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How To Video
Install a USB wall socketSharon Vaknin shows you how to install an outlet that includes two USB ports for charging your mobile devices.
Cellphones, MP3 players, tablets; they're all powered by USB cords. You either plug them into your computer or into an AC adapter and into your wall. But what if you could skip all of that and plug your USB cord directly into your wall socket? I'm Sharon Vaknin for CNET with a tutorial on replacing your 20th century wall receptacle with a wall socket that includes two USB ports. To get this done, you'll need the U-socket. You can buy it online at places like Amazon for about 30 bucks. You'll also need a screwdriver and about 20 to 30 minutes of your time. Now, once we've decided where to install the U-socket, make sure the power of the receptacle is turned off. The process for doing this will vary depending on your house but usually it involves flipping the switch. Now we've turned off the powers of these AC receptacle. But to make sure it's definitely off, you can either use one of those voltage testers or just plug in a lamp you know works for sure and if it doesn't turn on, you're good to go. To get started, remove the safe plate. Then unscrew the mounting bracket and pull it out so that its insides are exposed. Before we disconnect anything, let's take a look at how the wires are connected. In a normal unit, 3 wires will be connected to the receptacle. The black or red wire is the hot or live wire which carries the electrical current. Then there's the white or silver neutral wire and the green ground wire. Without anatomy out of the way, we can start disconnecting wires. Grab your screwdriver and unscrew the terminal screws so that they're loose enough to let the wires loose. Do this for all three wires. Now, grab the U-socket and connect the wires to their respective terminals. I've already done the green and the white and finally, let's tighten up the red screw. Once the wires are set with the unit back in the wall, tighten the screws on the mount. On the top and the bottom. Now's the time to turn the power back on. And the first thing to check is this indicator light. If its glowing red, that means your live and neutral wires are switched so you need to turn the power back off and switch those wires. Since ours isn't on, I'm gonna put the safe plate back on and secure it with a screw in the middle here. Now that we're all set, let's take it for a spin. I'll plug in my phone and it's charging here with plenty of room for my other gadgets and appliances. Its added convenience, the U-socket is also energy efficient so you might save some money in the long run. If you have any questions or want to show me a picture of your installation, send me a photo on Twitter and say hello to me on Facebook. For CNET.com, I'm Sharon Vaknin