The electrical outlet that puts USB ports in your walls

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The SnapPower USB charger has raised more than $600,000 on Kickstarter. Photo: SnapPower
The SnapPower USB charger has raised more than $600,000 on Kickstarter. Photo: SnapPower

There are just two of us in the apartment, but power strips and bulky USB adapters charging our various devices take up room in every room.

The founders of SnapPower are building a company around the electrical outlet to bring order to household cords.

After the success of an outlet plate with built-in LED lights, the Orem, Utah company already has raised thousands of dollars on Kickstarter to produce an electrical outlet cover with a sleek, built-in USB charger, reported an electrician perth.

The power prongs on the SnapPower draws power from screws inside the outlet. Photo: SnapPower
The power prongs on the SnapPower draws power from screws inside the outlet. Photo: SnapPower

SnapPower is finding its place in the “Internet of Things” as part of the growing Smart Home movement, devices and systems for energy management in increasingly automated homes and buildings.

What is unique about the power-producing outlet cover is that homeowners can just snap it on without calling an electrician to hardwire it. The plates for both products have a patented prong technology that draws powers from screws on the side of the outlet.

The SnapPower Guidelight won two awards at this year’s International Builders Show, including Overal Best in Show, and the USB charger has already raised more than $600,000 on Kickstarter with more than 30 days left in the campaign.

“You don’t have to have electrical know-how, it’s easy for everyone,” said SnapPower co-founder Sean Watkins. “It’s a cool idea because it is so simple.”

The Guildelight is an outlet cover with built-in LED lights to illuminate counters and floors. Photo: SnapPower
The Guildelight is an outlet cover with built-in LED lights to illuminate counters and floors. Photo: SnapPower

SnapPower sold around 50,000 Guidelight outlet plates on Kickstarter alone last year and has seen monthly growth in sales. The Guidelight does away with the plug-in nightlight with three built-in LED lights at the bottom of the plate, to illuminate floors and counter tops.

The USB charger is 1 amp and is set to begin shipping in August. Neither product is in the big box stores. SnapPower products, which come in white, light almonds and ivory, can be purchased on the website.

The Guidelight plate is $15, however, packs of three, five or 10 can be purchased. Pledging for the USB charger on Kickstarter started at $20 but is now up to $30.

Watkins was selling insurance when he joined forces with a friend, Jeremy Smith, an electrician who had been building prototypes of the light-up outlet plate in his garage.

“He was on the job installing outlets and it sort of hit him that there had to be an easier way,” Watkins said of Smith. “He bought a cover plate at Home Depot 14 years ago but the technology was not quite small enough then to fit the cover plate.”

Smith brought the idea to Watkins and the company was born. Smith is the chief engineer while Watkins does the marketing and set up manufacturing in China.

Smith has a classic inventor’s beginnings. He was the little kid with the impulse to pull stuff apart, tinkering in his garage on lawnmower engines and pretty much anything he could take a screwdriver to. His grade school teachers couldn’t get him to complete classroom tasks, so his principal made a deal with him. For every assignment he completed, he could have 30 minutes in a special part of the school’s library called “inventor’s corner.”

The carrot worked.