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Outfitting your travel kit for USB-C

Old Feb 10, 2019, 11:52 am
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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 Dec 3, 2017, 2:30 pm
  #61  
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Originally Posted by wco81
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.
The car charger and the hub that I mentioned earlier. Additionally, I have a Nexus 5X that I occasionally use for development which has charged with no issues using the MBP's charger and the car charger's USB-C port.

USB-C might be a case of "you get what you pay for", honestly, much like everything else.
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Old Dec 3, 2017, 2:34 pm
  #62  
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Sure but you can get a $10 USB-A charger and it will charge devices with USB-A or USB-mini or USB-micro plugs just as well as $40 USB-A chargers.

I guess we can't expect that with USB-C chargers.
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Old Dec 3, 2017, 2:36 pm
  #63  
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Originally Posted by wco81
Sure but you can get a $10 USB-A charger and it will charge devices with USB-A or USB-mini or USB-micro plugs just as well as $40 USB-A chargers.

I guess we can't expect that with USB-C chargers.
The less expensive USB-A chargers can have safety issues, though. For example:
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Old Dec 3, 2017, 2:40 pm
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I have a two-plug Anker charger that I paid $10 or $11 from Amazon a couple of years ago. Completely useful for my iPhone and iPad. No safety concerns whatsoever.

Now I don't expect to charge a large device on it because larger devices don't use USB plugs for charging.

But laptops use USB-C plugs today.
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Old Dec 4, 2017, 5:42 pm
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While I do not own http://a.co/9h82luo I must note that a hell lot of Zerolemon products are listed in the Intertek ETL database so I am inclined to believe this actually might even be safe. Of course, the only way to know is to look at the charger and countercheck the ETL mark with the database. The only questionable practice is the massive edit of the product page, previously this was an entirely different charger and the old reviews and photos are speaking of a different product, if you are order the by most recent then you will see lots of 2015 reviews then one mid-2016 then reviews start to flow October 3, 2017...

Last edited by chx1975; Dec 4, 2017 at 5:50 pm
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Old Dec 4, 2017, 6:49 pm
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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 usually turn my macbook off first if I'm going to charge it with this charger.
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.
This is indeed a grounding issue. My work Dell used to experience the same thing when I went to the UK with an adapter that didn't ground (i.e. the 3rd prong was plastic instead of metal). I did some research that the vibration is a result of improper grounding so I got a proper adapter with a UK ground and this has stopped completely. AFAIK this isn't really a safety thing more than a comfort thing.

Originally Posted by freecia
Slickdeals notes that it is being replaced by this model https://www.amazon.com/dp/B072K5ZJXF...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.
So it looks like the new 5 port Anker A2053511 is the one to get according to the latest Benson Leung reviews. That model number is nowhere to be found on the Anker website so there's either been a product recall or it's discontinued weirdly enough. The A2053111 is still rated as a -1 by Benson due to some issues that they fixed in a newer release. Buyer beware.
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Old Dec 7, 2017, 1:19 am
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These are the UL certified Anker chargers QQGQ.E468512 - Power Supplies, Information Technology Equipment Including Electrical Business Equipment so this company, as expected, is actually totally legit and sells safe stuff -- even if the A2053511 doesn't appear in there -- but it seems that model is not available in the USA so that's why didn't send it to the expensive UL certification process. I guess.
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Old Dec 7, 2017, 9:44 am
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Does anyone know why Finsix cannot supply Dart-C cables? It's been on 18-week backorder for a few months now.
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Old Dec 7, 2017, 11:28 am
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Originally Posted by chx1975
While I do not own http://a.co/9h82luo I must note that a hell lot of Zerolemon products are listed in the Intertek ETL database so I am inclined to believe this actually might even be safe. Of course, the only way to know is to look at the charger and countercheck the ETL mark with the database. The only questionable practice is the massive edit of the product page, previously this was an entirely different charger and the old reviews and photos are speaking of a different product, if you are order the by most recent then you will see lots of 2015 reviews then one mid-2016 then reviews start to flow October 3, 2017...
I was thinking about ordering this model as well. I found it for $37 shipped https://stacksocial.com/sales/75w-de...ick-charge-3-0

Anyone have this product? I had a few zerolemon battery packs but the reviews on this (amazon) is iffy. The reviews are merged with other products.
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Old Dec 9, 2017, 6:29 am
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Originally Posted by pseudoswede
Does anyone know why Finsix cannot supply Dart-C cables? It's been on 18-week backorder for a few months now.
So you are surprised at the company which put up vaporware as a Kickstarter and years late they pulled a miracle and delivered a product put up a vaporware cable on their website? Look, I have this pretty bridge here to sell you...
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Old Dec 11, 2017, 11:56 am
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Originally Posted by vletnguyen
I was thinking about ordering this model as well. I found it for $37 shipped https://stacksocial.com/sales/75w-de...ick-charge-3-0

Anyone have this product? I had a few zerolemon battery packs but the reviews on this (amazon) is iffy. The reviews are merged with other products.
Bit the bullet and ordered with coupon code.
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Old Dec 11, 2017, 1:46 pm
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Originally Posted by chx1975
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.
71 people lost their lives in London this year due to a faulty Whirlpool refrigerator, which no doubt had multiple safety agency certifications. Apple has had multiple recalls of their factory-supplied power adapters for both phone AND laptops due to fire hazards. Sony, Dell, Apple, HP, and Lenovo have all had overheating battery issues. Buying a brand name isn't a guarantee of safety. Even Rolls-Royce and Mercedes have recalls. In my line of work, I've had plenty of devices with UL (not just CE or ETL) stickers on them melt down, including products from big, large brand names. I've even had life-safety devices and fire alarms have overheating issues, some with visible flame.

Buying something with a UL sticker on it isn't a guarantee -- I even (unintentionally) caught a large manufacturer putting UL stickers on a device UL had NOT approved/tested. UL was less than pleased when I reported I had one of these devices melt down and sent it to them.

If anything, the "amateur" reviews on Amazon and similar can be great for uncovering defective products! I can think of a quite a few products where Amazon reviews clearly show that there are overheating issues with a product, even if there hasn't been a proper CPSC recall or the manufacturer denies there's an issue.

Obviously, buying the cheapest device available on eBay isn't the best course of action, BUT there's no use spending a fortune either.

I'm FAR less concerned about fire safety than I am the safety of my devices. Why? In practical use, I'm far likely to encounter a product which will put out unsafe voltage than will catch on fire. With smartphones well north of the $500 mark and laptops easily 5x that, you could easily be blowing $3-4k with one bad power supply. Worse, if you have a poorly-made USB battery pack charging off that, then you're looking at some possible fireworks.
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Old Dec 17, 2017, 1:43 am
  #73  
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Recent article on fast-charging options for iPhone 8/8Plus/X.

https://www.imore.com/best-fast-and-...one-x-chargers

They tried a couple of 3rd-party USB-C to Lightning cables as well as several third-party portable USB-C chargers.

https://www.imore.com/best-fast-and-...one-x-chargers

Some interesting results like one 45-watt charger charging more slowly than 30-watt chargers.

Maybe CES will bring some more consistent USB-C products.

The battery packs are pricey now, $50-100 for USB-C PD capability, some with a PD or QC 3.0 charger included in order to recharge the 20k mAh packs in 4-5 hours, whereas such packs can take over 20 hours to charge from empty to full. But these are premiums of 50-100% for standard 20k mAh packs.
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Old Dec 25, 2017, 2:43 pm
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Originally Posted by KRSW
I'm FAR less concerned about fire safety than I am the safety of my devices.
And yet, despite all you wrote, the first thing to do is rule out manufacturers who are known to fake UL/ETL certs. Then, second step, rule out those who do not have such a cert. Yes, it is possible that even after these steps we have a device which have a problematic AC side but the point is to lessen the probability of getting one that melts down or sends 110V to the USB side. Only the third step is to worry about USB C conformity. This is all I am trying to say. And I am absolutely despaired that people debate this. Which part of my argument is not solid?
  1. If a company faked a cert and even after Intertek's warning didn't pull their product, then they are boycott worthy.
  2. If a company doesn't send their product for the admittedly expensive safety testing I do not know anything about it and I don't want to work with it.
This still says nothing about the remaining devices which do have UL/ETL marks. It doesn't say they won't melt down. But the chances are much lower.
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Old Jun 24, 2018, 3:58 pm
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Anker announced two new USB-C PD power packs designed for Nintendo Switch https://www.theverge.com/circuitbrea...ship-powercore
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