Frequently Asked Questions

LAVA Computer MFG is a leading provider of smart connectivity solutions boards. Our expertise in making better communications products hinges on our core philosophy: make it simple, reliable, and configurable. We engineer and manufacture serial port interfaces for POS, computer, industrial, and many other markets.

SimulCharge™ Technology FAQ

1What is SimulCharge?
A technology developed by LAVA that allows select mobile devices to operate as an USB Host Controller, while being charged simultaneously.
2Enterprise vs. Home adapters?

LAVA has SimulCharge adapters for both home and enterprise use. While both offer simultaneous charging and access to data to compatible mobile devices, the Enterprise adapters offer more options in terms of port configurations and power options. They also offer additional features, such as Docking Detect or RBM technology, depending on the product line. In contrast, Home Series adapters are smaller, more portable and can operate without external power in OTG mode, where the mobile device powers and communicates with the adapter and peripherals. To find out more about the differences between the Enterprise and Home Series, check out the LAVA Blog.

3What is OTG Mode?
A feature within the USB Standard, in which, the tablet detects that a USB Accessory has been plugged in and automatically switches to operate as a USB Host Controller. When operating as an OTG USB Host, the tablet is expected to supply power to the attached accessories, which means power is drained from the tablet battery. Not all tablets support the USB OTG feature.
4Can SimulCharge adapters do OTG?

LAVA’s Home Series SimulCharge adapters are capable of operating in OTG mode, where the mobile device communicates with peripherals as USB Host and can power them and the adapter with its battery. The Enterprise adapters do not use OTG as a safety measure. If there is a power outage, an Enterprise adapter will turn off to ensure it doesn’t draw power from the mobile device and drain its battery. To find out more about the differences between the Enterprise and Home Series, check out the LAVA Blog.

5What type of applications are these adapters used for?

LAVA SimulCharge adapters have a variety of different uses in a number fields. Our adapters can be used with digital signage, staff-time clocks, check-in kiosks, POS terminals and other mobile device-based applications.

6What peripherals can I use with my tablet?

Many LAVA SimulCharge adapters offer multiple USB-A ports for peripherals. Pretty much any accessory that connects via USB-A can be used with the adapter. Though, for our enterprise clients, some of the more popular peripherals are: barcode scanners, receipt printers and card readers.

7Why does LAVA only support select mobile devices and manufacturers?
A select number of manufacturers have implemented proper hardware specifications, within their devices, to accept SimulCharge technology. In fact not all devices within a manufacturer’s product line may be compatible due to this reason.
8I have a mobile device not listed on your Compatibility pages, will it work?

There is a risk it may not. LAVA publishes mobile devices that it has managed to test in-house and verify that they are compatible with LAVA products.

LAVA does operate a free testing program where you can send your device to be tested for compatibility. After testing is complete LAVA will ship back your tablet, with details on its compatibility with LAVA devices.

LAVA strongly recommends that if you are planning a larger role out of devices to check compatibility and have LAVA test your chosen device.

9What do I do if I want to run 4 or more USB peripherals from my tablet?
Currently LAVA has units that are capable of supporting more than 4 USB peripherals for USB-C equipped devices. If you require more peripherals than what is available through standard LAVA products you may use the u series’ of devices (placed in Hub Mode) to create a “daisy chain” of multiple LAVA units or a LAVA unit and 3rd party hubs. Careful power budgeting must be performed to ensure that all peripherals and mobile device are receiving sufficient power. VC capable LAVA units are strongly recommended in this case.
10My tablet has a USB-C connector. Will the STS product family work with my device?

No. You will need to use one of the SynC families of products, as they are specifically designed to work with USB-C devices.

Products designed for Micro USB devices will not be able to enter into SimulCharge when attached to USB-C devices. This is due to the hardware changes required by the USB-C connector.

11Why is wired network operation useful?
A wired network is more reliable and secure when compared to WIFI solutions. Wired networks, such as Ethernet enabled ones; also have the capability to transmit low voltage DC power over the same network cable.
12Do your adapters work with Apple products?

While our Enterprise adapters do not currently work with iOS devices, the Charge-Plus series does in fact work with MacBooks that feature USB-C ports. Charge-Plus adapters come with either an Ethernet port, two USB-A ports or both. Because MacBooks have greater power requirements than mobile devices, the Charge-Plus cannot fully charge the laptop. However, SimulCharge will slow the discharge so you can use the laptop longer than you would be able to on battery power alone.

Battery Health FAQ

1What does RBM stand for?
RBM is a term used by LAVA to describe two technologies that are present on select LAVA devices. The “R” in RBM stands for Network Recovery and the “BM” in RBM stands for Battery Modulation.
2What does “Battery Modulation” do?

The Battery Modulation feature helps reduce stress on the tablet battery. Battery Modulation is a feature in which the battery is charged up to an upper set point, and then allowed to discharge to a low threshold. This feature electronically mimics the process of charging a battery and then disconnecting the charger. This behaviour follows the expected use-case for a tablet. After a set number of user-defined charge/discharge cycles, a “full” cycle is performed to reset the tablet battery calibration.

Without Battery Modulation implemented mobile devices, with Lithium Ion batteries, have been observed to experience severe battery bloat and diminishment of battery charge capacity and lifespan.

This technology is critical for 24/7 or near 24/7 applications.

3What standard or standards does LAVA support for wired networking?
Ethernet enabled LAVA products provide 10/100 Fast Ethernet capabilities. The Ethernet feature relies on standard support available on the mobile device.
4What is “Screen Brightness” management?

LAVA adapters equipped with RBM technology, have a configurable option to manage the mobile device’s screen brightness. If a screen is set to be too bright the mobile device may draw more power than can be supplied to it, causing a slow discharge of the battery to occur. By adjusting screen brightness (a major source of power consumption and heat generation) the system designer can ensure that the power consumed by the device is less than what can be supplied.

Screen Brightness can be adjusted, and turned on/off, through the LAVA supplied LTM application.

5What does CABM stand for?

CABM stands for Continuously Active Battery Modulation. Found in our mid-tier u Series SimulCharge adapters and the Charge-Check, CABM is a plug-and-play of Battery Modulation that protects mobile devices from overcharging and battery bloating. To find out more about CABM, check out the technology page.

6What is Battery Bloating?

Battery Bloating is when constant overcharging of a lithium-ion battery causes it to literally expand, which can cause serious damage to both the battery and the device. To prevent battery bloating on your mobile device, make sure to use an e Series or u Series SimulCharge adapter which offer overcharge protection with Battery Modulation. To find out more about Battery Bloating, check out the LAVA Blog.

7What is the lifespan of a 24/7 charging tablet kiosk (without BM)?

This varies somewhat depending on the product and situation. However, if a tablet kiosk if left charging non-stop for roughly a year, it can lead to major battery degradation and bloating. To find out more about how our Battery Modulation-equipped adapters can prevent this issue, check out the LAVA Blog.

8How long do RBM and CABM extend a device battery's life?

LAVA’s RBM- and CABM-equipped adapters can significantly extend the lifetime of a mobile device’s battery. While all situations are different, using a mobile device kiosk or other application with a Battery Modulation-equipped adapter, you should be able to get upwards of five years of constant usage – even when it is left plugged in. To find out more about how Battery Modulation technology, check out the LAVA Blog.

9What's the difference between RBM and CABM?

RBM stands for Network Recovery & Battery Modulation, while CABM stands for Continuously Active Battery Modulation. While both offer battery protection, RBM is controlled via an app on the mobile device while CABM is entirely plug-and-play, requiring no software to run. RBM is more precise as the LAVA Tablet Manager app can read the actual battery level and it lets you configure specific charging thresholds. RBM also includes a Network Recovery feature for Ethernet adapters. Meanwhile, CABM is less exact but easier to set up. It turns off charging when the current slows down, as this indicates the device is near a full charge. Check out the RBM and CABM technology pages for more information.

10How does Network Recovery work?

Network Recovery is a component of RBM technology found in LAVA’s top-tier e Series adapters. It can re-establish a wired network connection if it unexpectedly drops out. When the network connection has been unavailable for more than a few minutes, a command is issued to the LAVA adapter requesting the network adapter be reset. It’s the equivalent of unplugging the Ethernet cable and plugging it back in. (The specific length of time the adapter waits before restarting the network connection can be set in the LAVA Tablet Manager app.) For more information on Network Recovery, check out the LAVA Blog.

Power Specifications FAQ

1How far away can I place my mobile device from the LAVA unit?

The mobile device can be located up to 1 meter (3.3 feet) away from the LAVA unit.

In some cases the mobile device may be placed up to 1.25 meters (4.1 feet) away from the LAVA unit, but great care must be taken to ensure that sufficient power is being supplied to the mobile device. A power budget and use of LAVA’s Battery Info app is recommended before deployment of the 1.25 meter cable. Do not extend cables beyond 1.25 meters.

OEM and BM-OEM boards should not be used with cables longer than 20 centimetres (8 inches) as the resulting power loss will lead to unreliable device charging and operation.

Available cables for the STS and LTS product families are 20cm (8”), 1m (3.3ft) and 1.25m (4.1ft).

Available cables for the Sync product families are 20cm (8”) and 1m (3.3ft).

Note: The STS and LTS product families use custom cables and cannot be replaced with off the shelf cables. Off the shelf cables will prevent proper unit operation (SimulCharge).

2By how much can I extend the “to tablet” cable?

Do not extend the “to tablet” cable. Extension of this cable will introduce further power losses into the system that may result in improper mobile device charging and operation.

“Daisy Chaining” of cables will result in the mobile device being unable to operate in SimulCharge mode and may also lead to improper charge (introduction of power losses in connectors).

3What lengths of cable are available for the "to tablet" connection?

The Micro USB cables come in 4 lengths:

  • 20 cm (8”)
  • 50 cm (20”)
  • 100 cm (39”)
  • 125 cm (49”)

The most common cables used are the 20 cm (8”) for the OEM and BM-OEM units and the 100 cm (39”)

The USB-C cables come in 2 lengths:

  • 20 cm (8”)
  • 100 cm (39”)
4What standard or standards does LAVA support for wired networking?
Ethernet enabled LAVA products provide 10/100 Fast Ethernet capabilities. The Ethernet feature relies on standard support available on the mobile device.
5Can I make my own “to tablet” cable?

No. The Micro USB cable supplied is a custom cable designed to decrease the power loss of the cable as well as allow the mobile device to enter SimulCharge Mode.

It is not advisable to create your own USB C cable as all pins need to be used in order to operate in Simulcharge Mode.

6What if I need to place my mobile device 3 meters away from the LAVA unit?

This is not an option. You will need to have your LAVA unit within 1 meter (maximum 1.25 meters in some cases) of the mobile device.

Please see “How far away can I place my mobile device from the LAVA unit?” FAQ for a more in depth explanation of why this is not an option.

7How far can my LAVA unit be from the USB Power Brick?
The distance is restricted by the length of the mobile device provided power cable (3 ft.).
8Can I extend the cable used to connect my mobile device to the USB Power Brick?

No. It is essential that you use the mobile device supplied power cable as the supplied power brick is able to compensate for power losses in that cable. This ensures that a stable 5 volts are supplied to the LAVA unit.

If your application requires that the LAVA unit be placed farther away from the AC power source, then the VC or PoE equipped LAVA units should be considered/used.

9Can I use a USB Power Brick other than the one supplied with the mobile device?
This is not recommended, as power bricks come with different ratings and are matched to each mobile device. This ensures that sufficient power is supplied to the mobile device.
10Can I use a USB Power Bank with my LAVA unit?
Yes you can. You will have to make sure that the power bank (USB Battery Pack) is capable of supplying 5 volts, preferably at or above 1 Amp (1000mA). If the power bank is not capable of supplying such a high current at 5 volts you may see the mobile device slowly discharge as it is receiving insufficient current.
11Can I use a USB “Cigarette Lighter” type adapter with my LAVA unit?
Yes, but you will have to ensure that the adapter is capable of supplying more than 500 mA at 5 volts through a USB A port.
12What if I want to run my mobile device and LAVA unit from a 12 Volt power source?
You will need to purchase a LAVA adapter with the VC option included. The VC option includes a built in voltage converter that is able to step down the 12 volt input to the require 5 volts. The VC option units draw power through a 2mm center positive barrel plug connector. Power supply is sold separately.
13What do I do if the AC wall outlet is between 3 meters (10 feet) and 15 meters (50 feet) away from the LAVA unit?
You will need to purchase a LAVA adapter equipped with either the VC option or PoE. For VC units a higher voltage (up to 36 volts) is required the further away the LAVA unit is from the AC power source. The higher voltage will compensate for the power loss over the power line.
14What do I do if the AC wall outlet is more than 15 meters (50 feet) away from the LAVA unit?
You will need to purchase a LAVA adapter equipped with PoE. Please note, PoE is rated for distances up to 100 meters (328 feet).
15What is PoE?

PoE stands for Power over Ethernet and is an industry term/standard that allows devices to draw power, along with data, through standard Ethernet cabling. Power is low voltage DC with a maximum transmission distance of 100 meters (328 feet). PoE can be applied through PoE capable network switches or through add-on PoE injectors that apply power to the existing Ethernet cable and network.

PoE is an excellent power and data alternative for large installations that are located far from existing AC power sources, as PoE’s low voltage category does not require licensed electricians to install the required infrastructure.

All PoE capable LAVA units are marked with a letter “P” in their name (ex/ eSTS PE).

16What PoE standards do you support?
The Ethernet Port is an IEEE 802.3 100BASE-T / 100BASE-TX compatible Fast Ethernet interface. The Ethernet port on PoE capable LAVA units accepts a standard RJ45 connector.
17Why would I want to use PoE?

The PoE Ethernet Port has the ability to receive power from the Network Cable. All power for the LAVA unit, mobile device charging, and attached USB accessories are provided by the PoE-Ethernet Port.

PoE capable LAVA products resolve the problem of getting power to the mobile device and peripherals. The PoE specification allows the powered device to be up to 330 feet (100 meters) from the Network Switch or PoE Injector.

Deploying network cabling with PoE support can be significantly cheaper than installing dedicated power lines through a facility.

18What if my network switches do not support PoE? Do I have to replace all the switches?
Non PoE capable Network Switches can use a PoE Power Injector, for each port, to supply power over the existing network cable/port. PoE injectors are cost effective solutions for installations that do not want to replace non PoE capable switches. PoE injectors can be found at most network switch vendors or electronics suppliers.
19How much power is available for my mobile device when using LAVA PoE capable devices?
The LAVA unit is supplied with 10.4 Watts of power, which is then divided to supply power for the mobile device, LAVA unit and attached peripherals. The 10.4 Watt limit allows the LAVA unit to be treated as a PoE Class 0 device by the switch.
20Can I use PoE to provide power to my tablet when not using Ethernet data?
Yes you can. However, you will have to disable the Ethernet option on your mobile device.
21What is the maximum distance I can place my LAVA unit from the wall outlet, when using VC?
15 meters (50 feet). It is strongly recommended that a 24v or 36v power supply is used.
22What is the maximum distance I can place my LAVA unit from the switch, when using PoE?
100 meters (328 feet). If using a PoE injector to pass power then the distance is from the power injector and not the switch.