Cheap USB-C Cables Could Kill Your Phone or Laptop
Benson Leung, an engineer on Google’s Pixel team, was doing God’s work by risking his Chromebook Pixel, which charges via USB-C, to test every single USB-C to USB-A cord available to general consumers. One crappy cord, and his $1500 computer would be fried.
You know how this story ends right? On Monday, a cheap cord purchased from Amazon destroyed all his testing equipment, including his computer. According to Leung’s Google Plus page the SurjTech 3M USB 3.1 Type C to Standard Type A cord was unbelievably poorly made, with some necessary wires soldered incorrectly, and other wires missing. (Mercifully, the faulty cable is no longer available for purchase on the site.)
While the SurjTech cable is the most destructive one Leung’s tested, it isn’t the only cord capable of damaging your devices.
This is USB Type-C
If you use a cord that is Type-C to Type-C (with two connectors like the image above) you’ll be safe. Both inputs draw very specific amounts of power and that’s precisely what they should do. The damage to electronics occurs when they’re pulling down too much power, or conversely, not enough power.
The problems start to arise when one end of the cord is the new Type-C input and the other end of the cord is Type-A-that’s the input we all think of when we think USB. Leung found that cords that were Type-C to Type-A were failing to regulate their power draw appropriately.