August 7, 2017

Why you shouldn’t charge your phone with your car’s USB port

By Team Ventev Topic: Tech Specs

So there you are, on the last 20 miles of a cross-country road trip. The kids are in the back, headphones plugged in as they watch “Frozen,” on the iPad … again. You’ve been streaming music as you follow directions on your phone’s GPS. As the interstate fades to state highways, and state highways become country roads, boom, your phone shuts off from lack of power.

How did that happen, you ask yourself? Hasn’t it been plugged in the whole time? What am I going to do without GPS? Do I have a paper map?

Does anyone, ever, use paper maps anymore?

Back to the problem at hand. If you’ve ever seen your phone battery drain even while it’s plugged in, you’re probably charging with the wrong ports or the wrong accessories.

The USB ports in your car seem like a convenient feature, but often don’t provide enough power to charge your device while using it. Instead, they often only slow the speed at which your battery drains — your phone will use power faster than the car USB port can supply it.

Car manufacturers are beginning to install higher powered USB ports inside vehicles, but the instances are fairly rare.

The USB ports inside a vehicle typically provide 0.5 amps. That means they deliver far less than your phone’s charging capacity. The only exception we know of is one Acura model that advertises 2.4 amps in its USB ports, which would charge your phone just fine.

The other culprit in car-charging troubles is often the notoriously unreliable drug-store chargers. Inexpensive car chargers that plug into the car’s 12v power receptacle (that’s the socket we used to call a cigarette lighter) might have enough power – who really knows? Their capacity often falls far short of what is advertised – but if that charger has two USB ports, then it probably divides the power across both ports.

Quality car chargers are designed to provide full power to each USB portVentev’s dashport r2240 has two ports that provide 12 watts. That’s enough to fuel an iPad and keep the GPS running.

If you don’t need two USB ports, or if you just want even faster charging, Ventev’s dashport pd1300 delivers a whopping 27 watts of power. That’s enough to charge an iPad Pro 12-inch, or a MacBook with USB-C. The pd1300 will also charge a MacBook Pro if it has USB-C charging – with the caveat that it will be slower than the 61-watt or 87-watt charger (depending on the model) that Apple ships.

So, the choice is yours. You can be lost on a back road in an unfamiliar part of the country with two kids whose tablets just pooped out as Elsa was singing “Let it Go.” Or you can be charged and on your way.

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