Many Gadgets, Too Many Chargers


Reader Steven Brenman writes in with a question likely on the minds of other owners of a host of consumer-electronics devices: In my house, we have three digital cameras, two iPods (AAPL), one camcorder, a laptop, and five cell phones (not to mention the cordless drill, etc). You can imagine the mess of chargers plugged into various outlets, and no two of theses devices seem to have the same jack configuration (not to mention volts and amps).

The worst part is, when traveling, I have to collect all the right chargers (including the ones plugged in behind the dresser and under the bed), pack them up, and replug everything when I get home. Short of rewiring the house, are there any good solutions out there for a universal charging station?

Actually, there are solutions, especially for travel. Kensington (www.kensington.com), iGo (www.igo.com), and Targus (www.targus.com) offer multipurpose chargers with interchangeable tips that can handle a good number of popular devices: laptops, phones, PDAs, music players, and others.

$10 TIPS. They come in a variety of wattage capacities, and all models run on 110-volt or 230-volt (a.c.). Certain models add the capability to power your equipment off the 12-volt sources in cars and some airplanes.

All of the models, which start at around $80, come with a basic assortment of tips. Additional tips cost $10 each. Some models can also charge a laptop and another, lower wattage device, simultaneously.

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