Author Topic: Zeus 270W USB-C charger - safety  (Read 3855 times)

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Offline CosteCTopic starter

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Zeus 270W USB-C charger - safety
« on: September 10, 2023, 09:10:13 am »
Hello Guys

For me this charger is great achievement on practical GaN technology use and great fail due to safety. Main adaptor is snap locked in charger body and there is no issue with leaving adapter in main socket exposing live pins...

Photos taken from https://the-gadgeteer.com/2023/01/06/chargeasap-zeus-270w-gan-usb-c-charger-review-worlds-first-and-smallest-270w-gan-usb-c-charger/ where more data can be found..

Or maybe I am overreacting and Australian company designed it well enough?
 

Offline Someone

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Re: Zeus 270W USB-C charger - safety
« Reply #1 on: September 10, 2023, 09:56:29 am »
A convenient excuse to halt production and run away with the money.
 

Online Kean

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Re: Zeus 270W USB-C charger - safety
« Reply #2 on: September 10, 2023, 10:06:00 am »
Direct link to Kickstarter https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/asaptechnologies/zeus-charger

Yeah, that is a troubling design.  Surely that should not have made it through safety certification (if any was done).

A number of backers are reporting faulty/damaged units in the comments, including several UK users who have had the UK plug break.  Some just the earth pin snapping off, but others in more dangerous ways.

They describe themselves as a Sydney based startup, but the Kickstarter says "Los Angeles, CA".  They do have an Aussie accent in some of their videos.  There is an ASAP TECHNOLOGIES PTY LTD registered in Australia, but it is not in Sydney (closer to Canberra), and also only registered in June 2021.  These guys have KS campaigns going back to 2019.

I recall some of the other campaigns by these guys (especially the magnetic cables), and it looked like just reselling existing product sourced out of China, and sold at a high margin.

That is not to say Australian companies don't do crappy or unsafe designs, but we have pretty good regulators who force recalls on dangerous consumer goods.  They obviously can't stop people who import unsafe devices themselves for private use, but they can when there is a local company importing and/or selling them which is the more common occurrence.  I saw a recall for a battery charger brick just yesterday that hadn't been tested to Australian standards.  No indication of actual failures or fires, just that they had not been approved.
 

Online BrokenYugo

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Re: Zeus 270W USB-C charger - safety
« Reply #3 on: September 10, 2023, 01:52:48 pm »
Questionable external construction (free assorted shock hazards!) tends to suggest questionable internal construction. I'd want to see one actually smashed open, let's see the transformer construction.
 

Offline CosteCTopic starter

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Re: Zeus 270W USB-C charger - safety
« Reply #4 on: September 10, 2023, 06:59:29 pm »
I played with unit for a while only, so I can't say anything bad about charging operation itself - it works, displayed numbers seems sensible too. Mechanical construction is not tragic, except mains plug adapters - this smells cheapest mechanical designer.
I wonder does it pass EMC emission testing. GaN power supplies have so much potential for conducted and radiated emission. Especially 270 W unit!
Also with no supplied USB cables it shall work with any cable and practically any load.
 

Offline SiliconWizard

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Re: Zeus 270W USB-C charger - safety
« Reply #5 on: September 10, 2023, 10:56:13 pm »
The max power spec'ed for USB-C PD (2.1 revision) being 240W, the advertised 270W value is a joke.
And it can even be doubted that this charger is really 2.1 compliant anyway.
So, that's safety concerns aside, of course.
 

Offline Someone

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Re: Zeus 270W USB-C charger - safety
« Reply #6 on: September 10, 2023, 11:33:39 pm »
The max power spec'ed for USB-C PD (2.1 revision) being 240W, the advertised 270W value is a joke.
Marketing for chargers has moved to the (peak?) aggregate power rather than the power on any single port.
 

Online Veteran68

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Re: Zeus 270W USB-C charger - safety
« Reply #7 on: September 10, 2023, 11:53:53 pm »
The max power spec'ed for USB-C PD (2.1 revision) being 240W, the advertised 270W value is a joke.
And it can even be doubted that this charger is really 2.1 compliant anyway.
So, that's safety concerns aside, of course.

As with most multi-port chargers, the 270W spec is across all ports, not a single PD port. The Zeus is spec'ed at 140W for one USB-C port and 100W for the others.



I own several ChargeASAP products including the Zeus, their previous 200W Omega GaN charger, the Flash 2.0 210W powerbank, 70W car charger, and several magnetic cables. Their stuff is very well built overall and I've been quite pleased with all of them.

I don't even use the outlet adapters. For both the Zeus and Omega I have the C7 power cord adapter and use that instead. The chargers then typically sit on the desk/table/floor near where I plug in the devices. I don't like any big bulky charger hanging directly off a wall outlet and powerstrips aren't always available. The C7 cord alleviates that concern.

 
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Offline CosteCTopic starter

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Re: Zeus 270W USB-C charger - safety
« Reply #8 on: September 11, 2023, 06:43:10 am »
I don't even use the outlet adapters. For both the Zeus and Omega I have the C7 power cord adapter and use that instead. The chargers then typically sit on the desk/table/floor near where I plug in the devices. I don't like any big bulky charger hanging directly off a wall outlet and powerstrips aren't always available. The C7 cord alleviates that concern.
I got C7/C8 version in my hands. When you try to unplug mains cable whole adaptor will come out, unless you hold it, there is not a lot of space to hold it, so you end up with live contacts at end of wire. Horrible design in my humble opinion.
 
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Online Kean

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Re: Zeus 270W USB-C charger - safety
« Reply #9 on: September 11, 2023, 06:59:22 am »
There is a big difference between the wimpy US main voltage that @Veteran68 uses, and (most of) the rest of the world with real mains voltages that you need to worry about!  >:D

I don't have this brand, but I have several other small USB C multi-port GaN chargers (Chargic, Heymix), and I too prefer to use them with via an IEC C7 cable.
The C7 cable provides extra length from the mains socket without losses on the LV side, and less likely to fall or be knocked out of the socket.
None of them have this unsafe adapter design.  They all are based around the same concept of sliding over the pins of a folding US plug.
 

Offline 5U4GB

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Re: Zeus 270W USB-C charger - safety
« Reply #10 on: September 11, 2023, 12:00:02 pm »
They describe themselves as a Sydney based startup, but the Kickstarter says "Los Angeles, CA".  They do have an Aussie accent in some of their videos.  There is an ASAP TECHNOLOGIES PTY LTD registered in Australia, but it is not in Sydney (closer to Canberra), and also only registered in June 2021.  These guys have KS campaigns going back to 2019.

I recall some of the other campaigns by these guys (especially the magnetic cables), and it looked like just reselling existing product sourced out of China, and sold at a high margin.

Looks awfully similar to this one: https://www.aliexpress.com/item/1005005268457215.html

And this one: https://www.aliexpress.com/item/1005005638317664.html

There are several more there as well, only real difference is they have different logos on them and the Aliexpress versions are rated at 300W not 270W.
 
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Offline Haenk

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Re: Zeus 270W USB-C charger - safety
« Reply #11 on: September 11, 2023, 02:04:21 pm »
The max power spec'ed for USB-C PD (2.1 revision) being 240W, the advertised 270W value is a joke.
And it can even be doubted that this charger is really 2.1 compliant anyway.
So, that's safety concerns aside, of course.

Reminds me of that nice "PMPO" rating of HiFi systems. What I would assume as a value at which the item will fail, even at the best circumstances.
Honestly, I don't trust those random brands with obviously no safety checks at all. Why would one risk his device, life or house? Better go and buy something, maybe less powerful - on the paper - from a known brand, at least to make sure it has been safety checked.
 

Offline electr_peter

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Re: Zeus 270W USB-C charger - safety
« Reply #12 on: September 11, 2023, 07:33:48 pm »
At first glance I thought that those metal pins on the side are springs to hold adapter in place while hidden contacts deliver mains. From OP comments, it seems that side pins are conducting mains. The only saving grace would be if pins only make contact when compressed (which should be difficult to do with fingers). Otherwise it is bonkers :scared:
« Last Edit: September 11, 2023, 07:59:57 pm by electr_peter »
 

Offline thm_w

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Re: Zeus 270W USB-C charger - safety
« Reply #13 on: September 11, 2023, 08:50:26 pm »
At first glance I thought that those metal pins on the side are springs to hold adapter in place while hidden contacts deliver mains. From OP comments, it seems that side pins are conducting mains. The only saving grace would be if pins only make contact when compressed (which should be difficult to do with fingers). Otherwise it is bonkers :scared:

You can see a better photo in OPs link, its clearly used to pass the mains voltage. Although it could be mechanical as well, to allow the pin to rotate.
This would actually be OK design if the manufacturer glued it in place before shipping it to you. But giving it to you like this... yeah.

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Offline CosteCTopic starter

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Re: Zeus 270W USB-C charger - safety
« Reply #14 on: September 12, 2023, 01:47:49 pm »
You can see a better photo in OPs link, its clearly used to pass the mains voltage. Although it could be mechanical as well, to allow the pin to rotate.
Chinese versions have square pin, same danger of electrocution but does not rotate.
 
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