With every laptop, cell phone, digital camera and iPad comes a separate charger. The chords tangle together, the plugs hog outlets and the big boxy adapters compete with furniture for precious wall space. Small annoyances aside, these “wall warts” and bricks are big energy wasters. They convert the alternating current (AC) coming out of your socket into direct current (DC) to charge the batteries of your mobile gadget arsenal.
While helpful, the conversion is inefficient, often leaving you with a box that’s hot to the touch with waste heat. AC/DC adapters also passively suck electricity from outlets when not in use. But Moixa Tech hopes to kill these vampire loads and inefficiencies with some sunlight and a charging hub.
Last week, the British company introduced their Smart DC System, where a small photovoltaic solar station generates DC power for charging electronics, no inverters or adapters required. Window-mounted solar panels send the electricity to a hub that contains a battery for energy storage and USB and other ports for hooking up low-voltage gadgets and lights. Acting as a control center, the wi-fi enabled device communicates with a home's smart meter and can be managed by users through their smartphones or the web. According to Moixa, the hub gauges whether its battery holds enough juice for its connected gadgets and even incorporates weather reports into how it performs. For instance, on cloudy days or during off-peak hours when electricity can be cheaper, the battery can charge by switching over to the home's AC power.
Moixa says the systems help meet the growing DC demand of computing, electronics, and LED lighting without losing so much power through adapters and can smooth grid demand with their renewable energy micro-installations and storage. At $1,500 to $4,700, the set-up could be pricey for those just in the market for wall wart remover, but the energy savings and security that would come along with having a bit of off-grid power could be worth it. The company estimates its customers could recoup the cost in three to five years.
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Images: Wikipedia Commons, Moixa