USB Type-C cables have been more of a bane than a boon, especially after considering the fact that I scurry around to find a Type-C USB cable every time my OEM charger is not handy. This also means that I miss the good old days when I could hand over my Android phone with microUSB port to anyone and they would have the charger cable it needed. Adding to my woes is the fact that my Power bank was rendered useless since it came with a normal USB port. While some manufacturers might be bundling a USB to USB Type-C cable with the phone, Google and LG didn’t do so with my Nexus 5X.
The trouble is brewing
Remember the OnePlus 2 cable fiasco? A Google Engineer went on checking Type-C USB cables on Amazon to figure out which are safe and which aren’t, surprisingly the OnePlus 2 cable was found to be unsafe thus resulting in a prompt refund from OnePlus.
The issue here lies in the differential power delivery, while Nexus 6P and the Nexus 5X support 3A fast charging, charging with a bad cable would result in either frying your USB port or in some cases the entire device itself, mind you it’s a serious permanent damage to your device. This can happen due to many shortcomings in the cables, primarily the wrong choice of resistors and missing of the SuperSpeed wires.
Checking the cables
It is understandable that you would want to buy an extra USB Type-C cable to work in tandem with the power banks or your car chargers. The Type-C Cable on the Google Store is a safe bet but if you still want to buy from other sources, here is how you can safely do so. If you are an advanced smartphone user or have been known to tweak around with Android phones, this post will explain how you can run shell commands in ADB to detect on whether the cable is good.
Alternatively, here is a much simpler and efficient way to check the quality of the cables. Download an app called Checkr from this link. After installing the app, plugin the cable to be tested to a laptop. The app may ask you to remove and replug the charging cable post which the results will be displayed. Just make sure that the cable is not connected to the charging device as the same would have better insulation from power surges and would not display accurate results.
On the hitherto, the microUSB to Type-C adapters have come in handy and they do work as intended. The app measures the current from the charging cable and although the app test might not be 100 percent accurate, it is still the only way to test the cable and it has worked out well for me. On a related note here is a frequently updated list of USB Type-C cables which work fine. If you are interested to know more about how Type-C USB cables work, check out our earlier piece here.