Even though the “U” in USB stands for “universal,” not all USB devices have the same power requirements for charging nor do they all communicate their charge status or use the same pin configurations. For many applications, this is the holy grail of charging. Until recently, such a thing did not exist.
Universal charger: Several new USB chargers (in both charge and sync charge versions) have been created by Datamation Systems using an exciting new technology from Cambrionix. This professional USB charging station identifies the correct charge profile for each connected device drawing on its library of charging configurations. The library can be updated in the field as supported configurations are added, making it “future-proof.”
This will permit any USB-chargeable device to be plugged into the charger and it will be charged at the correct charging rate.
Datamation Systems has introduced several versions of this new technology: charge-only hubs (DS-C-U8 and DS-C-U16), and versions that charge and sync communication to each USB port (DS-SC-U8 and DS-SC-U16). These innovative devices can be daisy-chained for even larger arrays. They work as standalone hubs or can be incorporated into transport cases, cabinets and carts. The hubs can also be built into kiosks, lockers and other applications. Datamation Systems is happy to provide components to qualified OEMs looking at these applications.
The other USB charging and charge-and-sync hubs we provide will charge a wide variety of devices, but they are not universal. The same is true of most competitive products that do not use the Cambrionix charging board technology.
If you use certain specific platforms (models or makers of MP3 players, smart phones or tablets), we may be able to test them on our USB hubs. If there are models we cannot charge, we may be able to provide updated firmware profiles for those devices. In some cases, special requirements can be handled by modifying our boards to accommodate them. For example, we created a version of our 16-port C3 sync charge board to work with the Samsung Galaxy and created boards to work with the Dell Streak tablets.
There may be some devices that require a connection to a host device in order to charge (some game controllers are examples of these). In those cases, the sync charge versions of the Datamation Systems hubs can be used for charge-only applications (with a connected host).
Generally, these other USB hubs provide two classes of power to each USB port: (1) 500mA, which is the standard power provided in most USB 2.0 ports; and (2) 2.1A, which will charge many devices with lower power requirements but all the way up to iPads, most of which need 2100mA for their optimum charging.
All the Cambrionix boards and the enclosures and power supplies we provide are created for the professional user, not consumers. They are durable and built for constant use. They can be used in engineering and institutional environments where they are not viewed as disposable consumer hubs.
Here are some notes on the form-factors that charge, some of which also sync to a host:
- DS-IP-PP16 (PowerPad 16) (16 port charging hub): Designed specifically for Apple products (all iPad models, iPods and iPhones), the PowerPad 16 will charge 16 USB devices and deliver a reliable 2.1A to each USB port. It works with many other USB devices. If you have an Apple AC adapter of the type provided with an iPad (or can borrow one), plug your devices into a USB cable and see if they charge when the USB (A) end of the cable is plugged into the little white Apple AC adapter when that adapter is plugged into a wall socket. If they do, they will probably charge with the PowerPad 16. No connection to a host computer is needed. (discontinued) (see DS-C-U16 for a universal charging hub).
- DS-IP-SC-49 (49 port sync hub): This will sync up to 49 USB devices to a host, but it also provides a constant 500mA of power to each USB port. That allows it to charge some devices that only require that power for charging. It must be connected to a host (Mac or PC) to function for charge or sync.
- DS-CH-32-500 (32 port charging hub): This will provide 500mA of power to each of 32 USB ports. It does not require a connection to a host (like other USB hubs) and can charge in a standalone configuration. Again, it is not universal but it will charge many types of USB-chargeable devices (including iPods and iPhones, but not iPads).
- DS-IP-SC-16 (16 port charge-and-sync hub): This device can be used on a tabletop, mounted in a cabinet or placed in a case for portable charging and syncing. It has two modes: charging (at 2.1A per port) and syncing (for communicating to a host to sync content). It was designed for Apple devices and works with iPods, iPhones and all iPad models (which require the 2.1A power for quick charging). As with the DS-IP-PP16 above, you can test whether this will charge devices by using trying them with a USB-AC Apple adapter. Virtually any USB device that will be addressed by a host computer will communicate to the device for purposes of syncing or file transfer in the same way it would through any other USB connection.
- Universal Hubs: DS-SC-U8, DS-C-U8, DS-SC-U16 and DS-C-U16: These will read the device as it is connected to a USB port, set the port to the optimum charging profile for the device (up to 2.1A) and charge it. For the “SC” hubs, it changes to sync-mode when a host is connected and permits communication to each port. For charging, they do not require a connection to a host (as do other USB hubs) and can charge in a standalone configuration (except for devices that require a host connection for USB charging, as noted above. These are virtually universal and the firmware can be user-updated through a web-download. Cambrionix will create new charging profiles for any new USB-charged devices not covered.
- The DS-SC-8 and DS-SC-U8 may also be of interest because they have some unique features that allow you to communicate with each port through a serial connection or update port. You or your systems integrators can write simple terminal emulation scripts that can control each device through its computer control mode. No other professional hub has that capability. It could, for example, allow you to turn on or off the charge or sync mode at a certain time of day.