With 440+ devices in our Device Lab, one of the questions we get asked the most is ‘how do you keep your devices charged?’. The answer is we don’t – not all the time. To keep that number of devices charged would be a mammoth task, and our room is only so big. Plus I’d get asked questions about our electricity bill…
The ‘popular’ box is charged often – so your iPhones, iPads, popular Androids, and Windows Phones are all good to go any time of day for last minute bookings. Popularity is based on devices that get booked out a lot and based on usage in the UK – so if you walked in with no idea of what you wanted there’s a box that covers 90% of your bases already charged.
Of course, there’s still the rest of the devices – over 400 of them. They range from phones to tablets, wearables to laptops. All of these have different charging options, whether it’s a unique charger or a generic one. At a guess, about 200 of the devices use MicroUSB, about 50 use the same Nokia charger, and another 50+ use Mini-USB. The rest are all DC connections, older Samsung chargers or completely unique chargers. Of course, there’s a few Apple Lightning and 30-Pin connections in there too.
Luckily, the majority are Micro-USB which makes the process easier, and about two-thirds of them at least connect to a USB to charge.
Thanks to our booking system, which asks the bookee what devices they’d like, I’m able to prepare devices for a booking overnight and leave them charging.
The Charging Solution
We use the following items:
- 1x Masterplug 8 plug surge protector
- 4x dual-USB Belkin chargers
- 4x USB plugs (Apple or Blackberry ones, not all pictured)
- A few Apple USB plugs
The Masterplug comes with two USB sockets of its own, so between all those we can get an insane 14 USBs charging at any time. The dual-USB and Masterplug USBs are fairly low wattage – but if we’re leaving it overnight that isn’t a problem. Tablets and Phablets get priority access to the single, higher wattage USBs, and we’ll swap in an Apple USB plug if it needs it.
Thanks to this plethora of plugs and USBs, we’ve had no problems with getting devices charged – but it does get quite messy in the cupboard. And if a device needs it’s own charger, I can just swap out the plug.
And if you’re ever in the ODL and need to charge your own phone – chances are, we’ve got the right plug.
Tips for your own Device Lab
I’d recommend this setup to you if you’re looking for something to charge slowly but en masse. We’ve had to dedicate a shelf in our cupboard as an entire charging bay, but it works for us.
If you needed something more compact, faster, and only USB – I wholeheartedly recommend the Anker 40w 5-port charger (alternative available). I’ve got two at home charging everything – Vitas, PS4 controllers, Raspberry Pis, and anything else. It supercharges my Nexus 4 in under 2 hours, and should be a no-brainer for a smaller lab. Couple it with this stand and you’ve got yourself your own little lab. If I had to re-buy our chargers now I’d definitely throw one of these in there.