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F The DIY Solar Powered iPhone Charger – Just Buy One

Today I was doing some research for a good solar powered iPhone charger.  I went the direction of a DIY [Do It Yourself] project then realized this is all a waste of time.  Maybe there are a select few that would jump on a DIY solar powered iPhone charger project, but considering the complexity of the tutorials I found, very very unlikely my average reader would actually do it. So to save yourself the 30+ minutes of looking for a good tutorial, just spend 3 minutes and buy one that will A) work better, B) look better and C) be cheaper.

solar powered iphone charger

The project directions can be found here and you’ll quickly see it’s a complex project that requires some tools you might not have, plus supplies you’ll surely need to buy.  All in all, it’s about a $70 project, Continue Reading

USB Tutorial: Charge Any USB Gadget With Your Bike

The world is going Green.  This is your chance to keep those USB gadgets, yet charge them without consuming electricity and leaving your carbon footprint.  The idea behind this USB tutorial is taking the kinetic energy of your bike and turn that into re-powering any USB gadget.

recharge USB

I found this fun little project off the Instructables website.  Apparently the author received some grant funds from Lemelson-MIT program and put together a team of 6 students to create this solution. The team got their idea from shake-up flashlights which are based off the Faraday Principle – which is a type of electromagnetism reaction to generate energy. You will need to get a bread-board and create a small circuit to capture the energy produced by the bike and turn it towards your USB gadget.

USB recharge bike

Next, you’ll need a motor provider that will actually “capture” the energy, feed it through your newly made circuit.  There are many options for this, check Continue Reading

Wireless USB Connects to iPhone

How would you like to connect wirelessly to your iPhone?  Imagine sharing your photo’s or [soon to be] video with your TV or monitor without a cable?  How about sync your iTunes without the white USB connector, or update contacts, schedules, calendar and more without making a connection.  How about getting real crazy and juicing up your iPhone without a plug?

wireless USB for iPhone

Well, all of this will be possible with the new Alereon wireless USB technology for the iPhone and those who integrate into their peripheral.
The demonstration consists of a small wireless USB peripheral connected to a typical iPhone or iPod’s edge connector. The adapter enables any iPhone or iPod to both provide extra battery power/charging as well as synchronize wirelessly to iTunes whether on a Windows or MAC OS machine. Future enhancements will enable connectivity to HDTVs for displaying photos or videos.
The ultimate vision of Alereon is to have a peripheral device integrated into Continue Reading

Belkin USB Micro Cigarette Charger

I’ve seen plenty of cigarette USB chargers, but this one design from Belkin out does them all. It’s not bulky.  It will sit flush in your car.  It’s got feedback via the blue LED light.  It’s iPhone compatible, meaning it’ll charge anything.  Only $15 USD.  Awesome. I went to buy it on-line and it’s not yet propagated into the e-commerce sites, but give it a couple weeks.  It’ll be there.

belkin usb car charger

Source:  Belkin. Continue Reading

Mobile Phones Adopt Micro USB For Charging

America takes comfort in the fact we lead technology, but with mobile devices we are the exception.  Europe is way ahead of us and so is China.  In fact, back in Dec 2006, China made the decision to standardize cell phone charges to have a micro USB port.  The reason, to reduce waste.  Back then, you purchased a phone and you’d get a new wall charger.  The charger was loaded with lead, plastic etc.  Today, you simply get a USB cable.

micro usb connector

Last week 17 mobile phone companies officially made the plung to accept micro USB as the connection for recharging cell phones.  This decision was based on the same reasons as mentioned above. Continue Reading

Power Packed USB Wall Charger

USBFever has a 5 port USB wall charger for those a bit light on USB ports, yet need something to charge those iPhones, iPods and PDAs. The USB SuperTravel has 4 standard USB ports and one miniUSB port.  It’s no longer required to haul around your laptop just to power up your gadgets while on the go.

usb wall charger

The kit includes world voltage acceptance with plugs that cover you in US, UK, AU and EU.  The charger will auto detect the voltage and adjust accordingly so no mess with figuring out which fuse or setting is needed in different countries.

usb charger

USBFever is offering the USB wall charger for $26. Continue Reading

Dog & Penguin Laptop USB Cooling Fan – Great Look & Cool Design

No pun intended, but this laptop fan is cool looking with a great design.  The Dog shapped USB cooling fan is an ideal adition to those working from laptops.  With two 6″ built-in cooling fans, it can dissipate heat away from the bottom of your laptop and cool down the the under belly of your laptop.

usb cooling fan, dog

The USB cooling fan for your laptop comes in either a Dog or Penguin shape and acrylic top.  It’s almost a shame you cover up the design with your laptop. Here is a side view of the laptop cooling pad: Continue Reading

USB Solar Power Never Looked So Good

A solar powered Bonsai tree, who would have thought?  Vivien Muller did.  Her design takes each end-point of the Bonsai tree and turns it into a small photocell.

usb solar power

Methodshop coined this as photovoltaic panels, but I like the term photogalactic a little better.  The unit recharges a hidden battery beneath the tray – which happens to be the same place as the wires for your gadgets – so even re-charging can take place during the night.  Of course USB support for those USB gadgets we all love. As you can see, one could make a nice solor tree for their kitchen table or large office desk, but what if your space was a little more cramped?  Well, the USB solar Bonsai can be redesigned and shaped to any dimension of your liking.  It can spin, detach and rotate through small connectors.

usb solar bonsai tree

So how much is this ingenious device cost?  Not much right now, it’s just a prototype.  Since this looks like such a great product, lets hope someone picks up the production rights.  Wouldn’t you say Vivien? Continue Reading

Double A Battery Gives 15 Emergency Minutes of Power

IOGear releases their version of the USB battery, with the GearJuice Rescue charger.  What IOGear has done differently from other battery shaped USB solution, is make a miniUSB connector for cell phones, PDAs and other handhelds rather than the traditional full sized USB connector.

iogear gearjuice recharger

The unit is just larger than a double A battery and will provide your device with an extra 15 minutes of performance.  Just enough time to call the bails-bondsman after getting the late night lock down because of too much party’in. IOGear GearJuice Rescue Charger product page. Continue Reading

Power Plug Looks Real, But Only Charges Via USB

Power plug that charges USB style – I thought of this idea probably two years ago, no joke, but forgot about it just as quickly.  Well, yesterday I saw Technabob do a post about this exact concept – the power plug which charges via USB [from Eneplug].

power plug usb

As you may [or may not] know, USB will become the standard for cell phone charging.  I foresee USB branching out into other electronic gadgets as the main connectivity for juicing up.  So, this obviously means the power plug which charges via USB will only become more popular. I think it’s a great idea, because as time progresses we can all use only  a single power cord to charge any device.  [For now, lets forget about the fact manufacturers need to jump on board with my line of thought]. In addition, I would think any serious traveler would jump at a device like this.  Look at how small it is.  This is all you’d need to charge your cell phone, iPod, PDA and even your laptop. Eneplug is the company which makes this device and it’s currently available in Japan, but I see it coming over to the states in no time.  Shoot me an email if you see anything here – or I’ll update this when I find a US source. Speaking of Source:  Technabob. Continue Reading

Toshiba Sleep-and-Charge USB Concept – It’s a Winner

Irvine CA based Toshiba American (Digital Products Division) announced a newly designed Satellite laptop line with sleep and charge USB power concept…and we think it’s a winner.

sleep and charge usb

The sleep-and-charge USB concepts makes it possible to charge and power electronic devices connected to the laptop without the laptop being powered-on or in sleep mode. This is a simple yet revolutionary way USB power bus technology will begin working it’s way into our life.  With USB connectivity as the #1 method for peripheral connection to laptops and computers, the sleep-and-charge USB concept is brilliant.
 “Toshiba has long been a leader of innovation, and prides itself on creating solutions that make the digital lifestyle even better,” said Jeff Barney, vice president of marketing, Digital Products Division, Toshiba America Information Systems, Inc. “With the development of the Sleep-and-Charge USB ports, Toshiba has developed an innovative technology that helps ensure that our digital products are ready for use at the moment we need them.”
As you know, the major shortcoming with today’s USB ports from either computers or laptops is the lack of power support while the host device is turned off. I have reported on USB surge protectors which do basically the same thing, but that requires more gear for a traveling business person, the sleep-and-charge is built into the host system. Continue Reading

How Good Are Bus Powered USB Devices?

usb bus powerHow good are bus powered USB devices?  That’s a good question and the answer depends upon the device and the application.  To start, let me summarize situations / products you could find problematic.  From here we can determine what & when “bus power” is best. Most problem situations are with USB devices which require a heavy load of power.  Products such as USB disc [hard] drives, external USB CD or DVD burners etc.  With these products you need a lot of power, if you don’t get it, you have problems.  If the power running through the USB cable (the USB bus) to your device is not enough good chance the product will fail.  Problems such as drive failures, burning CD coasters or repetitive USB disconnects during operation. With the larger USB hard drives coming out this is where you need to pay attention.  I would recommend against purchasing a “USB hard drive” where the drive itself runs from USB bus power. But lets say you’ve covered your bases and purchased a USB hard drive with an external power adapter – now we must consider the connection to your computer?  Many times I’ve heard users making the connection via their Continue Reading

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