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article imageOnePlus' $7 USB Type-C cables could damage devices

By James Walker     Nov 15, 2015 in Technology
A Google engineer has warned people who use cheap USB Type-C cables made by Chinese phone manufacturer OnePlus could damage their phones due to a potential fault. The issue occurs when the cables are used with non-OnePlus devices.
As Trusted Reviews reports, Bensen Leung is warning of the problem because people who own a OnePlus device alongside other products featuring USB Type-C ports, including Google's Nexus 6P and 5X smartphones, may want to use one cable with them all. That wouldn't be a great idea if anything other than a OnePlus phone was being charged though.
OnePlus managed to impress people recently by announcing a stylish USB Type-C cable that costs just $7 (£4). The standard has yet to see widespread adoption so most people won't have seen a reversible Type-C connector and cable but some device manufacturers, including OnePlus and Google, are beginning to incorporate them into their products, making extra cables a must-have for some people.
Inevitably, corners have been cut to achieve the low price, according to Leung. It does not feature the correct identifier resistor, a component that lets devices know what kind of cable they are connected to, and therefore doesn't fully conform to the USB Type-C spec.
The issue means the cable could damage any hubs, USB ports or phones it is connected to, potentially delivering an incorrect amount of voltage which could even cause a fire in a worst case scenario. It should not be used with any device that supports quick charging functionality as these batteries are designed to draw progressively less current as they near full charge, creating the trickle effect after very rapidly charging to around 80 percent.
The "riskiest state" would be if a phone that supports quick charging is plugged into the wall using the OnePlus cable and charged from near-empty. The phone would request a high amount of current but the cable would not necessarily process it correctly, causing the charger to draw an incorrect amount of voltage. Both effects combined could damage all the connected devices.
The cable is safe for use with OnePlus' own phones because they do not support fast charging. However, because of the lack of the correct identifier resistor, Leung says it should not be used with anything else, despite how attractive its low price may be. He warns owners of Type-C devices to shop elsewhere for cables, lest they forget the issue with the OnePlus cable in the future and begin using it to charge all their devices.
More about Usb, usb typec, Cable, Charge, Battery
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