© 2012 BOB SKIDMORE ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
How many times have we said, “Why didn’t I think of that”? Newertechnologies has just such a product in the Power2U AC/USB wall outlet. The Power2U is a very simple solution to charging your USB powered devices while eliminating the clutter of un-slightly power adapters and freeing your wall outlets for more power consuming items. It features two 3.0/2.0 USB ports and two standard three-prong outlets all in the same faceplate that are not intended for outdoor use.
The Power2U receptacle replaces the present 110/120 volt outlet in many wall outlet boxes. A few simple connections and the installation is complete. Now you can charge such items as smartphones, iPads and video pocket digital cameras. All you need is the matching USB cable supplied with your device. It does not charge laptops.
(TIP: While the supplied instructions and the on-line video are exceptionally good, if you are the least bit apprehensive about working with electrical connections, call a licensed electrician! Always turn the power off prior to working with any exposed electrical wires or devices!)
Sounds good, and it is, however using existing outlet boxes may be a possible problem. The manufacturer provides excellent instructions and does state that a minimum 16 cubic inch electrical box is required. Here’s the catch, such boxes probably do not generally exist in older construction or in many condos. If your box interfaces with conduit you may also have a space problem due to the connection hardware used. Replacing such boxes may not be possible due to the type of wall construction. However, where there’s a will there is usually a way. In this case purchasing a surface mount box with an external entry port may resolve the issue and even make for a nice extension cord.
(TIP: A Carlon E980DFN ½” 1-gang rigid non-metallic conduit switch box, found in most large home supply stores, will accommodate the Power2U outlet since the conduit entry is external and it is designed for external mounting. The entry hole can be plugged with a Mueller (B&K) ½” plug (449-005HC) found in the plumbing department. Once inserted, you need only puncture a small hole to accommodate the size wire used and attach a small cable tie around the interior cable portion to act as a cable restraint.)
(TIP: Cable used for this device should be a 12 gauge minimum. The outlet will accept up to 10 gauge. Remember, the cable gauge determines the maximum amount of current your outlet can safely handle. Do not cram cables and/or wire nuts in the box as this can present a hazard too.)
The Power2U outlet works very well. It saves space and energy. The USB ports feature a Smart Power design that only outputs enough charging power required by the attached device, while spring-loaded Safety Shutters turn power the off to the USB ports eliminating energy draw when a connecting cable is removed. Its design and construction is well thought out right down to supplying white caps to cover the mounting screws. Power2U is a quality product!
(TIP: If either or both USB ports are not working test the ports by removing the faceplate, plugging in a USB device and pressing in the plunger switch next to the port. If you hear the charging alert tone from your device the port is working indicating the faceplate was not seated properly against the Power2U outlet.)
Available at retail locations and on-line. More details available at: http://www.newertech.com/products/power2u.php
GADGETEER’S RATING: H H H H H (Power2U outlet)
GADGETEER’S RATING: H H H (Compatibility with existing boxes)
Bob Skidmore is a freelance writer, who may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org, or followed at twitter.com/bskidmore for the latest gadget industry news. He does not represent, or endorse any of the products he reviews and his opinions are solely his points of view and not those of the manufacturer. Any tips or suggestions are simply that and thus the GADGETEER does not assume any responsibility for the installation or improper use by the reader of the Power2U. When in doubt, the reader should consult and/or hire a licensed electrician for professional advice and installation. The manufacturer generally supplies products at no cost for the articles and no other compensation is received. THE GADGETEER is highly selective as to products he feels worthy of review so as not to waste the reader’s time, thus the reason for many superior ratings.