Say good-bye to that bag of power supplies.
The travelers’ dream of discarding device chargers will become reality from 2015. Thankfully, chargers, adaptors and specialty wires will become a thing of the past.
USB PD (universal serial bus- power delivery) is promising 100W of power from a USB socket. Compare this to today’s USB power specification of 4.5W maximum. Soon you will not only be able to charge your phone, but also your laptop and other larger devices from a USB outlet.
Change will happen slowly as not all devices charge at the same rate. Proprietary, auto-negotiating circuitry, built into USB, decides how much power is required and at what rate it is supplied. You may notice an iPad will charge more quickly from a Mac computer than it does from a wall outlet. However, when 100W 5V USB outlets become ubiquitous, industry will be forced to standardize.
Low voltage power supplied over USB will be cheap, safe and environmentally friendly.
Most of us charge from an AC outlet via an AC to DC transformer. What if we could bypass this conversion and get DC directly. Well, we can. Solar panels actually output a DC current. A solar panel connected to a battery bank, which in turn feeds a dedicated DC could power the desks of the future. Cars, too, are increasingly being fitted with USB outlets; under this new standard larger devices will be more easily carried.
The discarding of “plug-in” power supplies will remove a point of system failure and the frustration of carrying many power supplies. How many of us leave an unused charger in the socket, only to produce heat?
USB’s ability to also carry data will be a boon for the connected device industry. Microsoft is staking a large part of its future on connecting household devices to bring us smarter homes. USB outlets will add tens of billions of connected devices to add to the 5 billion or so connected today.
Thomas Edison was on the losing side of the “war of currents”. He may now have his dream realized for a ubiquitous DC power grid.
Til next time
The Sabre team