Right around the corner from my office is a closet which acts as the
receptacle for all of the gadgets’ boxes and accessories currently being used in
our household – well, the ones that will fit, anyway. Inside this closet sits a large cardboard box which holds nothing but power
cords, adapters, odd cables and vehicle chargers for PDAs, digital music
players, mobile phones, and other devices that we may or may not still own and
which we may or may not still be using. I have to clean the box out at least
every two years, otherwise the cables will begin to spill over and chaos will
You know what? It really strikes me as a complete waste of money that almost every time I
change PDA’s I have to also get new travel or vehicle cables to go along with
the device. I mean, these cables are all essentially the same. Well, with
the exception of their tips, of course.
That’s why I was so interested when I was given the opportunity to review
Gomadic‘s Charger Cables with
Tip Exchange Technology.
I was intrigued by the idea that the same power cable which charges my
PPC-6700 could also charge my iPAQ 4700 as well as my iPod. I was especially
impressed by the idea that the same cable could also power almost every current or
future portable device. Suddenly, I can see an end to the need for the box in my
closet. This is a good thing!
Gomadic sells what they call their
Essential Power Kit, which includes both their
Car Charger and
Wall Charger as well as two tips for the same device. I was sent a kit that
included two mini
USB tips to use with my PPC-6700, and I was also sent tips which would fit my
iPod and iPAQ 4700. Additional
tips for many devices may be ordered at the same time as the initial order,
or later on as the owner acquires new devices. All it takes is the swapping out
of a simple plug-in tip…
Each tip securely snaps into the Gomadic cable; they
will not accidentally fall out
The wall charger is available with either a US or European style plug, and
there is a red LED to indicate when it is receiving power. Its cable is a
generous 5 1/2 feet long, which should be enough to allow one to sit in a chair
and comfortably use the device while it is charging in a nearby outlet.
The car charger has a tightly coiled cable, which measures approximately 16"
when retracted and roughly double that when stretched. It also has a red LED
located at its base to
What makes either charger qualify as "rapid"? According to Gomadic, "Rapid
power circuitry is used in our car and travel (wall) chargers. Car chargers are
rated at 850ma and wall chargers at 1000ma resulting in charging times that are
over twice as fast as standard chargers." Also according to the site, "Products
are designed to support wide range of input voltages (ie. 100-240v AC for wall
chargers and 12-24v DC for car chargers) enabling customers to use products
anywhere in the world."
Now in case that makes potential buyers worry about whether these chargers
might be producing too much juice, the site also says that their chargers
are "carefully engineered using additional custom enhancements to protect
your mobile device including current limiting protection, circuit breaking
fuses, reverse voltage protection diodes and more." Unlike cheaply made
chargers that may only have the protection of a single fuse.
The first thing that I wanted to verify after receiving the kit was that
both chargers would
actually charge my phone and iPAQ when WiFi was turned on…
The PPC-6700 charging with the WiFi on
This has turned out to be an issue in the past with other replacement power cords, but in
this case it was no problem.
The iPAQ charging with WiFi on
On our recent trip to Houston, I was able to pack one power cord and
three tips for the three devices that I like to travel with. The
freedom of being able to pack even more lightly than usual was quite nice!
Both the car and wall chargers never failed to charge my devices, and they never
got hot or caused my devices to get any warmer than when used with their factory
chargers, which is to say that they did not grow noticeably warm at all.
The Gomadic Essential Power Kit has earned a permanent place both in my gear
bag and in my glovebox. I really had to think long and hard about what, if
anything, might constitute as a con with this system, but I just couldn’t
find one. Instead, I was only able to come up with a future design request: that
the prongs fold into the body of the wall charger for even more compact
packing. Otherwise, this really is the perfect solution for those that
carry more than one device or for those that upgrade devices on a regular basis.
Gomadic even offers a
Battery Emergency Backup Charger that uses their Tip Exchange Technology. I did not receive
one of these for the review, but it looks to be similar to the USB version I
have reviewed in the past. This would be a very handy item to have for longer flights or other
times when a power outlet is not available.