Originally published at: http://www.howtogeek.com/183627/htg-reviews-the-ravpower-bolt-the-all-in-one-charger-you-crave/
If you’ve had enough of loading up an entire power strip with cellphone, tablet, and gadget chargers, we’ve got a space saving solution for you. Read on as we take the tiny-but-power-pushing Bolt for a spin and keep our devices charged up without the clutter.
This with a 80W laptop charger built in would be the perfect travel power solution. No need to carry multiple power adapters on trips.
Yes. That's exactly what I was thinking. I have an iPad and 2 Android phones, and I don't want to carry 3 power adapters on my next trip. I'm strongly considering ordering this or one of its related cousins right now.
The Anker® 40W 5V / 8A 5-Port charger would seem to be even better. It has five full-power USB outlets, and claims to be smart enough to furnish any device with all the power it would like, subject to the 8 amp total. Mine has worked great so far. Bonus: No bright indicator light, in fact, no indicator light at all! Mine was $26 at Amazon but, sadly, it is once again out of stock there.
I ended up ordering the Sharkk. It looks the same as the Anker - probably the same design with a different OEM label.
My only concern with all of those is the small number of reviews that say things like "it didn't work when I got it" or "it worked for a week, then stopped charging my devices." I'm sure there's a small amount of user error in there (plugging an iPad in to the wrong port, for example), but I'm guessing that these cheap devices are also coming from factories with less than stellar QA processes.
Still, for $18, this is a fantastic replacement for the 3 chargers I use at home, and it will make travel simpler, since I won't have to take a power strip and 3 chargers with me.
So let's start by using the right word. This is not a battery charger. This is a power adapter. It does not control the charging process; it simply provides a constant 5v power supply to USB devices.
The USB standard has a convention that allows the power adapter to tell the device how much current the adapter can provide. It does this by bridging the data pins with various resistor values; there are established values that designate a 500mA charger, a 1A charger, a 2A charger, and so on.
So a device will not draw more than the designated amount of power from the power adapter, because the power adapter has already told the device how much current it's allowed to draw, and the charging circuitry on all LiPo chargers is current-limiting anyway. (Lithium chargers use 2 stages: constant current up to 80% or so, then constant voltage up to peak voltage, which is typically 4.2 volts.)
So no, the reviewer is not blowing smoke. There's a standard in place for just that purpose.
Thanks for the illumination on how the device communicates back to the power source. I have withdrawn my comment. I could be stupid to claim a few semantic issues but that does not invalidate your argument. The bottom line is that the device consuming the power has to be smart enough to tell the power adapter it current capacity and the power adapter has to be smart enough to sense that and have the proper circuitry to limit the supplied current. My past experience with the resistor signal scheme was to tell the power source the maximum VOLTAGE that should should be supplied. My ASUS tablet wants 12V to charge but can run with 5V, for example. Best to you and thanks.
What's wrong with simply using the usb ports on my power bus during down time?
What do you mean, exactly? Computers won't charge most tablets because they need more than 500mA of charging current. Even cell phones these days are shipping with bigger chargers to charge their batteries (my Samsung charger puts out 1A, if I recall, and the internal battery is something like 2000mAh.)
Thanks wils- I should have done more than look at the photo and do a fast skim before blabbing. Being a frequent traveller that device looks real nice.
So far, my Sharkk works perfectly... of course, I've only had it for one day.
The Sharkk has 5 ports, 3 of which are designated for Apple devices (2 iPad and 1 iPhone), an "Android" port, and a "Galaxy Tab" port.
The iPad ports both put out 2 amps. The iPhone port puts out 1 amp. The Android and Galaxy port put out 1 amp each, but they use different voltages than the Apple standard.
I tested my charger with all 5 ports filled: 2 iPads, an iPod touch (in the iPhone port), a Galaxy S4 in the Galaxy Tab port, and a Droid 3 in the Android port. All of the devices charged simultaneously, and all had a full battery in the morning.
Honestly, for less than $20, I have not seen a better charging solution anywhere.
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