Be careful what you wish for. The latest generation of USB cables might be universal and capable of delivering much more power to our devices, but not all of them are working as intended. In fact, one crusading Google engineer who hoped to name and shame Amazon sellers shifting dodgy cables, has found one particularly bad one that fried his Chromebook during testing.
The man is Benson Leung. We covered the story of his journey to enlighten us all on the safe USB Type-C cables that are out there and the ones that are much less so. While some have proved to be duds, the Surjtech 3M USB A-to-C converter cable proved to be the worst of the bunch.
When Leung plugged it in and powered his devices on, he found that not only had his Chromebook Pixel’s USB ports been completed fried, making them unusable, but he’d also lost two USB power analyzers that were attached to the same line.
When he investigated what had happened, Leung found that the cable had actually destroyed the Chromebooks’s USB controller (as per Ars). While this might be annoying in itself, as that controller handles everything from USB charging to the use of external peripherals, it’s also made the Pixel unable to boot, as the controller could no longer be verified.
It turns out this was all caused by the developers of the Surjtech cable wiring it up incorrectly. They also used weaker resisters than they should have, which ultimately led to the problems Leung discovered.
Although he may have lost out on a functioning laptop, Leung may well have saved many others from a similar fate. While his review still remains online for posterity, the product in question has been pulled.
The question now remains whether Leung can get his bosses to fork over another Chromebook for him to continue testing with. He should get a decent staff discount at least.