WARNING: NewerTech USB-C Adapter considered harmful

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by osmoses, Jan 27, 2017.

  1. osmoses macrumors newbie

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    Nov 10, 2016
    #1
    You know that Nathan K guy who has been testing various USB-C cables and power supplies to see if they adhere to the spec?

    Well, he tested one of the NewerTech 60W USB-C power supplies and it appears to have smoked his PSU, graphics card, oscilloscope, etc. You can see his post here: https://plus.google.com/102612254593917101378/posts/UUhZvtMfozs

    His assessment of this adapter before his disastrous test was not great. You can see that post here: https://plus.google.com/102612254593917101378/posts/RKRhpyDfFkr

    He hasn't yet named names in his post, but one of the photos of the carnage shows the NewerTech adapter very clearly.

    If you have this adapter, might want to stop using it until more information comes out.
     
  2. ZapNZs macrumors 68020

    ZapNZs

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    #2
    What really makes me nervous is how this is another case of a company that makes reasonably good products offering a USB-C product that is harmful to the computer. If I am considering a product that is new and has few or no reviews, I then look at other products from the Maker. In this case, if I were to do that, I would have chosen to buy the product based on their other reviews.

    I really wish Apple would produce their own in-house dual power supply & hub. It would provide a nice option of something that is unquestionably safe & compatible, could provide the very port outs that many MBP users still use, and eliminate the need for trial and error.

    I think I am going to send them a letter.
     
  3. osmoses thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #3
    Yes, the fact that USB-C is apparently such a minefield is really disconcerting.

    C to C cables are of highly variable quality. C to <other> cables are somewhere between excellent and downright dangerous to your equipment. The lack of a pull-up resistor on some C to A cables is a documented way to cause damage in certain situations.

    And chargers/power adapters? Good god. Things are all over the place with respect to quality, safety, adherence to spec and performance.

    You can have a cable that is fine with charger A and device 1, but doesn't work properly with charger B.

    Some cables assert that they can handle certain amperages, but the wires are actually too small and it's a fire hazard, so if your charger can deliver that amperage, and your device can request it, hello fire.

    The very fact that testing USB-C devices for safety and adherence to spec is A NECESSARY THING is positively INSANE. The average consumer can't, won't and shouldn't HAVE to read technical articles to vet their $15 cable purchase, but that's pretty much where we are.

    What a clown show.
     
  4. goobot macrumors 603

    goobot

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    #4
    Well it's only a matter of time until someone sues because their house got burned down and companies get their **** together.
     
  5. Fishrrman macrumors G5

    Fishrrman

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    Feb 20, 2009
    #5
    osmoses wrote:
    "Yes, the fact that USB-C is apparently such a minefield is really disconcerting..."

    That's why -- just after the 2016 MacBook Pros were introduced -- I "looked things over", and then... bought a 2015 model instead!
     
  6. CaptRB macrumors 6502a

    CaptRB

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    Oct 11, 2016
    Location:
    LA, California
    #6
    This is a normal issue, so why don't people educate themselves?

    My friends Air was "murdered" by a USB Toshiba drive.
    My wife's iPhone was shot dead by a defective OEM cable.
    My 13" MBP (2011) was strangled by a monitor cable.
    My Nikon D700 was stabbed through the heart via a simple tethering.

    These things can happen with so much aftermarket garage engineering going on. You can limit your risk by only using cables and devices with some history. Look at Amazon and if there are a LOT of good reviews with your system. I bought cables from Monoprice. I bought a SD adapter with a long history and plenty of happy users with my exact MacBook.

    I sure didn't want to get stuck with the older models and hand over my cash for dated tech and specs.


    R.
     
  7. osmoses thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Nov 10, 2016
    #7
    I don't think it's a normal issue. Yes, there are cases where bad/defective cables kill things, but that's decidedly uncommon, and those are usually cables that are outside the norm somehow. Defective, got past QA/QC, etc.

    The most common failure modes for poorly made/low quality cables are either lack of function or lack of durability. That is, they either don't work or fail quickly.

    This is more significant. It appears to be the case that you can have a cable that *work fine* with device A and charger 1, but have a *totally* different outcome with device B and charger 1, up to and including killing the device. That's not normal, and that's not ok. The win with USB until now has been that if it fits, it'll work, and it'll probably be safe. Worst case, it just doesn't work.

    This is consumer level technology, so it shouldn't require a great deal of attention to use it or maintain it. Having to familiarize yourself with the nuances of the USB-IF specification and whether your $15 cable adheres to it is an unrealistic expectation for something that is supposed to be so ubiquitous, and intended to be used by people of wildly varying technical sophistication.

    People buy cheap cables, and cheap chargers. The spec should solve for the real world, and real people using it, or it's a fragile and inadequate spec.
     
  8. raqball, Jan 29, 2017
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2017

    raqball macrumors 68000

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    #8
    Fully agree...

    The 2015 is still an amazing machine! I am kicking around the idea of selling my nonTB and buying a Surface Book.. Maybe it's time to move on and call it a day. I love Mac and I have a TON of paid apps and programs but I am not diggin' Tim Cooks direction of Apple...

    Meh, not sure what I am going to do....
     
  9. CaptRB macrumors 6502a

    CaptRB

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    #9


    Sorry to say that you appear to have minimal experience here. This may not be normal, but it's a long standing issue and EASILY avoided.

    NEVER buy adapters and cables that lack plenty of good reviews with YOUR laptop, camera or drives.

    NEVER expect your current cables and adapters to be tested with your new gear.

    If you don't follow these rules, your chances of experiencing as issue increases (though still hardly common). When I fried a 3000 dollar camera, it was my fault for using an older cable. The older USB drive that killed my friends Air was pretty old.

    All easy to avoid. I bought new cables and adapters that were well reviews, so no issues. Even my monitor cables were replaced with new mono price cables. This is very inexpensive insurance.

    I really can't have a ton of sympathy for people who buy ultra cheap cables, oddball peripherals with minimal customer feedback or use old gear that should at least get a fresh cable. I own the 2015 rMBP and the 2016 tMBP and they're both highly reliable thus far. Both have been used with camera tethering, drives and external monitors with zero issues.

    Common sense should keep your new system safe 99.8% of the time. Not buying the beautiful 2016 models because you are worried about some rare (and easily avoided) cable issue doesn't make much sense. But I bet Apple is thrilled whenever they can unload 3 year-old tech at such a high price.


    R.
     
  10. osmoses thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Nov 10, 2016
    #10
    I think you misunderstand both my point and the issue at hand. As for experience, I will only suggest that perhaps you haven't really looked into this whole USB-C cable situation in sufficient detail. This does NOT appear to be a "rare (and easy avoided) cable issue" that is resolved by buying name brand cables and keeping them in good repair. It is rather an endemic and significant issue that is largely invisible to the average consumer. Read up here and here.

    Using your example of replacing older cables with new Monoprice cables as a safeguard. Sure. That works. Except in the case of USB-C, where SOME Monoprice cables are spec-compliant, and some are NOT. One can buy name brand cables (Anker, Aukey, Monoprice, etc) and components and still be at risk. That's not good.

    The point of a specification, such as the USB specification, is to ensure a minimum standard of performance and interoperability. That means that if you have a good quality USB cable that works right now with your USB devices, it should work fine with ALL of your USB devices. That's not to say that cables don't wear, and don't get damaged.

    But the WHOLE POINT is that a USB cable is pretty much a USB cable, absent specifics of build quality. One should reasonably be able to expect that this cable that works fine with this USB drive on this computer will work just fine with this other USB drive on this other computer. This isn't specialized stuff.

    I think that the USB-C spec is flawed, in that it doesn't adequately deal with all of the complexity and doesn't adequately solve for the real world, and that's why we're seeing these issues.

    As for your position regarding sympathy for those buying ultra cheap cables and oddball peripherals, I'd suggest that buying a NewerTech USB-C power adapter doesn't fit that narrative. It's a known good name brand, and was not exactly cheap. And yet, it's apparently dangerous.
     
  11. CaptRB macrumors 6502a

    CaptRB

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    #11



    No, it's not a large issue. And as you yourself just said, "It's largely invisible to the consumer". That's because a very small group is effected.

    I have not encountered any issues, nor do I know anyone who has. USB-C works perfectly and I'm using expensive and complex peripherals every day.

    To know if a device is compatible, all you have to do is wait for the beta testing in the marketplace to be done. If you think this doesn't happen with USB or even headphones, you've been living in a cave.

    The sky isn't falling and USB-C works great. You just have to use your head when buying cables and adapters...just like I did with my rMBP, AIR and every camera that I own today.


    R.
     
  12. mac_in_tosh macrumors regular

    mac_in_tosh

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    Earth
    #12
    So much for the advice heard here to stop whining about missing ports and just go out and buy an $8 adapter.
     
  13. osmoses thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Nov 10, 2016
    #13
    The primary dangerous issue occurs with power delivery, and seems to be most significant with larger demands, as when charging a laptop or phone. If you're not using that, I can easily imagine that you're not having problems.

    You yourself said that beta testing relative to compatibility happens in the marketplace. The point of a standard is that compatibility should not be in question.

    I'm glad that things are working well for you.
     
  14. CaptRB macrumors 6502a

    CaptRB

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    #14



    I bought a 14 dollar adapter. Works perfectly, but then I didn't just hit the BUY button. I did my homework.

    I can't feel bad for people who willingly hammer a nail in their heads. It's VERY easy to buy the right cables and adapters and avoid trouble.



    R.
    --- Post Merged, Jan 29, 2017 ---


    I charge my phone off the laptop and I recently charged the laptop in the field off a USB-C cable plugged into a Celestron power pack (of all things!).

    I comprehend your concern, but this has happened MANY times before. There are STILL products out there that can ZAP a machine via regular USB.

    But it's VERY easy to avoid these problems by waiting. There's just nothing new here.


    R.
     
  15. bunnspecial macrumors 603

    bunnspecial

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    Kentucky
    #15
    I don't own any USB-C computers and likely won't for a while.

    With that said, this is scary to me. NewerTech is a company I hold in the highest regard when it comes to Mac products-I put them on par with Sonnet. I default to buying NewerTech batteries usually in preference even to an Apple battery(if available) when I need one-in fact I just installed a NewerTech in a MacBook(2010) a few days ago.

    If a NewerTech product has problems, it makes me really worried about no-name stuff.
     
  16. CaptRB macrumors 6502a

    CaptRB

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    #16



    Who? Newertec??? LOL! I wouldn't touch that stuff with a 20 foot pole.

    Hopefully this will teach you something. Aftermarket is out to make money. They make mistakes all the time and usually a LOT more often than OEM because they have poor resources.

    Don't blame USB-C. The spec is well established. Newertech is to blame and anyone who trusts aftermarket right out of the gate is equally to blame.



    R.
     
  17. bunnspecial macrumors 603

    bunnspecial

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    #17

    Have you ever owned/used any NewerTech products?

    I'm not looking to get into a pissing match but most folks know that aftermarket products come in a wide range of quality.

    When it comes to 3rd party Apple products, Sonnet and NewerTech both have an excellent reputation that they've spent a long time building. NewerTech is probably best known for their batteries-they are equal to if not better than OEM Apple every time I've used them.

    I don't see NewerTech cranking out an intentionally bad product. They price their stuff at a premium, and their perceived quality allows them to sell at that price.

    (this post typed from a 2008 MacBook Pro with a NewerTech battery).
     
  18. ZapNZs, Jan 30, 2017
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2017

    ZapNZs macrumors 68020

    ZapNZs

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    #18

    I imagine it is a very big issue for those affected, and it clearly is a bigger issue than it was with USB-A or headphones, both of which have been poorly implemented by third party Sellers for a very long time. If it wasn't, I don't think the IF would be working on cryptographic authentication of certification for C?

    Further, you note about doing your research, and knowing what to look for, understanding the Type C certification & compliance testing, beta testing, and everything else. I highly doubt all Mac users are going to know exactly what to look for. Last I checked, Macs were made to be easy for new computer users to learn. They were designed to be simple. And supposedly USB-C is intended to be simple. Is this really simple?

    So what is the solution...? $200 of Apple-branded cables? Or perhaps of instead justifying it claiming that this is not a new issue and not a problem, the IF could do something about it?




    --- Post Merged, Jan 30, 2017 ---
    The people who make it seem to agree, and appear to be implementing a standard to address both device frying and malware attacks.
    http://www.usb.org/press/USB-IF_Press_Releases/USB_Type-C_Authentication_PR_FINAL.pdf
    http://www.theverge.com/2016/4/12/11416624/usb-c-authentication-fried-laptop
     
  19. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

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    #19
    [MOD NOTE]
    A number of posts were removed as they were derailing the thread. Please stay on topic and remember to be civil.
     
  20. osmoses thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Nov 10, 2016
    #20
    Nathan K has published his findings here. He has definitively identified this as the NewerTech adapter and definitively identified it as badly broken.
     
  21. ZapNZs, Feb 14, 2017
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2017

    ZapNZs macrumors 68020

    ZapNZs

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    Jan 23, 2017
    #21
    I hope the retailer that sells this reconsiders offering this product. It is clearly unsafe, both to the electronics and potentially to people.

    Further, discerning which products are higher or lower quality isn't always straightforward...

    "An inexpensive and better USB-C replacement AC adapter for the 12-inch MacBook with a Type-A port. It's also an option for new MacBook Pros."
    Screen Shot 2017-02-14 at 8.22.26 PM.png
    http://www.macworld.com/article/314...er-for-12-inch-macbook-and-other-laptops.html


    (on a side note, this is also pretty scary...)
     
  22. Mindinversion macrumors 6502

    Mindinversion

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    #22
    I have a last gen SB i7 16 gig 256 with performance base I'd gladly trade you for :p
     

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