Loose micro USB cables

A new cable works wonderfully. For maybe 6 weeks. Then when I use the Samsung
phone while charging... "Beep-boop, beep-boop?, charge indicator on, off,
on, off. Over and over.
Replace cable, all is well.
Rinse, repeat.
Buying a new cable every month is not expensive but also not something one
should have to do.
Yes, I've cleaned out the phone's connector of lint and debris.
I've seen instructions re. fixing the cable connector by bending the tension
pins (external, bottom-side) but there are several types of tensioning
designs; not all are repairable, IME.
Anyone find a long-term fix, or quality cable that avoids this problem
altogether?
Thanks.
Reply to
DaveC
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Maybe the phone connector is damaged. It gets a lot of wear. My phone has some damaged pins that mangled the mates too. It has cradle-charging connections on the side, so I use that now.
USB is really mediocre. The polarization is always ambiguous (except for the ancient B connector), the pins are flimsy, and there are so many different "universal" connectors.
Reply to
John Larkin
It's designed to destroy the cable instead of the connector in your unspecified model Samsung phone. In previous mini-USB connector was a problem because it would destroy the connector in the phone which would be far more expensive than replacing the USB cable. The improved micro-USB connector destroys the much cheaper USB cable. I think I pay about $1/ea for cables. You might want to stock up on cables.
These might explain the situation:
I can't tell from your description why your cables are failing. I don't think it's the cables as most of them are quite durable. The connector is rated for 10,000 insertion/removal cycles. If you plugged and unplugged your phone 4 times per day, that's 2,500 days or 6.8 years.
I occasionally see some problems caused by rubberized phone "protectors". The charging connector doesn't quite fit through the rubber case so the user applies brute force to complete the connection. Sometimes the hole in the case is misaligned with the phone connector or sometimes the molded plug on the cable is too large to fit neatly in the hole in the case. If you suspect the case, you might try a different one, with a larger opening for the charger connector.
Another problem is arcing. The micro-USB connector system is made to be hot pluggable/unpluggable. Unfortunately, some phones and chargers have large capacitors across the output which can pit the gold plated contacts. The chargers are suppose to start at a low current, negotiate the maximum current, and then switch to the higher (2A) charging current. Some cheap chargers go directly to 2A causing the arcing. Some dirt and crud in the connector can produce a tiny arc. The problem is that you have to tear the plug apart to see the damage to the contacts. You might try that on one of your numerous failed cables. If that seems to be the problem, which I think quite likely, buy a different and better charger.
Reply to
Jeff Liebermann
Would be interesting to learn how they estimated that reliability. If you have a machine that properly aligns the connectors when plugged, maybe. When a human plugs it in, rips it out, uses the device while charging so that the connector gets pulled, pushed, twisted, things can get loose really fast.
I buy most of my devices used at garage sales. I've never had any problems with mini-usb connections. Virtually ALL acquired devices with micro-usb connectors are loose or intermittent. I've switched to add-on Qi charge adapters that stay connected permanently and don't get stressed in use.
Reply to
mike
How does this make it not loose over time?
Reply to
DaveC
I think the fact that for 6 weeks there?s no problem eliminates the possibility that the phone connector is damaged.
It?s not the electrical pins, it?s the robustness of the physical retention mechanism.
Thanks, Dave
Reply to
DaveC
All the purdee colors! This is the brand you buy? (looking for a recommendation not just Google results...)
Hence my inquiry here.
How often do *you* replace a micro-USB cable, Jeff?
Not using a case or protector. Thanks.
Reply to
DaveC
Durability or reliability? This is old but probably good enough: See Pg 14 under "durability". It references EIA-364-09 for the number of insertion/extraction cycles. 1500 cycles 5000 cycles for Mini B 10,000 cycles for Micro series 10,000 cycles for ruggedized Standard A Cycle rate of 500 cycles per hour if done automatically and 200 if manual cycle. EIA-364-09 does not specify a specific test fixture (section 2): I've seen one in action at a local headset manufacturer. It was rather boring to watch. Something like this: but made in house. More: My guess(tm) is that it could be done properly with just a rotating crank and piston arrangement instrumented with strain and force gauges.
Such tests are usually performed under ideal and controlled conditions. Unless connector side loading and torque limits are specified, it's unlikely that anyone tests for those. Presumably, the metal framework around the micro-USB connector will survive longer than the mating contacts so direct insertion/extraction testing should provide an adequate test. However, if you want to test for surviving various forms of abuse, it will need to be added to the specification.
Again, that's intentional. If they were a snug fit, abrasive action would wear down the connector rather rapidly. There was also some effort to minimize (not maximize) the retention forces so that it would disconnect during cord pulling, dropping, and use as a yo-yo.
That's probably the way to go. However, that only solves the charging problem. There's still all the other stuff that the USB connector is used for (USB OTG, file transfers, external devices, etc). USB connectors are unlikely to disappear.
Reply to
Jeff Liebermann
The offer at that link is confusing: it first says ?Price: US $0.99? and I presume quantity is 1.
Then when you go to the drop-down menus for quantity, you have the choice of ?X1? and ?X2? which changes the price to $3.00 and $5.19 respectively.
Huh?
Anyone know what?s going on there?
Reply to
DaveC
Actually yes, I do buy colored USB cables. They help keep my charging mess somewhat organized so that I plug the stuff that needs 0.5A into the tiny chargers, and the stuff that needs 2A into the larger chargers.
I don't have any recommended brand or supplier. I pass out USB cables and chargers at my palatial office like they were candy. I could put a jar of them in place of jelly beans on the desk and have them disappear in a week. No failures, or at least no complaints for the cords so far. Big problems with cheap chargers, both AC and automotive. There's lots of junk out there. I had to run around and confiscate some 12V chargers I gave away for holiday gifts because they were a short/smoke/fire hazard.
Incidentally, this is a good USB car charger:
I really don't know but close to zero for any kind of connector failure. I tend to loose cords, but not destroy them. When I do repairs, it's mostly replacing the receptacle on the phone, which is beyond the abilities of most of my customers. For my own equipment, I usually have 3 chargers per device (office, home, car). Of those that use micro-USB charging (2 phones, 4 BT headsets, 2 tablets, Kindle), I have never needed a replacement cable. On some of the junk I buy at garage sales, flea markets, and from customers, some of them required replacement, but mostly because they were in some way abused. Teeth marks from kids and animals are common.
Some Samsung phones have removable backs that let you inspect the micro-USB receptacle. If your unspecified model Samsung is like that, you might check if the two halves of the metal frame have seperated, thus reducing the retention force and changing the pin alignment.
Also, you might try disclosing the Samsung phone model number. Different phones tend to have specific problems. Also, are you doing anything unusual while charging, such as charging the phone while it's sitting on a car seat while bouncing down the road or anything that might cause movement of the connector while charging? An excessively loose connector will make that worse. You might compare your retention force with a different phone and micro-USB connector pair.
Reply to
Jeff Liebermann
Sam Galaxy S3.
I use it while charging, sitting on the couch or lying in bed. The cable/phone does get moved around. But for 6 weeks this isn?t a problem. So I rule out the phone?s connector as cause. A new cable fixes the issue.
Thanks.
Reply to
DaveC
I have cameras and cables that have been mated/unmated maybe 1000 times, no problems. I bet the phone is breaking the cables.
Reply to
John Larkin
Yeah, it's a bit of a muddle. You have 4 selections to make. Color, Qty 1x or 2x, Model, and Quantity.
If you pick (for example) white, 1x qty, and for your Samsung Galaxy S3, and one item, the price is $3.99 for one cable which is a bit high. If you pick Quantity (4th choice) at 10 pcs, you get a straight multiplication without discount of $39.90 for 10 cables, also high. However, if you pick the 10 color assortment, the total price is $16.99 or less than half price.
Not very clever because there's no way to get a discount price for 10 cables of a single color. Just play with it and keep track of the total price. Or, find another vendor.
I prefer flat cables, but the same vendor offers a round braided cabled: and in different lengths. If you don't like braided cables, there are thinner cables available: Look around and you'll find them in flat cable, round cable, with LED lights, glow in the dark cable, coiled cords, etc. Whatever you buy, get an assortment. Also, buy a different charger, which I think is causing the problem.
Reply to
Jeff Liebermann
Thanks. I found no history of the S3 destroying connectors.
While that's some movement while charging, it's probably not enough to arc over the contacts. Still, if the receptacle is loose, and you're getting an intermittent connection, it might do some arcing. Any evidence of an intermittent connection on the battery meter or monitor program?
Hmmmm... Is you charging cable very thin (small diameter)? At 2A, tinsel and ultra fine wire cables can easily turn into fuses. Any chance your cable failures are fused wire failures instead of connector failures?
Reply to
Jeff Liebermann
Why charge when you're using the phone? About the only times I use the USB cable is charging in the car (while navigating) or as a hotspot link. Qi works great on my Samsung phone (*much* better than the Moto it replaced).
Reply to
krw
On 5 Jul 2016, Jeff Liebermann writ:
Well, that?s the symptom that drives my search for the cause. Suddenly no charge indicator. Then I move the cable, ?beep-boop? the indicator shows charging. Is this a case of chicken or egg?
Never go for those thin ones. Always fat (5mm?) ones.
Reply to
DaveC
Omelette perhaps? When you wiggle the cable, I can't tell from here whether you have a broken wire inside the molded connector, or you have a contact connection problem. Hold the phone and connector in one hand so that the connector doesn't move. Then, wiggle the cable and see if it's still intermittent. That should separate the potential causes.
Also, if it's that bad, I would tear apart the phone and visually inspect the connector. Same with using a magnifier to inspect the contacts from outside the phone. Might as well run a stiff non-conductive brush through the receptacle while you're at it. Pocket lint tends to be the same dark color as the connector insulation and is difficult to see. I've seen phones that I swear looked clean when I looked inside with a magnifier, yet had an accumulation of lint at the bottom of the connector which was preventing the connector from seating properly.
So much for that idea. I've seen a few cables that are mostly insulation with very little copper. Maybe tear apart one of the cables that had previously failed.
Reply to
Jeff Liebermann
The highest quality cables I've found are the Fujitsu cables. Unfortunately they are quite expensive, $1.80 each if you buy a lot of 10, once you pay shipping.

These are pretty large diameter cables because they use AWG 22 wire. The sub-$1 cables use either all AWG 28, or use AWG 28 for D+ and D-, and AWG 26 for power and ground.
Reply to
sms
Thanks for the link. The large plastic on the small end may mean that they're less susceptible to being torqued sideways in the socket.
Reply to
mike
Here's a YouTube video showing the pocket lint in the connector problem and cleaning procedure:
Reply to
Jeff Liebermann

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