Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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USB on the side of AC outlets

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(+2, -1)
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There are AC-outlets with USB ports built in (link). But they put the USB port on the face of the outlet, close to the regular plugs - so an over-sized AC plug often blocks the USB port.

I'd like an outlet & cover plate combination that sticks out about 1/2" from the wall and has USB ports mounted along the side or button, so you plug the cable end in parallel to the wall. Wouldn't get blocked by other cords, and would allow neater cable runs for items you might typically leave plugged in.

kdf, Aug 21 2020

AC+USB outlet https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00J3PMU4C
one example of many ... [kdf, Aug 21 2020]

https://technabob.c...er-usb-port-outlet/ [hippo, Aug 27 2020]

SnapPower https://www.snappower.com/
Purveyor of snap-on outlet covers [kdf, Aug 27 2020]

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       Er, yes, very nice, very practical, very marketable.   

       So how exactly is this a halfbaked idea ?   

       What's the catch ?
8th of 7, Aug 21 2020

       I wonder how good an idea putting USB power into AC outlets was in the first place? Original USB spec was 5V 0.5A. Now, after multiple confusing revisions and retrospective spec. and nomenclature changes we're up to 20V and 5A. AC outlets have been the same for generations. I'll bet the first gen of AC outlets with USB connectors are practically obsolete, certainly for a new-ish phone. So they'll sit there, unused apart from a slow parasitic energy drain and as a source of added complexity and failure modes.
bs0u0155, Aug 21 2020

       "...practical, marketable ... What's the catch ?"
-8th of 7, Aug 21 2020

       I was hoping you* could tell me. I've found a few plug-in USB chargers where the cord goes in through the side, but no complete outlet replacements. So what IS the catch?   

       * "you" - second person plural, the HB audience as a whole, not just 8th. Anyone?
kdf, Aug 21 2020

       "how good an idea putting USB power into AC outlets was in the first place?"
-bs0u0155, Aug 21 2020

       The ones I have work well enough. Except when I have to plug something else in that blocks the USB port.
kdf, Aug 21 2020

       // The ones I have work well enough. Except when I have to plug something else in that blocks the USB port//   

       Well enough? For how long? You can't charge your laptop, because that's the most recent generation. Take something like a Kindle Fire* with the "standard" micro USB-B charging input that has a 1.8A charger, plugged into an AC/USB outlet with conventional, 0.5A spec. and it won't maintain charge during use, it just slows discharge slightly.   

       There's nothing wrong with putting the USB on the side, could work nicely, except with outlets that don't protrude enough to have the depth. My point is the concept as a whole being flawed. Also, think about the cost, a quick google suggests AC outlets are ~$3.50. Add USB and they're $23. That's a hell of a price hike   

       * a hateful object
bs0u0155, Aug 21 2020

       "... You can't charge your laptop... the concept as a whole (is) flawed"
-bs0u0155, Aug 21 2020

       That's like saying the concept of a car as a whole is flawed because it can't haul as much as a truck. I have no problem charging any of the assorted cellphones, tablets, bluetooth speakers and other gadgets around here. When I need to charge someting with a higher draw, I figure I'll be using a charging brick ... until someone starts putting USB-C ports on the power outlets.   

       "...AC outlets are ~$3.50. Add USB and they're $23." -bs0u0155, Aug 21 2020   

       This is a valid point, and the main reason why I've only replaced a couple of outlets where I figured I'd get the most use. I think I paid around $16 each for them, two or three years ago. Many companies still make them so I assume people still buy them.   

       "...(wall) outlets don't protrude enough to have the depth"
-bs0u0155, Aug 21 2020

       Note in my original description I spec'd them to have a bit more depth (would require a matching outlet plate). Which would still protrude a bit less than the average wall-wart.
kdf, Aug 21 2020

       I recently finished off a TV wiring oulet, with HDMI, 2 coax, an ethernet hookup, and some RCA plugs for the fun of it. The HDMI and ethernet was a pain because I had to get 90 deg. connections for the narrow wall space, which barely fit past eachother in any configuration I tried. After sinking $25 and several hours of frustration into this monstrosity I saw a nice little basic plate for 4 bucks with a simple brush hiding a wide opening through which I could've passed any connection I wanted.
RayfordSteele, Aug 22 2020

       There is a weird kickstarter thing that kind of does what you're after (regardez le lien)
hippo, Aug 27 2020

       hippo, thanks for the article link. I’ve added one for the parent company, SnapPower. They’ve been around for years and make several products based on the same idea of harvesting a little power by snapping onto the connectors in a power outlet or light switch. Their nightlights are popular enough that the company is a victim to cheap knock-offs and copycats.   

       Although they did choose to put the USB outlets on the side, their implementation here sticks out a bit - might prevent an oversize plug or AC adapter from use.
kdf, Aug 27 2020

       //company is a victim to cheap knock-offs and copycats.//   

       Not many are exempt from that. Lockheed Martin, Intel, most big pharma. If you send your stuff to be manufactured 9am-5pm in a country that is quite happy running the same production line 5:01pm-8:59am and selling them out the back door, that will happen.
bs0u0155, Sep 02 2020


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