MANHASSET, NY -- International CES is always chuck full of goodies for the consumer and this year’s event in Las Vegas is no exception, as far as the TechZones are concerned.
One of the more seemingly mundane TechZones is Eureka Park where one may not expect to see what one perceives to be significant. It is a dedicated area showcasing innovative start-ups and entrepreneurs and is partially sponsored by the National Science Foundation.
According to the organizers, it is designed to benefit budding entrepreneurs, fledgling start-ups, home grown innovation and small companies looking to gain footing in the consumer electronics industry.
One such company, Current Werks, has introduced what they claim are two industry-changing, energy-saving USB wall outlets: the Quattro and Duo, which the company will be exhibiting in the Eureka Park TechZone.
The Quattro replaces a standard electrical wall outlet with four USB charging ports, whose combined output of 22Watts makes the Quattro the most powerful in-wall charging solution available anywhere, according to the company.
The Quattro also features an innovative tamper-resistant door that when closed completely eliminates standby power, also known as vampire power. The Quattro has the ability to replace four bulky USB AC adapters with one wall outlet.
The Duo features two powerful in-wall USB charging ports delivering 16Watts of output power from a standard 110V wall outlet. The Duo's advanced power management design gives the consumer a total of four charging solutions, two USB charging ports and two standard US/CAN sockets from a single wall outlet. This makes the Duo the second most powerful in-wall charging solution available in the market today, surpassed only by the Quattro. The Duo supports 15Amp and 20Amp wall receptacles, according to Current Werks.
"These products are the latest innovations in green tech charging," said Patrick Manning, CEO, Current Werks, in a statement.
Los Gatos, Calif.,-based Current Werks LLC innovates in green power storage and charging devices for portable consumer electronics.
I've long wished for centralized backup power in the house for the ubiquitous small devices that run on low voltage with power adapters. Why not have USB charging outlets that reach back to a backup storage battery in the basement? Then clocks, modems, WiFi routers, and wireless phone base stations could all work when the power fails.
USB only supports up to 3 meters of data transfer. To use the USB network to transfer data, which would be a reasonable extension if a home USB charging network is in place, the USB standard needs to be modified.
Here's what the Patrick Manning, CEO of Current Werks llc has replied in part: "Our product is more efficient than the typical 'wall warts' that have become so ubiquitous...Our product ships with the receptacle already attached in a 15 or 20amp format. We have found that our customers appreciate the improved aesthetics of an office or home with far less square black transformers hanging from outlets."
Again, that's what the setup I got does. It replaces a switch cover for a double gang box, providing six AC outlets and a couple of USB drops. I've been very impressed with it. I even saw one that has a little shelf on it to park your cell phone.
The one that I got does this as well. I noticed that if I left the USB cord plugged in after unplugging the device then it shut down the port after some period of time. There must be a mechanical switch combined with a current flow sensor. Unplugging and replugging the cord reactivated the port.
Why does this REPLACE an outlet? Why not simply plug it into an existing outlet? Makes the device portable and avoids the time, effort, and cost of rewiring. I'm also baffled by the comment that this device is "compatible with 15Amp and 20Amp wall receptacles". Wouldn't it be compatible with any wall receptacle? It uses a fraction of an amp.
All vendors should seek ways to avoid power consumption by their devices when no useful work is being done. Having the closed cover eliminate standby power is a nice first step - but circuits should be designed to shutdown with no power consumption if there is no demand. Obviously there is no demand if there are no devices plugged into the USB connectors. Why not use that as the shutdown criterion?
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