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GaN power supplies and chargers, how they work and which to choose

GaN the acronym that identifies the gallium nitridesemiconductor used in electronic devices that finds space in various applications. It costs more than silicon but is highly reliable to the point of being particularly appreciated in the aerospace and military industries.

All electronic products dissipate energy that is converted into unusable (and potentially dangerous) heat. The GaN components are more efficient than the silicon ones, allow you to waste less energy, dissipate less heat and support a higher switching frequency during the conversion of the power supply.

GaNFast the name of the technology designed for integration in battery chargers for smartphones and notebooks and which allows to offer a higher charging speed compared to traditional devices. Using the aforementioned material it is possible to create powerful power supplies that at the same time take up less space.

Gallium nitride allows the creation of smaller and more efficient dedicated integrated circuits which have been used for many years in many fields ranging from the construction of solar panel power supplies to charging systems for electric cars but also in the IT field in accessories for charging computers , smartphones and tablets.

In combination with power supplies or chargers, GaN is particularly interesting because it allows you to reduce their size. Until a few years ago notebooks were bulky and heavy; today it is possible to obtain the same results with much smaller chargers and, thanks to GaN, to obtain recharging even in shorter times and with less heating problems.

Another positive element of this type of power supplies which, being more efficient, consume less energy, to the point that Martin Kuball, a physicist from the University of Bristol who studies the material, if he could exploit gallium nitride in the various electronic devices currently in use, global energy consumption would drop by between 10 and 25%.

GaN power supplies, what they are and which to choose

On the market there are GaN power supplies of brands such as Anker, Aukey, Mu, RAVPoweris Eggtronic (an Italian company). A 30W power supply much smaller than the 30W USB-C power supply that Apple offers with the 12 ? MacBook or the 13 ? MacBook Air with Retina display, already smaller than others, usable with some iPhone and iPad Pro models , and with iPhone 8 or later, to take advantage of their fast charging function. Below are three examples of GaN power supplies but on Amazon you will find an endless list of products, with prices starting from a few tens of euros to go up.

Anker Atom Power Port III

We have published a detailed review of this extremely versatile power supply-charger which we invite you to visit on this page. Below are two images that show directly in dimensional advantages.

Anker Atom PowerPort PD 1

This charger was also tried by Macitynet several months ago now. Read the review to verify that the description that makes it the manufacturer that classifies it as realistic "pocket". able to charge 50% of the battery capacity in just 30 minutes, explaining that "optimized to offer maximum charging speed to the entire range of USB-C and Apple mobiles, tablets, laptops and much more. The 30W USB-C Power Delivery output, PowerPort Atom surpasses any supplied charger typically offered with cellphones and tablets. At the time of writing on Amazon this accessory offered at 39.99 euros.

GaN power supplies, what they are and which to choose

Aukey PA-PD5

The PA-PD5 has also been reviewed by Macitynet. Thanks to "Dynamic Detect" able to offer 60W with charging (PD) Power Delivery (a fast charging protocol that makes use of great functionality and universality) when used a single port and 45W charging with Power Delivery when all are used and two doors. The model in question large 67mmx64mmx29mm; the weight of 148 g. It can be used with iPhone 8, MacBook Pro 13 "and other USB-C devices compatible with USB Power Delivery. Peculiarities of this product, as mentioned, the possibility of sharing the power supply while simultaneously charging a Usb-C phone and notebook (in this case up to 18W + 45W). At the time of writing this product is found on Amazon for 54.99 euros.

GaN power supplies, what they are and which to choose

Eggtronic Sirius 65W

The Eggtronic from Modena that we also visited at CES 2020 proposes Sirius 65, called "the smallest universal laptop adapter in the world". smaller and lighter than the Apple power supply. The USB-C PD output ensures compatibility with any USB and USB-C device and with a USB-C to Lightning cable or a USB-C to Micro USB adapter it is possible to recharge any Apple and micro USB device. The 65W output, therefore suitable for MacBook Pro with 13 ? Retina display.

The manufacturer guarantees compatibility with iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, iPhone XR, iPhone X, iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus but also Samsung Galaxy S10 / Galaxy S9 / Galaxy S9 / S9 Plus / S8 / S8 Plus / Note 9 / Note 8 / S7 edge / S7 / S6 Edge / S6 / Note 5 | Google Pixel 3 / Pixel 3XL. At this address the complete list of compatibility.

The accessory available in white or black color. The Italian company at CES in Las Vegas has reported that it is ready to market even a larger 118W model, with a 100W output for a laptop and an 18W output for fast charging of smartphones.

Eggtronic products are also available on Amazon from this link.

How to find the correct power supply for portable Macs

Power supplies for Mac notebooks are available in versions from 29 W, 30 W, 45 W, 60 W, 61 W, 85 W, 87 W and 96 W. It is important to use the power supply with the power suitable for your computer. You can use a compatible power supply with higher power, but the computer will not recharge faster or function differently. Using a power supply with less power than that supplied with the Mac, the computer will not have enough power. Mac notebooks that charge via USB-C have an Apple USB-C power supply with a detachable AC plug (or duck head) and a USB-C charging cable.

Attention to the USB-C cable

For optimal charging performance, Apple recommends using the USB-C charging cable that came with your Mac. If you use a higher power USB-C cable, your Mac will recharge normally, but not faster. The 29W or 30W USB-C cables work with any USB-C power supply, but do not provide enough power when connected to a power supply greater than 30W, such as the 61W USB-C power supply.

USBC cable for charging: to charge the MacBook Pro, just connect one end of the USBC cable for charging to any Thunderbolt 3 port on the MacBook Pro and the other end to the 61 W power supply (for MacBook Pro models from 13 '') or 87 W (for 15 '' MacBook Pro models).USBC cable for charging. To recharge the MacBook Pro, simply connect one end of the USBC cable for charging to any Thunderbolt 3 port on the MacBook Pro and the other end to the 61 W power supply (for 13 "MacBook Pro models) or to the 87 W (for 15 "MacBook Pro models).

You can verify that you are using the correct version of the Apple USB-C charging cable with your Mac and its USB-C power supply. The serial number of the cable printed on the external housing, next to the wording Designed by Apple in California. Assembled in China. If the first three characters of the serial number are C4M or FL4, the cable must be used with the Apple 29 W or 30 W USB-C power supply. If the first three characters of the serial number are DLC, CTC, FTL or G0J, the cable must be used with a USB-C power supply of any power.