Why is the micro USB so fragile compared to mini USB cable ends?

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On 21/08/2014 09:19, snipped-for-privacy@isbd.net wrote:

Yup. European Commission to be exact. http://blogs.wsj.com/tech-europe/2011/01/05/eu-standard-phone-charger-coming-this-year/
It's a not voluntary code though; it's an agreement between the manufacturers and the Commission. Probably because if there hadn't been an agreement, the Commission would have imposed a regulation.

Although true, I doubt any current smartphone is thick enough to accommodate a mini-usb socket.
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Poutnik wrote, on Thu, 21 Aug 2014 07:18:51 +0200:

One thing I've just learned, from Jeff Liebermann, is to do the same!
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cl wrote, on Thu, 21 Aug 2014 09:19:06 +0100:

I put a dab of the wife's pink nail polish on the USB top of the connectors, and, in the case of the less obvious device ports, on the device itself, where the pink dots are to be visually matched *before* one plugs in the connector.
So, at least in "my" situation, that's not why the USB nibs are failing. I think it's a bad batch of cables from Frys.
I found an unopened original cable still in its packaging from Frys (I had bought about a dozen cables at the same time): http://tinypic.com/view.php?pic4v8ns&s=8
Those cables stink!
Roxgo, http://www.roxgo.com , Manufactured and exported by Zendex, Inc, South El Monte, CA 91733, Made in China, UPC 851556004031
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On 08/21/2014 03:43 AM, Avraham Bernholz wrote:

FWIW, I've never had any problems with cables -- or anything else -- from DealExtreme. http://www.dx.com/s/USB%2bcables?category12
There have been problems with some items right out of the box -- PS2 to USB keyboard connectors, and a never-could-have-worked mp3-player-to-cassettte adapter. I emailed them and sent photos of the items in question, and they credited me immediately.
The disadvantage, of course, is the 2-3 week shipping time. Big deal :-) They now sell some stuff out of their warehouse in California with much faster delivery, but if they're doing it legally they'll charge sales tax on that stuff, and I believe in avoiding sales tax whenever possible.
--
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Avraham Bernholz wrote:

I'd imagine that wherever you buy this kind of kit, and whoever is named as the "supplier", it's actually produced by some unknown factory (probably in China as things stand today, not that it makes any difference). And, more, that it won't always be the /same/ factory -- it'll be whichever offered to make the stuff cheapest.
So you really have no hope of identifying an /actual/ supplier, let alone of finding a good one.
But what you /can/ do is buy from a brand with a name that a reputation (good or bad) will stick to. Such brands have the incentive to monitor the quality of the stuff they are getting from the /real/ suppliers, and will switch suppliers if the quality drops.
Of course, even a brand might let a bad batch slip through: one with the wrong steel for the connector, or the crimping machine out of adjustment (so that it makes the crimps too sharp, and hence fragile). But that won't happen often /precisely because/ they are taking steps to avoid it.

Well, you answered that in your first post ;-) It turns out that micro-USB plugs have to be assembled to a certain standard or they stop working. (This is still on the assumption that something else isn't causing the breakage)

Can't make any recommendations. I generally buy cables in shops (not online), and avoid "cheap" shops at that, but I don't consciously buy by brand. As I say, I have had exactly zero problems with USB[*] so far (full, micro, or mini), but to what extent that's down to luck, differences in the way I use USB, buying higher quality cables, or whatever, I can't say.
-- chris
[*] Unlike bloody Ethernet connections...
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Chris Uppal wrote, on Thu, 21 Aug 2014 12:52:31 +0100:

I found an unopened package of the dozen or so cables I had bought from Frys. http://tinypic.com/view.php?pic4v8ns&s=8
Roxgo, http://www.roxgo.com , Manufactured and exported by Zendex, Inc, South El Monte, CA 91733, Made in China, UPC 851556004031
My recommendation? Don't buy those cables! :)
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wrote:

That's probably un-necessary if you have a quality charger and properly designed cell phone. 0.1A inrush current is not going to do any damage to the gold plating. However, if you have a no-name charger, or worse are charging from a "stiff" 5v source, it's worth checking what the charger does. I have a USB extension cable where I cut the heavy 5V positive wire. I put various ammeters in series to measure current drain. Today, you can get such devices on eBay for very little: <http://www.ebay.com/itm/171427886388 However, these will not show the required 0.1A inrush current limit or any current spike caused by an oversized capacitive load. For those, I insert a 0.1 ohm resistor (actually a length of nichrome wire). Using a dual trace oscilloscope, I put the Ch A probe on one side of the resistor, and the Ch B probe on the other, and the scope in differential (A-B) mode. That's necessary because grounding the +5V power line with the scope probe ground is not a good idea. I can post a photo of what it should look like if anyone needs a sanity check.
Note that USB 3.0 is different. Current is now up to 900 ma and overload protection is required: <http://www.mouser.com/applications/usb30_circuit_protection/ Simulation of USB 2 inrush current: <http://www.epsilonlabs.com/USB_Inrush_I.html The design of the micro-USB connector system intentionally moved all the failure prone parts to the plug. There's not much you can do to improve or protect the receptacle on the phone end, but plenty you can do on the cable and charger end.
There is an amazing amount of junk USB power supplies out there: <http://www.lygte-info.dk/info/usbPowerSupplyTest%20UK.html The real Apple charger: <http://www.righto.com/2012/05/apple-iphone-charger-teardown-quality.html and the not so real clone: <http://www.righto.com/2012/03/inside-cheap-phone-charger-and-why-you.html I bought a few cheap USB car chargers on eBay, and stupidly passed them out to friends as presents. After I looked inside, I had to run around and confiscate them before they blew up someones phone. <
http://802.11junk.com/jeffl/LTspice/Cig%20Lighter%20USB%20charger/Circuit%20view.jpg
Notice that there is a short across the data wires (used to fool the phone into believing that the maximum current available). The front has two USB jacks, labeled 2A and 0.5A. With the short, they're both identical. I tried to build an LTspice model of the device, but failed because couldn't identify the chip used.
I later bought some of these which are fairly cheap, and won't kill your phone: <
http://802.11junk.com/jeffl/Powergen%20USB%20car%20charger/Powergen%20USB%20car%20charger.jpg

--
Jeff Liebermann snipped-for-privacy@cruzio.com
150 Felker St #D http://www.LearnByDestroying.com
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Where are you getting those from ?
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On Thu, 21 Aug 2014 14:56:22 +1000, "Rod Speed"

Just try the foil wrapped box test and see for yourself. I think you'll be unpleasantly surprised. If you don't want to run the battery to total discharge, just run it for a few hours an look at the percent charge remaining on whatever battery monitor application you have available, and extrapolate the results.
Incidentally, don't try using an (unplugged) microwave oven for this test. They leak too much at cellular frequencies.
--
Jeff Liebermann snipped-for-privacy@cruzio.com
150 Felker St #D http://www.LearnByDestroying.com
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On Thu, 21 Aug 2014 10:43:54 +0000 (UTC), Avraham Bernholz

Or, just buy a cable with a connector that fits both ways: <http://flipperusb.com Too bad it's only available for the large USB connector.
Or, just wait for the new Type C USB connector, which is reversible: <http://www.forbes.com/sites/gordonkelly/2014/08/18/usb-type-c-guide/

Find a microscope and look at the gold plating on the connector. If it's nice and shiny gold, you win. If it looks dark and dingy, like some of the base metal is showing through the plating, it's much too thinly plated.
Strictly speaking, the USB connector system is a bad joke. Ask any connector or switch manufacturer about switching DC with a gold plated connector and they'll cringe. Gold plating is suppose to be for "dry" loads (i.e. no DC). If one must run DC through a gold connector, the power is suppose to be disconnected and all caps are suppose to be discharged. For "live" loads, one is suppose to use silver. However, the USB connector has both a dry data load, and a live DC power load. Therefore, we see all the inrush current protection on the DC pins. <https://www.nkkswitches.com/pdf/switchcontactmaterial.pdf Before you declare your cables to be junk, you might want to run some bench tests with your five(?) assorted power supplies under various load conditions. Also check what they do for inrush current. My guess is that at least one of them will be problematic and possibly the culprit.
The thin USB cables may actually be an improvement. The higher resistance wire might reduce the inrush current a little. For short circuit protection, they'll probably make a tolerable fuse. I'm too lazy to do the calcs and measure the wire gauge.
--
Jeff Liebermann snipped-for-privacy@cruzio.com
150 Felker St #D http://www.LearnByDestroying.com
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On Fri, 22 Aug 2014 06:18:57 +1000, "Rod Speed"

Amazon and eBay. Available in white and Darth Vader black: <(Amazon.com product link shortened)> <http://www.ebay.com/itm/131257596903 <http://tips.navas.us/2014/01/best-usb-car-charger.html <https://www.google.com/search?tbm=isch&q=powergen+usb+car+charger Grumble... I paid $15 and now the price is $10. Oh well.
--
Jeff Liebermann snipped-for-privacy@cruzio.com
150 Felker St #D http://www.LearnByDestroying.com
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On Thu, 21 Aug 2014 15:56:39 -0700, The Real Bev

Yes. I use them in my various cameras. Hardly any self-discharge after many months.
--
Jeff Liebermann snipped-for-privacy@cruzio.com
150 Felker St #D http://www.LearnByDestroying.com
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Avraham Bernholz wrote:

So you got the cables from Fry's, who got them from Roxgo, who got them from Zendex, who may be the US marketing arm of a Chinese factory (or group), or may be another middleman sourcing cables (etc) from whichever Chinese factory is cheapest in any given week...
It seems that either you got rare a rouge batch, or that that entire supply chain doesn't include /anyone/ who cares as much about quality control as I'd prefer :(
-- chris
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Chris Uppal wrote:

I thought someone wanted orange, not red ...
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On 8/20/2014 12:38 AM, Avraham Bernholz wrote:

Not in my experience. I've literally never had a micro nor a mini fail. The only USB failure I've had was a cheap A-B cable that came with some piece of equipment and that was a conductor failure in one end caused by the too-thin wires. Perhaps the key is to simply be gentle when working with any sort of connector. If you are going to be rough with your cables, at least buy some good ones -- the 'basics' cables from Amazon seem to be well-made and aren't expensive.
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Andy Burns wrote:

Don't blame me, blame the spellchecker ;-)
Ta
-- chris
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Chris Uppal wrote, on Fri, 22 Aug 2014 14:26:08 +0100:

I suspect it's the latter as Frys was selling them cheap.
I do remember one failing right off the bat, and they replaced it without even looking at it, which is odd, for Frys (who is usually a pain to return stuff to).
So, I now conclude they are used to getting *these* cables back. Too bad Frys has such a short warranty period (something like two weeks or so).
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On 08/22/2014 07:31 PM, Avraham Bernholz wrote:

The Burbank and Industry stores have been OK about returning stuff, which is good because we've returned a LOT of stuff. They clearly sell a lot of questionable stuff, but the prices are frequently so good that we're willing to risk it. Over the years we're clearly ahead of the game, even taking the cost of gas for the return trip into account.

There are penalties for procrastination :-(
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Cheers, Bev
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wrote:

Same here.
It's my general rule: Plug in the most fragile first, the least fragile last.
This is what I tell my girlfriend ...
Start charging:
1. Plug micro USB into phone/tablet 2. Plug USB A into charger 3. Plug charger into mains
or
1. Plug micro USB into phone 2. Plug USB A into laptop
And after charging:
1. Unplug charger from mains 2. Unplug USB A from charger 3. Unplug micro USB from phone/tablet
or
1. Unplug USB A from laptop 2. Unplug micro USB from phone/tablet
Never had a USB cable fail on me.
--
Kees Nuyt

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Way too much hassle. Just leave the cable and charger plugged in all the time. The micro end still receives the same number of inserts.

Me neither.
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