micro usb power input?

Hey folks – looking at the cool options for powering the CAT 18. I’ve noticed that there are 2 usb ports for power inputs, each specified at 5V x 2A. The evidence tells me that BOTH of these ports must be powered at the same time, is that correct? Has anyone done this?

I say “evidence” because 5V at 2A is only 10w and the power consumption of the CAT 18 is specified at 18w … so looks to me like both are required

I can tell you it works just fine for the TST Duo Cat12 with both connected to a decent Anker battery pack, this is how I often power up the TST if I am doing a quick site survey.

Suspect it will be fine on the Cat18 too, as I expect Peplink would have removed the USB connectors otherwise.

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Works with the CAT12 should be the same for the Cat18, you might need to plug in 2 USB, The battery I have has a fast port and a regular port, I use the fast port.

see image

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when i do this i utilize 2x anker 268000 batteries. one feeding each USB port of Max Transit C18. I have run like that for close to 24hrs.

I believe another reason/benefit for having 2 inputs here would be to allow you to cycle batteries without taking the whole device offline.

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@Tiny_Tim you’re using only one of the usb ports – Do the ports themselves on your CAT1 12 have a rating? (2A I think is the specification of micro USB itself, unrelated to Peplink) I mean if the CAT 12 needs more than 10w you may be just taking full advantage of design margin :slight_smile:

@erickufrin you are probably spot on here. even though the CAT 18 is spec’d at 18w that is an absolute maximum and depends alot on hardware utilization. for example, if Wifi-as-WAN is in use. I’ve got two bateries that I just might try!

@rvdougThe tech specs supplied by Pepwave are way off the minimum requirement required to power the Pepwave.

yea I suppose very heavy traffic with 100 users, involving WiFi and Cellular radios, splash pages, social media logins, plus some local eithernet traffic, might approach the spec, which is an absolute maximum. I view that spec not as a typical or nominal, but as an absolute maximum.

Yup, you have it right. We have some lab-grade instrumentation and have measured current consumption of various Peplink devices – but not the specific models you folks are discussing. In each case the nominal current is very well below the max Peplink sets forth in its specs. We’ve seen the peaks that the specs show but only for a few seconds (or generally much less less) as a rule. The average is far, far below that.

The dual ports allow a power supply change without powering down the router, as @erickufrin suggests. Your observation about design margin is really good but from what we’ve seen we’ve been “OK” – no issue.


thank-you all. I’m looking into Automotive 12v adapters as well. I found the below

or get what appears to be the same thing from amazon


meanwhile @Tiny_Tim I have duplicated your power-over-USB scenario – I noticed that you are powering from only one port, which is limited by the USB spec itself to 10w. So felt I shoud follow your example :wink:

For my first test, I have the CAT 18 utilizing Wifi-as-WAN (connected to my home network) and powering its own SSID on medium power. It seems to be working just fine with the 10w limit, using an Anker USB adapter plugged into my Truck’s cigarette lighter. Throughput is about 40mbps which is the limit of my ISP. Fantastic!

I also discovered that when utilizing a power source with excessive internal resistance, the input voltage apparently drops far enough to make the CAT18 cranky. It boots up with an integrity check failure, and loss of WiFi. I obtained that result with two power sources – first a battery , and second a no-name gas station USB adapter plugged into the above automotive 12v “cigarette lighter”. neither of these had enough oomph.

But the anker USB adapter (in the above 12v source in my truck) works good

On edit: I moved the Wifi radios down to low power, and fired up the LTE cellular WAN. getting about 60Mbs on LTE, and the USB power indicator does blink red occasionally. Disabling Wifi-as-WAN helps conserve power. Using the celluar WAN now to post this message.

good stuff Pepwave!


just for interests’ sake I have tested and confirmed that this 12V adapter works:


Since I am a cautious creature, however, I decided to check things out first. My first step was to check for mis-wiring. I started with a simple resistance measurement between the 12v sleeve at the “car” end of the cable and the 2.1 mm connector sleeve. This gave me strong evidence that the product was wired correctly. I wasn’t about to apply 12v to my pepwave in reverse polarity, even though I’m guessing there are some good safeguards built into the device. the reason I didn’t photograph voltage measurements is because I didn’t have the dexterity to do hold the Fluke probes and snap the photo at the same time :slight_smile:

But I did check the 12v polarity supplied by the peplink AC adapter itself, which confirmed that the peplink utilized applicable standards. I then measured 12v ouput of the 12v Adapter device itself when plugged into my vehicle’s 12v “lighter” recepticle. That gave me the confidence that both devices were wired the same, and that the 12v adapter really did “impersonate” the AC adapter.

I confirm that the above adapter works very well, and costs considerably less from Amazon compared to mobilemusthave. It also has a 10’ cord instead of 4’. The reason I went for the 12v adapter for “inside my truck” use because I experimentally determined that my CAT 18 just “barely makes it” on a single 10w micro USB power supply (5v at 2A). the CAT 18’s power LED blinks red a few times which tells me its on the hairy edge, even with the WiFi on 2.4GHz only and SSID power set to “low”. If all you want to do is send GPS beacons up to InControl2 via cellular internet I think 10w would be enough. But the Wifi radios take just enough power to make me question the reliability of running the CAT 18 on 10w.

My RV is in the shop and I don’t have the desired 42G antenna :slight_smile: mounted yet, so I’m traveling with the CAT 18 in my truck to see if its paddle antennas and cellular band coverage do any better than a 5G phone (S22) for internet coverage.

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as many of you wrote, one USB can power the Transit with 10W, the more you have active in the Transit, the higher the power consumption.
If you need more than 10W the Transit will stop working.
Nearly everything will increase the power consumption

  • SpeedFusion
  • Dual LTE
  • WiFi
  • high Data load


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