XTAR VI01 USB Current/Voltage Detector Quick Review

Preface

After many packages from XTAR, I finally convinced them to drop one of these USB Detectors in.  I wasn’t actually asked to review it, but it’s interesting enough for me to share a few thoughts.


Official Specs and Features

MRSP

$8 (ish)

Package

The USB Detector arrives in a very simple package.  Just a easy-access plastic bubble with a cardboard back.  The back has all the information about the device…. in fact there’s no manual past the writing here.  This is actually ideal; nothing else to keep up with, and it’ll store flat (without even as much as a fold).

The Device

It’s a very simple device.  On one end, USB-in.  On the other end, USB-out.  There’s a cap for the “in” end, and the “out” end is left uncovered.

The build quality seems just fine.  The plastic is a smoke gray transparent hard plastic.  It’s very nice to see the guts of the device!

What’s it do?

“Zero”, you say, “…. what’s this thing really do?”  Well, glad you asked.  This device is intended to give information on how much power a USB device draws, measured in Amps.  It can also be used to show the voltage of a power pack, for which one might with to charge a phone etc.

There’s no bluetooth or wireless or data logging whatsoever….  But at this price it’s still a worthwhile unit.

Does it work?

Yes, it does work and well enough to be interesting.  I didn’t test the unit as in depth as has been done (that’s been done on lygte-info.dk, and I’ll refer you to that site, and that excellent review).

I have a similar unit from YZKStudio, the 1270, but which costs much more and has many more functions.  I very crudely used it to test the Xtar, and they showed very similar numbers.

Below are some photos of operation.  On startup you’ll see this:

Those two screens are all the data provided through operation.  The data points are updated on a 5 second cycle.  In this case, the computer is providing around 5V to the USB port (and this device) (left), and since there’s nothing attached, 0.0A are being used.

I plug in a device, and the device begins displaying how many amps that device draws.  In this case, the device was an external hard drive.

20170507-IMG_1149.jpg

Then we use the Xtar device, and my YZKStudio device to compare the readouts.  Same external hard drive attached:

The devices read very similar numbers, with the 1270 always reading lower than the Xtar (which is probably to be expected, since the Xtar will use some power for it’s purposes, too.)  (Further proof below:)

Conclusion

I think this is a fun little device.  And at this price, it’s worth having just for checking if (for example) a flashlight is really charging at that 1 or 2A that the manufacturer claims.  You won’t be reporting the data in graphs, but you can monitor it to see if it’s even close to accurate.

Worth having!


Notes:

  • This unit was provided by Xtar at no charge to me.  Not really for the purposes of a review – I chose to do that on my own.
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