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FastMac's U-Socket wall outlet with USB reaches ThinkGeek

updated 12:00 pm EDT, Thu June 23, 2011

Charges USB powered devices without an adapter

ThinkGeek is offering an AC outlet that doubles as a USB charger. The Fastmac U-Socket incorporates two USB connectors into a standard two-plug AC outlet. Using it, any USB powered device, including an iPhone 4, can be connected and charged without a dedicated adapter.

The U-Socket embeds two five-volt 2.1 amp powered USB ports alongside two 110-volt AC plugs. It installs the same way a regular outlet is installed. It accepts a regular USB cable with a four-pin type A jack and connects directly to any USB device, such as a smartphone or Bluetooth headset.

The U-Socket is available in white and priced at $25. It is also available directly from Fastmac in additional colors and different AC plug styles.







By Electronista Staff
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  1. DiabloConQueso

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jun 2008

    -20

    Huh?

    ...can be connected and charged without a dedicated adapter.

    Call me dumb, but doesn't this still require the iPhone dock connector-to-USB cable?

    In other words, a "dedicated adapter?"

  1. eliotw

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Oct 2000

    +4

    not so typical an installation...

    Sounds cool, but the last review I saw said you needed extra large electrical box in the wall for this outlet to fit into. And that's a show stopper for me.

    Engadget's review said:
    "Contrary to outward appearances, the complete unit is actually quite a bit bigger than a standard power outlet, and it requires at least a 16-cubic-inch electrical box to accommodate it. That meant we had to swap out our smaller electrical box for a larger one, which may or may not be an easy thing for you to do (it wasn't for us). "

    http://www.engadget.com/2011/03/17/fastmac-u-socket-review/

  1. jamck1977

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Feb 2010

    +2

    Love it

    I installed one months ago. It was a little tight, but very convenient.

  1. rauls4

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Nov 2007

    0

    Where is mine?

    I ordered and pre-paid for mine back in Feb 2010. Still waiting for it. >:-(

  1. wmldwilly

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Dec 1999

    +4

    yikes.

    okay, seems cool. BUT...I see the following problems:

    1) is it UL listed? If not and it burns your house down, your insurance company will let you hang.

    2) does the transformer inside have any issues operating on AFCI breakers? They're code now in any sleeping room, so if they don't work on one you can't install one in a sleeping room.

    3) it's not stamped "TR" or tamper proof, and doesn't look like it has the little plastic interlocked guards inside to make it such. That's code for countertops or other placements of outlets where work takes place around the outlet. Not to mention just a plain good idea to keep metal objects from unintentionally or mistakenly (little kids sticking things in the little holes wondering what it's for...it looks like a headache for parents needing to baby-proof.) entering the contacts and, you know...

    4) if the back chassis is any bigger than your typical wall timer or GFCI outlet, yes just about everyone will have a problem with the size of the electrical box in the wall. Even if you physically jam it in, you'd be ignoring the reason for all the code rules on box sizes and "fill" which are about preventing devices from overheating and catching fire, as well as preventing wires and connections from being overbent or overstressed also leading to overheating or shorting fires.

    I'm actually quite surprised someone is selling these without a very prominent statement about UL listing or not, Tamper Proof or not, AFCI/GFCI breaker capable or not, and VERY surprised that ThinkGeek is willing to wade into some kind of potential liability quagmire.

  1. wmldwilly

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Dec 1999

    +1

    yikes (more)

    just to be fair - I see they have a german safety rating, but they don't list any other agencies (uk, canada, usa?)

    they have build-to-order option for tamper proof, but i can't ascertain what that adds to the cost.

    it would be nice to see them offer 2-gang and 3-gang wall plates for those that might need to replace an outlet in a multi-gang box with one of these.

  1. AngryFanBoy

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Aug 2010

    -1

    All cautions aside....

    It seems like a great idea, and potentially quite convenient. I'd love to get rid of all the wall warts. Not sure all devices use the same voltage, however.

  1. makemineamac

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Mar 2008

    -1

    It's as approved as can be....

    Wow, lots of conjecture here as to approvals. This outlet is approved by TUV, one of the internationally accepted rating agencies, and there's a good explanation as to why TUV was used in the comments here. So your insurance will cover you if something goes awry. It appears to be from the manufacturer.

    http://www.redferret.net/?p=25202

    I have ordered 2 of them and can't wait for them to arrive....

  1. TomSawyer

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jan 2008

    0

    Three words

    NO surge protection.

  1. Leatherropes

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jul 2011

    0

    Nice idea but...No UL approval and it's oversized

    No UL approval and it's oversized. I won't be taking the risk or go through the hassle.

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