Google engineer on a one-man crusade against bad USB C cables – Geek

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  1. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Google engineer names and shames dodgy USB Type-C cable makers
    Cheap wires could bork your chargers, PCs, hubs, etc

    A Google engineer says some discount USB Type-C converter cables are substandard and could cause damage by drawing too much juice.

    One of the big advantages of the USB Type-C design is never again having to guess which way up the plug has to be to fit in its hole; the other advantage is power transmission.

    A Type-C 1.1 laptop, phone or other device can draw up to 3A, although it should lower this to between 0.5A and 1.5A when connected to an older power source, such as a USB 2.0 Type-A charger.

    Googler Benson Leung has been doing some testing and the results are alarming: some cheaper converter cables and adapters are allowing too much current to flow through them.

    “You may not just get weird behavior from your devices with these bad cables … What some of these vendors are doing is downright dangerous.”

    The problems stem from manufacturers not complying with the interface’s specifications, specifically the use of resistors: a 56kΩ pull-up resistor should be connected to the Vbus pin to signal that one end of the cable or converter is a legacy USB device that can’t handle a 3A current draw.

    Some converters do not feature this pull-up. So, for example, a Type-C gadget could attempt to draw 3A from a USB 2.0 host or charger via one of these dodgy cables, and cause damage to the wiring and electronics.

    Cabling is a contentious issue in the industry, in part because unscrupulous vendors have tried, and succeeded, to skin consumers for massively expensive HDMI cables. Now the same trick appears to be in play for USB Type-C, so buyer beware.

  2. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Google Engineer Warns Against Perils of Buying Cheap, Third-Party USB-C Cables

    A USB-C cable is just a cable. Or is it? Google engineer Benson Leung noted today that it’s definitely not the case.

    Nonetheless, in his experience, not all cables are built alike, and in some cases, cheap out-of-spec cables could potentially cause damage to your device. It’s such a big problem, in fact, that Leung began buying cables off of Amazon and leaving his feedback on each one.

    Google Engineer Warns Against Perils Of Buying Cheap, Third-Party USB-C Cables

  3. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Google engineer: OnePlus USB Type-C cables could damage your PC
    Firm names and shames Chinese firm for shoddy accessories
    By Chris Merriman

    A GOOGLE ENGINEER has, after warning people to beware of cutting corners when purchasing USB Type-C accessories earlier this month, publicly called out OnePlus for its shoddy cables.

    Benson Leung, an engineer who has worked on both the Chromebook Pixel and the forthcoming Android-powered Pixel C, has been testing a bunch of different USB Type-C cables so that buyers are aware of which ones to avoid.

    It seems OnePlus accessories are first on Leung’s ‘to avoid’ list. The engineer publicly shamed the Chinese outfit on Google+, revealing that the USB Type-C cable that ships with the OnePlus 2 is essentially just Type-C shaped connecter attached to the end of a regular microUSB cable

    “Do NOT buy this #USB #TypeC to Type-A cable from +OnePlus,” Leung said. “It is not spec compliant (uses a 3A identifier resistor instead of the “Default USB Power” one), and may cause damage to your charger, hub, or PC USB port if you use it with #ChromebookPixel or #nexus6p #Nexus5x.”

    The new style of USB is reversible and capable of carrying current, data and display information in a form factor only slightly bigger than the current microUSB. However, all cables are not created equal, as Leung explained earlier this month.

    “USB Type-C will only be as good as its ecosystem, and more specifically the worst of its ecosystem,”

    “I have started reviewing USB cables on Amazon because I have got fed up with the early cables from third-party vendors that so blatantly flaunt the specification and I want to hold them to task.

    “You may not just get weird behaviour from your devices with these bad cables. What some these vendors are doing is downright dangerous.”

    The problem stems from the use of USB Type-C as a power source. The standard requires that a 3A supply be available through the cable. In order to do this, the correct resistor has to be present in the cable to control the amps being inputted. It’s in the specification. It’s not supposed to be optional.

  4. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Mobe-maker OnePlus ‘fesses up to flouting USB-C spec
    Adapter and cable are fine with OnePlus’ own phones, but other kit could cook

    In early November Google chap Benson Leung caused a stir when he wrote an analysis suggesting manufacturers of cables and power adapters weren’t paying attention to the USB Type-C spec. Manufacturers’ inattention, he worried, might result in devices being damaged as they suck down too much power.

    Leung’s concerns appear to have been justified, as a manufacturer called OnePlus has ‘fessed up to designing a dodgy power supply.

    “Recently it has come to our attention that two of our products, the OnePlus Type-C cable and the OnePlus USB Type-C adapter, are using a resistor that may not be fully compatible with some third-party devices,


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