Why is new stock, such as the GN class 717, not fitted with 2 power sockets per 2 seats?

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jon0844

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Re the plugs - I.e. 13A ones - anyone who has done any wiring knows that 'doubles' cost little more than 'singles' - why then did they fit singles between double seats?
Just to promote a first come first served mentality and all the.leads to?
At some point they should replace the single 13A mains socket with multiple USB-A or USB-C (ideally the latter as USB-PD is gaining popularity every month) ports. If they can support USB-PD up to 60 or 100W then you're basically going to be quickly charging any phone, tablet, laptop, game console (Switch or whatever replaces it) etc.

There would then be little to no need for a mains socket, especially as most mains adapters that people are plugging in are just outputting via a USB-A/C port of their own.

To be fair to the DfT, the trains were specified a long time ago. The time to do this will be their first refresh and when the industry has stopped with so many proprietary fast charging systems and adopted just one.
 

jon0844

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And then replace them again in 10 years with USB-D and again 10 years after that?
What's USB-D going to do that USB-C won't with incremental updates? And who is working on the standard?

The USB port we use today was introduced in 1995. USB-C meets a demand for smaller and thinner devices but is inherently the same, besides the faster charging capability.
 
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Mcq

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I like USB charging but most laptops can't be charged that way. 13A sockets plus adaptors are here to stay - of course double 13A sockets with double USB charging sockets are easily available too.
USB A is more rugged than the smaller sockets in this environment - that matters big time. USB A > USB C adaptors are small and owned by most.
 

jellybaby

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What's USB-D going to do that USB-C won't with incremental updates? And who is working on the standard?
The USB Implementers Forum have announced USB 4 recently. That is faster data over USB C so not relevant for this but I wouldn't be surprised if there wasn't a new USB connector in the next 10 years. The rate of change of technology tends to speed up rather than slow down.

I like USB charging but most laptops can't be charged that way.
That too. We have three laptops in my household, only one is USB charged.
 

jon0844

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The USB Implementers Forum have announced USB 4 recently. That is faster data over USB C so not relevant for this but I wouldn't be surprised if there wasn't a new USB connector in the next 10 years. The rate of change of technology tends to speed up rather than slow down.
I can't see why they need a different connector if USB-C can cope with faster data transfer speeds and faster charging speeds.

That too. We have three laptops in my household, only one is USB charged.
Your next laptop will be USB-C I bet. Why carry a bulky transformer if USB-C can deliver 100W?

Or to put it another way, would the railway need to provide power solutions for the few requiring such power on a train journey 5 or 10 years from now?

I carry a mains PSU as well as a power bank, but would gladly leave the adapter at home if the train had its own.
 

jellybaby

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I can't see why they need a different connector if USB-C can cope with faster data transfer speeds and faster charging speeds.
There will be an even faster standard along in a few years, eventually outstripping USB C.

USB A was upgraded to faster speeds with the addition of an extra row of pins to preserve backwards compatibility for longer but eventually they switched. I expect the same to happen with USB C.

Your next laptop will be USB-C I bet.
Maybe, maybe not. Dell still have lots of laptops listed that don't charge from USB.
 

jon0844

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Naughty Dell. I expect most customers now want the benefits of one lead to charge (and connect for data) everything. Far, far easier.

I still have a laptop that hasn't got USB-C charging and I'm glad it has good battery as I don't carry the power brick with it. My other laptops and now pretty much everything I own or review is USB-C.

The issue now isn't the connector it is the different standards, but USB Power Delivery should win. Google is pressing for it on any and very Android device and if Apple adopts it on everything, we have a winner.

At this point, I'd say it is time for a mod to split this off from the 717 thread as it has gone beyond just one unit type.
 

Mikey C

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Are people realistically going to be charging anything other than phones (or a tablet) on a 717 anyway?

The interior is hardly set up for laptop use, with its lack of tables and narrow seats
 

hwl

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Naughty Dell. I expect most customers now want the benefits of one lead to charge (and connect for data) everything. Far, far easier.

I still have a laptop that hasn't got USB-C charging and I'm glad it has good battery as I don't carry the power brick with it. My other laptops and now pretty much everything I own or review is USB-C.

The issue now isn't the connector it is the different standards, but USB Power Delivery should win. Google is pressing for it on any and very Android device and if Apple adopts it on everything, we have a winner.

At this point, I'd say it is time for a mod to split this off from the 717 thread as it has gone beyond just one unit type.
My work Dell laptop needs sometimes needs more power (130W) than can be supplied by USB-C (max 100W) which is also why many Dell's aren't USB-C chargeable.
decent processor, graphic card and screen = too much power for USB-C
 

hwl

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Are people realistically going to be charging anything other than phones (or a tablet) on a 717 anyway?
How would I pretend to iron a shirt on a particular kind of seat 6.5 years ago for an April fools spoof?
 

jon0844

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My work Dell laptop needs sometimes needs more power (130W) than can be supplied by USB-C (max 100W) which is also why many Dell's aren't USB-C chargeable.
decent processor, graphic card and screen = too much power for USB-C
It must be usable on battery power though (and future laptops will be more power efficient), so you don't need to supply 130W to power it. It just charges slower. My portable PSU with Power Delivery is 40W but my laptop takes 60 or 70W (I forget). It still charges faster than the battery drains, and the battery is good for 12 hours (NOT CPU/GPU intensive work) so truth be told, I rarely need to charge it and do so more to satisfy my battery anxiety issues.

I am not saying we get rid of 230V power sockets everywhere, just that we only need to power portable devices on a train. USB-C delivers this, while even USB-A outputting at 5V/2A is sufficient for an awful lot of devices.

I won't make up a percentage, but would bet the vast majority of people only want to top up the battery on their mobile. After that comes people powering a laptop to work on the train, even though - like me - most modern laptops are good for a full day of usage anyway.

Some SWR trains now have wireless charging pads. While Huawei has now got 27W wireless charging on its latest devices, even the more moderate 5-15W charging speeds are ample for people and the convenience then comes from just placing the phone on a table. (Except of course 717s don't have any!).
 

Mcq

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To get somewhere near back on track and my original point :), 13A sockets should be doubles I.e. one each.
 

hwl

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To get somewhere near back on track and my original point :), 13A sockets should be doubles I.e. one each.
They are also far more durable than USB.
The problems with doubles is that the theoretical power draw is bigger so more cable weight and a bigger (/more) inverter(s). I suspect sticking to single sockets with restricted current draw will mean 2.5mm csa cable can be used which is much more flexible and far easier to wire up than 2x 4.0 the back of a socket.
 

jon0844

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They are also far more durable than USB.
The problems with doubles is that the theoretical power draw is bigger so more cable weight and a bigger (/more) inverter(s). I suspect sticking to single sockets with restricted current draw will mean 2.5mm csa cable can be used which is much more flexible and far easier to wire up than 2x 4.0 the back of a socket.
700s have two sockets next to each other, so it's possible it was just a cost saving method.

I wonder how many people fight for the socket? I am sure fewer people want to use them on a 717 compared to a 700.

I do agree that one per seat would have been better, but possibly overkill given I am sure each socket isn't dirt cheap and that's an awful lot of sockets! Contrast with how many are on some of the new LO trains, which are rationed out and placed in positions where chargers aren't likely to trip anyone up.

As for USB durability, isn't the design such that the male connector is designed to break rather than the female?
 

aleggatta

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They are also far more durable than USB.
I suspect sticking to single sockets with restricted current draw will mean 2.5mm csa cable can be used which is much more flexible and far easier to wire up than 2x 4.0 the back of a socket.
With regards to cable size - The cable size is determined by the breaker protecting it, so you can (effectively) have as many sockets on a circuit as you like. Also, train wiring is fine stranded singles, so by nature they are physically smaller than their solid conductor friends but still offering the same cross sectional area. From memory 387s only had a 20A breaker for half the coach, that's 4.6Kw of potential, and we are talking about 130w per charger, not 3Kw electric heaters. It seems to me it's just a cost cutting measure not to put two sockets in place of one.
 

hwl

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With regards to cable size - The cable size is determined by the breaker protecting it, so you can (effectively) have as many sockets on a circuit as you like. Also, train wiring is fine stranded singles, so by nature they are physically smaller than their solid conductor friends but still offering the same cross sectional area. From memory 387s only had a 20A breaker for half the coach, that's 4.6Kw of potential, and we are talking about 130w per charger, not 3Kw electric heaters. It seems to me it's just a cost cutting measure not to put two sockets in place of one.
The current limit for 2.5mm csa is around 23-24A hence the choice of 20A breaker. Also you don't what unnecessary tripping so you don't want to many sockets per circuit in case to many actually get used.
If you go for double everything has to be upsized.
 

hwl

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As for USB durability, isn't the design such that the male connector is designed to break rather than the female?
Theoretically but the female side of things aren't that much better as it has large male element to it. The A socket design life is only 1500 cycles and the amount of general crud on a train isn't going to help that.
 

jon0844

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Theoretically but the female side of things aren't that much better as it has large male element to it. The A socket design life is only 1500 cycles and the amount of general crud on a train isn't going to help that.
I still think the best solution is both for today and in the future a USB solution. Buses have USB only and seem easily replaceable if needed.
 

plugwash

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I would think that laptop capable USB C charging would cost quite a bit more to fit than the combination of a USB A for phones with a BS1363 for laptops. With the way USB C works, every port needs a separate voltage regulator that can switch to the voltage required by a particular device.
 

Class83

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Although newer phones are USB-C, the charger cables provided are generally USB-A to USB-C, so the train would need to have USB-A. Maybe 1 type G A/C outlet and 2 USB-A per pair of seats is a good mix?
 

jon0844

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Although newer phones are USB-C, the charger cables provided are generally USB-A to USB-C, so the train would need to have USB-A. Maybe 1 type G A/C outlet and 2 USB-A per pair of seats is a good mix?
At the moment yes. Many phones aren't supporting USB-PD (carried over USB-C only) and Google is working hard to change this in the future, and get rid of so many non-standard fast charging systems.

If Google can succeed (and there is word they'll not certify a device for use with Google Mobile Services if they don't) then it will massively speed up the standardisation. Apple also uses USB-PD, but arguably needs to change to USB-C on phones to complement its laptops.

USB-A isn't going away though, and many chargers now have both to support legacy devices. I can't see that changing for years. What I fear is transport operators will keep USB-A for a lot longer than they should/could, for cost reasons.
 

AM9

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It's no surprise that some TOCs aren't rushing to provide the latest 'must have' charging arrangements. As this thread demonstrates, as soon as some provision is made for those who don't/won't make their own provision for their various electronic devices, there's then a call for whatever has been provided to be multiplied, upgraded or just changed.
The problem is that personal electronic devices follow almost fashion-like trends and even their primary interfaces are subject to changes far more frequently than anything in the life-cycle of rail rolling stock. Given the 30-40 year life of trains, updates/refurbishments occur in 10/20 year cycles which can transcend the working life of devices, and as a result their interfaces. Indeed, the time between the specification and introduction of a new train type can even result in,the latest devices not being compatible with the on-train provision.
Fortunately, the industry does not waste that much effort trying to achieve the impossible of following every whim of device marketing, instead concentrating on the primary purpose of making trains suitable for carrying passengers. Trains are not destined to be mobile offices and games salons.
 

jon0844

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I would say that most people don't want to carry a mains adapter with them for any device they're using on a bus, train, plane or indeed their car (most cars now have USB ports and many have Qi wireless charging). Most hotels I now stay in have multiple USB sockets in rooms (but of course they have mains power sockets too).

As battery life improves, the need to charge will probably reduce, but I can't see why a train needs a 230V socket. Even homes are likely to one day have low voltage DC circuits for things like lighting, doing away with transformers for low power bulbs and so on.

This will only continue to advance over the next 10, 20, 30 or 40 years. I am sure USB in some guise or another, with backward compatibility, will suffice for generations.

USB is convenient. It's the way forward and unless people want to power TVs, microwave ovens, hairdryers and the like on the move, I really don't see the need for mains power at the seat.
 

jellybaby

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Most hotels I now stay in have multiple USB sockets in rooms (but of course they have mains power sockets too)
It's thread drift but if you are going to mention that then I've lost count of the number of hotel rooms I've stayed in that don't have power within reach of the bed. I want my mobile phone near me so I can use it as an alarm clock amongst other things, not on the other side of the room.

Even homes are likely to one day have low voltage DC circuits for things like lighting, doing away with transformers for low power bulbs and so on.
I don't think they are because the cost of fitting the cabling will be much higher.
 

Bletchleyite

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I don't think they are because the cost of fitting the cabling will be much higher.
Not really when you consider what it'd be used for. With LED lighting fed at 230VAC my lighting circuit runs at about 0.5A for the whole house if I recall rightly. Without lots of transformers this would run even lower, so if it had to be increased to run at say 12V it would still not be that high.

Edit: just under 10A at 12V if I worked out correctly, again for the entire lighting circuit. It might require stepping up one cable size, but the cost step up is not significant when considering the cost of building a house. And a nice safety gain, too, as it'd be impossible to get a belt off it.
 

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