Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Newer Technologies Power2U - Part 1

By Bayle Emlein

Newer Technologies Power2U
AC Wall Outlet with USB Charging Ports

Now that I run my life via gadgets and I’m wireless, I spend half my time updating and downloading. The other half is spent looking for the power to keep my lifestyle going. Enter Newer Technologies with a USB port incorporated in a standard wall outlet. The Power2U outlet is a standard grounded two-socket wall outlet with the addition of two USB ports.

When I first started playing with Macintosh computers in the 1980's, Newer Technologies was making gadgets and gizmos and add-ons that improved the computing experience, added a new dimension, or just made things more interesting and fun. They’re still doing so. In those days before USB, almost every computer and every device had its proprietary inputs and outputs. Get a new computer or printer and everything except the connection to the wall would be new.

Fortunately, the USB standard means that even if I have a wired mouse, I don’t need to count pins before plugging it in. Enter Newer Tech with the Power2U outlet, an easy way to wire my house to charge up my USB gear without booting my computer. Or, as in my case, without having to figure out what to pull out to free up a USB port for charging.

The Power2U unit is a substitute wall outlet. That means that one must replace an existing outlet. Short of replacing all, or several, this involves some consideration about which outlet would be most convenient and accessible for charging, as well as which outlet is accessible for swapping. In brand new construction, no problem. In my cluttered, busy world full of racks and bookcases and shelving and cabinets, the choices were automatically narrowed considerably. Don’t want a charging station near the cat dishes, either. Ooh, wires: yum!

Fortunately, the receptacle I settled on is in the New Part of my house, upgraded to code at the very end of the 20th Century. The Old Part of my house was built about a century before and wired around the time of the Great War. The knob-and-tubing wiring was replaced mid-century, but the wall receptacles remained unimproved and shallow. Narrowly averting another major home improvement project, with some well-aimed pushing and shoving and folding of wires the receptacle space in the New Section was just big enough to accommodate the extra depth of the Power2U, needed because of the extra USB electronics.

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