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Traveling with Too Many Chargers? 131

Posted by Cliff
from the mitigating-the-proliferation-of-wall-warts dept.
MotorMachineMercenar wonders: "I just took a roadtrip over a long weekend and noticed that I need to lug around too many chargers. I have a charger for my cell phone, Nintendo DS Lite, my two digital cameras and an iPod. Sometimes I will have one for a portable HDD and laptop. In addition I have to carry a plug converter as some of them have been bought overseas. That's up to eight gadgets just to give juice my power-hungry devices, and they take precious space and weight in my bags. Is there any way to limit the number of chargers without gimping my roadwarrior gear? Most devices have more or less fixed batteries, 'smart' chargers and proprietary plugs, but is it possible as DIY, or is there an existing product? I'd like to see a universal charger for which plugs for any current device with the flexibility to add more in the future. What are the limitations and caveats with 240 vs 120, wattage, cutting and connecting cables, and so forth?"
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Traveling with Too Many Chargers?

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  • Easy! (Score:5, Informative)

    by sporkme (983186) * on Thursday November 30, 2006 @07:47PM (#17058476) Homepage
    I use Igo [igo.com] and USB cables to charge my devices. Igo junk is available at a lot of retailers. There are varying power source and wattage ratings of the chargers, including air/car/110~/220~ power supplies that automatically adjust voltage and current, and can charge four or more devices at once if necessary. It is based on tip adapters that deliver power specific to their respective devices. They are pretty fast to make new connectors.

    There are also the alkaline/lithium battery powered auxillury chargers, most of which are universal with multiple connecters. You can also use the solar chargers, most of which include a DC car socket.

    I think that sooner than later, everything small will charge from USB and everything larger will have automatically switching power supplies that can run from any typical power source without adaptation.
    • Yes... There are other "multi-chargers" too, and eBay sellers peddle plenty of them.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      I absolutely recomment the iGo. You can charge 2-4 devices at once, and they have models that will even power up to midrange notebooks. I have one as does my wife - and they are invaluable. Get a new cel or other device? $10 for a new tip - RadioShack and others have them in major malls, you can even buy them in airports if you lose a tip. eBay often offers them for $10 per tip from various sellers.

      I even have a tip that works with my battery charger - works with AAA, AA and 9V batteries. Best prese
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        And as an alternative to iGo, Ziplinq has a variety of tips for your 5V items that plug into standard USB ports and chargers. I started with the iGo, but now that my PDA and bluetooth headphones both have Mini-B sockets for charging, I've switched to Ziplinq. One thing though- iGo was always high quality, and I'm not impressed with the quality of Ziplinq- I've got one cable from them that the ends came off, and another that for some strange reason (perhaps a short?) draws power from the USB as a surge as
        • My old Nokia phone supported a simple cheap charger cable with USB on one end and the phone's power connector on the other. No brick, no wall wart, uses a laptop for power, and the phone could run a long time even if I couldn't plug in the laptop, and any time I was going anywhere for business, I'd have the laptop and didn't need more clunky parts in the laptop bag (the USB-powered Ethernet hub also rocked.)

          Unfortunately, my next Nokia phone couldn't use it, because it needed more amperage or some other un

          • Same here for my SE T610, the cable was less than 10GBP at a local computer fair. Also permits connection to a PIM eg Float's Mobile Agent.
        • by jesboat (64736)
          Keep in mind that you may just have had bad luck. I bought a Juice, and both my AC input and DC output cords broke (at different times.) I don't, however, treat my eq particularly delicately, and iGo replaced both for free (including shipping) in what were the easiest warranty exchanges I've experienced.
          • It might well be- for the ZipLinq cable that causes the "power surge" error in Windows XP, it's of the exact same batch as one I purchased at the same time that works perfectly well....
    • Splashpower [splashpower.com] seems like another solution that may work for you. Wirelessly powers devices that you just sit on a tray. Since the recent article about wireless power that also mentioned this solution, I've thought about giving this a shot (as it seems more realistic).
      • by macdaddy (38372)
        Yeah, but where's the beef? Their websites didn't offer any products, any accessories to add to you existing devices to enable them to use SplashPower, or anything of any substance. Are there other companies with a product already on the market?
    • by cgenman (325138)
      Thirded

      The iGo gets expensive quickly, but it has some major advantages. Once you buy the base unit, adding another tip is easy. It's much easier to keep track of where one power adapter is plugged in rather than five or six, and most of your devices don't need to charge at the same time.

      The iPod tips are fidgety, though... the cheaper wallpower8 wall wart doesn't seem to have enough juice to wake certain iPod models up to the idea that they're being charged. You'll want to spend the extra 30 bucks for t
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by maxume (22995)
      Along the same lines, with a bit of a usb focus:

      http://gomadic.com/ [gomadic.com]
      http://boxwave.com/ [boxwave.com]
    • Companies like to make these proprietary connectors so they can sell you overpriced chargers, cables, etc.
    • Thank you so much for this, this is exactly what I'm looking for! The only two devices I couldn't find tips for were for my digital cameras, but that's understandable since they have (proprietary) li-ion batter chargers so a mere tip isn't enough.
  • by Anonymous Coward
  • by DerekLyons (302214) <`fairwater' `at' `gmail.com'> on Thursday November 30, 2006 @07:52PM (#17058544) Homepage
    I don't think you are travelling with too many chargers - but that you are traveling with too many things that require chargers.
    • by Threni (635302)
      > I don't think you are travelling with too many chargers - but that you are traveling with too many things that require chargers.

      What - he should take things that use replaceable batteries? Would you say that if he only needed 1 charger for all of them?

      I think it'd be nice if everything ran off a Nokia phone charger. That's one charger I always carry (when going away) no matter what else I take. It's 5 or 6 volts (can't remember!) so it should do for stuff that you power (as oppose to charge) as well
      • by NineNine (235196)
        I think the poster meant that you may be travelling with too many damn gadgets. Or, at least that's my opinion. When I travel, I often bring along something called a "book". It doesn't require any power source, whatsoever.
        • Or alternatively- I've replaced all of the original poster's gadgets with a T-Mobile MDA and an Anycom Bluetooth Stereo Headset. I probably paid just about as much for it though- but it does EVERYTHING his set of gadgets does in much less space, and charges off of standard USB ports.
          • Re: (Score:1, Redundant)

            by Amouth (879122)
            that is damn annoying.. USB was not ment as a damn power source it was 5v .5 A for a total of 2.5 watts.. now shit is taking too much power and trying to use the USB port for power .... why the hell would i plug my phone into my laptop just for power.. i could see if it is a data cable and power was a plus .. but power only.. that is crap..

            and they are shoving them on everything.. i recently boguht a boster box.. (a self contained box to jump cars) and it had a damn USB port on it.. why.. someone te
            • Hint: It's likely the other way around on your car charger- in that you can use it to run your phone off of.....ZipLinq also makes 12V->5V car power converters for you to plug your phone into, and also wall plugs for a variety of countries. The idea is more to use a very common standard connector for as much as possible.
        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          Oh look honey: Someone who gets to travel for pleasure, not business. How quaint.

        • by Threni (635302)
          It's kind of hard to take pictures, write emails or listen to music on a book, however.
        • by arose (644256)
          The sun isn't a power source anymore?
  • use usb (Score:3, Insightful)

    by lavaface (685630) on Thursday November 30, 2006 @07:55PM (#17058602) Homepage
    i think your best option is to use devices that charge via usb as much as possible. my phone uses usb to charge and i thought ipods did as well (don't have one though.) I know there are cameras that use usb to replenish their batteries. incompatible chargers is an enourmously frustrating experience so i am happy to see that more devices seem to be focusing on using usb. i know that radio shack sells kits with different adapter sizes and voltage switching as i used one to charge my minidisc player a few years back. this is not as good of a solution to me as usb charging so i look for that in devices i want to purchase. i realize differnt devices have dfferent amperage requirements but why, oh why, must cell phone manufacturers make so many different interfaces and amperage settings for what is essentially the same device! can they possibly be making that much money ripping people off for chargers? anyway, demand usb charging and hopefully more manufaturers will get a clue.
    • iPod Shuffles charge via their USB connection.
    • Re:use usb (Score:4, Insightful)

      by kwalker (1383) on Thursday November 30, 2006 @08:04PM (#17058714) Journal
      I agree with this. If the original poster is asking for a wonder-device to charge all the stuff he has already purchased, then best of luck, I can't help. I've been on a quasi-quest over the last several years to make sure all my portable devices can charge and/or run over USB, so I only need to lug around two chargers: one for my laptop, and one that spits out a USB-power connector (Something like the iPod chargers I've seen).

      I did have to purchase a couple of USB-power adapters for devices that didn't already have one (e.g. my phone), but those take up minimal space, especially if you can find them in something like a zip-link auto-winder.
      • Re:use usb (Score:4, Informative)

        by mspohr (589790) on Thursday November 30, 2006 @08:46PM (#17059202)
        I'd advise going with USB for as many devices as possible.

        I carry along a USB hub and power supply as my "charger". I can plug 4 devices into it for charging. Works great.

        • For some reason, some iPod models get grouchy about plugging into computers that don't want to talk iTunes and aren't set up to accept them as a disk drive, even if all you're trying to do is suck down USB battery power. You can get an overpriced iPod charger that doesn't have this problem.

          Or you can get a powered USB hub for about $10, and if you don't plug it into your computer, the iPod's happy. USB 1.1 hubs have become really cheap now that USB2 is out, and for low-speed devices like mice, keyboards,

    • i realize differnt devices have dfferent amperage requirements but why, oh why, must cell phone manufacturers make so many different interfaces and amperage settings for what is essentially the same device! can they possibly be making that much money ripping people off for chargers?

      That's about right. By changing the specs just enough to require new accessories they've created an additional market that they can control. They could make a slight modification to their power interface, patent it, and then

    • USB charging is great for leaving your blackberry in a cradle. But for on the go, it's not a good solution. For one thing - too slow. Plus it doesn't completely solve your carry one charger problem.

      When you charge on the road, you want to get fully charged as fast as possible. Being able to charge two things at once is even better. Basically if you travel a lot, the iGo is the best solution. A gift you give yourself. There is a competing product from Kensington but afaik it's only at Circuit City an
    • by iainl (136759)
      Both the iPod (assuming it's not an ancient one, and even then it will just charge off firewire instead) and the DS will charge off USB, certainly. As for the digital cameras, it depends on the model, sadly.
  • Proprietary (Score:4, Insightful)

    by fimbulvetr (598306) on Thursday November 30, 2006 @08:11PM (#17058794)
    My phone, mp3 player, gps, and camera all charge and interface using miniusb. Perhaps you should consider purchasing products a little less proprietary?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Well, at surface this sounds like a reasonable suggestion. But why would I want to limit my choice of gadgets to those who use a certain type of power source. It's just one feature and it's not even a feature that's pertinent to the gadget's function. So, even if I have to lug around 5+ chargers I'd rather do that than use a sub-par camera, for example.

      Besides, I don't know any dSLRs, portable gaming devices or phones which use (mini)USB for charging.
      • Motorola phones use USB - at least, several (including the RAZR) do that I know of. That was a consideration when I bought mine, since being able to charge the phone off the laptop is a big help when traveling.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    The mess of a million wall-wart power supplies is not just inconvenient - the idle power supplies still draw current - it's a big draw on the grid when you add them all up.

    USB charging as a standard is a great idea, but I'd like the world to move to a high-voltage + low-voltage standard.

    Imagine: You have your standard outlet (by the conventions of your nation, of course), and you also have a low-voltage tap at each outlet. That low-voltage puts out a standardized voltage, has a standard current rating suita
    • by maeka (518272)

      Imagine: You have your standard outlet (by the conventions of your nation, of course), and you also have a low-voltage tap at each outlet. That low-voltage puts out a standardized voltage, has a standard current rating suitable for everything from a phone charger to a laptop battery recharger. Best yet: set it up so it's not drawing power from the grid when you're not charging anything.

      How do you provide the low voltage to the tap in a more efficient manner than what could be done with a wall-wart?

      • The idea is that a common DC circuit would eliminate 5 or 10 or more wall warts. Also, a dedicated device could be designed with more sophisticated circuitry to drop its idle current down to nearly zero.
        • by maeka (518272)
          So where does the circuitry come into play which provides the 1.5 - 12 volts required by DC appliances?
          So at what point does the idle energy saved pay for the expense of the dedicated device, the additional wiring, the line losses pumping low volt DC from my basement up two stories to my bedroom? If every room in all buildings aren't so wired, the benefits, the flexibility of cheap wall-warts are lost.
          There is no reason such sophisticated circuitry could and would not be designed into wall warts come the t
  • Overvoltage (Score:3, Funny)

    by StikyPad (445176) on Thursday November 30, 2006 @08:16PM (#17058856) Homepage
    What are the limitations and caveats with 240 vs 120

    Well they're pretty much the same. In both cases you've got about a 9% overvoltage condition.
    • by PayPaI (733999)
      Huh? Overvoltage compared to what?
    • by evilviper (135110)
      In both cases you've got about a 9% overvoltage condition.

      Did you fall asleep in the 80s, and just wake up? It's been 120V in the US for many years now.
    • by dasunt (249686)
      What are the limitations and caveats with 240 vs 120

      Well they're pretty much the same. In both cases you've got about a 9% overvoltage condition.

      Or in my neck of the woods, it is called "well within normal tolerances".

      It has to get up to 133V-ish before they will do anything about it. :/

  • by Profane MuthaFucka (574406) <busheatskok@gmail.com> on Thursday November 30, 2006 @08:21PM (#17058910) Homepage Journal
    If you haven't noticed, you've got the same problem at home too. I've got five computers and assorted battery chargers and cell phones and gadgets in my home office, and the fucking things have filled up 6 power strips. And I'm even using the 6 inch extension cords on all the bricks so I'm not wasting any spaces on the power strips. It's fucking out of control.

    We need a power standard. We need standard plugs, and two or three standard DC voltages. Say 12 volts and 5 volts. Maybe 9 volts too. That way we can buy a single large power supply to power all these little devices from one source. Even if we used a regular power supply that a computer uses, we could probably run everything off that. Scanners, USB drives, cell phone chargers, switches, hubs, Linksys firewall appliances, EVERYTHING.

    And, it should be a standard that every device has an IN plug and an OUT plug so not everything has to be plugged directly into the main DC power source. You should be able to chain a few USB drives off your little 8 port ethernet switch, all of them drawing power from the big DC power supply.

    I think that this is something I could make some money with. Put a computer power supply in a box. Sell it with some connectors and adaptors. You're done, and you've got lots of plugs and much less wire tangle.
    • by oKtosiTe (793555)
      Apple likes to sell chargers.
      Sony likes to sell chargers.
    • Engineers love standards.

      That's why they have so many different ones. :)
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I used to sell these things at the electronics/computer store I worked at called (review) [the-gadgeteer.com] I-GO Juice. There were a few different models out at the time, but one had pretty much any proprietary plug I had ever come across (believe me I've seen some odd ones) as well as adapters for foreign outlets and car outlets. It also auto-sensed input and output voltages and wattages/amps. Neat little thing and my customers always came back to tell me it did everything they wanted anywhere they were, and it's not often
  • Firewire portable HDD can run off of bus power.
  • by pla (258480) on Thursday November 30, 2006 @08:39PM (#17059134) Journal
    A very, VERY, VERY standardized solution to your problem already exists... One that will work in any device from any country on the planet, regardless of local voltage, frequency, and even reliability of AC power availability:

    Make sure to only buy devices that take AA/AAA batteries. Then you just need to carry a few extra NiMH recharcheables, and a single charger will take care of all your portable electricity needs every night while you sleep.

    You can also get AA-to-12VDC converters, which will work with anything that can accept a car cigarette-lighter plug (make sure to get one that works with rechargeables, though, which for NiMH run at 1.2V rather than 1.5V... That doesn't matter much for up to four batteries, but at 8+ batteries, it can make some unprepared devices fail).


    It amazes me that so many people put up with devices that have their own built-in non-replaceable incompatible-with-everything batteries. Rechargeables do eventually die. In exchange for five minutes of research up-front, you can save yourself a dozen different chargers and the need to replace various portable products (*cough* early iPods *cough*) yearly for no better reason than a dead battery.

    Personally, I follow the above advice religiously. If my phone dies, I pop open my GPS and bam, I can call for help. If my GPS dies in the middle of a long hike, my camera makes the (temporary) ultimate sacrifice, and I can once again find my car. If my camera dies just as a UFO full of Elvis impersonators lands in front of me, always have an 8-pack of spares available, compatible with every device I carry. And when I get home or back to the car after draining every battery I own, a single charger restores them all to life in just a few hours.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by monkeySauce (562927)
      WTF ... your phone runs on AA/AAA batteries? Is it made by Fisher Price?
      • by Denyer (717613)
        You can get very cheap emergency chargers that will funnel the juice from a set of batteries into your handset.
      • by pla (258480)
        WTF ... your phone runs on AA/AAA batteries? Is it made by Fisher Price?

        WTF ... your phone doesn't have a car charger? ;-)

        Sorry, couldn't resist.

        My phone I will admit doesn't directly take AAs. But it lasts about four days on a charge, and has a car charger (but even if not, you could get an I-go or Energi for about $20) that works just fine on any 12VDC power source - Such as the one I mentioned in my previous post.

        Perhaps I should have phrased it as "get things that take AA, or 12VDC, or have a
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by macdaddy (38372)
      AA/AAA batteries can't take care of everything you have. I bet you wife has a tool or two that requires at least C batteries... If C batteries were an option I bet it would go something like this:

      bzzzzzzzzzzz bzzzzzzz bzzzzzzzzzzt ...silence... "Honey, can you hand me another rechargeable battery? Thanks, sweetie." Bzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz zzzzzzzzzz
    • I replied to another poster suggesting sticking to miniUSB-powered/charged devices and the same counter-argument applies: sticking with battery-powered devices is a ridiculously limiting factor. There are no dSLRs, cell phones or Nintendo DSs out there which run on alkalines. And switching from an iPod Nano to something AAA bulky is out of the question.

      I'd rather lug around the 5+ chargers than limit myself to a very small subset of each device category based on its charging scheme alone. Features such as c
      • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward
        Actually, Digital Rebels (DSLR) have an additional grip that can take 6 x AA batteries (including NiMH) and provide far greater capacity than the internal proprietary battery. The grip plus a $20 charger plus a few sets of Energizer 2500mAh batteries cost less than the equivalent proprietary batteries, and my $20 charger uses the same generic power cable as my laptop, my PDA, my portable radio/CD, ....

        Of course, I already had the charger, since everything from my mp3 player to my LED flashlight uses AA.
      • by jthayden (811997)
        My Nikon D70 came with it's own battery but also a holder for two AA batteries that fits in the same slot. Works great.
      • by pla (258480)
        There are no dSLRs, cell phones or Nintendo DSs out there which run on alkalines. And switching from an iPod Nano to something AAA bulky is out of the question.

        Then you have chosen your current problem, and voted with your wallet to perpetuate the everything-has-its_own-wall-wart and $100-non-user-serviceable-battery-replacement scams.

        You couldn't get by with a plain ol' GBA, which did take AAs? You couldn't pick any of the literally dozens of non-Apple portable music players that take a single AAA (b
  • A few years ago I found a device at Best Buy that plugs into the wall and gives you a standard car cigarette lighter socket. It is rated for very low amps (designed to charge cell phones), but since I am mainly charging cell phones, iPods, and other low-draw devices, it works well. I just buy car charging cables for each device (which are significantly smaller and less bulky than their A/C counterparts) and carry them.

    In a car? No problem, just use the car charger straight. Inside with an outlet? Just plug
    • by dthree (458263)
      Thats a pretty clever idea. I think I'll look around for one with 3 outlets. My last bluetooth headseat (blueant x3), charges off USB *and* came with both 110->USB and lighter->USB chargers, so I can use the 12v one with your solution.
    • by Deluge (94014)
      Wouldn't it be simpler to buy a 60-100W inverter for your car? At those low wattages it'll plug into a cigarette lighter, and you can split the output and charge more than one low-wattage device. Plus you don't have to buy expensive car chargers for all your goodies, you get to use the included wall-warts.
  • Pick up one of these http://us.kensington.com/html/6368.html [kensington.com] it comes with the 9 most common tips including an Ipod one and if you have some wierd device it doesnt support they will send you the extra tip. It also includes air and car adaptors and comes with a nylon back to carry it all. Even with all the tips and adaptors its still smaller than most laptop power supplies. I just carry it with me when I travel and round robin it with all my gadgets for charging. It sure beats carrying 15 pounds of power
  • I've used this for some time and it worked quite well. It can take 10 batteries to charge at once but it does not have a auto cut off timer and other charging protection but then again it's more for 50/50 outdoors and indoors use. http://21st-century-goods.com/page/21st/PROD/iSunB P [21st-century-goods.com] That is the unit I use. Here is a review I did a while ago on this. http://outdoors-magazine.com/s_article.php?id_arti cle=109 [outdoors-magazine.com] One idea is to see if the devices you have, have cigarette chargers sold for them. If they do th
  • by seebs (15766)
    The boxwave people make small retractable USB charging cables for a lot of devices. www.boxwave.com

    I have a handful of these for most of my gizmos, and since most devices need only an hour or two a day of charging, a single laptop USB port is probably plenty.
  • For any trip, I take with me my 12'' laptop with a small USB hub. My first mobile phone (also mp3 player+radio+decent camera) is a Sony Ericsson w800i, with USB charge support. My second mobile phone is an HP Ipaq 6300 series (also PDA with windows mobile 2003 and GPS with an external bluetooth receiver), with USB charge support. Also the GPS receiver have the USB charge support.
    So, with one powered device (my laptop), I can charge all my others devices :)
    • A USB port cannot supply more than 2.5 watts. A quick survey of my house shows that all my chargers supply about that much power.

      If you connect an unpowered USB hub to your laptop, then the total power supplied to all the ports on the hub cannot add up to more than 2.5 watts, minus a fraction to power the hub itself. You can't efficiently charge more than one device at a time through this hub.

      If your USB hub is powered by a wall wart, then each of its ports can supply the full 2.5 watts ... but now you're
  • I have a charger for my cell phone, Nintendo DS Lite, my two digital cameras and an iPod.

    I have a question for you... Has everyone in the world forgotten about universal AC adapters?

    Seems like they were pretty common in the 80s, but somehow everyone has completely forgotten about them.

    It's pretty simple, you buy the universal AC adapter [shop.com], select the voltage and polarity, and plug-in the tip that fits your device (for some odd plugs, you may have to buy the appropriate tips seperately).

    Sometimes I will have

    • >I have a question for you... Has everyone in the world forgotten about universal AC adapters?

      Don't do this. The ones I've seen are rated for less than 1000mA (usually only 500mA for the cheap ones) which isn't even close to enough for any recent gadget. For example, my MP3 player draws 1500mA, my PDA draws 2400mA. If it is not rated for the current necessary, the adapter may overheat, possibly enough to start a fire.

      The universal laptop adapter is a safe bet, but, as the parent poster pointed ou
      • by evilviper (135110)

        The ones I've seen are rated for less than 1000mA (usually only 500mA for the cheap ones)

        The cheap model I linked to is 800mA.

        which isn't even close to enough for any recent gadget. For example, my MP3 player draws 1500mA, my PDA draws 2400mA.

        Those devices of are the exceptions, not the rule. But yes, you should be mindful of the current-draw required.

        If it is not rated for the current necessary, the adapter may overheat, possibly enough to start a fire.

        That is actually very unlikely. More often, the hig

    • by bebemochi (772144)
      I see what you mean, but those adapters, while very practical for older electrical devices, are no longer truly "universal." The "tip" you need for a Nintendo DS (I have one) is unlike anything available in "universal" sets, and then there are the fantabulous inventions cell phone makers have come up with. It seems like each one is different from the other -- I had a friend who had to replace his cell phone charger, and to our surprise, the same manufacturer had different charger models for their different
  • Please make me aware of the latest products that I can drool over...
  • http://www.splashpower.com/Products [splashpower.com]

    Pity it's not ready yet...!
  • There are too many chargers and plugs, you're absolutely correct. This problem will probably get worse and worse until a gov't has to step in and regulate the power plugs. More and more businesses are building proprietary plugs for simple 5V, 9V, 12V, and 19.6V adapters. Witness Dell with the needle thing center electrode and octogonal shell, and Nintendo with it's odd trapezoidal plug. It's quite obvious that they're doing this because of buyer lock-in, and not for anything approaching the real needs of th
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by todslash (1025980)

      Perhaps people like Dell and Nintendo are using their own proprietary plugs so that people don't buy a cheapo universal charger which is shoddily designed and blows up their equipment.

      They would argue that it's a matter of quality control

      • by otter42 (190544)
        They could, but, to dredge up the ol' car analogy, GM doesn't get to tell you what brand of gas you put in your car, even though some gas sometimes is not good. Likewise, Dell cannot tell you what brand of batteries to use in its laptops, and printer manufactures cannot say whose ink cartridges you can use in their printers. It's not that hard to design a system that works with el cheapo power bricks. (And having seen the quality of my aftermarket Nintendo DS charger, I think that those DSs are pretty robus
  • Greets!

    I have a Solio [www.solio.com] - it is sold as charging via solar power, but you can also charge it from the mains - it comes with specialised tips (iPod, phones etc), but also a standard USB female - great for when you don't have a laptop around or, indeed, no outlet socket at all :)

    I Highly recommend them both for their utility and ecological low impact.
  • "I have a charger for my cell phone, Nintendo DS Lite, my two digital cameras and an iPod." Most chargers I've seen for cell phones, digital cameras, and iPods are quite small. I know the DS Lite charger is small. All those together should not be taking up that much space. I bet 3 pair of underwear take up more space. They may be a tangled mess, but space shouldn't be an issue. If you are really tight, perhaps give up wearing underwear. That will free up the space you need.
  • My choice of CD player, digital camera, portable GPS, MP3 player, RF modulator, LED flashlights and other road warrier tech is influnced by the ablility to use AA batteries. Some items such as laptop and cell phone don't give you that option. My list of charging gear is pretty much a 12 volt Cell phone charger, 120/240 AA battery charger, Laptop 120/240 supply, and a pocket 140 watt 12/120 volt inverter.

    I can charge anyting while in a car with the pocket inverter. Everyting works on 120 or 240 volt excep
  • ...back in the 20th century we had these quaint little things called "power adaptors". Like chargers, but they didn't cost £40 for a replacement and the round plugs they used worked in more than one device.
  • I hear your pain. When I fly home, I usually carry a phone, MP3 player, 2 laptops, bulky headphones, and 2 big hardcover books. Normally, I'd throw most of the gear in my checked baggage; but I don't trust the baggage handlers at all.

    Our only recourse is to learn to travel light. (Granted, I could always switch employers to one who allows me to VNC directly into my desktop using personal hardware.)

Faith may be defined briefly as an illogical belief in the occurence of the improbable. - H. L. Mencken

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