Q: How do I determine if I can safely replace my current outlet with Power2U?
There are a couple of requirements to safely replace an outlet with the Power2U. One is that you cannot replace a Ground Fault Circuit Interruptor (GFCI) outlet with a Power2U because you would be eliminating the GFCI functionality from that electrical circuit.
You can, however, replace the electrical circuit breaker that controls the circuit you wish to install Power2U on with a GFCI enabled breaker.
Another requirement is that if your residence uses Tamper Resistant Electrical Outlets, you cannot replace that type of outlet with a Power2U.
The most important consideration is as follows: The Power2U is a large electrical outlet due to the integrated 5V transformer that is used for charging your devices via USB. Because of its large size, electrical outlet boxes of at least 16 cubic inches are required as per the National Electrical Code (NEC) regulations (www.necplus.org). To determine if your outlet box is large enough to accommodate the Power2U, follow these steps:
1. Turn off the power to the outlet that you wish to replace.
2. Remove the wall plate and outlet you wish to replace.
3. Insert a tape measure or ruler into the outlet box and measure the depth, width, and height.
4. Multiply the three measurements. For example, a standard deep outlet box is 3" deep x 3" tall x 2-1/8" wide. Multiply all of those together and you come up with 19.125 cubic inches. This box would qualify to fit the Power2U outlet, however that does not complete your calculations; the amount of wires, and fastening devices that are inside of the box also must be factored in. A very thorough explanation of these calculations are available at http://ecmweb.com/nec/code-basics/electric_box_fill_calculations/
. Each situation in residential wiring can be unique, so it is up to the installer to determine if they are in compliance with the NEC regulations.
Q: What outlets can I replace?
Any standard electrical outlet can be replaced with the Power2U. Traditional designs, Decora or decorator style all are replaceable. Due to the unique outlet cover with integrated USB slots and safety shutters you cannot use the Power2U in a multi-outlet or mixed (switch and outlet) box.
Q: Which GFCI can I replace?
If you are installing the Power2U into a circuit that is protected by a GFCI, you can replace any standard outlet that is already protected by that GFCI circuit with the Power2U. You cannot replace the GFCI outlet that protects the circuit with the Power2U. If you wish to replace a GFCI outlet with the Power2U, you would need to change the circuit breaker powering the circuit with a GFCI circuit breaker.
Power2U Simple Compatibility Visual Reference Guide:
(Your GFCI buttons may vary from the outlet depicted below)
DO NOT replace GFCI outlets that contain reset/breaker buttons
Wired in series outlets protected "downstream" from a GFCI outlet can be replaced with a Power2U
Q: Will my Power2U be GFCI protected when I replace a GFCI downstream outlet?
Q: Can any other type of outlet be replaced?
Yes, any standard dual socket outlet can be replaced with a Power2U*
*Assumes a 16 cubic inch outlet box. Read the additional FAQ's on this page for additional details.
Q: What's the difference between the main GFCI and others in a series?
A GFCI outlet (the kind that has a TEST and a RESET button on it) is the device that protects the entire electrical circuit from severe or fatal electrical shocks. There is no difference between the main GFCI outlet and an outlet wired in series after the GFCI outlet, both are equally protected. However, you cannot replace the main GFCI outlet with a Power2U outlet and still have the same shock protection, the Power2U is not a GFCI outlet.
Q: What if my GFCI is located in a circuit breaker panel?
No problem! You can replace any outlet protected by a GFCI circuit breaker with a Power2U as long as the outlet box is large enough per NEC regulations (www.necplus.org
) to accommodate the Power2U.
Q: What if my installation location doesn't have a 16 cubic inch outlet box?
You will need to replace the existing outlet box with a larger box that meets NEC regulations to accommodate the Power2U. Your local home center will have replacement outlet boxes (called "boxes with ears" or "old work" boxes), and a set of hold-it straps (commercially available as "Madison Straps") to accomplish this task. If you are not familiar with this process, a licensed and bonded electrician can do it for you. This process can get quite involved and may require minor drywall patching when complete, depending on your existing outlet box installation.
Q: My house uses AFCI (Arc Fault Circuit Interruptor) protected outlets. Can I replace one of them with a Power2U?
Yes, just like GFCI outlets that are protected by a GFCI circuit breaker, AFCI outlets are protected by a circuit breaker. If you are installing the Power2U into a circuit that is protected by a AFCI, you can replace any standard outlet that is already protected by that AFCI circuit with the Power2U.
Q: Is there a fuse inside of the Power2U?
Yes, there is an internal fuse to protect the system in case of overload or short in the USB charging system. The fuse is not user-replaceable if activated, it is recommended to replace the entire Power2U unit.
Note: The internal fuse will burn out to protect the system (wall socket and device) if the end user makes the mistake of connecting to a power source requiring more than 125V.
Q: What USB cables work with Power2U?
The Power2U has been tested, and is compatible, with cables conforming to USB standards. This includes cables that come with USB powered/charged devices, including those from Apple, Kindle (Amazon)**, Nokia, Motorola, Samsung and other major brand device providers, as well as aftermarket cable brands including NewerTech (purchase here
), Belkin, and Griffin. Not all aftermarket cables meet USB design standards and such may not be ideal for use with this product.
**Certain late 2011/early 2012 model Kindles (like the Keyboard 3G) include a USB to micro-B charging/connecting cable that doesn't provide proper connection with the Power2U. We offer extension cables that will alleviate this incompatibility for those models.
Cables included with Kindle's since mid-2012 do utilize an industry conforming housing that is compatible with Power2U.
Standard USB cable shown on left, cable supplied with newer model Kindles shown on right.
Q: What happens if I plug a damaged USB cable into the Power2U?
The USB wall socket will terminate charging if the USB cable is shorted. In this case, the internal fuse will not burn out. Then, when the short is cleared and power reset, the charging system will return back to normal.
Q: A light switch controls my outlets... Can I use the Power2U receptacle still?
The Newer Technology Power2U can be used with a switch. Bear in mind that the entire Power2U unit will turn on or off with the switch. If the switch is in the off position, no power will be available from the three-prong outlets or the USB ports.
Some residences have "half-switched" receptacles, where the top or bottom outlet is always ON and the opposite outlet turns on and off with a switch. The Power2U is NOT compatible with these types of installation-it cannot be "half-switched."
Q: Which electrical boxes can adequately house a Power2U?
The following is a list of several commonly used electrical boxes that are available at home centers and electrical supply resellers that will work with the Power2U:
Nail-on Romex Boxes (Plastic)
- Carlon BH122A
- Carlon B122A
- Carlon B120A
- Allied Moulded 1098
- Allied Moulded 1096
Nail-on Romex Boxes (Metal)
- Steel City 74-ONCS
- Raco 240
Screw-on Romex Boxes (Metal)
- Steel City CXWV
- Steel City PLXWV
- Raco 8240 (4" Square)
Cut-in Boxes for Romex
- Carlon BH118R
- Carlon B120R
- Cantex EZ21SO
- NOTE: Cut in boxes are not always 2" wide, even if they list "3" x 2"" - Measure before buying.
Cut-in Conduit Boxes
- Carlon BH118R
- NOTE: Cut in boxes are not always 2" wide, even if they list "3" x 2"" - Measure before buying
Spacer shims can be purchased here.
- An incorrectly installed Power2U will have the faceplate misaligned.
- When misaligned, the faceplate's USB shutters will be unable to activate the USB port switches on the Power2U.
- You can use electrical box shims to assist in aligning the faceplate so it's flush with the Power2U socket facia. This will allow the USB shutters to activate the USB port switches.
If you are unsure or in doubt about installation, please call a licensed electrician!