AT&T ZERO Charger Kills Vampire Drain When Your Phone Is Unplugged

AT&T, as you may well know, is a U.S. cellphone operator. They provide cell service to millions of people, and they are the exclusive U.S. home of the iPhone. What AT&T is not, however, is a hardware company. Or maybe they are, judging by their most recent announcement. The company that sells wireless service to iPhone users across America has just announced a new cellphone charger, one that is supposed to waste much less energy than the chargers on the market already.

The AT&T ZERO charger will become available in company stores starting this May, and the unique thing about it is that it will stop utilizing energy (often called energy leaks or vampire power) whenever your phone is unplugged. It intelligently shuts itself down when it's not being used to power a device, and while you probably won't notice a great deal of savings on your power bill, these could really make a dent in energy waste if everyone were to use one. The AT&T ZERO charger works by automatically sensing when a mobile phone is not plugged up to the charger and cutting the power supply from the wall socket, and furthermore, the charger will be sold in packaging with 100% recycled paper.

There's no clear indication of which phones it will and won't work with, but if it'll handle USB, it'll charge most every smartphone introduced in past one or two years.

Via:  AT&T
Inspector 4 years ago

:) this is perfect for me as I keep my iPhone charger pluged in at all times! I didn't know that it still drains energy... Sad

Zestia 4 years ago

So if I understand this correctly, as long as my charger is plugged into the wall outlet even if my phone is not connected, I'm drawing energy and contributing to a higher electric bill, correct? If that's the case, I have a few chargers to unplug as soon as I get home tonight. Thanks HH for saving me money.

RyuGTX 4 years ago

[quote user="Zestia"]

So if I understand this correctly, as long as my charger is plugged into the wall outlet even if my phone is not connected, I'm drawing energy and contributing to a higher electric bill, correct? If that's the case, I have a few chargers to unplug as soon as I get home tonight. Thanks HH for saving me money.


Vampire power is not new. There are other names for it like standby power and phantom load. If you want to read more about it, here is a Wikipedia article.

A cellphone charger should be the least of your worries. There are a lot of other things that will draw way more power. A prime example of this are video game consoles. The Wikipedia article has a small list of electronic devices that drain energy. I saw a study a while back and tried to estimate the cost by each electronic device. Video game consoles and I think TVs were very high, if no the top.


Anyways, this is something really cool that AT&T came up with. I hope this can be adopted to something like an intelligent power strip that would know that the TV and video game consoles are not in use anymore. I'm too lazy to unplug and plug things back in all the time.


Zestia 4 years ago

Thanks RyuGTX - interesting read. Based on the studies quoted it appears that vampire power is responsible for 5% -10% of the average household power consumption. Not a huge amount for the individual household but certainly worth addressing when one is in penny-pinching mode.

Inspector 4 years ago

WOW, never thought some of these things drew power while its off, for one thin i never knew my tv draws power when its off xD It would be really annoying if i had to keep unplugging it every time i didn't or had to use it.

RyuGTX 4 years ago

Here is a little study that Yahoo did back in 2009. The figures are annual costs of vampire power.

kasel23 4 years ago

Good news, but seems like this is a step all charger selling companies should take...

animatortom 4 years ago

Alrigggght!!! Where are all the Twilight moms at ;)

I hope everyone realizes Vampires are not real! Does Santa drain your Christmas tree as well.

When I was doing computer repair and taking all manner of things apart, I have never seen a plug that allows any kind of jump in the power streams. Even if it is a minuit electrostatic jump it wouldn't be enough to warrant higher energy costs. Only cap n trade will do that! IF they are a high enough quality charger, the companies use materials that prevent any kind of arching, having them could in most cases damage the charger and possibly the devise itself.

On the other hand I have seen car chargers that are rather cheaply built that, with enough power run through them could arch and drain. Yet with most things that are made to plug into a 120v socket, they have been perfecting this protection since the industrial age. Remember that when the devise is plugged in it has to handle increased loading and that is exactly the time you do not what any spiking. When they are not connected , it has less power to deal with and is as dormant as your wall socket. My laptop had a power plug problem. It was wiggled loose, and that space between the positive and negative was shaken open, and that was when you say spiking and overheating when plugged in. To me this just seems like another way to jump on the green bandwagon and jack up a price and increase sales.

Consider this. If this vampire energy really real, don't you think there would be millions of people out there would have legitimate lawsuits against thousands of these companies pertaining to loss of money in regards to excessive electric bills?

Just like Ray Stanz says "Don't Cross The Streams"

RyuGTX 4 years ago

I don't do computer repair and I am not that savvy in electronics and how they work.

But what about my desktop for example. Even when I turn it off (shutdown in Windows), isn't there still a little bit of power draw? Hence the little LED light on my motherboard which I'm pretty sure that it is indicating that it is receiving power. There is also a little light on my laptop charger that stay on even when it is unplugged from my laptop. I would assume that it isn't just powering the LED.

Maybe it does exist but no one realizes it. It would be hard for me to tell unless I had a power draw meter stuck on every one of my electrical outlets. At least according to Yahoo, the loss could buy an iPod. So about a few hundred right? But that is after 1 year. The increase wouldn't be that high on the electric bill that comes every month. Most people might think about other things like leaving the lights on or watching more TV. Also, it isn't like it increases all the time. It seems stable for the most part. So after you buy that digital cable box with DVR for example, you will only notice it on the electric bill after you bought it. After that, the price should be relatively stable. Of course, this last paragraph is just a hypothetical thought from the hypothetical statement you posed.


Like I said in my first sentence, I am in no way knowledgeable about this. Just my thoughts that aren't based in any science or research. Vampire power just sounds plausible to me. Though it shouldn't be too hard to test as I believe simple power meters can be had for less than $50 (I see one on Amazon for around $35). One Amazon reviewer said this: "Cell phone charger: .86 cents a year, but when charging it costs me $1.73 a year."

acarzt 4 years ago

My guess is that this will come as an optional accessory and not actually ever come with a phone.. which makes you wonder... what's the point?

It's not going to be cost effective since the amount of power drawn from a normal charger will be much less than this will cost. And it is probably less environmentally friendly to get rid of the original charger and use the second charger. Were more envirionmental resources used in the creation of these chargers than how much will be saved in their use?

Inspector 4 years ago

Well im sure of you use this over a period of time you can get your moneys worth back considering how much this is first :)

Inspector 4 years ago

Ok spammer...


they are getting smart now! Posting links in to post that make it seem to fit :) (Just check all his post... they all have ads to that site)

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