If you’re thinking about purchasing a cheap USB-C (Type-C) charging capable, you might want to second guess your buying decision.
USB Type-C is a small, multipurpose, universal, reversible cable that is quickly becoming a new standard in electronics charging. It’s also responsible for multiple pieces of electronics at the same time.
The new USB-C cords are capable of supplying way more power to a gadget than micro-USB. However, when plugging a smartphone into a laptop to charge it, a faulty cord could drain way more power from your laptop than your computer is designed to supply.
That over supply of energy to your smartphone and drain to your laptop could fry both devices in an instant.
USB-C chords are supposed to recognized what type of device they are drawing power from. If the cord realizes it’s plugged into a wall socket, it’s supposed to up the charging juice. If it recognizes a laptop or other device, it reduces power to avoid over draining the power source and causing catastrophic failure.
According to Google engineer Benson Leung — that isn’t always happening. While testing Surjtech’s 3M USB-C cord, his $1,500 laptop turned into a very expensive paperweight.
Leung says the cable was wired incorrectly. In an Amazon review he shared his bad news with other potential buyers.
“I have gotten fed up with the early cables from 3rd party vendors that so blatantly flout the specification and I want to take them to task,” Leung wrote on his Google+ page. “You may not just get weird behavior from your devices with these bad cables… What some these vendors are doing is downright dangerous.”
Based on research from Leung and others, it’s typically cheap cords that cause issues, probably because of a lack of oversight and the cheap materials they use to produce sub-par results. That doesn’t mean expensive cords are guaranteed to protect your devices.
The USB-C standards-setting group, the USB Implementers Forum, is issuing a seal of approval for safe USB-C cords. Right now those labels don’t show up on Amazon’s website, so purchasing a cable from Best Buy or another trusted electronics store might be your best bet.