Friday, October 5, 2012

Can the Wii U GamePad be charged with a USB port on the console? Nintendo answers, sort of...

Coffee Beans
The Wii U's release is just over a month away now, on November 18th. (44 days, 4 hours, 15 minutes 30 seconds away as of typing this!) Each Wii U console, whether the Deluxe Set or Basic Set, will come with a Wii U GamePad and apparently a Wii U GamePad AC Adapter. From the only pictures I have seen of it, the Wii U GamePad AC Adapter requires an AC outlet; meaning it must be plugged in a wall outlet or power strip.

While the Wii U GamePad can be charged with a cable that has to be plugged in a power outlet for it to charge the GamePad, I was curious if the Wii U GamePad can be charged with just a USB port on the console itself. After some searching and not finding any direct answer to the question, I contacted Nintendo to find out.

I asked, "Can the Wii U GamePad be charged using a USB port on the Wii U console, just with a separate cable; or, can it only be charged with a wall AC outlet?" Brew yourself some coffee, and see how Nintendo responded below!

The Brew
My first statement I sent to Nintendo on the Wii U GamePad charging issue was, "The Wii U GamePad can be charged via a cable that has to be plugged in a power outlet for it to charge the GamePad. Can the Wii U GamePad be charged using a USB port on the Wii U console, just with a separate cable; or, can it only be charged with a wall AC outlet?"

Nintendo responded, "The GamePad can also be charged using the charging cradle, which comes with the Deluxe Set."

Good enough? Well, the response didn't really address if the GamePad can charge using a USB port on the console, because it didn't specify if the Wii U GamePad Cradle uses a USB port for charging purposes. I didn't want to assume the Wii U GamePad Cradle uses a USB console port to charge, because the only images I had seen didn't make it really clear.

So to be thorough and to clarify my original question, I sent over a follow-up question. I asked, "Does the Charging Cradle require an AC outlet, or can it be plugged into a USB port on the system? The only picture of the Deluxe System items shows the cable requires an AC outlet, no cable directly for a USB port."

Nintendo then responded with, "We don't have any information to share at this time."

Caffeinated Thoughts
We have just over a month before the Wii U releases, and I'm finding it odd that Nintendo is having problems answering what I think should be simple questions about the console (and some games). I would assume the Wii U GamePad can be charged using a console USB port, but I don't know that for sure.

If the GamePad can be charged using a USB port, why wouldn't Nintendo just throw in a USB cable with each console, instead of producing a special Wii U GamePad AC Adapter for it? Wouldn't a cable be cheaper and easier to mass produce, than a special Wii U GamePad AC Adapter?

You can see the Wii U GamePad AC Adapter in the image below, and also notice the Wii U Deluxe Set does not show an extra USB cable of any sort that would be used with the Cradle, just the standard AC Adapter cable.

If you are getting the Wii U Basic Set and are interested in the Wii U GamePad Cradle and Stand, you will be able to purchase it separately for $19.99.

Do any of you know from perhaps a Wii U Experience event, or hands-on perhaps at E3, if anybody specifically mentioned the Wii U GamePad being able to charge from just the console?

If the Wii U GamePad requires an additional AC outlet to charge, will that be an issue for anybody?

If you are interested in the Wii U, but haven't pre-ordered one yet, you might want to keep an eye on the links below. is the last major online retailer to not open up pre-orders on the console, though some are expecting it not to happen at this point now:


  1. so for 50 bucks you get extra pieces of plastic? well have the nintyland is good and the extra memory. I guess it works out. Where you charge the controller is a silly question. Do you charge your phone using the wii console? You do know that those usb ports have a maximum voltage so it will probably take longer if you use them to charge stuff.

  2. "You do know that those usb ports have a maximum voltage so it will probably take longer if you use them to charge stuff."

    I do know about the USB's charging at a slower rate, but they still haven't answered if it CAN be. Some people may not care if it charges slowly if they're only playing it at night, and a charge lasts 3-5 hours.

    I was just thinking about power strip and/or outlet issues for some that are multi-console owners.

    Also, having it charge just via USB would make it easier to pack up and bring over to family and friends during the holidays.

    Thanks for the comment!

  3. I would love to play with the USB cable connected when I don't need it to be totally wireless.

  4. It's definitely still a worthy question, but as another website mentioned, you'll probably want to plug the gamepad into the wall anyway as it only lasts 6 hours or so on one charge. If you sit decently far away from your TV, plugging into the console may not be such an easy thing to do. Plus, Nintendo is looking at getting you to use the GamePad separately from the TV at times so a lot of users may like having the gamepad on a side table or something near their couch.

  5. I hope they release a "charge and play" adapter of some sort. If Energizer could create a wireless option for it, that would be great.

  6. I think it'll be interesting to see how people set it up. When they showed the pre-E3 Zombi U clip with the video chat feature, it was directly in front of the tv and system on the stand. Now, if it can charge from the USB ports, that would make it probably more likely to be moved around, perhaps even with the GamePad next to the couch and used as the primary TV remote if there is a plug close to the couch for charging purposes.

    If Nintendo wants it the "center of the living room", I would say the more charging options the better.

    Thanks for the comment and feedback! Are you planning on picking up the system day one?

  7. Yeah it looks doubtful this tablet-like device can be charged directly from the system's USB ports due to power requirements.
    Then again, tho Tablets like the iPad have certain charging requirements that range above general USB outputs, maybe just maybe the hardware inside the GamePad doesn't necessitate the higher power draw (it almost seems to me like a "dumb terminal" for the console box itself).
    The really distressing issue however is indeed the lack of knowledge of basic product usability issues like these so close to launch not to mention more major product functionality issues like the online setup.
    Still waiting for that Mii-verse blowout Nintendo Direct...

  8. Hello admin,
    Amazon doesn't directly sell Nintendo consoles or handhelds. So no, they won't be offering up any pre-orders.

  9. Hey,

    Those waters on Amazon directly selling Nintendo consoles and handhelds are still very muddy. As in September, they had a 3DS XL directly in stock and were selling it; not sure if they still are.

    Here's the report on it:

    I just find it amazing that Nintendo and Amazon (just in the US apparently) can't get this worked out. Amazon for the customers that enjoy the site and like buying products from it, and Nintendo because Amazon is the largest online retailer.

    If anything, I would say Nintendo needs to get it straightened out on their side, since they apparently burned retailers with the initial 3DS price cut, and didn't want to give Amazon more credit on the systems they had in stock.

    It would benefit Nintendo, by having the Wii U system seen in the "Top 100" during the holidays, and if Amazon doesn't have the console in stock, and only available via third party sellers for $500-800, that could be an issue.

    Thanks for the feedback on it, and hopefully for those that didn't pre-order one yet, they can get it worked out.

  10. "Still waiting for that Mii-verse blowout Nintendo Direct..."
    THIS. I want online, eShop, friend code or no friend code, video chat feature, patches? I want those details before it launches from the horses mouth.

    I really hope they're preparing a great presentation for it, perhaps with live examples of the video chat service, and Miiverse has some potential, but they need to demo it I think for a better explanation and the way it can be implemented perhaps differently in each type of game.

    Thanks for the comment and feedback!

  11. I'm with everyone else here: it should be a simple question to answer and I hope they do another Nintendo Direct blast to address all these remaining questions.

    Even with the lower voltage it might be a handy option, though that's assuming the USB ports are powered while the console is off. Or maybe they are while in standby, but not while off/sleep. Do we even know if the Wii U has this same sort of standby/sleep that the Wii does? (and hopefully they've corrected the power draw and heat issues during standby. I've long since disabled that and just let it sleep)

  12. Wouldn't surprise me if you can plug in the USB to power the gamepad but not charge at the same time, simply just power.


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