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  1. #1
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    Why is USB charging popular now?

    Just curious - why is USB charging of things like bike lights and other things so popular now? I was under the impression that it was much more inefficient to put a computer in the power transfer path from outlet to USB as compared to a direct wall plug in.

    I'm aware of the ease of expanding USB with a USB expander hub, but even with that option, I still prefer something that doesn't depend on my computer to be powered/plugged in for charging.

  2. #2
    Optically Corrected KLiNCK's Avatar
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    I keep one of these in the garage for charging my lights. No computer required.
    "Succeeding....despite best intentions"

  3. #3
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    Agree with not wanting to depend on a computer. Wall chargers that output USB charging voltage are readily available. The beauty of the USB connectors for charging is the universality. I can charge at home from the wall charger and keep a cable at work to charge my lights from my desk PC.

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    Senior Member fettsvenska's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by svtmike View Post
    Agree with not wanting to depend on a computer. Wall chargers that output USB charging voltage are readily available. The beauty of the USB connectors for charging is the universality. I can charge at home from the wall charger and keep a cable at work to charge my lights from my desk PC.
    +1...I think that since there are so many different devices that charge via USB that it has sort of become the default standard.

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    Quote Originally Posted by svtmike View Post
    Agree with not wanting to depend on a computer. Wall chargers that output USB charging voltage are readily available. The beauty of the USB connectors for charging is the universality. I can charge at home from the wall charger and keep a cable at work to charge my lights from my desk PC.
    I have a dozen or more USB wall chargers and also a few USB car chargers. They came with cell phones, tablets, cameras, video games, etc. They output different power levels, but are more or less compatible with each other. I'm glad that the industry is standardizing on one format so I'm not screwed if a charger breaks or gets lost. I don't mind if some products try to save money by not including a charger in the box.

  6. #6
    Curmudgeon Wil Davis's Avatar
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    Just about everyone has a cell/mobile/smart-phone, and USB charging is becoming/has become the standard, so I think it's more a convenience thing. I have a couple of Morotola Talkabout 2-way radios and they can be charged from a USB port even though they don't use the data lines.

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  7. #7
    Senior Member Spld cyclist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by johnny99 View Post
    I have a dozen or more USB wall chargers and also a few USB car chargers. They came with cell phones, tablets, cameras, video games, etc. They output different power levels, but are more or less compatible with each other. I'm glad that the industry is standardizing on one format so I'm not screwed if a charger breaks or gets lost. I don't mind if some products try to save money by not including a charger in the box.
    They should all be 5 volts (making the chargers universal), but amperage varies. I've found my devices take forever to charge on some computers, so I prefer to use a wall outlet charger if available.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Spld cyclist View Post
    They should all be 5 volts (making the chargers universal), but amperage varies. I've found my devices take forever to charge on some computers, so I prefer to use a wall outlet charger if available.
    I think the USB output from a computer USB port is about .5 Amps. I seen AC powered USB chargers that provide 1 Amp and 2 Amps. I just bought a Light & Motion light. At .5 Amps, it requires 14 hours to charge. At 2 Amps it takes 4 hours.

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    the amperage a computer will produce via the usb port depends on the age of the motherboard and the device. the motherboard will default to 500ma unless the device communicates it's desire for more(and the motherboard is capable of understanding those requests).

  10. #10
    Grizzled Curmudgeon keithm0's Avatar
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    FWIW, these Adafruit USB power supplies rock. They're cheap, they charge everything I've thrown at them (iPhone, Nexus 7, Kindle, bike lights, etc) and they work great on US or European power.

  11. #11
    Senior Member Shimagnolo's Avatar
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    USB amperage depends on a number of variables.
    Good explanation here: http://www.extremetech.com/computing...our-smartphone

  12. #12
    Cue
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    Quote Originally Posted by keithm0 View Post
    FWIW, these Adafruit USB power supplies rock. They're cheap, they charge everything I've thrown at them (iPhone, Nexus 7, Kindle, bike lights, etc) and they work great on US or European power.
    Those are just generic oems available on fleabay or aliexpress for $1.

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    Quote Originally Posted by keithm0 View Post
    FWIW, these Adafruit USB power supplies rock. They're cheap, they charge everything I've thrown at them (iPhone, Nexus 7, Kindle, bike lights, etc) and they work great on US or European power.
    Again, seems redundant to have to buy a separate adapter for the wall just to charge a device. I'd prefer a direct wall connection over that or a computer intermediate. That and the huge variability of USB hubs in older computers,and I still wonder why more and more bike lights etc are going 'usb only.'

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    USB is convenient to charge things at work if you're a desk worker with a PC on all day.

  15. #15
    The Recumbent Quant cplager's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jolly_ross View Post
    USB is convenient to charge things at work if you're a desk worker with a PC on all day.
    This. And if you don't have a computer, somebody else does.
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    Grizzled Curmudgeon keithm0's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hhnngg1 View Post
    Again, seems redundant to have to buy a separate adapter for the wall just to charge a device. I'd prefer a direct wall connection over that or a computer intermediate.
    Something like this?

    http://www.thinkgeek.com/product/e81a/

  17. #17
    Grizzled Curmudgeon keithm0's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cue View Post
    Those are just generic oems available on fleabay or aliexpress for $1.
    Maybe, maybe not. Try some of the $1 product and let us know their reliability and their ability to charge high-current devices.

    The chargers I bought from Adafruit two years ago are still going strong, and still quickly charge everything I've thrown at them.

    (I also buy them from Adafruit because I believe in their mission and I have huge respect for their founder Limor Fried.)

  18. #18
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    I like USB charging because I know I have a charger. Otherwise I have to carry around another charger with me, which is annoying

  19. #19
    Senior Member Ekdog's Avatar
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    Are there USB chargers that can be hooked up to a dynamo so as to keep devices charged up while on long rides away from electrical power?

  20. #20
    Randomhead
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    Yes, there are a lot of choices for dynohub usb chargers.

    I am planning on buying a B&M Luxos U headlight that has a USB charging port. That seems to be the most economic route if you need a good headlight too.

  21. #21
    Senior Member Ekdog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by unterhausen View Post
    Yes, there are a lot of choices for dynohub usb chargers.

    I am planning on buying a B&M Luxos U headlight that has a USB charging port. That seems to be the most economic route if you need a good headlight too.
    Hmmm... I've had my eye on a Busch and Muller IQ Cyo 60 (recommended by a poster here at Bike Forums). How does the Luxos U match up to the Cyo? (Is this the one?) Maybe I should get one of those instead. I want something to hook up to the Shimano dynamo hub on a Brompton I've ordered. Thanks.

  22. #22
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    So, you are trying to charge a DC device from 110 volt AC.

    Before USB, there weren't any standards for the transformers (the thing that converts AC to DC) and there were no standards for plugs (connecting the device into the charger).

    USB is a standard. With USB, you can sell the device without having to sell a charger too. With USB. you don't need a different charger for different devices.

    (You don't need a computer to charge USB devices.)

  23. #23
    Senior Member Ekdog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by njkayaker View Post
    So, you are trying to charge a DC device from 110 volt AC.

    Before USB, there weren't any standards for the transformers (the thing that converts AC to DC) and there were no standards for plugs (connecting the device into the charger).

    USB is a standard. With USB, you can sell the device without having to sell a charger too. With USB. you don't need a different charger for different devices.

    (You don't need a computer to charge USB devices.)
    I once lost the charger for a mobile phone and had to pay an arm and a leg for a new one, even though I had a drawer full of chargers from older phones, because the plugs are different for every make and they wouldn't work. I believe the European Union has set a date by which they have to be standardized. Of course, smart phones can now be charged with a USB cord, a positive move, I believe.

  24. #24
    The Recumbent Quant cplager's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ekdog View Post
    I once lost the charger for a mobile phone and had to pay an arm and a leg for a new one, even though I had a drawer full of chargers from older phones, because the plugs are different for every make and they wouldn't work. I believe the European Union has set a date by which they have to be standardized. Of course, smart phones can now be charged with a USB cord, a positive move, I believe.
    The standard is micro usb. Most lights I've seen is mini usb. Either is nice as they are both everywhere.
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  25. #25
    Randomhead
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ekdog View Post
    Hmmm... I've had my eye on a Busch and Muller IQ Cyo 60 (recommended by a poster here at Bike Forums). How does the Luxos U match up to the Cyo? (Is this the one?) Maybe I should get one of those instead. I want something to hook up to the Shimano dynamo hub on a Brompton I've ordered. Thanks.
    Your link is the correct one. If you actually order, make sure to get the more expensive version with USB if that's what you want, there is a cheaper version that doesn't have charging.

    I'm sure the Luxos is brighter than any CYO. You should look at the beamshots on Peter White's site, they are HERE The Luxos U puts out a lot more light than anything else, it's almost hard to believe.

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