USB type-C cable tester takes one for the team as bad cable destroys his equipment

For a lot of users, USB type-C represents uncharted waters, so it’s been great to see Google’s Benson Leung wading out into them on our behalf, testing all the type-C cables he can lay his hands on, and sounding the warning when manufacturers are caught selling cables that don’t quite hit the right specifications. Leung already got OnePlus to admit that its cables weren’t up to muster and offered shoppers refunds, but now the work Leung does has hit a little snag, as a bad cable has utterly destroyed his testing rig, leaving him unable to evaluate new cables for the time being.

Leung shares the bad news on Google+, reporting that the cable in question fried his whole testing setup, including his Chromebook Pixel.

Further down in the comments he links to the Amazon entry for the faulty cable, identified as the “SurjTech® 3M USB 3.1 Type C to Standard Type A USB 3.0 Male Charge & Sync Data Adapter Cable.” In his (understandably) one-star Amazon review, Leung goes into some more detail about what went wrong, including the cable frying the USB Power Delivery packet sniffer (above) used to analyze the power negotiation process.

The bad SurjTech cable ruined two of these sniffers in addition to the pricy Chromebook Pixel. A further analysis of the cable revealed it was straight-up wired incorrectly, with the ground pin of one of its connectors routed to a power connector on the other – and vice versa.

On the one hand, we’re grateful that Leung was able to identify this issue and let us know to avoid the company’s cables. On the other, he’s paid a pretty high price for that knowledge, and we’re hopeful that he’s able to get himself back up and running as quickly and painlessly as possible.

Source: Benson Leung (Google+), Amazon
Via: Phandroid

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Stephen Schenck
Stephen has been writing about electronics since 2008, which only serves to frustrate him that he waited so long to combine his love of gadgets and his degree in writing. In his spare time, he collects console and arcade game hardware, is a motorcycle enthusiast, and enjoys trapping blue crabs. Stephen's first mobile device was a 624 MHz Dell Axim X30, which he's convinced is still a viable platform. Stephen longs for a market where phones are sold independently of service, and bandwidth is cheap and plentiful; he's not holding his breath. In the meantime, he devours smartphone news and tries to sort out the juicy bits Read more about Stephen Schenck!