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Outfitting your travel kit for USB-C

Old Feb 10, 2019, 11:52 am
FlyerTalk Forums Expert How-Tos and Guides
Last edit by: cheltzel
If you want to use USB C for more than charging, then these two posts are useful: 1 2.

When planning your charger loadout, do note the charger your laptop shipped with is not a requirement, a lower one will be fine. For example, https://9to5mac.com/2018/09/25/60w-u...-all-macbooks/ says

the 87W charger filled up my 15-inch MacBook Pro battery more quickly than the 60W charger, but not by very much. After an hour and a half, the 87W charger added 76% battery while the 60W charger added 72%.
On the other hand, most laptops are not built to use higher wattage even if available. It won't hurt your laptop, though.

Buy chargers on Amazon at your own risk, they are known to commingle stock from every third party sellers. But, the chargers here do not have fakes (yet?) so even Amazon might be safe.

The smallest USB C chargers:
  1. Mu One. 45W. Comes with UK, US, EU folding plugs. 96 x 55 x 14mm, 82g with the UK plug attached. 3.78 x 2.17 x 0.55 inch, 2.89oz. Manufacturer shop, https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07N1PK1RP https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07N1PK1RP
  2. RAVPower GaN 45W : 72 x 54 x 14.9mm / 2.83 x 2.12 x 0.59inch, 75g / 2.65oz. This is a similar charger to Mu One only without the nifty plug heads. It is marginally cheaper, but without the unique multi-region folding plugs it isn't as good of an option for international travelers. Manufacturer shop, https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07H9WMW6N
  3. Innergie 60C (nee 55CC): 65W 60 x 30 x 30mm / 2.3 x 1.2 x 1.2 inch, 85g. While much thicker than the previous two, when the socket is hidden in a recess this has a much better chance to fit. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07GBYVF4Q Also, a cable is available to charge legacy laptops https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07GBYL5KZ only compatible with the Innergie 60C. This makes the Finsix Dart fully obsolete, it started as a legacy laptop charger and a USB C cable was planned and reviewed two years ago but never shipped.
If you have more than one USB C device:
  1. Satechi 75W: USB C 60W, USB C 18W, two USB A share 12W. 4" x 2.63" x 1", 11.14 oz. Manufacturer shop https://www.amazon.com/dp/B078864F15
  2. LVSUN LS-PD87-2C sold as Hyperjuice 87W charger: two USB C and one USB A all three share 87W. 4.33" x 3.86" x 0.79", 8.32oz Aliexpress Hyper https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07KLWDY9C
  3. Hyperjuice battery: 27000 mAh USB C 100W, USB C 60W, USB A 18W. 7.2" x 3" x 0.84" / 183.2 x 77.1 x 21.3 mm Manufacturer shop (although it goes through indiegogo, it is not crowdfunding, it's just a shop)
  4. Maru & Masa Kickstarter: Maru is a 82mm/3.23" diameter bagel, 28mm/1.1" thick, 7.4oz, USB C 45W, USB C 18W, two USB A share 15W, three international AC sockets, nifty interchangeable international plugs. Masa is a battery 80 x 80 x 28 / 3.15" x 3.15" x 1.1" , 11.3oz 18000 mAh, USB C 45W, USB C 15W, Qi 7.5W, kickstand. Promised shipping: April 2019 https://www.kickstarter.com/projects...e-yet-powerful
  5. SuperTank & SuperPort 4 Kickstarter: SuperPort 4 is a 114 x 100 x 24 / 4.5" x 3.95" x .95" charger, weight not disclosed, USB C 100W, USB C 18W, two USB ports share 18W. SuperTank is a 27000 mAh battery w/ lots of features, 4.7" x 2.8" x 1.6", 17oz USB C 100W, USB C 60W, USB A 18W, USB A 15W all ports share 138W Promised shipping: May 2019 https://www.kickstarter.com/projects...ek-recharge-in
  6. AlsterPlus Kickstarter: 7.4" x 3.28" x 0.85", 20oz / 568gr, 27000mAh battery with 2 x 100W USB-C + 2x 18W USB-A, lots of features. All ports share 156W.
  7. Anker Atom PD4. Two USB C, two USB A all share 100W, USB A per port is 12W max. 4.1" x 3.3" x 1.3", 13.5oz. https://www.amazon.com/Anker-Chargin.../dp/B07VSMK849
  8. MagicFox PD180. This is a DC-DC unit, it takes 12-28V 180W via a 5.5mm x 2.5mm jack or 100W max via USB- C input and provides three ports: USB C 100W, USB C 40W, USB A 40W. Size 3.15" x 2.76" x 0.53", 3.44oz. Possible interesting AC-DC choices: Lenovo 4X20Q88542 at 135W either from Encompass with very long ship times or from Japan via Rakuten, Lenovo-to-5.5mm plug adapter here. 4.65" x 3" x .83", 15.24oz. If that's not enough Razer has a 180W which, AFAIK has the right plug. Notably light at 14.82oz, 5.98" / 152mm x 2.87" / 73mm x 0.93" / 23.5mm. The MagicFox PD180 itself is, so far, China only, I had good experiences with Superbuy as proxy so https://www.superbuy.com/en/page/buy...832086035.html While the MagicFox PD180 itself is cheap, high wattage, quality, lightweight AC-DC adapters are anything but.
Getting multiple units from the small section can be more compact and versatile. It is expensive, though and requires plugging multiple devices. Recommended: power strip, wall tap, wall tap. Add USB A ports via slim chargers, Amazon list and https://www.amazon.com/dp/B016XO41KQ/

Cabling wise, AmazomBasics and Monoprice is your friend. Do not use female USB C to USB A / micro USB adapters, these are explicitly forbidden by the USB C standard. Male USB C to USB A / micro USB is fine.

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Outfitting your travel kit for USB-C

Old Jun 16, 2017, 2:20 pm
  #16  
 
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Originally Posted by BenA
But I'd love to veto that cable from my bag and move to C on all my devices; rumor is that Apple will actually make that change with this fall's batch of iPhones.
I would love it too if Apple moved to USB-C but I think that earlier rumor was mistaken. The Lightning connector will stay, and if anything, they'll change the USB-A end to USB-C. Also seems like wireless charging will finally be available on the iPhone.
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Old Jun 16, 2017, 10:00 pm
  #17  
 
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Originally Posted by BenA
Come to think of it, if I were an airline, I'd be talking to my seat manufacturer about potentially including USB-C PD ports in new aircraft orders. It might end up being useless in the long run like the old ethernet ports most carriers are still hauling around, but the odds of that get less likely with each new device that's released...
hahaha

with the certification process needed for airplane modifications, and the frequent non-compliant USB type C chargers AND cables, I doubt we'll see any usb type-C ports at all... airplanes will stick with plane old usb type-A
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Old Jun 19, 2017, 3:26 pm
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FYI, a 2-pack of Anker USB-A 3.0 to USB-C PowerLine cables are on sale at Amazon for $9.99 with code BEST8166

EDIT: never mind, sold out
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Old Jun 26, 2017, 9:29 am
  #19  
 
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I recently picked this charger up:
https://www.amazon.com/USB-Wall-Char.../dp/B06XR9JBM8

I was very hesitant because I've never heard of Grandstar, but the price was right. It charges my 2016 13" MacBook Pro at 60W without getting warm. I haven't tried the USB-A ports yet. I'm hopeful this will allow me one travel charger for all my devices.
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Old Aug 10, 2017, 1:27 pm
  #20  
 
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Does anyone have the CARD adapter CA4 Pro with type-c support?
https://www.kickstarter.com/projects...er-with-type-c

Can't seem to purchase it via their website, yet, but they've shipped the CA4 Pro to backers.

CA4 without usb-c is available here:
http://www.card-tec.com/worldshop/Adapter/CA4
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Old Aug 10, 2017, 11:09 pm
  #21  
 
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Originally Posted by freecia
Does anyone have the CARD adapter CA4 Pro with type-c support?
https://www.kickstarter.com/projects...er-with-type-c

Can't seem to purchase it via their website, yet, but they've shipped the CA4 Pro to backers.

CA4 without usb-c is available here:
http://www.card-tec.com/worldshop/Adapter/CA4
I have one, but haven't used it yet. Will use it as a regular USB charger on my (domestic) trip next week. I figured by the time I got it that I would have a USB-C laptop but my old MagSafe MacBook Air is still running so I haven't replaced it yet...
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Old Aug 12, 2017, 11:39 am
  #22  
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Can't you just use a regular power bank if you have a USB-A to USB-C cable?
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Old Aug 13, 2017, 1:22 pm
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Originally Posted by wco81
Can't you just use a regular power bank if you have a USB-A to USB-C cable?
you can, but your device might charge slower.


"normal" USB-A delivers a max of 5V/2.4A.

qualcomm Quickcharge 2.0 USB-A can do more (5V,9V,12V)
but it's proprietary, both ends (charger+device) must support it, and requires certification/licensing from qualcomm

USB-C PD is supposed to be universal (don't need additional licensing from another company), but it's been implemented in a very confusing way

charger can support different profiles (base profile = 5V/3A, next profile allows 9V/3A and 15V/3A etc...). macbook wants 14.5V/2A, but your phone usb-c charger might only support 5V/3A, your macbook charges very slowly
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Old Aug 13, 2017, 3:01 pm
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Ah that makes sense that USB-A is limited.

But don't USB-C ports have different voltages depending on which cables you need, and those cables aren't always clear on which voltages they can support?

Though there are suppose to be more parts for USB-C ports and plugs so they will always carry a price premium.
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Old Aug 13, 2017, 6:46 pm
  #25  
 
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Originally Posted by wco81
Ah that makes sense that USB-A is limited.

But don't USB-C ports have different voltages depending on which cables you need, and those cables aren't always clear on which voltages they can support?

Though there are suppose to be more parts for USB-C ports and plugs so they will always carry a price premium.
my physics is rusty, but I believe voltage doesn't matter as much for cables as amperage.

amperage is definitely listed
eg:
3A - https://www.monoprice.com/product?p_id=24284
5A - https://www.monoprice.com/product?p_id=24285
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Old Aug 14, 2017, 11:46 am
  #26  
 
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I love USB C. My Mabook Pro and Google Pixel are all on the same plug. I also use USB C to charge my iPad Pro.

The annoying thing is: now that USB A plugs are FINALLY everywhere, the standard has shifted to USB C
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Old Aug 16, 2017, 4:00 pm
  #27  
 
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Originally Posted by LordHamster
The annoying thing is: now that USB A plugs are FINALLY everywhere, the standard has shifted to USB C


This is why I still carry USB A > USB C cables only. USB A is still everywhere while USB C is no where to be found yet.
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Old Oct 13, 2017, 8:09 am
  #28  
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Originally Posted by aem512
I recently picked this charger up:
https://www.amazon.com/USB-Wall-Char.../dp/B06XR9JBM8

I was very hesitant because I've never heard of Grandstar, but the price was right. It charges my 2016 13" MacBook Pro at 60W without getting warm. I haven't tried the USB-A ports yet. I'm hopeful this will allow me one travel charger for all my devices.
I bought one of these and have been traveling with it over the last month or so. The good news is that it seems to work quite reliably with my Spectre X360 and Switch, and the USB-A ports also charge devices as expected.

The bad news is that it is unreliable with in seat power on airplanes - it frequently fails to draw whatever amount of current is needed for the outlet to kick on reliably, so the outlet will often blink off 5 seconds after the Grandstar is plugged in. The other problem is that the blades appear slightly too small and the brick is a little heavy, so it keeps falling out of loose wall sockets.

As much as I love the size, I think Im back to carrying the giant Anker 5 port adapter for now. If the grandstar had removable blades and a figure 8 connector underneath where I could add a power cord when necessary, it might be a different story...
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Old Oct 13, 2017, 2:44 pm
  #29  
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Wouldn't it be more likely that airline seat power isn't putting out enough power to charge larger devices reliably?
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Old Oct 14, 2017, 1:12 am
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Originally Posted by wco81
Wouldn't it be more likely that airline seat power isn't putting out enough power to charge larger devices reliably?
That would be my guess. Most plane sockets max out at about 60-70 watts. Anything drawing greater than that will cause them to trip.

I have the exact same problem with my 130 watt (!) laptop power supply. I've found exactly one plane that it worked on (a United plane with a new seat fitout, so I'm not sure if they have increased the wattage or it was just luck)
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