I’m beginning to think one of the most brilliant changes to come down the tech pike in the last 10 years is the realization that a USB port provides a nice steady 5 volts at 100ma of power to any device attached to it. The device can even request more current (up to 500ma).
Since just about every computer nowadays includes a USB port, most manufacturers of mobile equipment have made it so their equipment can recharge from an available USB port. For those of us who carry a lot of extraneous gear around, this has eliminated the need to haul a half dozen different power supplies along, and negated the need to invest in bulky and frequently twitchy “universal” power supply solutions.
For my part, here’s a list of gear I regularly carry around..
- Treo 650 – with a retractible ‘sync / charger’ cable from Treonauts, I have one small cable I can use for hotsyncing and recharging.
- Jabra BT500 headphone – Jabra thoughtfully provided a very short USB cable (about a foot long) that is perfect for just parking the headphone next to the laptop to recharge.
- Sony MZ-RH1 MD recorder/player – This has been fantastic – though the recharging isn’t as fast as my Treo, the connector types are identical to my camera cable (and many other devices), so a special cable is not needed.
Because of this, the only ‘power’ supply I need to have with me is the one for my laptop.
All is not peaches and cream, however. My Olympus C-770 camera does not charge off the USB bus, unfortunately, and has resulted in me being stuck with a dead battery on more than one occasion. I chalk this to the relative agedness of the camera, and take heart in knowing that the NEXT camera I get will definitely have USB recharge capability.