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Outfitting your travel kit for USB-C

Outfitting your travel kit for USB-C

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Old Apr 14, 19, 4:15 am   -   Wikipost
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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/dp/B07DJC7J5X/
  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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Old Jun 12, 17, 2:29 pm
  #1  
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Outfitting your travel kit for USB-C

So after several years as a happy Surface Pro 3/Surface Pro 4 user, I finally bit the bullet and switched back to a more classic 2 in 1 - the HP Spectre X360. I was suckered in by the 4k screen, traditional hinge and faster processor - but more importantly, by its adoption of USB-C. (Highly recommended, by the way - it's a fantastic laptop and has been drawing positive comments from people everywhere I take it so far.)

Now, I'm on a mission to rework my bag around USB-C charging. My iPhone prevents me from reaching the holy grail of one charger for everything, but for the first time in history I can finally see a path to carrying only one cable type in a few years... sharing the same charger between my laptop and my Nintendo Switch is a revelation, at least.

Unfortunately, USB-C is still a fragmented mess (especially with the power delivery voltage complexity) and I'm having trouble choosing accessories. What do you all use for:

- USB-C PD wall chargers?
- USB-C PD battery packs?
- USB-C accessories (port converters? hubs? video dongles? docking stations? breakout boxes? ...?)
- ...?

Devices I've already tried and am liking include:

Anker PowerPort+ (1x USB-C PD, 4x USB) - this one is an update of the classic Anker desktop charger box. It works great and charges my laptop without any problems, but it's really big and chunky - more of a desktop solution than a portable one. I took it on my last trip and it worked well, but having to carry the extra IEC power cord was a drag, both literally and figuratively. Anyone got a smaller suggestion that works as well, maybe sacrificing a USB port or two in the process?

RAVPower USB-C PD Power Bank - ostensibly $85 but an offer is available to drop it down to $60. This does what it says on the tin - it successfully charges my laptop or Switch over USB-C PD. It also has a neat feature where the USB output ports can function as a USB hub, helping avoid the need to carry breakout adapters. It's heavy, though, and I do question the capacity - in theory, this should be larger capacity than my laptop's internal battery, but in practice it only adds an extra hour or two, so I suspect there's some serious conversion inefficiency going on. Still, it's saved my bacon already once, and it's something that wasn't even possible before. I'm not going to hold it up as the be all end all of power banks, but it's a good first attempt in the space.

Devices I'm looking for include:

- Smaller wall adapter. The Anker one is just too big for travel.

- USB-C to DisplayPort adapter for my desk. I use DisplayPort 1.4 monitor chaining because I'm a weirdo (and because my Surface Pro required it for multimon), so I'm hoping to find an adapter where this actually works. I'll probably throw some money randomly at Amazon here soon and see what I can find.

- Mobile USB-C breakout box. I'd love to carry a single small box that breaks out all the ports I might want regularly - a few USB 3.0 ports, maybe VGA and HDMI, and perhaps something else useful I haven't thought of yet (microSD?). It should be super small (ideally a collapsible self-contained cable, not something awkwardly splaying out the side). And I'd love for it to include a USB-C PD passthrough port, especially if I'm going to use it as a faux docking station.

- Breakaway USB-C power cable. I miss the magnetic safety of the Surface cable already. But all the ones I've seen have terrible reviews saying they're either unsafe or unreliable. Looking forward to someone reliably solving this problem.

So, FlyerTalk - how are you all making the USB-C jump? What should I be carrying in my bag?
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Old Jun 12, 17, 4:17 pm
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I'm starting this journey myself. I bought a Google Pixel when it came out, and then a Samsung Galaxy S8/MiFi with USB C ports within the last month. I also own a Nintendo Switch (also USB-C.) The move has been challenging thus far and I'm still figuring it out. I think it's really up to what is supported on the device side.

So basically, we have to bin the items into two categories:

USB PD only: Google Pixel and Nintendo Switch. The pixel will charge rapidly off a USB 2.0 cable, from what I am told, the Switch won't (wants a 3.1 C-to-C cable).

USB PD + something else: At least the US based (Qualcomm Snapdragon) model of the Galaxy S8 works with Quickcharge 2.0, as does my Mifi Hotspot from Verizon.

That being said, what I'm using:

USB PD wall chargers: I own a couple of these UGREEN USB PD wall chargers and they're alright. They're only one output but they charge everything above at rapid rates without complaint or any apparent issue. They're a bit fat but USB PD equipment seems in scarce supply. I'd recommend Anker's Powerline series for cables whether USB A to C or USB C to C, although if you have the switch, you want the more expensive USB 3.1 cable for full charging rates (or so I'm told; also, if your laptop uses it for charging, it's a much thicker cable than the 2.0 C to C cable)

USB PD Car chargers: Haven't found one yet, use a USB A QC 2.0 Tronsmart car charger with my S8 when traveling. Same for batteries.

I haven't expanded in the accessory front as I'm still getting the hand of chargers and cables. CATSA is not happy with the number of wires in my backpack right now and picks me for secondary

On the breakout front, it's a nice feature of the switch but I'm not sure USB C was ever designed for it. If anyone finds a solution, I'd be curious to hear about it.
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Old Jun 12, 17, 8:04 pm
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Originally Posted by phltraveler View Post
So basically, we have to bin the items into two categories:

USB PD only: Google Pixel and Nintendo Switch. The pixel will charge rapidly off a USB 2.0 cable, from what I am told, the Switch won't (wants a 3.1 C-to-C cable).
not that simple

USB PD has different categories for voltages too. 5V, 9V, 15V, 20V (max of 5A), and variable voltages inbetween

eg, this one only supports 5V/3A
https://store.google.com/product/usb...l_port_charger

this one supports 5V/3A, 12V/3A, 20V/3A
https://store.google.com/product/uni..._c_60w_charger


some HP laptops (USB type-C) will only charge via OEM-charger, refuses to charge
http://forum.tabletpcreview.com/thre...plained.69523/

the hp spectre x360 2017 doesnt seem to have the problem. it needs 20V/3A, maybe 14.5W/2A
eg: https://www.reddit.com/r/Hewlett_Pac...party_charger/

Last edited by paperwastage; Jun 12, 17 at 8:17 pm
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Old Jun 12, 17, 11:03 pm
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So we are finally getting to the single, universal-sized plug, but it's not actually helping matters at all.
jsds likes this.
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Old Jun 12, 17, 11:38 pm
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So, as a Nintendo Switch owner, I have both of those items. The RAVPower battery is hands-down the preferred power bank for Switch owners. It delivers enough juice to power the Switch while playing Zelda, which is a battery killer. The Anker wall charger works well. Yes, I give up a couple of USB charging options, but I can still charged Nintendo, plus iPad, iPhone, and Watch at the same time.
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Old Jun 13, 17, 12:23 am
  #6  
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Originally Posted by paperwastage View Post
the hp spectre x360 2017 doesnt seem to have the problem. it needs 20V/3A, maybe 14.5W/2A
eg: https://www.reddit.com/r/Hewlett_Pac...party_charger/
I can confirm the Spectre X360 2017 charges using arbitrary USB-C chargers, as long as they support 20V PD. The Anker one in particular seems to charge almost as fast, if not exactly as fast, as the HP provided brick.

I'm glad they backed down on bothering people about using third party chargers. (Some reports even indicate HP released a BIOS update for older laptops that removes the block on them, as well.)

I do understand where they're coming from a little bit. PD is clear as mud - someone really needs to devise a friendly labeling scheme for the voltages that devices support.
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Old Jun 13, 17, 7:54 pm
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I have been eyeing this Aukey USB-C PD charger which also has two USB-A ports with the included small adapter.
https://www.amazon.com/AUKEY-Charger...switch+charger

The Amp PD Duo consists of a 29W USB-C Power Delivery 2.0 charger, and a USB-C to dual USB-A port adapter
...
Specifications
Input: AC 100-240V
USB-C Output: 5V 3A, 9V 3A, 14.5V 2A
USB-A Output (AiPower): 5V 3A Max
Dimensions: 2.68" x 1.97" x 1.10"
Weight: 3.25oz
Dart also released a small USB-C charger
https://finsix.com/#section-specs

Personally, I'd prefer a small travel charger with a figure 8/C7 for relieving strain in loose outlets/international plugs and detachable USB-C cable. Ideally around 4 oz or less.

ETA: I recently bought several usb-c cables with a variety of other ends (micro, USB B, etc) from Monoprice and have taken to labelling them appropriately with 2.0, 3.0, 3.1, etc with tape/permanent marker. At this rate, I should also stick some color coordinated tape on my devices to mark what their power needs & transfer rates are or throw money at the issue and exclusively buy expensive USB 3.1 PD cables and Apple thunderbolt 3 stuff (hah, included charger's usb-c cable is usb 2.0)
http://blog.fosketts.net/2016/10/29/...thunderbolt-3/

Last edited by freecia; Jun 13, 17 at 8:14 pm Reason: label your cables & chargers
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Old Jun 13, 17, 10:18 pm
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Question for those of you traveling with a Switch. I've read thatt apparently you can charge it off a 5V pack as long as it can output at least 2.1A but not play and charge it at the same time. I don't have a USB A->C cable to try it with my Anker pack that can do 2.4A and was curious if anyone has tried it. Since I only fly for leisure right now I don't really want to invest 80 bucks for that admittedly nice RAVPower bank if my Anker pack can keep me from going goofy during a nearly 6 hour layover in DFW in August.
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Old Jun 14, 17, 3:11 am
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Never Aukey. Not until they give a very, very explanation to why after http://www.intertek.com/WorkArea/Dow...id=34359756154 is https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00Q873I3K still up.
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Old Jun 14, 17, 8:16 am
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I too have the Anker PowerPort+ wall charger and RavPower USB-PD battery mentioned above; works great to charge my Dell XPS 13 9350 laptop and Nintendo Switch. I was looking at the new Anker USB-PD battery pack but it's way too expensive at this point.


Originally Posted by LtKernelPanic View Post
Question for those of you traveling with a Switch. I've read thatt apparently you can charge it off a 5V pack as long as it can output at least 2.1A but not play and charge it at the same time
You can definitely play and charge the Switch at the same time off a 5V/2A pack, it will just about maintain the current charge level while playing Zelda (perhaps slightly drain it at worst). I've done with an Anker battery and USB A-C cable.

BTW, not mentioned in this thread yet are Benson Leung and Nathan K, who have both done fabulous research and testing of USB-C chargers and cables. I don't buy anything without consulting this list first.
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Old Jun 14, 17, 9:08 am
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I'm going to hold off for another generation before beginning the move across to USB-C. Too much fragmentation and confusion yet to be confident.
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Old Jun 14, 17, 2:38 pm
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Originally Posted by chx1975 View Post
Never Aukey. Not until they give a very, very explanation to why after http://www.intertek.com/WorkArea/Dow...id=34359756154 is https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00Q873I3K still up.
How many of these non-OEM companies still send their chargers in for independent certification?

I only see older chargers from Anker on UL
http://database.ul.com/cgi-bin/XYV/t...439&sequence=1

Intertek doesn't show any Anker chargers
http://etlwhidirectory.etlsemko.com/...rchFuzzy=FALSE

Falsifying certification is unethical. Producing non-spec potentially dangerous cables/chargers for sale is also wrong. Basically, there should be a lot of explaining of why advertised standards, specs, and safety protocols aren't met by oem and non-oem hardware manufacturers/retailers based on independent reviews.

It seems like customers have stopped focusing on purchasing independent lab certified devices or charger companies have realized people like Benson, Nathan, or GTrusted will actually pay to do the certification for them and the relatively small subset of cautious shoppers will read those lists.
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Old Jun 15, 17, 10:13 am
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Originally Posted by CatJo View Post


You can definitely play and charge the Switch at the same time off a 5V/2A pack, it will just about maintain the current charge level while playing Zelda (perhaps slightly drain it at worst). I've done with an Anker battery and USB A-C cable.

BTW, not mentioned in this thread yet are Benson Leung and Nathan K, who have both done fabulous research and testing of USB-C chargers and cables. I don't buy anything without consulting this list first.
Thank you for the info. I did some research after seeing your reply and it seems a 5V/3A is optimal but anything over 2A should do that trick which will help me pass the time at DFW.
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Old Jun 15, 17, 10:10 pm
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Originally Posted by BenA View Post
My iPhone prevents me from reaching the holy grail of one charger for everything ...
why? There's usb-a and usb-c lightning cables.

-David
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Old Jun 16, 17, 10:16 am
  #15  
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Originally Posted by LIH Prem View Post
why? There's usb-a and usb-c lightning cables.

-David
The eventual goal is to not have any special cabling: to have one charger with a bunch of USB-C cables exclusively in my bag.

For now, I still carry a USB-A to Lightning cable, of course - not a big deal, since most of the chargers currently on the market offer plenty of legacy A ports, and A ports will be present for decades to come on airplanes as an inseat power source.

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 (just in time for hotels all around the world to have finally swapped out their iHome dock connector alarm clocks for Lightning models...)

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...
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