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Since the launch of USB-C, there’s been a lot of ‘dodgy’ cables going on-sale. Unsafe USB-C cables are able to draw higher amounts of power and possibly damage equipment. Amazon has now implemented a change to their prohibited items list, which will make it eventually a safer place to source USB-C cables.

Google Engineer Benson Leung first highlighted the problem with buying USB-C cables, reviewing the various USB-C cables available on Amazon and drawing attention to the issue. In one of his original review, he explained the issue with USB-A to USB-C cables not made to spec:

The reason that the Google chargers and cables are capable of 5V 3A support is because not only the cables but the port on the other end is certified for the higher 3A ceiling. You will notice that the cable that came with your Nexus 5X or 6P has USB Type C on both ends.

This ensures that not only the cable, but the connectors and the charging circuitry on the other side of the cable can support 3A before the phone starts to charge.

When you have a legacy cable like this one, the connector on the other side is a USB Type-A connector, which can be plugged into any USB port built since 1997, for example your ancient Pentium II PC may have a USB port that this cable could be plugged into.

NONE of those USB Type-A ports are rated to support 3A, so many of the USB Type-A to Type-C cables available on Amazon that claim they are rated at 3A and configure the identifier resistor to tell the phone to charge at 3A are not in compliance and could do damage to your charger, hub, or PC if you try to charge at 3A.

When you have a legacy cable like this, 2.4A, which is negotiated over a BC1.2 protocol like CDP or DCP, is appropriate over the Type-A connector. Any cable that you buy that claims 3A support I would be extremely wary of plugging into any of your hubs, PCs, or dedicated chargers.

That update came through back in November and now, almost 5 months later, Amazon has updated their list of Prohibited Items to include USB-C cables or adapters not made to specifications. The line added to the list reads:


Any USB-C™ (or USB Type-C™) cable or adapter product that is not compliant with standard specifications issued by “USB Implementers Forum Inc.

The change means that Amazon can effectively ban any suppliers or sellers who supply poorly made or non-USB-C compliant cables. It does mean that sellers need to be reported still so that Amazon can action any ban.

To report a listing to Amazon, you simply :

  1. Go to Contact us.
  2. Click Selling on Amazon and then Other issues.
  3. Select Report a violation and enter all relevant information, so we can conduct an investigation.

It’s a good move by Amazon, and one hopefully one adopted by other marketplaces selling USB-C cables and adapters.

Have you bought a dodgy USB-C cable?

Source: Amazon.
Via: BensonLeung.
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    Alex Kelly
    Alex Kelly
    4 years ago

    Speaking of, can your sales team please get back to me about the dodgy cable I got from the store?
    cheers

    Daniel Tyson
    Reply to  Alex Kelly
    4 years ago

    They should have replied to you now Alex, sorry about the delay.

    Alex Kelly
    Alex Kelly
    Reply to  Daniel Tyson
    4 years ago

    They have now, however they said this, ‘Regarding the below, the USB Type-C to Type-A Cables are not required to be USB certified (same as a micro USB cable etc) as they are not rated for over 2A power delivery. Only Type-C to Type-C or Type-C to Type-A cables that state a power throughput of 5V 3A should contain the necessary resistors in order to regulate the higher 3A power. While that cable won’t cause any issues, you’re more than welcome to return it for a full item cost refund if it is in it’s original packaging and unused.’ This… Read more »

    Will
    Will
    Reply to  Alex Kelly
    4 years ago

    I’m no electrical engineer but I’d say that it all depends on the output of the charger you plug it in to. If it’s a standard 1A/2A charger you’d assume any cable would work fine as the charger itself is capping the current flow.
    Much the same as how plugging a phone with a micro USB that supports quick charge (E.g. Galaxy S6/S7) into a normal charger doesn’t do any damage to either device.

    Anyone able to confirm?

    ButterBalls
    ButterBalls
    4 years ago

    I’m thinking of getting the Nexus phone that will becoming out at the end of the year but I’m not feeling easy about having to upgrade all my chargers and cables to support the type c connection. I already have so many standard USB chargers for 95% of the android devices out there. I even use my phone charger to charge my Sony DSLR. Type c seems like an apple style move to me. Would I need dedicated chargers and cables for a nexus 6p? How does this type c thing work if everyone is mostly on the old technology?

    Phill Edwards
    Phill Edwards
    Reply to  ButterBalls
    4 years ago

    I think you can get USB-A to USB-C cables, but they don’t charge as fast.

    zeitgeb3r
    zeitgeb3r
    Reply to  ButterBalls
    4 years ago

    I had 10+ mini-USB cables and devices.
    When micro-USB cables/devices came out, I had to bin all my mini-USBs.
    Now that USB-C is out, I will eventually have to bin all my 15+ micro-USBs.

    When writable blueray came out, I had to bin all my betamax and VHS equipment.

    Progress they say?

    H0OIler
    H0OIler
    4 years ago

    Much thanks to Benson Leung for all the testing and bringing this issue to the forefront. I’m sure that this saved a lot of devices from being fried