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250 posts

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#115314 21-Mar-2013 13:28
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Hi

We are about to start our rennovations and one thing that has been the bain of our lives is the constant amount of electrical chargers that we have - video camera, digital camera, phones, tablets, etc.

Just wondering if anyone has got any ideas on how to hide these  away (BTW throwign the gadets out is not an option)? Is there a multi charger bay thingy that someone has invented?

Ideally I just want to be able to go to one place and charge everything, which is also hidden away.


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  #784949 21-Mar-2013 13:33
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Mugen-Power have a multi device charging bay:

http://www.mugen-power-batteries.com/universal-charging-station-for-smartphones-tablets.html

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  #784950 21-Mar-2013 13:34
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I've seen kitchens with an "appliance garage" on the bench, basically a cupboard with a roll-up door at bench-level with power points in the back of it. Open the door, drag out the coffee maker, or sandwich press, use it, shove it away again.
A similar thingy at the other end of the bench with a power board designed for wall-warts (sockets futher apart). Shove all the cords in there, plug in the devices, shut the door. Bonus - room doesn't look like xmas when you turn off the lights...

 
 
 
 


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  #784956 21-Mar-2013 13:42
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There are standard electrical faceplates available that have powered USB sockets for charging devices. With more devices going to USB for charging, you could consider those.

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  #784957 21-Mar-2013 13:42
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Shelves, possibly with holes drilled in the back, somewhere out of the way. Make sure there's enough ventilation.

Many newer devices use USB charging, so the problem may diminish. That won't apply to higher power devices like video cameras though, ones with big batteries, or AA battery chargers.

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  #784958 21-Mar-2013 13:44
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  #785218 21-Mar-2013 21:53
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Thanks guys..

Some interesting ideas - the kitchen storage and sockit sound very practical.

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  #785226 21-Mar-2013 22:22
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Bunnings have a USB wall charger outlet too. Only 5W tho so pretty useless for most devices.




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  #785239 21-Mar-2013 22:30
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There are different methods of USB charging, often a resistance on the data lines is used to determine if the device is plugged into a USB port or the manufacturer's charger (which can deliver much higher current). Then there is the USB charging standard, where the data lines are shorted together. The only one that is sure to be standard is the recent model cell phones with micro USB sockets as it is the one phone charging standard that was agreed upon across manufacturers, driven by a European directive requiring a reduction in the number of chargers on standby (i.e. must be able to use one charger for different brands of phones).

So that should leave only the video camera and tablet type devices. Video cameras use their own connectors which you can't do much about, but tablets (and laptops) often use the same 2.1mm round connector across brands. On the power adapters check the voltage and the polarity. If that is the same then you can use one power adapter for both - pick the one with the highest output power.

For the cameras which you do not use all the time you can charge them in a drawer with a mains socket inside the cabinet chassis and cables clipped to the frame to retain them (finally a use for ugly 3M Command cable clips). Access the socket by removing the drawer if you need to add/remove power adapters.




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  #786249 24-Mar-2013 12:21
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It is a lot of stuff to leave turned on in a cupboard. Most devices have a one hour or four hour time to achieve maximum charge. Some kind of timer setup you activate on demand for a one or four hour period depending on the needs of the device you plugged in, and also a standard timed on period so that all devices are guaranteed an (eg) one hour maintenance charge per day.

There are many mechanisms you might use to achieve that, but check out the intelliswitch products and you should be able to get pretty close to those requirements in a really nice package.

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  #786284 24-Mar-2013 13:51
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Not all chargers are ok with a battery but no ac supply. Sometimes signifigant current leaves the battery in that situation




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  #786288 24-Mar-2013 14:17
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Someone needs to write that into the applicable standard(s) if it is not there already.

I had sometimes suspected it but never quantified it. It should be straightforward to measure for any device with an accessible battery cradle. Just a shim on the battery terminal with contacts for each side of a DMM and measure in the charger off state.

For devices with built in and inaccessible batteries like iPad and iPhone - not so easy.

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  #786292 24-Mar-2013 14:26
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These would be the same standards which resulted in permanantly attached wallwarts to get around efficiancy levels for external powersupplies.




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#786294 24-Mar-2013 14:32
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Lol. But at least they tested and complied...

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  #786859 25-Mar-2013 19:12
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All switch mode supplies have an insignificant leakage current when the mains is off, because there is a series diode on the output. It does have some leakage as it is a Schottky diode, but it is still insignificant compared to the cell capacity. Also in series with the battery is the charger electronics, which has an insignificant leakage. Where you run into unknowns is battery chargers where you fit the battery to the charger, but typically there should be no issues.

Note that a tablet does not actually switch off unless you force it off, then it takes for ever to boot up again. So you probably do not want to turn the mains off on a tablet.

Efficiency level 5 is so low that you can leave it on all the time. Level 4 is also good. The power adapter is marked with a Roman number in a circle.

When it comes to compliance there are lots of stupid things. Power adapters are approved for EMC/EMI at full low and no load, nothing in between. It does not (and usually cannot) pass at part load, it fails radiated emissions in the band 30MHz to about 100MHz, interfering with lots of stuff. So when you (as a designer/manufacturer) send a product for EMC compliance testing you make sure you supply a discharged battery to load the power adapter. But most of the time this is not how you use it, take for example this laptop I'm writing this post with, permanently plugged into mains and the battery is fully charged. I'm "broadcasting" all the time. And that is wasted energy.




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  #786862 25-Mar-2013 19:33
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jaymz: Mugen-Power have a multi device charging bay: 

http://www.mugen-power-batteries.com/universal-charging-station-for-smartphones-tablets.html


RunningMan: Like this: http://sockitz.com.au/


Some good looking kit there. I recently brought a few of these as we've got a number of items which can be charged via USB. Work well BUT... there's a couple of blue LED's built into the USB socket area which emit too much light for practical use in a bedroom at night. Unless you're the type who needs a night light.

A patch of black duct tape with slots cut to allow USB be cables to be inserted takes care of a fair amount of the light, but it shouldn't be needed. Poorly thought out by the manufacturer but these sort of chargers are a good option for in a lounge or similar.

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