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Power Over Ethernet to USB-C From Far Away

USB-C is great. Ultra fast data transfer rates close to 10Gbps and increased power to charge laptops, monitors and TVs. However; the power improvement from USB-C doesn’t last over longer cables. The USB-C (or USB 3) specification indicates the optical power and transfer rates will retain as long as the cable length is under two meters, or about six feet.

POE or Power over Ethernet, is a way to get both data and power to longer destinations via cable. PoE Texas has unveiled such a product for USB-C connections.

“As a standard USB-C offers amazing speed and power delivery. Unfortunately, USB-C can only transmit power less than ten feet (three meters), and the cable infrastructure comes at a cost premium. Ethernet cable, nearly ubiquitous in modern construction, can transmit power and data 328 feet (100 meters). USB-C power and data transmitted over Power Over Ethernet significantly lowers the cost of adopting USB-C by eliminating the need for new electrical infrastructure.”

Let’s give an example of how the PoE USB-C product could work – the following is a real life example from our own experience:

A user has a work station about 30 feet away from the production unit it needs to communicate with. The production unit is a USB-C duplicator by Nexcopy. The work station has a manager who controls the data to be loaded to USB-C flash drives, and the production unit, or USB duplicator, is manned by a production manager who physically connects and disconnects the USB sticks during the duplication process.

Because a standard USB-C cable cannot be used, as the distance is too far, the User could employ the USBC Power Over Ethernet product and get both the power and data to the destination.

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How USB Cables Affect Charging – Simple Test

I came across an interesting article today from Dr Gough, a tech nerd. and thought it good enough to summarize here:

The USB specifications for power from a port vary from 100mA to 1.5A and up to 100W of power for USB Type C, but the cables and connectors used in a cable might not align with the power specifications of the product being designed and used. Cables are typically rated for about 1.8A of current, which is most common for cables used for charging.

usb cable

The 1.8A rating is based on safety limits for resistive heating of the cable and connectors. The rating is no guarantee your +5V at 1.5A setup will get you the maximum level of power. The important point here, the cable and connector combination is simply a rating to deal with heat, and ensures nothing melts. Going a step further, most specs ensure nothing gets noticeably warm to the human touch.

Every wire that’s not a superconductor has some finite resistance. Said another way, resistance is transferred into heat. Ohm’s law tells says that E = IR, where E is voltage, I is current, and R is resistance. So when you put power through a wire, the current X resistance gives me the voltage that will be “consumed” across that wire, power that turns into heat, and thus, never makes it to your phone.

I want to end this blog post with the above paragraph as that is the real takeaway here. The more inefficient (or cheap) a cable is, the warmer it will get. So if your iPhone cable is warm to the touch, it sucks. If your wire charging your power bank is warm, it sucks. Get a better cable. From what I can tell, there is no rating posted on all these cables you see on Amazon at cheap prices, so word to the wise using your tactile feel!

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Review: Powerhouse 200 Portable Station by Anker

The Anker Powerhouse 200 is a product which you would say “I should have thought of that years ago.” Well this charging station, is truly that, a station of power.

I’m not even going put the features in some lofty gargon sentence, but rather list them off like a spelling test in 5th grade. After you read the following paragraph, I wonder what you will think; here we go…

Input High-Voltage Protection, Output High-Voltage Protection, Input Current Regulation, Automatic Current Matching, Input Short-Circuit Protection, Device Overcharge Protection, Static Resistance, Output Short-Circuit Protection, Output Current Regulation, Battery Overdischarge Protection, Output Temperature Control. That is an awesome sounding product.

Specifications are below, but we couldn’t find out how heavy the Powerhouse 200 weighs.

  • Capacity: 57600mAh/218.8Wh
  • Input: AC/Power Delivery
  • USB Output: 5V=3A (15W)
  • Power Delivery Output: 5V=3A, 9V=3A, 15V=2A, 20V=1.5A (30W)
  • DC Output: 12V=5A
  • AC Output: 110V, 0.9A, 60Hz, 100W
  • AC Waveform: Pure Sine Wave
  • Total Output: 130W Max
  • Operating Temperature: 32°F-104°F / 0°C-40°C
  • Recharging Temperature: 14°F-104°F / -10°C-40°C

Product page from retailer:

About Anker Electronics:

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Commercial Grade USB Solar Charging Station

Legrand now offers the XSOLARCS USB charging station for public works, schools, parks and transportation centers.

With the Legrand solution, there is no construction required in order to install the charging station. The unit is a self contained solar panel tower, with six USB charging ports pulling from the solar panel. There are three shelves which can mount in adjustable locations to the panel tower poll. Each shelf containes two USB ports with up to 3.1A of shared power between them. There is no trenching required or other expensive construction projects in order to get the EXSOLARCS going.

USB sockets are protected from the eliments with a sliding door in front of the two port socket assembly. Not only is there protection, but LED illumination at each port for after-dark identification and ease-of-use. If the light is illuminating, the station can provide a charge. This implies there is some type of battery inside the station, which we’ve emailed Legrand to find out exactly what.

The XSOLARCS was designed with the elimints in mind. The USB charging station is designed to withstand hurricane-force winds and has the full RoHS certificate compliance.

Source: Legrand .

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Double AA Rechargeable USB Battery – 4 Pack

These are 1450mAh batteries that are rechargeable via standard USB port.

This is the better way digital devices should be designed.  I am not a fan of, for example, my portable speaker going south because the device can no longer hold a charge.  I’d much rather have my portable speaker take batteries which I can replace, than my device going dead and I have to throw it away.

As I type this, the four pack of double AA batteries are going for $35.  So just under $10 per battery. 

The company claims they will take 500 charges.  Assuming they have over stated that statistic, even at 250 charges… it’s a smart move.

They also claim the AA battery will last 2 to 3 times longer than a normal battery.  Probably a direct link to the 1.2V NiMH nickel metal hydride cell technology.

rechargeable AA batteries
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USB Condom – Power But No Data

For those in a situation where you plug devices into unknown USB ports, a USB data blocker is a good thing to have around. Or some call it the USB condom!

This is a physical device that sits between the USB host connection and your device. The data blocker enables the power pings of a USB socket, but not the data lines. This means your device will get the power it needs, but without the possibility of infection via data transfers.

For example, if you are at a client’s office and need to connect your device to a USB port and don’t want to risk anything, use the USB data blocker. You’ll get the power, but without the risk of spreading or getting a virus.

USB condom

Not much use for those who surround themselves with a trusted environment, but for those on the move, I think it’s a great product.

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