USB C power cable noticeably "looser" than others

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by /V\acpower, Jul 5, 2017.

  1. /V\acpower macrumors 6502a

    Jul 31, 2007
    I own a nTB 13' 2016 MacBook (bought the moment they were announced).

    One thing that I noticed a while ago is that the power cable that shipped with the computer is quite "loose" when plugged into any of the the USB C ports of the MBP.

    It doesn't seem to be form the ports themselves, since the "looseness" of the usb C power cable is the same on both ports, and other USB C devices plugged into the same ports holds up and "snap in" pretty well. (by comparison the power cable does a very subtle and loose "snap" when connecting).

    Clearly it seem to be the cable, BUT the thing that is weird is that the same cable is very very tight and snappy when connected directly into the power brick. (because you can reverse the cable and plus whatever end of the cable either on the computer or in the power brick).

    My thinking is that it's somehow intentional from Apple for the connection to act a bit like a "cheap magsafe", make the connector disconnect instead of bringing the laptop with it.

    However, I'm curious to see if other users of 2016 MBP noticed the same thing.
  2. hamiltonDSi macrumors 68000


    Jul 29, 2012
    same here, lol i was thinking about it today again.
    my Apple adapters are snappy but the power cable is a loose.
    15" Macbook Pro, Late 2016
  3. SteveJUAE macrumors 68020


    Aug 14, 2015
    Land of Smiles
    I don't think so as you would have to discover what you did and always plug in the same way :) which defeats the objective of USB-C connector :rolleyes:


    Not found the same thing on rMB's cable which is the same, must just be a batch thing
  4. aevan macrumors 68030


    Feb 5, 2015
    Same case here. 15" 2016 MBP.
  5. xmonkey macrumors 6502a

    Jun 30, 2016
    I've noticed it. In fact one time it actually saved my laptop from falling as I tripped up the cord and it actually yanked nicely out of the port instead of bringing the whole thing with it.
  6. jerryk macrumors 68040

    Nov 3, 2011
    SF Bay Area
    Someone else just reported the same save in another thread. I wonder if Apple purposely made this cable a little loose fitting so it falls out when tripped over. Sort of a USB-C magsafe.
  7. Sterkenburg macrumors 6502

    Oct 27, 2016
    Mind you, this is purely anecdotal, but I also noticed that the MBP charging cable fits a little bit looser than other USB-C peripherals (I also have one USB C-->A adapter, a multipurpose USB-C hub and an external drive cable). It fits snugly when plugged in, but a sudden tug of moderate intensity is enough to disconnect it.

    I would not be too surprised if they told me these cables were engineered that way on purpose to avoid dragging the whole laptop when the cord is accidentally yanked. It would be a bad design if we were talking about a data cable, but for a charger and given the lack of MagSafe it would make a lot of sense.
  8. New_Mac_Smell macrumors 68000


    Oct 17, 2016
    It's just a friction connection on USB-C, which will become looser after a couple of months. USB-A is a more solid connector which is rectangular, giving greater friction strength on the corners as well as somewhat gripping through an overlapping connection. With USB-C being oval and small, there is less chance of deformity and as it's reversible, there is no friction overlapping going on (Top-Bottom, it's middle-around now).

    So basically, the connector will physically become a little loose over a small period of time when it's been used a few times. The power connector is going to be the most used one so most notable. They come out super easy after a few months which is nice when you trip on it.
  9. macintoshmac macrumors 68030


    May 13, 2010
    Mine is the same, 13" TB MBP 2016. Power brick is tight, MBP end is as any other USB-C.

    I do not think this is a cheap MagSafe solution, as this does nothing in case of any yank that is not straight on. a diagonal yank is most likely to happen and that has happened with me, and the connector did not come out. MagSafe would have disconnected at that kind of yank.
  10. mashmosher macrumors newbie


    Mar 17, 2009
    Great, another reason to keep searching for a true pro laptop with proper connectors that don't loosen over time. I don't know how many micro-USB-3 cables I've worn through on portable hard drives, as you mention they get looser with time ... am guessing that in a few months USB-C users will complain about external hard drives and USB keys ejecting from the slightest brushing of them with your hand (as micro-USB3 connectors do.) Not only does the ton of dongles pro users would need make this MBP useless, but those who go through the trouble of getting used to working with dongles might have their dongle wiggle out of the loosening socket over time.

    WTF was wrong with magsafe and having the extra 2mm thickness to retain proper USB ports and an SD slot?? Oh and of course a quadcore option and 32gb ram so that I can at least be tempted to upgrade my 2011 quadcore i7 16gb mbp ...
  11. New_Mac_Smell macrumors 68000


    Oct 17, 2016
    Urr they loosen a little is what I said, they don't continue to loosen to the point of no-connection. Seems a little over reactive, the reason we now have USB-C is the Universal part, USB-A is not a universal connector, it's a connector that can be used for multiple things. USB-C is truly universal and can be made into anything, so your 2011 computer without HDMI can now have it, or it could have Mini-DP, DP, VGA, DVI, or any other video connection ever made or ever will be made. So you don't need to have a single dedicated HDMI port that can only do one thing right?

    That's the main thing people just don't seem to understand with USB-C. Just because you buy a computer today that has VGA-USB-Express slots, does not mean those will be of any use in 2 years time, forcing you to buy another computer that has HDMI-USB-SD. Just not an issue with USB-C. Also we've always needed adapters, I used a DVI-HDMI on my PC monitor, hundreds of USB-A -> USB-B/Micro/Mini/Mini-D/SS... Now I just need USB-C -> USB-C, great huh? And it's because USB-C is a smaller form factor and so of far more use, USB-A persisted because the size of the connector on a PC is of little concern, it is however on smaller portable electronics. Which is why we ended up with such an array of connectors. Now just one, great. MagSafe was great, when it was a requirement when your battery was 4 hours and you needed to charge it frequently, USB-C allows me to use that port for everything and not just charging. It's time to move on. SD cards were great, and still are in most consumer grade cameras, but I thought we were talking about Pro users? Pros tend to shoot tethered if they know what's good, and very few shoot in the field feel the need to chimp on a laptop after every shot. Even if they do, it's probably CF or another system their using, or have a Pro camera with wireless transfer anyway. So the SD slot really only affects consumers.

    Also, 16GB of RAM was a much bigger deal in 2011 than it is today. With software/hardware/speed optimisations it goes a lot further than it used to. A lot of people don't seem to understand what RAM is, and have this notion that more is better. It's not, ideally we want computers with no tiered memory at all. Random Access Memory is just a hangup of technology as it is faster to use than sequential storage such as HDDs. Faster and more direct memory on CPUs is better, and a 2017 i7 has a greater l2/l3 cache than your 2011. Faster bus speeds and seek times on HDDs are better, and a 2017 NVMe SSD is much faster than your 2011 SATA3 HDD. So 32GB will not do much for 90% of people, the only critical requirement is in VM usage, when it's being physically taken up, effectively reducing the amount of RAM your system has. And people who use VM efficiently should be aware of this, and know that no machine is going to allow you to have 10 VMs running with 8GB of RAM each.
  12. /V\acpower thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Jul 31, 2007
    Nah, I don't buy the "it's simply wear on the connector".

    Actually, it's something I noticed in the weeks after receiving my MBP.

    Also when you connect the same exact plug in the power brick, the connection is very very solid and snappy. It's only when you connect the same plug into the MacBook Pro.

    And it's not wear on the Mac side either, since every other USB C dongles have very solid connection. (and it's the same in both ports)

    So if it was just wear on the cable connector, wherever you would connect it, it would feel loose, but it's not the case, it is only loose when connected in the MacBook Pro.
  13. New_Mac_Smell macrumors 68000


    Oct 17, 2016
    As has been said, that is wear. You said it's solid on the power adapter side, how often are you disconnecting that one? It's solid on the dongles, how often are you disconnecting them compared to the power adapter cable?

    If you look inside the USB-C male port, you'll see a plastic shield with small metal contact ground connections, same is in most connectors. It's those that get a little worn through frequent use. Not enough to interfere with the connection, but worn enough to appear 'loose'. If you try a different cable with the same port, it'll likely be firm. If you try that power cable the other way round, it'll likely be firm. All cables do this, it's not native to USB-C or anything. You're only noticing it because of the frequency of which you'll be connecting/disconnecting the charge cable compared to the past or other cables.
  14. blutoe, Jul 7, 2017
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2017

    blutoe macrumors newbie


    Jul 7, 2017
    --- Post Merged, Jul 7, 2017 ---
    From the very beginning last November when I got my MBP 15", the power connector sometimes sneaks out where it is disconnected, but not actually out of the socket, stopping charging, and using battery. Very frustrating, and unacceptable. Yes it is too loose, and it is ridiculous to have to wait on some aftermarket product to address the issue. Apple should be stepping up to the plate for it's customers! I have spent a fortune over the years. as I am sure many of you have too.
    ( my "b" key does not always work either!, not sure how to fix that with out doing damage, if anyone has an idea, please let me know). Previously, I have had 3 -17" MBPs. ( last 2 jacked up ), but finally decided to try the new one out. I like it, but the power connector has to e monitored constantly.. to make sure it is "in". That is inexcusable.
    --- Post Merged, Jul 7, 2017 ---
  15. aevan macrumors 68030


    Feb 5, 2015
    Old arguments. USB-C is a better solution than MagSafe, 16Gb is plenty for most pro work and MBP *is* a true Pro laptop. If it doesn't match your requirements get a different pro laptop. Simple.

    I thought we were done with usb-c and RAM whining.
  16. /V\acpower, Jul 8, 2017
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2017

    /V\acpower thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Jul 31, 2007
    You don't get it, BOTH end of the cable are exactly as snappy on the power brick. That's what I was saying.

    It's not the male part of the cable because both sides behave "loosely" when connected on the MacBook Pro, and both sides behave "snappy" when connected on the power brick.

    It's not the connectors of the MacBook Pro either because : 1. Both ports have the exact same looseness with the power cable, whatever side of the power cable is in. 2. Every other USB C devices are snappy in the MacBook's ports.

    So it's not the cable, it's not the's design then.

    EDIT : I remembered that I have a USB C port in the back of my gaming PC tower. I just tried the cable in. Result : Both sides of the cable are very very snappy and tight, as much as the power brick. So the Cable is also very snappy on my PC motherboard. So no, it is not wear.

    EDIT 2 : For months I used to bring my laptop to work with the power brick. I always travel the brick with the cable unplugged, so I unplugged it often. Also, since I don't pay attention to the part of the cable I plug back into the brick, it's safe to assume that 50% of the time it was one side of the cable plugged into the brick, and the other 50% of time the other side of the cable. (let's call them Side A and Side B). So, in this context, both Side A and Side B have had significant usage as the port I plug and unplug often directly on the MacBook Pro. So even in the hypothesis that it would be wear (which is false for reason stated above), both side A and side B of the Cable would have had approximately similar usage.
  17. Beau10, Jul 9, 2017
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2017

    Beau10 macrumors 6502a

    Apr 6, 2008
    Downtown San Diego
    That's what I'm finding as well. I got my '13 nTB back in Dec and plug/unplug it probably 2-3 times per day and only use the top port. The second port rarely gets used, probably has been plugged into maybe a few dozen times.

    - If I plug into the second port, it feels the same, it's not *loose*, but it slides it and out with minimal effort.
    - If I take the other end connected to the power brick, which has only been unplugged maybe a dozen times and plug it in to both ports it feels equally easy to plug/unplug.
    - If I take another usb-c cable and plug it into the top port, it requires alot more effort to snap it in.
    - If I take the well-used end of my charging cable and plug it into another usb-c device, it feels almost identical to my other usb-c cable, takes at least twice as much effort with a solid 'snap' to it.

    It seems the Apple USB-C cable -> Apple USB-C laptop port was engineered to behave this way. I posit it was done in the absence of Magsafe.
  18. james948 macrumors 6502

    Nov 17, 2004
    Mine's loose. Drives me mad. Particularly since there's no green/orange light anymore.
  19. davythefatboy macrumors newbie

    Feb 9, 2013
    My USB-C MacBook Pro bongs (the old startup sound that they removed on this MacBook) when you plug in a power cable. And it bongs when the plug connection intermits many times every day while I'm using the MacBook Pro in my lap. I remember that being a checkbox option that I selected somewhere, but I can't find it right now.

    In any case, even though I've probably only plugged/unplugged 40 or 50 times since I got it, the power connector cable that came with the MacBook is definitely getting looser and looser. I'd expect any wear to occur after thousands of insertions.
  20. Patcell macrumors 6502

    Aug 8, 2016
    Bergen County, NJ
    I noticed this out of the box with my 2017 15" Pro. I was wondering if it was just my cable... glad to see I'm not alone (perhaps it is by design).

    Stock power cable is loose in any of the four ports, whereas all other peripherals I have used (USB-C > USB A adapter, TB3 > TB2 adapter, etc) are all quite snug. I was concerned about it getting looser over time... if the cable wears out I don't much care ($19), but if the port itself loosens significantly that would be a huge issue to say the least.

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