In the last couple of years I have managed to acquire a few gadgets that can recharge via USB. This is generally very convenient, though at times I wish I had more plugs that went into a wall socket and gave me a USB port for charging. After all, I have many more USB cables than adapters. Well here is a wall outlet that actually has built-in USB ports for charging.
The people at FastMac are geniuses for this one. Their U-Sockets replace your typical wall outlet, and leave you with not only your two regular electrical outlets, but a pair of USB ports as well. At $20, I think I need to pick up at least a couple of these for my house.
It would have been nice to have an Underwriters Laboratory safety seal. I would prefer if my house didn't burn down. Never heard of "TUV Rheinland (testing completed 12-21-10, Listing Number Pending but expected in February)".
I'm sure its a perfectly good testing lab but everything at Home Depot or Lowes in the electric aisle is UL approved.
Thanks for posting about the U-Socket :-)
This product was designed in conjunction with the safety agencies, commonly known as UL, CSA, TUV, etc. One of the reasons for the delay in shipping this item was due to the extensive testing (not to mention the several re-designs) that it had to endure before it was accepted by the safety agencies (it was initially rejected as a concept due to the unusual nature of mixing AC and DC behind the wall- it only received a go ahead after we pointed out the environmental benefits of installing U-Sockets in millions of homes).
UL (aka Underwriters Laboratories) is the name of 1 of 13 Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratories (NRTLs) recognized by OSHA. For many years, UL enjoyed a monopoly on product safety testing & certification. Their name because synonymous with product safety certification much like the names of Xerox & Frisbee in their respective fields. When they abused their monopoly power, they were sued & the US Government established the NRTL program to allow other companies to compete against UL & provide the same services.
TUV is the 2nd largest NRTL behind UL. They are a 130 year old company with twice as many employees as UL. Founded in 1872 (UL was founded in 1894) and headquartered in Cologne, Germany, TUV employs more than 12,500 people in over 360 locations in 62 countries. Their annual revenue exceeds €1.1 billion.
We specifically chose TUV as our NRTL because German safety guidelines are among the strictest in the world, sometimes more so than the US. More than half of the products that you find at Home Depot carry a TUV mark, not UL. A lot the products in the electric aisle are older inventions (there's not a lot of innovation going in the electric space) that carry a UL mark because that was the only game in town back in the day.
Each U-Socket, which is made in California in our *own* facility (very proud of this), is triple tested: it is subject to a high voltage test that is 12x more than its rating, it is ground tested to ensure that it is properly grounded and it also undergoes a functional test to ensure that the voltage stays consistent even under full load. Our factory is inspected once a quarter to make sure we are following all the proper testing and safety standards. All the components used to make the U-Socket, down to the label & plastic, are UL approved parts and come from suppliers who themselves are inspected 4 times per year.
As you can tell, we take safety very seriously & you can rest assured that this item is safe for use in home or office.
I hope that addresses your concerns. We look fwd to you trying one in your home or office and posting a review.