The humble Universal Serial Bus, more commonly known as USB has evolved to be much more than just a way to connect a mouse or keyboard to your computer. With the proliferation of power hungry portable devices that charge over USB, we’ve all come to expect USB to operate as a Universal Source of Battery charging, but unfortunately it’s just not that easy.
The original USB 2.0 specification limited the power that could be drawn from any USB port to 500mA. This is plenty to charge smaller batteries reasonably quickly, but for larger batteries a higher power solution is needed. This has driven device makers to come up with novel ways to draw more than the allowed 500mA from USB 2.0 ports and in general has been accomplished by the USB port signaling to the devices that it’s ok for the device to draw current at a higher rate.
Unfortunately there hasn’t been a widely adopted standard, so not all ports and devices speak the same language when it comes to charging. And, to make the situation even more frustrating for end users, there hasn’t been much public discussion or documentation about what has been done.
iPads for example, are one device that can charge at a very quick rate, up to 2.1Amps when connected to an Apple computer or Apple charger but they will potentially not charge at all when connected to a regular USB port. There’s also the BC 1.1 charging standard that some devices like the Kindle Fire or the Nexus 7 support, but that support is usually undocumented. We find out about charging behavior through trial and error.
So, try we did! We’ve been working hard to unravel the mysteries of what will charge where by testing every device we have on all of our hubs and chargers, and publishing this data on the product pages for each of our devices with USB ports.
We’re also collecting reports from end users though a quick form that let’s you add to the knowledge base of charging behavior.
Here’s what’s been added so far:
To add your device visit:
Check the FAQ on each of these pages for the details of our in-house test results.
- Bluetooth® Wireless Stereo Audio Receiver with USB Charging
- A Plugable Journey: 14 Days, Five Devices, One Camel, and Our PB-WA5K Power Bank/Charger
- Plugable USB-C 3-Port Hub with Pass-Through Charging
- Our Best USB Charger Just Got Better, The New Plugable Power 2015 USB-C5TX 5-Port USB Smart Charger
- USB Stock Chargers, Dedicated Multi-Port Chargers, or Charge & Sync Hubs. What’s Best for Me?
- Plugable USB 2.0 7-Port Hub with 60W Power Adapter
- New Plugable 5-Port Smart USB Charging Station
- Plugable USB 2.0 10-Port Hub with 20W Power Adapter
- Plugable Launches New Aluminum SuperSpeed Hub
- Plugable USB 3.0 4-Port Hub with 1 Charging Port
- Plugable Launches Two Portable USB Battery Charger Banks
- Plugable USB High Capacity External Battery (6,000mAh)
- Plugable USB High Capacity External Battery (12,000mAh)
- Plugable Launches the USB-C3T USB 3-Port Charging Station
- Plugable Launches Adapter to Enable Charging on Any Powered USB Port
- Plugable USB Charging Adapter
- Plugable USB 3.0 7-Port Aluminum Hub with 20W Power Adapter
- Plugable 12-Outlet Power Strip with 2-Port USB Charger
- Plugable Storage System USB 3.0 2.5″ SATA Drive Dock with 3-Port USB Charger
- Plugable Storage System USB 3.0 2.5″ SATA Drive Dock with USB 3.0 3-Port Hub
- Plugable USB 3.0 7-Port Hub with 25W Power Adapter
- Plugable UD-3000 Single Display Universal Docking Station
- Plugable USB 2.0 4-Port Hub with 12.5W Power Adapter with BC 1.2 Charging
- Plugable USB 3.0 4-Port Hub with 20W Power Adapter
- Plugable USB 2.0 7-Port Hub with 15W Power Adapter
- Plugable USB 2.0 10-Port Hub with 12.5W Power Adapter