Garmin Introduces New USB Charger


With the proliferation of Electronic Flight Bags (EFBs) and the undeniable need to keep your phone ready for your arrival, onboard aircraft charging is an understood need. Garmin’s GSB 15 provides an FAA-approved, permanently mounted source of USB power.

With two USB ports, the GSB 15 cranks out 18 watts (3 amps each), which should be enough to provide a phone or tablet enough power to run and charge at the same time. “Tablets and mobile devices have become a mainstay in the cockpit and it’s essential to ensure they’re powered and available throughout an entire flight,” said Carl Wolf, Garmin vice president of aviation sales and marketing. “The GSB 15 is the smallest installed dual-port USB charger ever designed for aircraft use that allows owners and operators to easily and economically add USB power capability to their aircraft.”

Garmin will offer two versions. One has a power connector on the back of the unit, while another has the connector at the bottom so that it can be mounted near cabin sidewalls or wherever depth is an issue. Retail price is $349.

Marc Cook
KITPLANES Editor in Chief Marc Cook has been in aviation journalism for more than 30 years. He is a 4000-hour instrument-rated, multi-engine pilot with experience in nearly 150 types. He’s completed two kit aircraft, an Aero Designs Pulsar XP and a Glasair Sportsman 2+2, and currently flies a 2002 GlaStar.

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  1. Come on Garmin, How does anyone justify $349 for a USB charger. You can get the exact same thing for boats that are humidity and water certified and using the same high quality components and it cost around $50-$75 for the 24vdc input voltage version. The boat ones are even tested for flame resistance, I get it that it cost money to get this FAA approved but not at a $300 per unit cost. Heck you can get one for a car that is $8-12 that have the same specs but lower build quality. This is why home building is so popular.

  2. I have a dual port USB adapter(with a volt meter on the face of it!) for $14.
    I’d rather buy more AvGas and fly my plane rather than purchase this item; but that’s just me….

  3. The Manufacturer of Record should have added a charge-rated USB port to the face of EVERY box it makes, by now. It just seems like such a “duh” thing.

  4. While I agree that the price is a little steep, you all need to do a little better research and compare the specs of this unit to the low cost marine/automotive units. I believe the Garmin unit has no equivalent. Most of the marine units are limited to 2.1A TOTAL (shared between the two ports). The best one I could find is limited to 4.2A total. The Garmin unit is rated for 3A on EACH port or 6A total (for standard. USB 5V). This makes a big difference if you’re, for example, using an iPad Pro 12″ running Foreflight. I’ve found that typical automotive quality “high output” USB ports cannot run Foreflight AND charge my iPad, let alone charge a second device at the same time. In addition, Garmin has gone through the expense of obtaining FAA approval and the aviation market provides limited returns on one-time engineering costs and FAA approval costs.

    • If you spend $39, you can get a shirt-pocket size battery that will not only will charge your devices but also JUMP START YOUR AIRPLANE if needed. I just got mine a few days ago; with free shipping.

        • No, but I just tried it on high compression car engine without a prob. My low compression O-320 should be a snap…

    • Search for “QC3.0 dual port 24v” these are 3 amps per port cheap ones are $16-$20 more expensive ones that I would trust in an airplane hard mounted are close to $100 if you find one with the fire retarding material paperwork.

  5. It’s obsolete already. They should have developed one which has one USB-A port at 2.1A (12w) and one Power Delivery compliant USB-C port with up to 30w capacity (2A @ 15v). That way it would charge all new iPads and would even power a MacBook at high speed and without an adapter cord (new iPads and MacBooks only come with USB-C). They currently designed in a 30w power supply but it would not have been that much more cost or effort to design a 45w supply. Leviton sells a PD compatible USB-C power outlet for homes that costs $30.