January 29, 2019

How to find a USB-C cable that won’t fry your computer

By Team Ventev Topic: Chargers

USB-C ports, introduced just a couple of years ago, are appearing on more and more devices. And why shouldn’t they? This one cable does the work of multiple traditional cables. With USB-C, you can use the same type of cable to charge your phone, connect your laptop to an external monitor, or sync a new camera to your computer for transferring photos and video at high-speeds.  

But some cables are clearly better than others. There’s one good way to tell: the USB-C certification logo.

Dave Schweitzer, Ventev’s Quality Assurance Manager, recently put together this video to discuss the importance of USB-C certification, and what the logos look like.

Poorly made cables can damage those expensive electronics. In fact, back in 2016 when the USB-C standard was new, a Google engineer began independently testing cables after an off-brand produce fried his computer

At Ventev, we run our own series of tests to make sure our products perform to our expected levels of quality and reliability. However, because we design our cables to meet (and generally, exceed) the applicable global standards—USB-C, micro USB, and Apple (MFi), the cables need to be tested according to the specifications of each particular standard. In the case of USB, this means achieving USB-IF certification standards.

So, what does certification mean?

Certification means three basic things: Products have met all the standards set by USB, were certified to be compliant to the specification, and were tested for interoperability. The actual tests vary from device to device, depending on the type of product (hub versus cable) and the speed of the device (SuperSpeed, high, or full speed). This earns them one of the following marks on the device itself (note that these are just for cables, not chargers or hubs):

 

If the cable or packaging has one of the symbols on the left, it means the cable has passed USB certification. USB testing consists of mechanical, electrical, and interoperability testing to make sure the product meets the requirements as well as works well with a number of different devices on the market.

Many of these tests involve using software to pull, push, or otherwise influence the flow of electricity through the device to ensure it works safely and to the standard consumers expect from USB accessories. It can also mean something as simple as testing the strength of the connector, to make sure the wires won’t snap when pulled out of your gadgets.

These testing procedures are upgraded all the time, ensuring that USB accessories are as safe and efficient as possible.

Is my cable certified?

If you’re shopping in person, you can easily keep a look out for the symbols that mark your cable as USB-IF certified. However, buying online can get tricky, as products aren’t always properly labeled. That Google Engineer mentioned above, Benson Leung, has developed a handy list of what works properly and what doesn’t a handy list of whatworks properly and what doesn’t (regardless of certification), and the USB website has its own list

Many retailers (Best Buy, Staples, and Micro Center) have committed to only selling USB-IF certified cables, which would make the process easier. Until then, make sure to go through a few extra steps to verify the cable you buy won’t fry your electronics.

And if all else fails, forget the hassle and pick up a Ventev cable – we have the first certified flat USB-C cable and over 20 cables on the USB certified list!

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