TechSpot

This brilliant outlet cover plate adds a USB port to your wall, no wiring necessary

By Shawn Knight
Mar 31, 2015
Post New Reply
  1. Having a USB port at every electrical socket is trendy among new homes (and those retrofitting older houses) but rewiring everything to work properly can be dangerous or expensive, depending on whether or not you do the work yourself or hire a professional.

    What’s more, plugging adapters directly into the wall means you have to carry around an additional piece of hardware (not to mention how bulky and unsightly they look).

    usb usb adapter usb connector faceplate cover plate electrical plate electrical cover plate snappower snappower charger

    SnapPower has come up with a clever solution that virtually anyone can install. The SnapPower Charger is the first ever USB charger that’s built into an outlet cover plate. It can be used to charge any USB device and installation is a breeze as you only need to swap out your existing cover plate (usually just a single screw).

    The new cover uses what the company calls power prong technology which draws power from the screws on the sides of your outlet. The new cover plate does extrude out a little bit on the bottom but the good news is that it leaves both outlets open for other devices and it doesn’t take up nearly as much room as a standard USB adapter would. The only catch is that it doesn’t work with GFCI outlets.

    usb usb adapter usb connector faceplate cover plate electrical plate electrical cover plate snappower snappower charger

    Having already blown past its $35,000 Kickstarter goal, the SnapPower Charger has raised more than $265,000 as of writing with 44 days remaining in the campaign. A pledge of just $14 will ensure you get one when they ship this August.

    usb usb adapter usb connector faceplate cover plate electrical plate electrical cover plate snappower snappower charger

    Permalink to story.

     
  2. Damn this is going to make a lot of money
     
    bea108 likes this.
  3. risc32

    risc32 TS Booster Posts: 195   +87

    probably.

    for me the fact that I can just get an outlet with two high pwr USB ports on it for not much more just makes more sense. I see what this is doing here and it's a clever idea, but I've also seen a large number of electrical outlets that won't let this gadget work. Not just GFIs but many outlets now have little plastic covers that shield the screws. Also, most good electricians I know tape up the receps screw terminals for safety concerns and that would prohibit this dohickey form working. besides, how hard is it to flip a breaker and then move 2-3 wires from one outlet to another. honestly, even a girly hipster can do it.
    all that said, I bet this will do very well for it's creators.
     
    Sancticide likes this.
  4. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 8,551   +2,894

    I know someone that would jump from a naked wire as if it was a snake. Even if they could visibly see that both ends were disconnected. It is safe to say, anyone this afraid of electricity is best to leave it alone. No matter how easy the task may be.

    And on the other hand I know someone that was working on a meter loop and was going to force the meter into the box, even though wires was crossed in the mobile home creating a dead short. They were being showered in sparks but that didn't stop them from trying. It is apparent they were not afraid of electricity, but didn't understand enough about it and should also leave it alone.

    Electrical work, even the smallest of task, requires basic knowledge of electricity and lack of fear when working with it.
     
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2015
    Prohandyman likes this.
  5. Uncle Al

    Uncle Al TS Evangelist Posts: 1,663   +774

    My concern would be possible arc'ing during installation. Typical outlet covers still use the center screw that attaches directly to the outlet but this also offers yet another "interesting" think for kids to stick a knife or some other conductive material and get a dangerous lesson in electrical shock.

    It might catch on for awhile, but frankly I think it will be short lived and we'll soon seen those plug in, 6 outlet boxes add one to them as well .....
     
    stewi0001 likes this.
  6. madboyv1

    madboyv1 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,333   +267

    What jumps out at me is that the usb port is "flush" against the wall, rather than having the usb cable poking straight out into the open space, and it looks a little nicer as it is more or less concealed until you actually want to use it...

    That being said I don't have any outlets in a nifty location like a counter top so this product would not do me much good, but I can certainly understand the aesthetic choices involved.

    edit: Another product from the same company... one that is of great interest to me:

    http://www.snappower.com/snaprays-guidelight/

    Same idea, except guide lights/night lights on the bottom. THOSE I could use around the house...
     
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2015
    Prohandyman likes this.
  7. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 8,551   +2,894

    That would be handy to have in a few rooms. Definitely looks nicer than plugging in a nightlight.
     
  8. mailpup

    mailpup TS Special Forces Posts: 6,979   +362

    Rule one when working around electrical outlets is to shut off the electricity to that outlet via the circuit breaker panel. Those that forget to or those that don't know better often don't make that mistake the next time.
     
  9. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 8,551   +2,894

    And for those of us that love being zapped, we keep going back for more! LOL
     
  10. Arris

    Arris TS Evangelist Posts: 4,606   +287

    So flush that in their pictures I doubt you could actually get a plug into the socket above it. I like the idea and its neater than the other kickstarter I saw for a plug in adapter with USB that had an area on top to stand a device while it was charging.
     
  11. Skidmarksdeluxe

    Skidmarksdeluxe TS Evangelist Posts: 6,476   +2,034

    So what will people who spent a fortune fitting USB ports to all their electrical outlets do with them in 20 years time when USB is just a legacy? One or two could be handy at the moment but they're definitely not a must have.
     
  12. stewi0001

    stewi0001 TS Evangelist Posts: 1,181   +528

    Well this wouldn't work in my house XD

    I have electrical tape wrapped around my outlets as an extra precaution.
     
  13. RebelFlag

    RebelFlag TS Addict Posts: 135   +67

    And of course since electrical tape is like super glue, you definitely can't remove it so the outlet covers would work......
     
    Steve and SNGX1275 like this.
  14. Misagt

    Misagt TS Booster Posts: 100   +43

    Yes but to do this you would have to pull out the outlet from the box to do this. Most people would find this to be difficult or a scary task. It's a clever product but most are protected with electrical tape. This product is designed for people who don't know how to work with electrical to begin with. So they won't know how to deal with the tape. I'm sure they will sell lots but I don't see it as easy as they are making it sound.
     
    stewi0001 likes this.
  15. stewi0001

    stewi0001 TS Evangelist Posts: 1,181   +528

    It would make it more tedious for me. I would have to turn off the breaker, pull out the outlet and then remove the tape. At that rate, I could just buy one of those outlets that have a USB built in.

    Actually, my fav solution (which doesn't work for all scenarios) is my mini 6 outlet surge protector with 2 USB charging ports and you just plug it into the outlet. Optional screw included for extra holding in place.
     
  16. Schtromar

    Schtromar TS Rookie

    But will there be an EU version?
     
    stewi0001 likes this.
  17. They will go to the local hardware store and buy regular faceplates for 50cents to replace them. Not rocket science. I like this idea. I wont buy it. But I wont find it abnormal for someone to have them at their house. The cost is a bit high imo though. If it was to come down to say, 2$(which I believe is possible given the amout of materials needed) then im sure this thing will take off quickly. It would be a no brainer to spend $1.50 more to put these in by a bookshelf or night stand.
     
  18. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 8,551   +2,894

    Most? You know this for a fact do you? Well maybe in your region but not mine.

    Wrapping electrical tape around outlets makes about as much sense as wrapping tape around the breakers in a breaker box. I'm guessing you do that as well. Receptacle boxes are no longer metal and wall covers are used. There is no point in using electrical tape. Unless the outlet is damaged the tape protects nothing. If the outlet gets damaged, power needs to be turned off until the outlet is replaced.

    Basically a precaution protecting against an event that will never happen, unless people neglect to have repairs done.
     
    RebelFlag likes this.

Similar Topics

Add New Comment

You need to be a member to leave a comment. Join thousands of tech enthusiasts and participate.
TechSpot Account You may also...