Warning: Do not use cheap USB Type-C cables, they can fry your MacBook

“Benson Leung, the Google engineer who moonlights as a tester of dodgy USB Type-C cables, has sadly performed his last act of tech vigilantism — at least for now,” Sebastian Anthony reports for Ars Technika. “When testing a Surjtech 3M USB A-to-C cable, the cable was so bad that it fried his Chromebook Pixel laptop and two USB PD (power delivery) analyses.”

“At the time of publishing, it looks like the Surjtech cable has already been removed from Amazon,” Anthony reports. “Basically, as soon as the cable was plugged in and turned on, it completely fried the Vbus line on the Twinkie USB PD analyser. ‘This is permanent damage. I tried resetting the Twinkie analyzer and having the firmware reflashed, but it continues to exhibit this failure,’ Leung wrote.”

Anthony reports, “Not only did the cable kill the analyzer, though, but it also fried both USB Type-C ports on Leung’s Chromebook Pixel.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Note: Of the cables Leung tested before the frying incident, Anker’s USB-C cables consistently rated highly and they only cost US$9.99 for a 3-footer.


  1. What is disturbing (& yes I once made medical cables for my medical devices in the NICU) is that the manufacturer or the bad cables obviously is not using a testing device on finished cables to verify proper wiring and components.

    Those devices are dirt cheap to construct and implement and virtually all the shops I ever saw used them.

    I would hate to lose a MacBook Pro over such a stupid issue. I’ll bet the ‘bad cable company’ is NOT going to replace his laptop.

  2. One more reason that Apple needs to retain discrete MagSafe power connectors on all its Laptops.

    For those who insist that the minimum number of cables makes their life neater, then just buy cables that are bundled like Apple does with their standalone displays. &sp=40994048aebc58b63104f2a49f8b3db7

  3. It seems bizarre that modern USB controllers don’t have a sort of insertion test to check the reliability of the cable before it’s usable by the computer.

    It reminds me a bit of the tiny vent hole that compromised the entire death star.

  4. You shouldn’t use a “cheap” anything when it comes to Apple parts.

    PCs are like Chevy, Ford, and Mopar, when Apple’s are more like BMW, Mercedes, and Audi.

    You buy premium parts for a premium computer.

    You spent $1300 on a laptop. $30 on a cable isn’t going to break you for the guarantee of it working.

    1. Yes, that’s exactly Apple’s snide attitude toward its customers.

      Apple needs to stop being the Monster Cable of adapters and RAM. Inflated pricing for Apple gear is not warranted, because Apple accessories quality is not clearly superior. In the last few years we’ve had several Apple headphones die, lightning adapter cables stop working, a touchpad die, and a keyboard go on the fritz.

      These are the simple accessories that EVERY company should be able to get right. But, like so much from Apple these days, the super high price up front is just not justified. You can buy WAY better headphones, cables, and such from other companies for MUCH cheaper.

      This kind of things erode the reputation of a company. I doubt Cook and his VPs have a clue, since they’ve never had to buy a ripoff Apple $50 Lightning-to-HDMI adapter. Their personal assistants just put a new one on their silken pillows every morning and evening.

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