Solving Yesterday’s Problem Tomorrow

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Will Truman

Will Truman is the Editor-in-Chief of Ordinary Times. He is also on Twitter.

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10 Responses

  1. Avatar Damon
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    says:

    Heading into work this morning I heard a story on NPR about how the auto saftey requirements are different in the US vs Euroland and they’ve been working on converging the standards for DECADES.

    I’m amazed the we and the euros can get on the same page as phone chargers.Report

  2. Avatar Peter Moore
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    says:

    I think this is a little different than you are assuming.. The EU has had a standard (or at least agreement) for the mobile phone charger *plug* since 2011, and that is micro-usb.

    I’m reading a lot from not a lot of detail, but I think this proposal is trying to speak to two additional issues.

    First it standardizes the *chargers* themselves. This would hopefully standardize the protocol between phone and charger to negotiate that current. This would fix your issue of having still have multiple usb chargers: as long as your charger is rated for the max current you phone can take, you will be guaranteed it will charge at its fastest rate.

    Second, they are looking to extend this standard to more than phones. They only mention radio gear, but ideally a standard like this could replace many of the mutually incompatible low-power wall-wart power supplies we use for things like switches, routers, web-cams, etc.. So instead of having monster power strip with a mix of normal plugs and wall-warts crammed in, a new ‘standardized’ power strip could have a bunch of usb plugs for all the lower power items and normal power plugs for the rest..Report

    • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Peter Moore
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      says:

      Previously, they allowed Apple to use converters. My understanding is that the new regs will make that no longer the case.

      The max current is, I think, half the issue with my phones versus bluetooth headpieces. The other half is how well the micro-USB secures to the phone, which I don’t think this legislation will address.

      With routers and the like you only need one cable per device, though, so that’s less an issue. Digital cameras being a bit of an exception where convenience would be enhanced as those are mobile.Report

  3. Avatar yeahreally
    Ignored
    says:

    You believe that the problem has “resolved itself” because of previous work done by the EU to set a standard for chargers. Basically, in 2009/2010 the EU got most of the major companies to agree on a standard:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Common_external_power_supply

    Now that the standard is widely deployed (with Apple being the only real holdout), they are trying to make it mandatory. Here’s an older story that gives a little more history:

    http://www.cnet.com/news/eu-wants-all-companies-ahem-apple-to-use-standard-charger/Report

    • Avatar Will Truman in reply to yeahreally
      Ignored
      says:

      YeahReally, chargers were already consolidating prior to 2009/10. And it wasn’t consolidating in preparation for the rule as they were consolidating to two different standards, Mini-USB and Micro-USB. It’s possible that we can attribute the further consolidation to Micro-only to the EU… except that the most likely reason for that was size (they needed something slimmer, which micro-USB was).Report

  4. Avatar Mad Rocket Scientist
    Ignored
    says:

    Seems like we should just settle in wireless charging pads.Report

  5. Avatar scott the mediocre
    Ignored
    says:

    Will,
    FYI, the USB implementer’s forum deprecated the mini-USB in favor of micro-USB. Evidently the testing shows that the micro is actually good for more insert/remove cycles on the host side than the mini, counterintuitive as that seems.
    Report

    • Avatar Will Truman in reply to scott the mediocre
      Ignored
      says:

      @scott-the-mediocre I buy it for perfect use. My concern is primarily with improper, imperfect, and/or typical use. Namely, people being careless with Micro seems likely to me to cause more problems than people being careless with many.

      I may be biased because, well, I’m careless. I never screwed up a Mini USB but have screwed up some Micro. On the other hand! Considering how many Micros I own and how careless I tend to be, that probably does mean that they are sturdier than they look.Report

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