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Mar 04 2013

Accell Home or Away Power Station Review

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A very wise pundit once said. “The limitation of our productivity in modern times is measured in milliwatt hours.”

Actually, I think I said that. Let’s downgrade that to…”A two-bit hack with an overwrought sense of self-importance and a website designed to fulfill his Machiavellian tech fantasies said that.”

Of course, it is still true no matter what the source. Even a terribly unreliable source like yours truly.

My point, as elliptical as it might be, is that all these glorious iDevices and Droidtools are completely useless when they run dry on juice.

I have made it my self-appointed mission to maintain charge in my family and friend circles.

This means among the profusion of devices that I drag around for computing there is also a pile of additional battery packs, chargers and paraphernalia.

All this need for AC and when I get to a hotel what do I find? One. Lousy. Outlet.

Apparently, this has happened to the crew over at Accell as well because the Home or Away Power Station is a really smart little device.

Clever device, but they have GOT to work on that name! Home or Away Power Station is a mouthful, and the front of the unit actually has Home or Away Surge Protector silk screened on it, so they may be having a bit of an internal argument. Henceforward, I will refer to the Home or Away Power Station as the HASP, because it sounds cooler than HAPS and so I don’t go completely bonkers.

The HASP combines the functionality of a power strip, a USB charger and a surge suppression device into a single small package.

Next to an iPhone4s for comparison

Next to an iPhone4s for comparison

...and a thickness reference

…and a thickness reference

The prongs fold into the back of the case to make it easier to stow away and the whole package is roughly the same size as a garage door opener, only a bit thicker. The HASP is made of plastic, but it is the high impact kind and has a sturdy feel to it. The whole package weighs less than an iPhone.

I at first thought that the hinging on the prongs was set up so that you could plug the HASP into a grounded or ungrounded plug, but the guys at Accell are far too safety conscious for that. You would have to break the ground prong off to do so and that is definitely not recommended

The engineering on the plug folding is slick and takes up less space in the case than most I have seen. The ground prong actually folds toward the hot and neutral prongs and into the body of the HASP.

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The front USB ports are hefty and very capable. Although the spec sheet rates them as having a shared power of 2.1 amps (10 watts, 5 volts) I was able to fully charge two iPads connected to the HASP. Given this, charging a phone and an iPad off these ports should be a piece cake. Or pie if you prefer…

There are also three AC outlets on the HASP and it does not impede usage of the other plug in an outlet, so you can actually get a lot of usage from that single, chintzy outlet that the hotel provides!

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You will notice that those are all US style power plugs on the HASP. It is a 110 volt unit ONLY, so please don’t put it in your overseas techno-emergency kit.

The front of the HASP also features a green LED to let you know that the 612 Joules of surge suppression (which covers all 5 of the potential power outputs) is happily doing its job, preparing to commit suicide for your gear if it is called into duty.

If you are a little unclear on how much protection that is than I am sure you will have an “AHA” moment when I tell you that Joules and Newton-Coulombs are essentially interchangeable.

Not so much? A Joule is a measure of work and a single Joule is roughly the amount of work that is required to hold a small apple one meter in air for one second. Now that Newton reference makes some sense!
Picture preventing 612 of those apples from smashing into your gear.

The encased Metal Oxide Varistor in the HASP can shunt that much power off to ground before having to take a bullet for your iPad. Sort of electricity’s version of the Secret Service, but without that whole drinking and prostitute scandal. Since the MOV is encased, it is not a fire hazard should it die.

Oh yeah…then the LED will go off so you know to hold a tiny MOV funeral. Poor little MOV.

Conclusions:

DID I MENTION THAT THE HASP IS $20?

That is a paltry $1 more than the Apple iPad charger, and while it is larger it covers a LOT of ground in your bag of tricks.

Power strip, USB chargers, and some surge suppression that just might save your gear at that sleazy hotel that looked a whole lot better in the pictures on the internet.

The Home or Away Power Station is just about perfect. Cost effective, clever and well made. It is a great choice to plug into the bedside outlet at the house or (like me) toss it into the bag of tricks that follows you on the road.

Think they will credit me if they change the name? I don’t either, but you should definitely pick one up today.

ACCELL HOME OR AWAY POWER STATION $19.99

Accell
3400 Gateway Blvd.
Fremont, California 94538
Tel: 1-877-353-0772

Sales Contact:
Phone: 510-438-9288 (M-F 9am-5pm Pacific)
Toll Free: 1-877-353-0772 (M-F 9am-5pm Pacific)
Fax: 1-510-252-1178
Email: sales@accellcables.com

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