually Lithium so it’s very light) which is charged when you are near a good source of power, but will store enough energy to recharge your mobile phone many times over, or power a GPS unit or other device for a substantial time. Some portable power banks even feature solar recharging. These devices could save your life one day. See our range of portable power banks.
It’s important to note that they might all look virtually the same, but current output is a major differentiator for USB outlets. The available current (expressed as Amps, or A for short) is a relatively proportional indication of how fast your devices will recharge (subject to their own internal circuitry). The higher the number, the faster things will charge. You may also find that a USB outlet with very low current output will fail to charge some high power USB devices such as iPad® or other large portable devices, unless they’re switched off (and sometimes that won’t help either). 2.4 amps is about the average high power unit currently, though some are higher. These will charge just about anything that’s using USB as a power source. 1 amp outlets are more suited to older phones, as well as GPS units and low-power devices. If you still find a 500mA outlet (which was the original USB standard), you may have difficulty recharging some devices.
Qualcomm® Quick Charge is a proprietary method for fast-charging devices. When a device with a compatible charging circuit is connected to an enabled charger, it will recharge the battery in a fraction of the time. If your device isn’t equipped to take advantage of Quick Charge, it will still operate at normal charge rates. Click here for more information about Quick Charging.
Whatever you’re trying to power, recharge or discharge, come and chat to us in your local Jaycar store. We’ll help you connect this with that, and make sure everything’s powered and on charge, wherever you’re headed.