Tag Archives: tablet charging

Protect your digital devices from vandalism and theft

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Last year, over winter break, vandals broke into a North Carolina elementary school and attempted to steal digital devices from the instructional technology lab. They took a hammer to the top of the cart, the YES36 Charging Cart for Mini-laptops, because the cart’s doors were securely padlocked. Unfortunately, this event is played out in similar educational institutes around the country. Device security was never a more important topic on IT agendas.

Happily, in the case of this school, the vandals were thwarted. This is one example of why choosing a  cart with a tough exterior finish and the sturdy overall construction should be a line item on the “must have” list for a charging system roll out at your school. The top of the cart was damaged (see below) and showed multiple marks, but the school was able to replace just the top to get the cart back to pristine condition and back in operation.

Law enforcement officials warn that break-ins are common, especially during holiday vacations, and that there’s only so much that a school can do to avoid theft and vandalism. Security measures, such as spiked iron fences, iron-shuttered windows, and motion sensors, may stop young pranksters but not professional operators, who have ways of counteracting those safeguards.

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So what can a school do to protect its investment in digital technology? First of all, make sure to choose the right solution for your environment, whether it is a wall mount, desktop or cart charging system. In addition, the unit must be tough enough to withstand common educational rigors, such as rough handling by unruly students.

Finally, consider these security features when comparing charging systems:

  • Is a standard locking feature enough, or does it need more (keyed door plus padlock, etc.)?
  • Does it need additional security brackets that will lock the locking system to the floor or wall?
  • Can the unit be rolled into another secured area at night, such as a locking closet?

At Ergotron, we’re always looking for new ways to keep your tablets, laptops, and handheld devices safe, charged, and ready for use. That way, as educators, you have peace of mind, knowing your edtech investments are well-secured, and so you can focus on what you do best – teach.

 

One Cart To Rule Them All? We Think So

Ergotron Zip40 Carts and Zip12 Desktop Cabinet

Meet our newest charging systems family! Ergotron’s Zip40 Charging Cart, Zip40 Charging and Management Cart, and Zip12 Charging Desktop Cabinet all share a universal desire to keep your tablet, Chromebook™, Ultrabook™, MacBook® and laptop devices−individually or in any combination−secure, protected and charged.

Adjustable dividers gives you flexibility in which devices you charge together. You can move or remove dividers as needed to create your own custom-size spaces:

  • For Carts: 40-unit capacity with 1.1ʺ-wide (28 mm) slots and partial shelf for extra storage—ideal for tablets, Chromebooks and Ultrabooks; 30-unit capacity with 1.4ʺ-wide (35 mm) slots—great for full-size laptops or other devices with large cases
  • For Desktop: 12-unit capacity with 1.1ʺ-wide (28 mm) slots and partial shelf for extra storage—ideal for tablets, Chromebooks and Ultrabooks; 8-unit capacity with 1.4ʺ-wide (35 mm) slots—great for full-size laptops or other devices with large cases of these needed

Central to both carts is Ergotron’s reliable and patented PowerShuttle® power management system which charges up to 30% faster than a standard round-robin charging system so devices are ready you need them, and the system never waste time charging empty slots.

From the classroom to your backroom retail management of devices, this cart has something for everyone. But hey, that’s us. Take a look for yourself!


To choose the right charging system for you visit Charging.ergotron.com.

2.1, 2.4, Lightning, 4, Air, Mini…what does it all mean?

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It means that a square is a rectangle, but a rectangle is not necessarily a square.

First, let me point out we are talking about charging speeds, and in particular, charging Apple products. The question comes up often when reviewing charging systems for a fleet of iPads, “What is the best charging speed for my solution?”

Here are the charging speeds of the various iPad generations at the two amperage rates that today’s iPad charging carts and wall stations support:

iPad Model (connection type) 2.1A 2.4A
iPad 4 (Lightning) 7.0 hrs 5.0 hrs
iPad Air (Lightning) 6.0 hrs 4.0 hrs
iPad Mini (Lightning) 5.5 hrs 3.25 hrs.

If you want to take full advantage of the 2.4A charging speeds of iPad 4, iPad Air or iPad Mini, then go with a charging cart or wall mount that is MFi (Made for iPad) and able to charge at that full rate.

DM10-1001-rem-ipad_smIf the nominal difference in charge times is not as pressing as budget limitations, or if you are using a mixture of older and newer Apple devices, then consider a charging cart or wall station that charges at the 2.1A rate.  The charging time difference could be a moot point based on your usage model and charging patterns.  For instance, are the iPads going to charge overnight anyway?

Ergotron offers both 2.4A and 2.1A iPad charging systems:

  • Ergotron’s MFi (Made for iPad) 2.4A charging carts and wall stations come pre-cabled for Lightning devices, but are also backwards compatible to swap in 30-pin cables for charging older-generation iPads. Lightning-cabled devices will charge at the full 2.4A rate, while iPads connected via a 30-pin cable will still charge at their 2.1A rate.
  • Ergotron also has 2.1A versions of its charging carts and wall stations as well. Whether using 30-pin or Lightning cables, and whether using iPad 2, iPad Air or iPad Mini, all Apple devices connected will charge at the 2.1A rate. This is an economical way to go for mix-and-match iPad generations, and if the devices will be charging all night any way.

One final note, it is also very important to make sure that the charging cart or wall station that you choose is fully safety-certified.  If not, your devices, students and staff are at risk. For more information about this, we’ve put together a brief white paper for you to share with your IT group or other stakeholders in the decision process.

Bob Hill, Global Education Manager @ Ergotron

Bob Hill

Choosing the right device charging station…a few considerations

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More than 90 percent of Americans own a cellphone, 32 percent own an e-reader and 42 percent own a tablet computer. Schools are facing a burgeoning amount of tablet usage in their classrooms, whether that be BYOD, 1:1 or 1: to many. And it is falling on IT/Media to figure out how to best charge, sync, store and secure this investment.

There are a lot of questions to answer, and creating side-by-side comparisons of solutions will help. Use this information to help prioritize your needs so that when you start evaluating solutions, you know where to draw the line. Whether to leverage assets or to meet space challenges, here are a few things to consider:

1.  Choose mobility for larger quantities of devices

With wide casters for easy moving across multiple surfaces, and storage to house multiple devices at a time, a charging cart is your best bet. Plus, it can easily be rolled into a closet to be locked up for the night. Here are some questions to think through cart options:

  • Will the devices be used exclusively in one class or will they be shared across the building?
  • Will they be stored by the teacher in the classroom or should they be housed in the Media Center or IT manager’s office?
  • Is it important to be able to visually check whether a device is plugged in properly and charging?
  • Is it secure? Will the locking mechanisms deter theft?


2.  
Choose fixed or desktop options for small quantities 

If you need to only manage a small number of devices, look for charging stations that can either be mounted on the wall or will sit on a desk or countertop. Take into consideration the following:

  • Does it offer a low profile to help avoid interfering with flow of students or staff around the room?
  • Consider the size of charging slots if the devices have cases; not all charging systems are created equal
  • Can the unit scale if class or device requirements grow?
  • Is security an issue? Do you need to lock up the device or is it safe to leave them in an open environment?
  • Ease of access to device is important, look for units that make device insertion and retrieval a snap

3.  Also important, choose safety!

Whether rolling out 20 devices or 1000, don’t forget the electrical requirements. Look for products that are UL labeled for the whole unit, not just the components. Charging station that have been designed to be a safe product requires redundant safety features, special abuse tests; both component and full system level certifications to all government standards is ideal when used in public places such as schools. Whether adults are the only ones interacting with the unit, or if students engage with it too, look for products that are rugged and suit the environment where they are being placed. Learn more about safe product design.

IMAG0455It’s fascinating to watch where the future of classroom technology is going. 360° classrooms, sit-stand learning environments, no barriers cyber-education…each new adoption faces its challenges. Being prepared means doing your homework ahead of making a purchasing decision. When you do integrate that new solution and it’s a winner for staff and students give yourself a gold star or take an Instagram selfie—some IT geekery is allowed!

Or you can do what most people do, visit Charging.ergotron.com to see side-by-side comparisons of our device charging carts, wall mounts, and desktop units. We have a very broad selection all in one place for you to review.

And of course, I’d be happy to answer any of your questions.

By Sheila Veschusio, Ergotron Education Industry Manager

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[1] Pew Internet Mobile Technology Fact Sheet- http://www.pewinternet.org/fact-sheets/mobile-technology-fact-sheet/

 

Manage your devices—like a tablet tango

Ergotron Tablet Management Station 16That’s how you’ll be handling your devices with the Tablet Management Station 16. Just line ‘em up and watch this tablet-mastermind go to work with rhythm and pizzazz.

This coordinated piece of hardware gets along with nearly every tablet on the dance floor, using wired USB connections—whether it’s an Apple iPad, iPhone or iPod, a Samsung Galaxy Tab 2, an Amazon Kindle, or an e-reader.

Similar to a dance instructor, the Tablet Management Station 16 can also choreograph up to 16 devices to a digitally synced-up and charged-up formation. No, they don’t actually dance, but you’ll be tempted to tango with all the time you’ve saved, thanks to your new friend. Aren’t you happy we introduced you two?

DM16-1003-inuse2Both compact and versatile, the Tablet Management Station 16 is affordably priced (MSRP US$599) and easy-to-use right out of the box. The sleek space-saving tower sets up easily on a table, a counter top  or a desk.

Simply store it out of the way when the job is done. The Tablet Management Station 16 won’t leave you guessing as its Individual Status Indicator (ISI) LEDs shines an amber light while charging…and gives you the green light when it’s go time. 

 

DM16-1003-usbQuality Traits:

  • Charge and Sync up to 16 devices at one time
  • Entire system fully certified to UL 60950-1 standard
  • Universal compatibility for Apple and Android devices, such as iPad, Samsung Galaxy Tab 2, Google Nexus and Amazon Kindle
  • Full 2.1A charging capability provided to all 16 ports simultaneously
  • Station automatically adjusts to provide the correct amount of power required by the tablet
  • Master laptop connects to station using included USB A to B cable 

This product might not get you ready for a stint on Dancing with the Stars, but as a partner in ready-to-use tablets and devices for critical business initiatives? It takes top billing.

Introducing: The Tablet Management Wall Mount 10

Suncs, charges and stores 10 iPad devices

Syncs, charges and stores up to 10 iPad devices

Tablets be managed.

Sounds like something out of Hogwarts, right? Add a little wand action and that fleet of iPad devices start syncing and charging on command. For the rest of us outside of the magical world, there’s the new Tablet Management Wall Mount 10.

This space-saving measure, perfect for classrooms, restaurants, hospitals and more, takes multiple devices off the desk and counter tops into a low profile, secure wall mount for easy access when needed.

Available with 30 pin USB cables or Lightning cables preinstalled, the unit will sync, charge and store up to 10 devices, including the iPad mini, iPad (4th gen), iPod Touch (5th gen) and iPhone 5.

Devices present once doors open

Devices extend once doors open for easy storage and removal

Features you’ll appreciate:

  • Easy presentation of tablet when door opens with Ergotron’s patent-pending Show & Stow™ technology
  • Durable steel lock doors with six-point lock and key assembly
  • Accommodates most iPad cases, including the popular Otterbox Defender™ and Griffin Survivor™
  • Full 2.1A charging capability
  • Tested and certified to UL 60950-1 standard

Available through global resellers: 30 pin USB cables in July; Lightning cables in August.

Safe Product Design: Products that contain AC power may be dangerous!

  • What percentage of user injuries can be caused by my product?
  • How many fires are acceptable in a hospital or school?
  • Is it acceptable to allow user injuries if they don’t read the manual?

These are questions faced by companies designing electrical products for public use. The answer leads to vastly different actions by their engineering teams. They have to decide whether the goal is 0.01% or 0. And the actions one takes to achieve 0 are far more extensive than it is if a low rate of injury is allowable.

Designing a truly safe product requires redundant safety features, special abuse tests, both component and full system level certifications to all government standards. Products that contain AC power or have the potential to cause physical injury or death. When used in public places such as hospitals and schools, they have the potential to be exposed to non-technical and non-experienced users. A higher level of safety therefore applies, and OSHA has extensive requirements defined for almost any such product. 

However, you would also be surprised at how frequently companies get away with unsafe design practices and simply don’t bother to meet the regulatory standards defined by OSHA.  In our business, we have several competitors offering computer carts with battery power systems that are not certified to the OSHA-required standard of UL-60601-1. You should be aware that cost and schedule conscious suppliers may feel pressure to deliver products without the legally required certifications since it may cost tens of thousands of dollars and add months to the development schedule.

Skipping certification means skipping crucial fire safety, electrical safety, EMI and mechanical safety testing. We have tested many competitor products and have seen inadequate ground paths (which could cause shocks), lack of flame retarded plastics around high power components (fire hazard), small gauge wire with inadequate strain relief (fire and shock hazard), improper thermal systems (fire hazard), pinch points, and many other serious problems in products publicly available for sales into hospitals.  All these safety issues are possible even if the product is constructed of UL-approved components.

To be a good consumer and ensure the highest safety standards of the products you adopt, please be aware of the following misleading marketing statements. The only thing you know for sure if you see these statements, is that the product is NOT certified to the proper standard.

  • Tested to UL Standards
  • Designed to UL Standards
  • Constructed of UL Components

These statements may indicate that the system has been tested and failed, the system was not completely tested, or the system was not tested at all! These are not satisfactory answers and should be explored further to determine if full UL certification truly exists.

There is a simple way to tell if a product meets certification requirements–it will have a UL or other regulatory sticker on the outside of the product.

Certification Label

“UL Listed” or “UL Certified” verbiage in sales and marketing literature means a UL sticker and certificate have been earned (like the one shown here). These products have met the OSHA requirements. You can feel confident you and all that come in contact with the system will have the safest possible experience.

If you are responsible for purchasing electrical products for public use, you need to put pressure on manufacturers of non-certified products. These products are not safe for you to purchase and expose to your employees. 

Safe products are your right, and your responsibility, whether you are a designer, manufacturer, or purchaser.

Pete Segar
President, Ergotron, Inc.