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Home > Mobile Phone Accessories > Chargers > USB Chargers
USB Chargers and USB Charging Hubs
USB Mains Charging
Listed above is our range of USB chargers, USB charging hubs and car chargers. These chargers are designed to be used on Australian mains power and are fully approved and compliant with Australian Safety Standards. Every mobile tech device these days requires a USB wall charger, having an extra one around is a fantastic idea.
Our USB phone chargers and USB mobile phone charging hubs have been designed for Australian conditions, meet all Australian safety standards and are ideal for people who have many devices that need to be charged be charged at once. Use your device's USB cable to charge your device.
Electricity across the world is not standard. You might have already gathered that by noting that electrical plugs in one part of the world look a darn sight different to the plugs in another part.
Not only are the plugs that they use in different parts of the world not the same, but the voltage (V) and frequency (Hz) of the electricity varies, too.
'The what?', you say? That's voltage, and frequency. And not knowing what they are can cause your electrical appliances, such as phone chargers, laptop chargers, hairdryers, and toasters, to either not work, or in the worst case scenario, blow up!
Voltage in Australia
In Australia, our houses are supplied with mains power of 230V/240V, with a frequency of 50Hz. Compare this now with the US, which has as standard 120V and 60Hz, or an in-car cigarette lighter at 6-12V. As you can see, these do not match up.
Now, appliances are built to comply with a particular voltage - usually if appliances are built in Australia or for Australia, they will be just fine - built to 230V. Many appliances work across a range of voltages, for example, a range of 220-240V - but you need to check each device to see, especially if it was purchased in or for another region.
This same check applies to the frequency of the electricity - the Hz. If your appliance says it is 60Hz, and not 50-60Hz, plugging it into an Australian outlet could have dire consequences.
So, just what are Watts? And what are Amps? I'm confused!
Watts are a unit of electricity. They're the figure that you will find on your electricity bill - well, kilowatt hours (KWh), actually, where 1000 Watts = 1 Kilowatt. Amps, on the other hand, is how much power an appliance takes to run. So, the higher the amps for an appliance, the higher your electricity bill will be! You can use these equations to navigate and work out volts, amps, and watts.V (Volts) x A (Amps) = W (Watts)
A (Amps) = W (Watts) / V (Volts)
V (Volts) = W (Watts) / A (Amps)
For example, in Australia a dishwasher might have 120A, meaning for every hour they chew through 27,600 watts of electricity (230V x 120A = 27,600W). A laptop might use 60A, and so it uses 13,800 watts, or 13.8KWh.
When you see the energy efficiency stickers on your appliances around the home, you can get some idea of how much power they draw from the system. If you bought a cheap clothes dryer which has just one star on the energy efficiency scale, then you're probably going to end up spending more on your electricity bill over the years than if you had have bought a more expensive clothes dryer with four and a half stars.
What does this mean about things that we plug in to the wall?
This can all be very confusing. If we buy an electrical device, we expect to just be able to plug it in and it will work. This, however, can be not the case at all.
Let's say that you purchased an electrical device from overseas without realising all this business about the different electrical requirements. Let's say that the device is a new hairdryer. This hairdryer has 110V, as that's what is used in the region it was made. Plugging this hairdryer into the mains power, in Australia - that's 230V/240V, remember? - can draw four times the power it was designed for.
Four times the power? That can make devices run way beyond the intent they were designed for - either breaking them, or overheating them, which in turn can cause electrical fires. All because you didn't understand the difference between regions and voltage.
On the flip side, if you take your Aussie 240V hairdryer over the states, and try and plug it into the wall outlet there, where the mains is 120V, then you might only draw a quarter of the power necessary to have the device running optimally. Which means that you might have a very slow hairdryer that can't even dry your hair, or doesn't work at all.
What can we do to prevent probably caused by mismatched voltages?Always buy appliances from trusted sources
Always purchase Australian region-specific appliances
Always use power converters when taking appliances overseas
Check appliances for voltages (usually labelled) before plugging them in to the mains supply
Immediately unplug any devices that are behaving strangely
How does this relate to USB chargers?
USB is a standard for connection. USB cords can be used either to transfer data, or to supply power. There are currently 5 specific different types of USB cords in existence - USB 1.0, USB 2.0, USB 3.0, USB 3.1 and USB-C. USB-C does not look the same as the others, and isn't covered in this guide.
USB 3.1 is the current standard (released in July of 2013) that devices will come with, older devices will have used USB 1.0 (released 1998) or USB 2.0 (released 2000), or USB 3.0 (released 2008).
USB 1.0 & 2.0 vs USB 3.0 vs USB 3.1
If you look carefully at the end of a USB 1.0 or 2.0 cable (the male part that fits into a socket), you will see 4 little connector pins. The two pins in the middle are for data transfer, and the two pins on the outside are for supplying power. The outside pins carry 5V power. USB 3.0 & 3.1 male connectors have an extra 5 pins.
The female USB ports (the ones you plug the cable into) can be either data transfer only (tablets may have this), data transfer and charging (like on your laptop or PC), and charging only (the AC wall plugs). In USB 1.0 and 2.0 the charging ports offer 0.1A (aka 100mA) or 0.5A (aka 500mA) power to the device. In USB 3.0, the charging ports offers 1.5A. In USB 3.1, you can charge with either 1.5A or 3.0A.
Not all USB are made equal. You've likely noticed that sometimes, some USB chargers and ports work faster than others. This is because of the different standards used. For example, if you have a phone that came with a 1000mA AC mains charger, and you then use it with a 3000mA AC mains charger that you got with your tablet, it will just charge faster than if used with your original phone charger. However, if you have an older device (pre-2008), it might not work with a newer USB port, and you might have to get your hands on a USB 1.0 or USB 2.0 charger. This is due to something called the 'Battery Charging Specification' which is another thing entirely - and too much to get into for the purposes of this piece!
Another specification is 'USB Power Delivery', available with USB 3.0, 3.1, and USB-C, which can provide multiple different power specs. These are:
This now means that a Power Delivery (PD) capable laptop could be charged via a PD capable data cable and a PD capable USB mains charger, which is starting to happen and which also means the end of power bricks!
So what should I look for in a USB mains charger?
Here are the things which are important:
Check the voltage (AC input) is within the correct range for the region
Look for a high amplitude to charge your devices faster
Look for surge protective properties so if your mains surges, it won't fry your devices
Choose a USB mains charger with multiple slots so you can charge many devices at one
Look for travel mains chargers with interchangeable plugs for the wall if you travel often
It makes sense and is much safer in the long run when you are charging your phone or smartphone that can be worth up to worth several thousand dollars to pay a few more dollars for an Australian safety standards certified charger.