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Topic Title: Sockets with integrated USB port question?
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Created On: 16 January 2016 01:08 AM
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 16 January 2016 01:08 AM
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antric2

Posts: 1267
Joined: 20 October 2006

Evening,
Noticed double sockets with integrated USB charging ports becoming popular.My next rewire customer has asked for a few of them to be fitted.
I have just read the ESC report on the testing of various products\brands and it doesnt give much faith in them at present.

For example, the report says that USB sockets have not been allocated any standard code yet like BS1362 as an example, that they may have to be product compatible ie; an approved Apple socket for example as the report says at one point that some socket\USB chargers have damaged their Iphones and the like.

So, anybody fitted these with no call backs or problems but basically is it worth just hanging on a few more months and wait to see what happens with the USB products.
Opinions please.
Regards
Antric
 16 January 2016 06:50 AM
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leckie

Posts: 4705
Joined: 21 November 2008

Ive only fitted one at home but it seems ok. If you are fitting them then put in a deeper box, 35mm. The socket I fitted was bulkier than standard.
 16 January 2016 08:09 AM
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alancapon

Posts: 7492
Joined: 27 December 2005

I have the "MK" version of this, waiting to be fitted at home. It complies with BS5733 and IEC 61558-2-16, this second standard covering the dual USB outlet. The symbol on it states that the USB ports are a "short circuit proof safety isolating transformer". I intend to measure its no-load current, as the USB supply is permanently on. There is also a warning with the product stating that it must not be IR tested. It would also appear to have a five year guarantee.

Regards,

Alan.
 16 January 2016 09:41 AM
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gkenyon

Posts: 5354
Joined: 06 May 2002

Care as always.

There are different versions of the "standard" USB powering regime. However, some manufacturers, especially for certain tablets, require some pretty keen limits.

Are these outlets the most efficient? How much quiescent ("stand by") power do they use? (Not sure there's "full" information available to answer all questions as yet).

And in terms of compliance perhaps the key questions which don't have ready answers are:

- Can we consider it meets BS 1363 in terms of BS 7671 and the Plugs and Sockets (Safety) Regulations?

- Will it affect safety of installations (particularly dwellings) if they are never IR tested because whenever a PIR (or perhaps installation works) is carried out, perhaps the IR testing will just be written off as a limitation.

-------------------------
EUR ING Graham Kenyon CEng MIET TechIOSH
G Kenyon Technology Ltd

Web-Site: www.gkenyontech.com
 16 January 2016 09:51 AM
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jcm256

Posts: 2327
Joined: 01 April 2006

Isolating transformer to stop mains voltage on USB port but what about the primary side on 32amp is their internal small fuses. Quite a bang with even with a 13amp plug-top fuse scares people my iron bowed up; oh that just a twisted iron lead. Don't have a plug internal diagram to check.
jcm
 16 January 2016 10:04 AM
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daveparry1

Posts: 8020
Joined: 04 July 2007

I'm a bit concerned about having a switch-mode power supply permanently connected ! I'd rather see a switch arrangement which is operated when a usb plug goes in. (like shaver sockets which only draw primary side current when a shaver is plugged in)
 16 January 2016 01:26 PM
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antric2

Posts: 1267
Joined: 20 October 2006

Thank you for some good points.
I have decided to make a couple of small extension leads with a sockets and USB on them via a 5A fused plug.

That way the customer will be advised to switch off extension at main socket before plugging in iPod or phone and if the socket ever gets faulty it is less inconvenience to repair,Also it makes it mobile rather than in one room.

Even though only 5v\about 900mA if power constant to USB then maybe phones and pads might be being damaged by USB when plugged in because of arcing at the terminals.I must admit I didnt know until these replies that it was not switchable on\off.
Regards
Antric
 16 January 2016 01:35 PM
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potential

Posts: 1774
Joined: 01 February 2007

Will sockets with integrated USB charging ports be the next cause for concern with regard to house fires?
 16 January 2016 01:42 PM
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daveparry1

Posts: 8020
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I think that's highly probable Potential.
 16 January 2016 01:56 PM
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antric2

Posts: 1267
Joined: 20 October 2006

Yet another grey\unclear area of our game with potential personal comebacks.

I have said it before but will say again;issues like this make me wish I had done gardening course 34 years ago.Electrical issues and it becomes problematic,time consuming and watching your back time..

Garden issues,for example,problem with the daffodils then cut the heads off,dig em up and put crocus in...problem solved in no time ..no comebacks.
Regards
Antric
 16 January 2016 02:33 PM
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Fm

Posts: 2032
Joined: 24 August 2011

The mk version uses no power when the plug is removed.
Check out the data sheet

https://www.mkelectric.com/Documents/2015%20Catalogue%20Update/Catalogue%20PDF/UKMK393-0315-EN_USB_FINAL.pdf
 16 January 2016 04:15 PM
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spinlondon

Posts: 5494
Joined: 10 December 2004

Seen some pop ups for kitchen work surfaces.
Three sockets and two USB ports.
Plug into under work surface socket, or could be connected to an FCU.
One switch for the two USB ports.
Used for iPhones and iPads.
 16 January 2016 06:14 PM
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mikejumper

Posts: 2810
Joined: 14 December 2006

Originally posted by: daveparry1
I'd rather see a switch arrangement which is operated when a usb plug goes in. (like shaver sockets which only draw primary side current when a shaver is plugged in)

Contactum do a switched USB outlet.
Switched socket on left and switch operating 2 USB outlets only on right.
It's in their Aspire range, not the traditional range.
 16 January 2016 06:55 PM
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jcm256

Posts: 2327
Joined: 01 April 2006

What's the significance if any the double-pole switches for each outlet on those MK ones (from the above web site), neutral make first and leave last. Maybe safety, maybe danger of competent person phase wrong, maybe something to do with having USB outlets, maybe mind your own business just now a standard feature, you can be bold in expressing your views; clearly I don't know.
jcm
 16 January 2016 07:20 PM
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TimJWatts

Posts: 467
Joined: 07 August 2013

Personally I'd talk the customer out of it - USB power is a continuously evolving standard - 1/2A, 1A, 2A and so on.

I personally do not like the idea of something with questionable fusing being powered all the time not to mention the pain for testing.

Most USB power problems can be better solved with a 4-6 way high power USB charger, either as a plug-brick or as a neat pod on a flex.

But I suppose, if that's what the customer wants...
 16 January 2016 11:53 PM
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potential

Posts: 1774
Joined: 01 February 2007

Whether there is a 5 year guarantee or not, it does beg the question how will these USB chargers stand up to the test of time?
There must be many socket outlets installed in the 1970s and before that are still in use.
That is forty years or more.
what condition will the USB sockets be in after twenty years, let alone forty?
As technology continues to change they will probably be a thing of the past long before that and will be left, forgotten, until something goes wrong.
 17 January 2016 12:28 AM
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mapj1

Posts: 12039
Joined: 22 July 2004

It's a bit disconcerting that the (well made) plug style chargers survive a PAT, but we are not supposed to test the integrated ones with the installation. I see that a fixed L-~N load will be seen but it would be better if the makers recommended an L+N to E test, rather than effectively prohibiting insulation testing of any kind.. I see that in effect condemning the whole installation to never being re-tested, except in a few simple cases where there is only an odd socket and isolation is easty, as no one will want the liability for not following the makers instructions, or the extra labour of in effect re doing the "second fix " part of a rewire, with all the attendant risk of creating a fault that was not there before..
Also there is a USB-PD (power delivery) specification that permits device o charge to negotiate for up to 20V and 5A, which is well beyond what is currently common out there.l

-------------------------
regards Mike
 17 January 2016 12:40 AM
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alancapon

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My understanding (although I have not proved it) is that the MK sockets allow the USB devices to negotiate their share of the current available. The actual comment regarding IR testing in the documentation that comes with the socket is:

IMPORTANT: When carrying out insulation resistance testing, first DISCONNECT the product. Failing to do this could damage the product and could also give spurious insulation readings.


Regards,

Alan.
 17 January 2016 08:57 AM
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TimJWatts

Posts: 467
Joined: 07 August 2013

Originally posted by: alancapon

My understanding (although I have not proved it) is that the MK sockets allow the USB devices to negotiate their share of the current available. The actual comment regarding IR testing in the documentation that comes with the socket is:

IMPORTANT: When carrying out insulation resistance testing, first DISCONNECT the product. Failing to do this could damage the product and could also give spurious insulation readings.


Regards,

Alan.


Indeed - and therein lie 2 problems:

1) The thing's a mare for testing;

2) Any USB power adaptor over 5 years old IME is effectively useless, in terms that it cannot supply the next generation higher currents that modern devices demand. In fact the latest USB Power standards offer 20V at upto 5A with the intent of powering laptops.

I use these:

USB Charger

and if loss of a socket is a problem:

13A USB adaptor
 17 January 2016 10:30 AM
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potential

Posts: 1774
Joined: 01 February 2007

So who thought it a good idea to make a product that can't be tested or safely/easily disconnected from the supply and yet it is expected to be left for decades in large numbers hard wired to the mains?
And who in their right mind would install these things?
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