Why do most portable device manufacturers feel the need to use proprietary connectors on the opposite end of their USB cable? I HATE THAT!!! What’s worse is that some devices like my Creative Zen V Plus and Sony Ericsson W810i will only charge via USB if they are connected to a PC. You can’t just plug their USB cables into one of those AC adapters with a USB charging port.
Anyway, I stumbled onto the Gomadic.com charging system and decided to try. I was skeptical that their Creative Zen V “tip” which has a normal mini-USB connector, would actually work. They would have to do some extra wiring to fool the device into charging without the PC data connection. Well…the damn thing works! The Sony Ericsson tip also works like a charm! I also got a Palm TX tip, although I’ve never had a charging issue with its standard cable.
The Gomadic system is based around a 1/8th inch 4-conductor plug (similar to mini-stereo headphone plug) and they support a pretty wide range of devices. They have a version that has two connectors for simultaneously charging two devices and that’s the one I got. I also got the USB retractable connection cable. I already had a AC/Car-to-usb adapter and found that the Gomadic USB cable works fine with it. In other words, you don’t have to plug their USB cable into a PC for it to work. That means all of the circuitry is in the tips, not the cable–that was what I was hoping for. The USB cable+tip even works as a regular data cable for the Zen V and W810i, so it does more than just charge.
If you want to be absolute minimalistic, just get the appropriate tip and their USB cable. With the Creative Zen V, for example, the benefit over a standard USB cable is that you will be able to charge your device by plugging into any USB outlet, not just a PC. So USB AC adapter, USB car adapter, USB battery adapter, etc.�
I feel like I’ve finally found the do-all universal charging system with Gomadic.�
Note that I have tried the iGo, but eBay’d it and got the Kensington due to its
slim formfactor. These are great for laptops, but overkill for smaller