Sunday, May 13, 2012

Unplug Your Charger

An article at RecycleBank suggests that we unplug our chargers when not in use.

Think of it this way:
  • Your portable device uses energy. Since recharging batteries is not 100% efficient (among other things, heat is a byproduct), it takes a bit more power than an otherwise equivalent non-battery-powered device does.
  • That charger may give off perceptible heat even when nothing is plugged into it. In the summer, this may represent a double-use of electricity, once to generate the heat, and once to remove it via air conditioning.
My NiMH chargers are on strips that are usually turned off. The little charger that Amazon sent with my Kindle (A00810-01) stays warm when plugged in even with no device plugged into it, so it clearly uses power when not in use. thus I keep that unplugged except when needed.

As an aside, I like the little Kindle charger as a generally-useful tool:
  • Its output is 4.9V at 850mA. My USB Sanyo NiMH charger NC-MDU01 specs say it draws 500mA at 5V. I can charge NiMH with this plugged into the Kindle charger.
  • It's 100-240V 50-60 Hz which makes it suitable for international travel.
On a related note, I have a Nomad7 solar charger that is sufficient for keeping my cell phone and my Kindle keyboard charged, sort of. The problem is that I'm in the habit of sending NYT articles to the Kindle, and am not too conscientious about keeping the Kindle's wireless turned off, which runs down the battery much more quickly. So I often end up using the plug-in charger for the Kindle.

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