Go Back  FlyerTalk Forums > Travel&Dining > Travel Technology
Reload this Page >

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.

Print Wikipost

Outfitting your travel kit for USB-C

Old Dec 1, 2017, 2:55 pm
  #46  
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
Posts: 525
I thought the Anker 5 port PD charger had good reviews from Benson. I was looking for a travel with usbPD and this was the only one which fit the bill in terms of charging all my equipment. I've been looking for that for months now and it's been sold out everywhere in Canada unfortunately
LoveHateRelationship is offline  
Old Dec 1, 2017, 5:42 pm
  #47  
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 2,285
Originally Posted by LoveHateRelationship
I thought the Anker 5 port PD charger had good reviews from Benson. I was looking for a travel with usbPD and this was the only one which fit the bill in terms of charging all my equipment. I've been looking for that for months now and it's been sold out everywhere in Canada unfortunately
I have the "safe" 5 port usb-c PD Anker charger. The USB-C will power my 13" Macbook Pro w/ Touchbar while on, but if I touch the metal above the touchbar, I get a small current tickle/vibration. I usually turn my macbook off first if I'm going to charge it with this charger. I also have the smaller anker usb-c charger revision AK-A2014112 reviewed here:
https://plus.google.com/102612254593...ts/fGcpwaF3ktM I've only ever tried charging the MBP with it off using this charger.

USF-IF isn't infallible, either.
https://plus.google.com/102612254593...ts/9DKfUrDSwUd
https://plus.google.com/102612254593...ts/SUUQgEZJzx1

Originally Posted by deniah
If you look at the USB-IF certification list for example, most of the entries are there from OxM manufacturers, and very few by the consumer brands.
This means that a Belkin, or Choetech, or Verizon, could very well be selling a 'certified' product, but did not pay for certification under their branding. And if they co-opted the certification, while it may be illegal and unethical, it doesnt change the performance of the underlying product.

Secondly, if you reference the USB list maintained by "Nathan K" or "Benson Leung", even peripherals from Apple, Microsoft, Google, and "trusted" brands like Anker and Monoprice, fall into the bad-to-really bad endorsements.

In fact, there are only 2 AC chargers listed there that gets full endorsement to charge the Pixel phones. And only 1 of them at the optimal speed.
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets...f_TX8/pubhtml#

So if you're going to write off a brand based on 1 or 2 SKUs, you're gonna have to write off 95% of the market.
I'd like to know why so many manufacturers are having such a hard time manufacturing a compliant product at the various price range targets. At this point, yes, usb-c accessories are a bit of a gamble and a review of "it charges!" doesn't meant it is compliant.

For the record, I have both the Aukey 2 port & ChargeTech 2 port chargers. My Aukey unit doesn't have the ETL mark. Both units will hum a bit when charging 2 devices when plugged into in some outlets. Neither has lit anything on fire or shorted, yet, but they are my occasional travel units and not daily workhorses. See above for YMMV.
freecia is offline  
Old Dec 1, 2017, 7:10 pm
  #48  
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: K+K
Programs: *G
Posts: 4,830
Originally Posted by freecia
I have the "safe" 5 port usb-c PD Anker charger. The USB-C will power my 13" Macbook Pro w/ Touchbar while on, but if I touch the metal above the touchbar, I get a small current tickle/vibration.
I dont think this has got to do with using questionable 3rd party chargers.

ive had this happen with various work-issue dells using official chargers. i think it also randomly* happens with my 15" macbook pro using its chargers.

*i dont think the behavior is absolutely random. just that i havent bothered correlating the circumstances to narrow down potential cause
deniah is offline  
Old Dec 1, 2017, 7:40 pm
  #49  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Jan 2014
Location: San Diego, CA
Programs: GE, Marriott Platinum
Posts: 15,427
Originally Posted by deniah
I dont think this has got to do with using questionable 3rd party chargers.

ive had this happen with various work-issue dells using official chargers. i think it also randomly* happens with my 15" macbook pro using its chargers.

*i dont think the behavior is absolutely random. just that i havent bothered correlating the circumstances to narrow down potential cause
I've heard that the weird sensation can be prevented (at least for Macs) by using the long cable with the three-pin connector instead of the two-pin connector that comes with it. It has to do with how grounding works but I don't recall the exact details.

Unfortunately that longer cable no longer comes with new Macs and has to be purchased separately.
tmiw is online now  
Old Dec 1, 2017, 8:55 pm
  #50  
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 2,285
Originally Posted by tmiw
I've heard that the weird sensation can be prevented (at least for Macs) by using the long cable with the three-pin connector instead of the two-pin connector that comes with it. It has to do with how grounding works but I don't recall the exact details.

Unfortunately that longer cable no longer comes with new Macs and has to be purchased separately.
Hm, my Apple chargers mostly have the US grounded plug (re-used the cords from prior chargers) and I haven't used the longer grounded cables on 220V. I usually bring a shorter c7-c8 cord and Apple plug from the travel kit with my Anker 5 port charger, along with the IOGear usb-c 1 meter cable.

The longer extension cords are also available on eBay for US, AU, EU, and UK. Is there another good source of c7 to grounded outlet extension cords which are a little shorter?

ETA: Speaking of questionable chargers and desperation, I have a usb-c female to usb-a male adapter on my desk which is clearly non-compliant for usb-c spec, but the easiest way to get a specific no-battery peripheral to work. There aren't many usb-c to usb-a hubs available which would satisfy compliance. I hope I have sufficiently warned others not to use it to charge their phones, short of taping a picture of crossbones and mobile device on it.

Last edited by freecia; Dec 1, 2017 at 9:10 pm
freecia is offline  
Old Dec 1, 2017, 11:36 pm
  #51  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Jan 2014
Location: San Diego, CA
Programs: GE, Marriott Platinum
Posts: 15,427
Originally Posted by freecia
Hm, my Apple chargers mostly have the US grounded plug (re-used the cords from prior chargers) and I haven't used the longer grounded cables on 220V. I usually bring a shorter c7-c8 cord and Apple plug from the travel kit with my Anker 5 port charger, along with the IOGear usb-c 1 meter cable.

The longer extension cords are also available on eBay for US, AU, EU, and UK. Is there another good source of c7 to grounded outlet extension cords which are a little shorter?

ETA: Speaking of questionable chargers and desperation, I have a usb-c female to usb-a male adapter on my desk which is clearly non-compliant for usb-c spec, but the easiest way to get a specific no-battery peripheral to work. There aren't many usb-c to usb-a hubs available which would satisfy compliance. I hope I have sufficiently warned others not to use it to charge their phones, short of taping a picture of crossbones and mobile device on it.
The longer Apple cable works fine on 240V with the charger that comes with the MBP in my experience; it'd be weird if it didn't as the Apple charger is rated to run on 100-240V 50/60Hz. The important part is that both ends have three pins (the circle on the charging box that the cable slides onto is the ground "pin").

I also took a look at Anker's chargers and the smaller one-port ones definitely don't look like they can support a three-pin cable being attached to them. The five-port one might but none of the photos on their site have a good view of the back to be certain.

To answer your question though, Amazon seems to have C7-C8 cables as well, though at first glance they have two pins on both ends.
tmiw is online now  
Old Dec 2, 2017, 4:24 am
  #52  
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: YVR
Programs: Aeroplan, AAdvantage
Posts: 2,100
Originally Posted by deniah
If you look at the USB-IF certification list for exampleAukey holds a pretty good reputation. That charger in particular is the only one available that has dual usbPD and usba charging at a reasonable size. And it's proven to work with my devices. YMMV.
All your answer is about working well with USB products. This is, on one level irrelevant. Aukey is selling devices that plug into 110/220V and they have not been certified to work with that. In other words, if you have a charger which has a problem with USB C then your device might charge slowly. But these products by Aukey has an unknown chance of actually catching fire. And they lie to you about those chances. Those certs are not for nothing!

When Belkin or Verizon sells you a charger, you can at least be sure of it has went through the right certification process and it's not dangerous to be plugged in at least. That counts for something.

To phrase it in yet another way: you are desperate enough to buy a charger just because the low voltage end happened to get good reviews.
chx1975 is offline  
Old Dec 2, 2017, 3:53 pm
  #53  
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 2,285
Originally Posted by LoveHateRelationship
I thought the Anker 5 port PD charger had good reviews from Benson. I was looking for a travel with usbPD and this was the only one which fit the bill in terms of charging all my equipment. I've been looking for that for months now and it's been sold out everywhere in Canada unfortunately
This unit just went on sale on Amazon US for $35 after coupon
https://slickdeals.net/f/10976171-us...-charger-34-99

Slickdeals notes that it is being replaced by this model https://www.amazon.com/dp/B072K5ZJXF/ref=sr_1_10?ascsubtag=96339196d7a711e7a5f0d28e2e2c c5460INT&camp=217145&creative=399373&creativeASIN= B072K5ZJXF&ie=UTF8&linkCode=as2&sr=1-10&tag=slickdeals which is probably why stock is low. Specs wise they seem similar and the new one has a slightly smaller casing. The listed unit weight on the new charger looks a bit off as my older unit weighs 7.7 oz without cords. Perhaps the reviewed unit doesn't work well with the iPad Pro and the new unit does? I don't have an iPad pro or a usb-c to lightning cable so can't test.
@tmiw
Apple's USB-C MBP chargers do have the duckbill ground pin and the grounded extension cords have small strips of metal to make contact. So do the magsafe chargers and an old iPad charger. The 5 port Anker unit AK-A2053111 is just an ungrounded c7. Thanks for prompting me to check. I'd prefer to consolidate chargers but may bring the MBP charger with appropriate cord when needed. Most of the multi port USB-C PD + A chargers aren't grounded. The low level zing when missing the virtual esc key is just a weird feeling.

Last edited by freecia; Dec 2, 2017 at 4:00 pm
freecia is offline  
Old Dec 3, 2017, 9:20 am
  #54  
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: K+K
Programs: *G
Posts: 4,830
Originally Posted by chx1975
All your answer is about working well with USB products. This is, on one level irrelevant. Aukey is selling devices that plug into 110/220V and they have not been certified to work with that. In other words, if you have a charger which has a problem with USB C then your device might charge slowly. But these products by Aukey has an unknown chance of actually catching fire. And they lie to you about those chances. Those certs are not for nothing!

When Belkin or Verizon sells you a charger, you can at least be sure of it has went through the right certification process and it's not dangerous to be plugged in at least. That counts for something.

To phrase it in yet another way: you are desperate enough to buy a charger just because the low voltage end happened to get good reviews.
My only interest - and probably the interest of most others - is whether something actually works.

Even the certifications themselves, as shown above, are subject to question; i.e. they do not guarantee performance.

Luckily there's also independent testing, crowd/peer testimonial, recommendations from 'recognized experts', etc.

Some belkin, verizon periphals devices get a vote of "Avoid" from the independent testers.

***

Some reputed OEM devices fail. Some certified devices fail. Surely for some, the crowd-recommended devices fail.

If you're looking for something to satisfy all 3 criteria, you're probably never going to find it.

I'm sharing my experience with something that works, from a brand that generally holds a good reputation. You don't have to buy it. Caveat emptor.
deniah is offline  
Old Dec 3, 2017, 9:26 am
  #55  
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: K+K
Programs: *G
Posts: 4,830
Originally Posted by tmiw
I've heard that the weird sensation can be prevented (at least for Macs) by using the long cable with the three-pin connector instead of the two-pin connector that comes with it. It has to do with how grounding works but I don't recall the exact details.

Unfortunately that longer cable no longer comes with new Macs and has to be purchased separately.
Hmm yeah. I've read the same wrt to grounding. However my PCs and Macs here are EU market and only come with 2-prong grounded schuko plugs
deniah is offline  
Old Dec 3, 2017, 12:33 pm
  #56  
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: DEL
Posts: 1,049
Originally Posted by deniah
Hmm yeah. I've read the same wrt to grounding. However my PCs and Macs here are EU market and only come with 2-prong grounded schuko plugs
I've never been able to get the current leakage to happen on a Mac when using a grounded AC cord, since it appears that the metal body of the Magsafe plug is connected to the brick's ground. It's easily reproducible on my MBP by using the ungrounded duckbill on the brick, though.

On a PC, even though you have a Schuko and a 3-prong "Mickey Mouse" cord on the AC side, the DC side often doesn't have a ground so in theory it'd make no difference.

Last edited by der_saeufer; Dec 3, 2017 at 12:40 pm
der_saeufer is offline  
Old Dec 3, 2017, 12:51 pm
  #57  
Suspended
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Bay Area
Programs: DL SM, UA MP.
Posts: 12,729
So after over a year in the market, third-party USB-C products are still iffy on reliability and performance?

And still carry a premium price as well.

By using the same charger plugs, the expectation is that chargers would support any device with the same plug, from small mobile or portable devices all the way up to laptops.

But if they can't meet that expectation, maybe they should use different plugs for laptops.
wco81 is offline  
Old Dec 3, 2017, 1:16 pm
  #58  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Jan 2014
Location: San Diego, CA
Programs: GE, Marriott Platinum
Posts: 15,427
Originally Posted by wco81
So after over a year in the market, third-party USB-C products are still iffy on reliability and performance?

And still carry a premium price as well.

By using the same charger plugs, the expectation is that chargers would support any device with the same plug, from small mobile or portable devices all the way up to laptops.

But if they can't meet that expectation, maybe they should use different plugs for laptops.
I've had pretty good luck with the two USB-C devices I've purchased for my MBP, for what it's worth. Of course, this could easily change once I end up buying more of them.
tmiw is online now  
Old Dec 3, 2017, 1:34 pm
  #59  
Suspended
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Bay Area
Programs: DL SM, UA MP.
Posts: 12,729
Which two devices?

If I buy another charger, ideally it would charge everything with that plug. I know it will technically charge a 15-inch MacBook Pro, which comes with an 87-watt charger. But most third-party chargers will charge it slowly.

Right now, my Nintendo Switch is plugged into an Aukey chargers with a USB-A to USB-C cable. The charger won't fully charge the Switch if I'm using it, just keep it from dwindling.

So if it can't handle a relatively smaller device like the Switch, I can't imagine any charger less than 87 watts being able to charge up the MBP when you're using it.

And if you have a charger with multiple ports and have one other device besides the MBP on the charger, I would guess neither device will charge up 100% if you're using the MBP while plugged in.
wco81 is offline  
Old Dec 3, 2017, 2:18 pm
  #60  
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: YVR
Programs: Aeroplan, AAdvantage
Posts: 2,100
Originally Posted by deniah
I'm sharing my experience with something that works, from a brand that generally holds a good reputation. You don't have to buy it. Caveat emptor.
that worksdidn't catch fire yet here. You are not listening. You insist that amateurish even half pro reviews have somehow any weight when considering the safety of an AC 100V+ power device. Ken Shirriff can tell whether a device is unsafe after disassembling it but you most likely can't and even he can't tell whether it's safe without extensive testing which you absolutely surely can't do. So first you rule out the devices which do not have safety marks, second you rule out all brands which lies about safety marks and then begin to look at USB compatibility. Even if you end up with no devices that fit other requirements you still do not buy fire hazards or potential fire hazards.

People do not understand this brave new world. You are too much used to being able to walk into a store and purchase some product and be reasonable sure of its safety. But this safety is ensured by some US company within US jurisdictions selling this to you -- if they didn't adhere to safety regulations there ample ways to ensure they do or go bust.

But this is new: you can, with one click, buy a charger of unknown safety.

https://www.saferproducts.gov/ViewIncident/1219045

Here's a simple test of knowledge: why is this device unsafe http://a.co/70hawV5 ? (Mind you many plug adapters are similarly unsafe for the same reason. The Mogics adapter for example at least doesn't violate this thing. There's a second problem which the Mogics Bagel and this both have but that's just a shocking hazard not a fire hazard and that's essentially your problem but I wouldn't want you to set fire to the hotel because you know nothing about the devices you plug into 100V+.) I picked this one because reading the product page lets you find it out, kind of but no one reads these and there's no enforcement (again, the Mogics adapter does enforce at least this).

Last edited by chx1975; Dec 3, 2017 at 2:48 pm
chx1975 is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Manage Preferences - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service -

This site is owned, operated, and maintained by MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. Copyright © 2024 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Designated trademarks are the property of their respective owners.