Magsafe-like power cable; to avoid cable-tripping dropping expensive laptop

People investing in long-term laptops may be interested in this third-party charging cable with a magnetic tip that will disconnect if somebody or some pet tries to walk or run through the cable. https://voltacharger.com/ NB Choose “Spark” product not “2.0” product. Also note prices default to AU$.

I have not tested this and have no affiliation with the company.

12 Likes

I don’t see why this wouldn’t be default - and I bet the design could cheaply be drastically improved. As you all know the main design flaw of magsafe is the rest of the charger which is so fragile / often replaced. “Not rocket science” to make that durable :slight_smile:

This is brilliant. I’ve been always under the impression that this technology was patented by Apple and couldn’t be used by anyone else.

I took a look at their website but I don’t understand the difference between 2.0 and Spark.

2 Likes

The Volta Spark can deliver 60W or 100W whereas the Volta 2.0 is only 18W or 22.5W although I would think that alone would only mean a longer charging cycle.

To my knowledge, the main reason is that Framework uses the Power Delivery charging protocol (“PDS”) which the Volta Spark supports the and Volta 2.0 does not.

Anyone with more technical expertise, please correct or clarify.

1 Like

Just a heads up to anybody looking into the magnetic charger tips: be careful as quality control and charging abilities vary. The ones on amazon are cheaply made. The magnetic tips don’t hold very well. My wife and I tried the ones with thousands of fake five star reviews and the cable would fall off very easily. I am going to give the volta a try and let you know how it compares. Most real companies that make these magnetic tips don’t last long. Apple holds the patent and goes after any companies that try to make them. Beware the alibaba bulk bought items with constantly changing brand names.

2 Likes

Thanks, @jr123. I’m holding off on the Volta right now simply because for me it’s a nice-to-have but I’m definitely looking forward to hearing about your experience.

The volta arrived. The magnet is definitely stronger than other amazon magnetic tips I bought. The charging tip has a nice blue indicator which is a bonus to help you know it is charging. There is a gap, so it doesn’t sit flush to the case. I’m not sure if the gap is a framework thing for not having deeper ports or if the volta is made like that. The gap doesn’t seem to catch things or bother me though. The cable stays nicely attached and detaches when my dog decides to lay on my cable at least 4 times a day. On cheapo amazon cables, the cables would fall off with any movement of the laptop. Charging performance is the same, so no noticeable issues. I bought the 60 watt version. It’s a win and I am happy with it. If anyone can suggest a good free program then I can give some data/stats on it for charging.

3 Likes

@CJ_Elevated, are you able to supply cad files so we all can embed a volta charger into an expansion card?

Also, I know this’ll probably be a different product, but does anyone know of a way to have a mag cable connect at a 90 degree angle like the old macbook ones?

1 Like

This is what I’m switching my design to incorporate - https://amzn.to/39btu84

2 Likes

Excellent. Ordered and Subscribed, and can’t wait to print one up myself. It’ll be great to have the day I actually get my Framework.

1 Like

Unfortunately it does look like this is a Framework issue, though I’m not sure why the receptacle would be designed that way.

1 Like

@Framework, an explanation here would go a long way. :smiley:

I have been using the Volta XL (earlier PD enabled cable) and the Volta Spark on a few of my laptops and phones for a while, they are awesome and the magnetic hold is pretty good.

That said, sometimes their cable lengths aren’t optimal, so I’ve explored other options, and recently picked up a few of these that are allegedly Thunderbolt 3/USB4 compatible, with claims of speeds from 10/20/40 Gbps and 4k@60Hz video. I haven’t been able to test the speeds or video yet, but they are cheap and let you use your existing USB-C to USB-C cables (like the Framework one if you got their charger), and the 90 degree offset head is great for the Macbook Pro or other laptops with their TB3/USB-C ports rather close together.

1 Like

@CJ_Elevated, any reason you chose this one over one that wouldn’t handicap data transfer speeds so much? Obviously I want safer charging, but I’d prefer it if I still get good data performance as well.

@ERLindeman I haven’t found a full 24 or even 19 pin magnetic cable that was stable enough. The connectors can short out if the cable is just slightly misaligned or twisted. This one allows for full 100W PD and little risk of damaging the motherboard.

2 Likes

@CJ_Elevated Okay, that makes perfect sense. Thanks for the explaination; I can totally live with that.

gf and I been using these for a year so far. 65W charging, 2external monitors and gigabit to a docking station, using the special (short) cable that comes with the docking station so that removes one common problem of not using a good enough cable to get full current or full tb3 data speed.

2 Likes

Hmm, that looks good, but I am worried about the issues expressed by CJ. I’ll probably remix @CJ_Elevated’s new design to incorporate a seperate USB-C port in the same card that can take advantage of the full data speed, since that way I get the best of both worlds and get an extra port to boot. That’ll probably be easier said than done, and CJ might do that himself, since he seems to like to push the boundaries quite a bit, but I’m sure the combined enginuity of this community can figure out a way of implementing MagSafe w/o sacrificing power or data speed or reliablity. It may take a few dozen iterations though. Currently getting my solder station and 3D printing workflow back up to a useable state, haven’t had a real reason to use either in the year since the move, and having this challenge makes me so unbelieveably excited!

I caution everyone ordering amazon magnetic chargers including power bricks. Those cheap products are not necessarily UL or produced with any stringent ISO testing. At least Volta publishes the certifications they have whereas the amazon listings just mention it with no links or references. The amazon ones I ordered got extremely hot and easily broke. Do your homework and thoroughly check the certifications, especially on expensive laptops.

4 Likes

Yeah, I would only buy an adapter to use with an existing UL brick, and I checked pin continuity on the one I did get, just to be extra safe. I think (or at least would hope) that everyone considering such a route in this community is bright enough to do their due diligence.