Benson Leung has been testing Type C USB 3.1 cables in Amazon for a very long time, but this is probably the first one that has managed to fry his Chrome Pixel. It also serves as a warning towards those who buy cables of unknown makes that things can go definitely wrong enough to damage your systems.
The Google engineer purchased and tested a Surjtech 3M USB 3Metre USB A-to-C cable which fried the Chromebook Pixel and two of his USB power delivery analysers. Benson tried to reset both the devices and having its analyser’s firmware reflashed, but it was a futile attempt. The cable would neither charge, nor it connects the device to the system. Upon close inspection, it was found that the Chromebook’s controller that also manages temperature sensors and keyboard initialization was fried, which caused permanent damage.
Upon checking with the multimeter, the end result was unexpected and shocking. Surjtech managed to miswired the cable on the cable despite proper labeling. Benson said,“I directly analyzed the Surjtech cable using a Type-C breakout board and a multimeter, and it appears that they completely miswired the cable. The GND pin on the Type-A plug is tied to the Vbus pins on the Type-C plug. The Vbus pin on the Type-A plug is tied to GND on the Type-C plug.”
Surjtech has taken down its 3 metres and 5 metres USB Type-C cables from Amazon, but Benson’s review is still present and can be found via Google Search. It goes without saying that one shouldn’t use these cables under any circumstances. The cable manufacturer’s ignorance of soldering Vbus wiring in Vbus instead of GND can and will lead to a catastrophic damaging spree of the devices.
While Benson’s endless hunt for good USB 3.1 Type C cables that meets its specifications have mostly been a bust including with OnePlus’ cable, all is not bad. Benson found the first Type C USB 3.1 A to C to meet the specification on November 4, 2015 with FRiEQ. A Redditor also compiled a Google spreadsheet list of Benson’s user reviews which indicated the bad ones from the good ones, along with cables that can charge at 2.1A over the cable, or 2.4A for Nexus 5X and 6P. There is a self-test method that people can try out on their own. But one should consider the worse case scenario is that the cable (like Surjtech) can permanently damage the device.
— Dawn of Tech (@DawnofTech) February 4, 2016