USB-C cables under deliver

When I started learning about USB-C, I was excited to standardize on cables instead of having all kinds of cables and having to travel with a ton of cables. However, years ago, I read about a Google engineer who analyzed USB-C cables to find out which ones had charging problems or could damage devices. Fast forward, many years later there is still no way to tell what cables are good and which ones are bad.

Now that Apple has adopted USB-C, I’ve read about what adapters to use to charge without breaking the bank. The article concerned me as the author recommend some adapters that were not USB-IF certified. Without any type of certification, there is no way to know if you’re going to get a cable that could cause a problem with your device.

In my research to find cables that are quality cables, I watched a video where various cables were put under a CT scan and analyzed. It was fascinating to see the varying quality of cables. The cheap cables may not last and if they break, they could damage your device. In fact, some of the cables directly connect the power without any type of chip managing power. I have a flashlight and a bar code scanner that charge via a USB-C plug. However, neither one can charge with a USB-C to USB-C cable plugged into a power supply! They came with a USB-A to USB-C which probably just wired the power and maybe a few other lines. The only way I can charge them using a USB-C charger is to use a USB-C to USB-A adapter and then a USB-A to USB-C cable. So even if I carried a few USB-C to USB-C cables and chargers, I couldn’t charge these devices. That’s pretty disappointing that manufacturers implemented USB-C in non-standard ways so my hopes of having a single set of cables has been dashed.

I’ve started acquiring USB-C cables and am making sure that all the cables are USB-IF certified (note that this appears to be self certified). Will that keep my devices from having problems? I have no idea, but it is at least lets me sleep a little better at night.

One Reply to “USB-C cables under deliver”

  1. How could you write this whole post and not give advice on what to buy????
    (also, I’m so impressed you still keep a blog in 2024.)

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