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USB Flash Drive Power Monitor

Smartronix has a USB power monitor and it’s ideal for those who want to regulate what power is coming from a USB device.  Most notably would be the ability to test power from a suspect defective drive or gadget.  With so many useless USB toys made in cheap factories over seas, one can get a product which plays havoc with your system.  Most problems always come from power. Granted the power meter probably takes more juice then any USB power gadget your testing, but again, this is designed for the hobbyist or guy troubleshooting some gear. This is also a good device to test products which claim to fall into the USB-IF specification for a USB device, something like this USB power meter could help prove your case against an overseas supplier who’s not fessing up to their poor quality work.  (can you tell we’ve ran into this problem on multiple occasions !) Too bad it doesn’t measure calories, otherwise we’d find out just how hard that USB humping dog is really working. Smartronix webstore, vai Gadgeteer. Features:
  • USB 1.1 and USB 2.0 compatible
  • Large, easy to read LCD
  • Folding Stand
  • Auto Power-Down
  • Peak Hold
  • Measures current in either direction (Host>Device or Device>Host
  • Batteries and USB Cable included
Specifications:
  • Maximum Voltage Reading +/- 19.99 Volts
  • Voltage Reading Accuracy: +/- 0.1 volt from -10V to 10V; 5% from 10.01V to 19.99V; 5% from -10.01V to -19.99V
  • Maximum Current Reading +/- 1999 mA
  • Current Reading Accuracy: +/- 2mA from -500mA to 500mA; 5% from 501mA to 1999mA; 5% from -501mA to -1999mA
  • USB Type B upstream Jack
  • USB type A downstream Jack
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USB Power Brick 11000mAh Output

Brando is reselling [because they don’t actually make anything] a 5 socket USB power brick.  The power block will supply a total of 11,000 mAh of Output, with not much of any port having significant Watts. It is probably a good product for a trickle charge to several devices or a quick charge to one or two, so if you’re far away from that car charger, wall charger, or solar charger the USB power brick would be a nice edition. The USB power brick sells for $60 USD + shipping of a couple dollars Continue Reading

Spec for 100W over USB is Here

The USB-IF released the Power Delivery [PD] specification for USB 3.0.  In addition, the 2.0 forum approved it too. Because we are talking about 100watts over USB there is some risk associated with introducing such a spec.  The USB-IF said the power can be sent, both ways, intelligently where power ramps up or down upon delivery.  The spec includes an intelligent check of both the cable and the other end’s capability to insure nothing goes up in flames. If you stop and think about this, if a typical laptop has three USB sockets, what kind of power brick would you need to power the laptop plus 300watts of power, assuming all sockets are requesting a full load.  Maybe the power brick will end up being bigger and heavier then the laptop {grin}. For a very interesting read on the entire PD report, Continue Reading

Burning Stove Charges Electronics via USB Socket

Biolite Stove is portable camping stove which converts boiling water into energy to charge your portable devices.  I like the symmetry already! The Biolite Stove is no bigger then a large jug of water.  It can hold up to 1 liter of water and can boil that same amount of water in [about] 4.5 minutes. The fire power, as they say, ranges between 3.4kw and 5.5kw and will charge at a continuous flow 2W @ 5volts or peak of 4W @ 5volts.  Peak power flow depends on the BTUs of the fire while it’s going…you know, the hottest the fire will get, the most energy it will create as the water is boiling at the highest rate. The Biolite Stove will charge anything via USB.  As to the efficiency of that charging process, nothing to say it’s fast or slow, but conceptually Continue Reading

Zip Mini – Magnetic Charging Station

The Joy Factory has a smaller version of their popular Zip charging station, but looks just as cool. The ZipMini Touch-n-Goâ„¢ charging station is the next step in the evolution of mobile device power.  Now you can take a call or check your e-mail without having to manually disconnect cables. Your device reconnects itself when you move it back near the charging station. This sleek little powerhouse charges up to four devices at once, eliminates cord clutter, and looks great doing it. Touch-n-goâ„¢ is a revolutionary combination of a magnetized base unit paired with magnetized 3-inch mini-cables knows as “zip tails.” The zip tails pop immediately into place on the charging station via the built-in magnets, and safely snap off when you move your device. The only problem I have with this solution is finding additional 30 pin connectors since I have four iPhones to charge.  In addition, TheJoyFactory doesn’t give specifics about charging times with multiple devices, so a good chance you’ll get a trickle charge to the iPad while have several other devices connected at the same time. Purchase price for the ZipMini Continue Reading

USB Battery Charging – Not An Easy Task

USB devices and ports are now the most ubiquitous item one can related to a computer product other then maybe the VGA connector or Ethernet port.  With that said, it’s now the mainstream bus used to power and recharge most computer devices and gadgets.  However, just because it will charge of USB doesn’t mean it’s all that easy and efficient.  There is a lot more into charging via USB then you’d ever imagine. With some devices you get a fast charge.  With other devices you get a slow charge.  So what’s the deal? In most cases when you see a slow charging device it means the manufacturer made a digital signature that is compatible with the power charger which came with the device.  Any other USB port used to charge the product simply isn’t as efficient…and that’s by design! This post is just an appetizer for all the dirty little secrets related to USB charging devices, to get a little deeper into the details click over to Continue Reading

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