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EU Votes For Universal Phone Charger 358

SmartAboutThings writes "The European Union has voted in favor of a draft legislation which lists among the 'essential requirements' of electrical devices approved by the EU a compatibility with 'universal' chargers. According to a German MEP, this move will eliminate 51,000 tonnes of electronic waste. The draft law was approved by an overwhelming majority: 550 votes to 12. At the moment, according to estimates, there are around 30 different types of charger on the market, but manufacturers have two years at their disposal to get ready for the new restriction."
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EU Votes For Universal Phone Charger

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  • Re:Dumb (Score:5, Informative)

    by TWX ( 665546 ) on Friday March 14, 2014 @04:20PM (#46486559)
    Yep. Apple has been the most significant holdout.

    At this point every other phone I've worked with that's newly produced has either had mini-USB or micro-USB connections.
  • by BasilBrush ( 643681 ) on Friday March 14, 2014 @04:22PM (#46486579)

    Ignore that bit. It's the UK Independence Party (UKIP). They oppose all EU regulations on principle. The reasoning is irrelevant. They're about as rational as Fox News pundits.

  • Re:On the subject (Score:4, Informative)

    by NapalmV ( 1934294 ) on Friday March 14, 2014 @04:32PM (#46486701)
    This is not about the mechanical connector (you can always use an adapter cable). This is about those device manufacturers that verify via USB protocol that the charger is made by them too. So the device won't work with anything else regardless of the fact that the cable fits. The idea is that the check should be on the maximum current supported by the charger, not on its make and model.
  • Re:Why? (Score:2, Informative)

    by Jmc23 ( 2353706 ) on Friday March 14, 2014 @04:36PM (#46486759) Journal
    No, you don't get a charger with every phone. Imagine being able to buy a phone that you already have a charger for so you don't have to have 20 different chargers in your house.
  • Re:Dumb (Score:5, Informative)

    by phoenix_rizzen ( 256998 ) on Friday March 14, 2014 @04:38PM (#46486785)

    The EU mandated microUSB charging ports on phones, thus reducing the "cable clutter" that existed 5-odd years ago.

    Now, the EU is mandading the other end of the charging cable, the actual, physical charger is plugs into. Meaning, you'll only need a single charger, with a USB port in it, to charge your flip phone, your 4" mini-smartphone, your 6" phablet, and your 10" tablet.

    Right now, each device has it's own charger, with it's own specs (how many volts at how many amps). And you generally can't charge a tablet using an older phone charger.

    So you end up with a handful of different chargers in your drawer that you have to pick through to charge each device, or you end up with a drawer full of chargers you never use as you just plug everything into the most power charger you have (generally the one for the tablet).

    Standardising on a single charger would eliminate all the extra chargers gathering dust in people's junk drawers.

  • Re:Hold on... (Score:4, Informative)

    by compro01 ( 777531 ) on Friday March 14, 2014 @04:40PM (#46486813)

    The "other jack" is a USB 3.0 microUSB port. It's backwards compatible with the USB 2.0 microUSB port.

  • Re:Dumb (Score:4, Informative)

    by ThePhilips ( 752041 ) on Friday March 14, 2014 @04:54PM (#46486949) Homepage Journal

    Because microusb has an absolutely atrocious, finnicky connector. I hope they use practically anything but microusb.

    MicroUSB was designed to put the wear on the plug (the cable), not the device. Or so they say. One year with Samsung Galaxy charging everyday - no problems so far.

    Apples Lightning connector would be great, actually, or something very similar. Near unbreakably solid, easy to plug in our out, can be plugged in either way...

    I thought the same until I read on forums about lightning connector corrosion [].

    Note, I'm not arguing that MicroUSB is a good standard for charging. But IMO it is better than no standard at all.

  • Re:Dumb (Score:4, Informative)

    by LinuxIsGarbage ( 1658307 ) on Friday March 14, 2014 @05:03PM (#46487031)

    my galaxy note 3 is microusb, but i think it needs more ma

    at work we were looking at the chargers for different android phones and they were all different specs

    Galaxy Note 3 uses MicroUSB 3.0 as standard charger (2.0A), but should still charge at a slower rate using a standard MicroUSB cord.

    Most devices will draw the max the charger will allow if they see the data channels shorted. I assume the charger will go into current limit (voltage will start to drop) once the maximum output of the charger is reached. Different charges from different phones may be rated different, but most still should provide a charge (even if slower). If plugged into a USB host (computer) it may be limited to 500mA or less.

    I thought this article was a dupe from 2009/2011 []

  • by Neil_Brown ( 1568845 ) on Friday March 14, 2014 @05:18PM (#46487215) Homepage

    Apple complied in 2011 by including a Lightning->micro-USB adapter in the box with all of its European models, and has done so for the last three years.

    They certainly sell an adapter, but it is not supplied in the box, at least in my experience of devices bought from Apple stores in the UK.

  • Re:Why? (Score:2, Informative)

    by Jmc23 ( 2353706 ) on Friday March 14, 2014 @06:10PM (#46487805) Journal
    umm, those that use usb like my n900.

    Perhaps in the US where they're big on creating waste it might be different.

  • by labnet ( 457441 ) on Friday March 14, 2014 @06:27PM (#46487929)

    Well, they already have dangerous 230V when 120V works just fine... Stupid Euros...

    Except 120v requires twice as much copper, and higher currents, causing more fires. You also have the worst mains power connector in the developed world and measure your cable in feet. Stupid yanks.

  • by Sycraft-fu ( 314770 ) on Friday March 14, 2014 @08:09PM (#46488715)

    Regular USB will do 10 watts, 5 volts 2 amps. My Samsung phone uses just such a charger. Need more? The USB Power Delivery standard, which needs different cables, will handle up to 100 watts, that being 20v 5a.

    USB PD was standardized in July 2012 so it has been around for awhile.

  • Re:Dumb (Score:4, Informative)

    by marcansoft ( 727665 ) <> on Friday March 14, 2014 @08:59PM (#46488967) Homepage

    This is incorrect. There is no bidirectional negotiation between chargers and devices, nor are there any magic extra pins (at least for pretty much all Android and Apple products - dunno about Zune).

    What there is is one USB charging standard, that basically says one thing and one thing only (that matters): if the data pins are shorted together (but otherwise not connected to anything), then the port is a Dedicated Charging Port. A DCP must meet certain voltage/current curve ranges and may be engineered to supply anywhere from 500mA to 1.5A (or more), with the voltage dropping as the device exceeds the charger's maximum. Devices are simply supposed to regulate current draw upwards until the voltage drops below a threshold, indicating the charger's capability. No digital negotiation takes place. Devices are limited to 1.5A charging current, which is quite typical for modern devices (and significantly better than the 500mA of a non-charging port).

    There is a newer USB Power Delivery specification that is much more recent, supports higher powers, probably uses more complex negotiation (I haven't read it), and nothing implements it yet.

    Then there's what Apple does - they have an incompatible implementation that uses resistors on the data pins in the charger to signal its current capability. Different resulting voltages mean different current levels. This is completely incompatible with the USB charging standard. Recent Apple devices (since the iPhone 3G or so) do support DCP chargers (to some extent - some charge more slowly, and I don't know about larger iPads?), but non-Apple devices will only charge at 500mA or worse from Apple chargers.

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