How Using the Wrong USB Cable Can Explode Your Device

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How Using the Wrong USB Cable Can Explode Your Device


Anker has recalled their Powerline 3.1 Gen2 USB-C cable after it was discovered that a flaw within the cable caused it to potentially destroy any phone incapable of processing any more than five volts.

Nathan K., an independent tech researcher, discovered that Anker’s cable would “recall,” so to speak, the voltage required to charge a laptop. Essentially, the cable will designate the smartphone as a laptop. This means the voltage sent to the phone would be the same as the voltage sent to the laptop, delivering 15-to-20 volts when the phone is only meant to withstand five. This excess power was more than enough to potentially damage many user devices, possibly causing a fire or making the battery itself explode.

In this video, Nathan K. demonstrates, using one of the flawed cables and a USB power delivery analyzer, how the cable would shift from transferring five volts of energy to 15 volts of energy, just by plugging it into his laptop device.

To Anker’s credit, once Nathan K. brought the issue to their attention they issued an immediate recall with an offer to replace it once the issue has been resolved. Alternatively, the customer could choose to receive an immediate refund for the price of the cable.

This story also serves as a warning to anyone who uses tech on a regular basis–not all devices and accessories are created equal. A USB device found lying around could easily have a malfunction that could damage a device, or even be infected with malware. In short, unless you know exactly where a USB connection has been, avoid using it in your devices–otherwise, you might not have a device left.

For more tech updates, tips, and best practices, keep coming back to the Resolve I.T. blog.