OneWorld 65 Combines International Adapter with 65W USB-C Charger

Originally published at: OneWorld 65 Combines International Adapter with 65W USB-C Charger - TidBITS

Thanks to gallium nitride technology, OneAdaptr was able to create a svelte 65W USB-C charger that can plug into any international power outlet and lets you charge up to six devices at once.

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The one thing I wonder about this is whether there’s any utility in having the AC socket? I feel like it’s literally been decades since I’ve needed such a thing when travelling. Even back in the late 1990s–early 2000s with the heavy chunky power supplies which were device-specific, they were auto switching 110–240V. A simple plug adapter allowed them to be used in another country. What kind of thing do people travel with that requires an AC socket? I ask because it seems like it would add quite a bit of bulk and weight.

One problem with using a plug adapter is that it positions the charger further away from the wall. If the wall sockets are a bit loose, the weight of the charger may pull away from the wall and the whole connection may not stay in the socket.

Isn’t it to preserve access to the full-power, wall socket? (The adapter blocks access to the wall socket and the socket on the adapter gives it back to you, right?)

As for 120 vs. 240 volts, I presume that the socket’s power isn’t transformed in any way, just a straight-through connection to the wall socket power. So yes, you’d still need your device, e.g., hair dryer, to do the voltage change.

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On their web site the specs are:

SPECIFICATIONS
Input: 100-240V
Output (USB-C PD): 65W max, 5V3a, 9V3a, 12V1.5a, 20V 3A
Output (Smart USB): 5V3.0a
Output (AC): 100-240V @ 7A max.

Implying that, as Nello says, it is a straight through connection to provide access to the blocked wall socket at the original voltage.

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Just FYI, I believe that line on the website is a typo. On the box and the actual device, it says:

Output (AC): 100-250V~10A Max, 2500W Max

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I usually travel with several different things that require AC power - especially a laptop PC (proprietary power brick) and standalone battery chargers for my camera’s battery packs. When I travel internationally, I bring along a universal power strip. Something like this:

Connected to a universal adapter, in order to fit whatever outlets the country may have:

This lets me connect all of the power bricks I travel with. They’re all universal voltage and this lets me adapt the plugs, including the safety ground pins.

Theoretically, I should just need a plug adapter with a normal power strip, but I have never seen a US power strip rated for 220-240v, so I don’t think it would be safe to use one outside of North America.

I travel with a camera battery charger that requires AC. And my wife always has an item or two that requires AC. It’s just handy to have a usable AC outlet when you travel. :)

As an aside, I learned recently of a USB-C-powered charger for my camera batteries! Already on my Christmas list!

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I’m so envious!

Or maybe not.

I hope you’re both fine, and I feel a bit less silly for hitting the Cancel button on my Greece trip that had been planned for last summer.

Thanks for the product report.

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After a bit of web searching, it seems that they do exist. I ran across this example (not an endorsement, just an example): https://www.amazon.com/dp/B077ZSC6RQ

This is a power strip (6 AC + 4 USB) with North American receptacles and a North American cord, but claims to be rated for 240v operation. So (assuming the manufacturer is being honest) it should work overseas with just a plug adapter.

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I’d like to put in a plug for the Mogics Donut, maybe the best designed piece of travel gear I’ve used in 40 years of business and pleasure travel (and probably 1.5m flight miles.) | MOGICS This combines a universal plug adapter, an extension cord with 5 AC outlets, and 2 USB ports into one small package. The only thing that would make this better is replacing the USB-A with USB-C ports. Before I got this, I’d carry a heavy duty US extension cord and a plug adapter, along with USB and other chargers. Now I carry this, my MB Pro power adapter, the battery charger for my DSLR, and a 2 port Anker high power USB-C charger. The phones get charged off the USB-A ports on the Donut, the laptop, camera battery charger and Anker USB-C use the AC ports (with the USB-C charger for the iPads), and I can charge all our devices at the same time from a single hotel outlet. I note that finding a convenient AC outlet can be a challenge in some hotels (the worst was Euro Disney outside of Paris, where the only AC outlet I could find to plug into was in the bathroom.)

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A nice gadget. Not suitable for my needs (when traveling with my wife, we typically need 10 plugs), but it looks like a great idea for anyone who doesn’t need that many.

My only concern about it is that it doesn’t support grounded plugs. Their power cord is 2-wire only. Although they show grounded plugs connecting to it, the ground plug is left floating, which is a potential safety hazard. But if you don’t travel with any devices that have grounded plugs, this won’t be a concern.

And for the curious, Here’s why I usually travel with a 12-outlet strip. When my wife and I are traveling together, we need to support: 3 phones (2 mine, one hers), iPod Touch, iPad, Kindle, Apple Watch, my laptop, her laptop, camera. This means 7 USB devices and 3 AC devices. Maybe also another laptop (AC), if I think I may need to work while we’re away and a Nintendo Switch Lite (USB) if we want to bring it.

"Their power cord is 2-wire only. " That’s correct. But then a lot of the outlets I’ve seen in hotels don’t support a ground, either, nor do many plug adapters.

I’ve never seen a hotel that didn’t have grounded outlets, and that includes many different countries (including China, UK, Sweden, Denmark and Belgium).

The so-called shaver outlets you sometimes find in the bathroom are the big exception. But I’ve always found other outlets in a hotel room that I could use, and they’ve always been grounded. (Sometimes they’re all in-use and I need to unplug something in order to plug in my power strip.)

As for plug adapters - you’re right, most are not grounded. And because safety matters to me, I make a point of only buying adapters that are grounded. They’re not hard to find, but you need to explicitly look for them.

That might be a difference in the kinds of places we stay. Certainly in big chain hotels, they’re fully up to code. But in the small hotels & B&Bs I prefer, often there’s just a 2-hole outlet with no additional grounding wire.

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I obviously can’t disagree with what you’ve observed, but it’s worth noting that in Europe, the ground pin is not always in a location where you might immediately recognize it as such.

See the Wikipedia page for CEE 7 standard plugs and receptacles used for most (but not all) of Europe.

  • A CEE 7/1 receptacle is not grounded, but can accept all CEE 7 plugs (without any ground connection).
  • A CEE 7/3 receptacle (aka Schuko or Type-F, used in most of Europe) is grounded via spring clips on the side of the receptacle. It can accommodate all CEE 7 plugs, but can only connect the ground for a CEE 7/4 or 7/7 plug.
  • A CEE 7/5 receptacle (Type-E, used in France) is grounded via a post protruding from the rceptacle. It can only accommodate a CEE 7/6 or 7/7 plug (which have a hole where the ground post mates).
  • A CEE 7/7 plug is a hybrid that supports grounding on both the 7/3 and 7/5 receptacles.

The remaining outliers for Europe are:

  • Denmark uses a Type K receptacle. Its power leads are spaced identically to a CEE 7/1, but the ground pin is a half-round hole located below the power leads.

    Today, Denmark also permits CEE 7/3 (since 2011) and 7/5 (since 2008) receptacles, in order to accommodate grounded appliances without requiring them to be designed for Denmark. Which is good for travelers, because I haven’t seen any “universal” adapter that supports the Danish-standard ground pin.

  • Italy uses a Type L receptacle. There are two variations, with different pin diameters and spacings. One is compatible with a CEE 7/1 and the other is not. The ground pin is centered between them.

    Italy also uses hybrid receptacles that can accommodate CEE 7/3 with grounding and other standards in addition to type-L.

  • Switzerland uses a Type J receptacle. It is similar to the Italian type-L, but the ground pin is offset and it is usually recessed within a hexagonal opening.

Finally, European appliances that don’t require grounding often have a Europlug which can mate with all of the above receptacles.

CEE 7/1 is what I’ve seen quite frequently. I do know to look for the side springs in CEE 7/3.

It’s an interesting question back to Adam: Does that OneWorld adapter include contacts for the various European ground connections?

Definitely not grounded. Looking at the photos on its product page you can see that only the UK configuration extends a third post, and it’s plastic:

The European configuration is a Europlug:

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Ungrounded is one thing, but does that adapter at least have a recessed area for the ground pin sticking out of some European sockets (eg. France)? If not, that adapter becomes a nice little paper weight, even for ungrounded equipment the moment you want to use it with any socket that’s up to modern code (i.e. grounded).

The above image (as well as those in @ace’s article) shows it lacks such a recessed area on one side. I can’t see if perhaps they included it on the other. But even if they added one on the other side, having it on only one means you lose the ability to change the orientation of the adapter. Not great (but in principle could be desired).


That’s why European plugs (even in countries without grounding pin sticking out of their sockets, eg. Germany) come with that hole you see at the top of this pic.

Go look at the photo (above). It doesn’t fill the round socket, but only occupies the space of a hexagonal Europlug. Nothing comes close to the post of a type-E (French) socket.