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

If you have a written up testing process and a GitHub gist or similar with a breakout adapter for testing, I can try to go through and add notes for any of the magnetic adapters that I’ve picked up to determine if they have any wires crossed or are passing through the correct voltages on the right pins.

I do not. I just did my own testing and validation, and did not document it at all, but I can speak to the integrity of the adapter that @CJ_Elevated linked me above.

If I made a 3d printable enclosure for the adapter, like one that would allow it to sit flush, would that be something people would use? Maybe have a usb-c splitter built into it and have a usb-c passthrough, and the recessed port for the volta charger tip?
EDIT: Maybe instead a usb-a and recessed usb-c so that something like this can be shoved into it:
https://www.amazon.com/Adapter-Splitter-Charging-Compatible-Chromecast/dp/B0968Q7MXZ/ref=sr_1_5?dchild=1&keywords=usb-c%2Bsplitter%2B60w&qid=1634567270&sr=8-5&th=1
EDIT 2:
Ordered a Volta spark, and the splitter, should get the Volta within like 10 days, will update when all comes in.

@jr123 That’s a different Volta, seems to be Volta power systems rather than Volta Charger…

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What gets me about these ‘solutions’ is that the cable always seems to have to have a regular USB-C at one end.

Why can’t I buy a cable with magnetic tips at both ends. That way, both the charger and the devices can all have magnetic connectors, and therefore it doesn’t matter which way around the cable goes or what device you want to use.

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Part of the challenge is that the PD spec requires specific resistors to signal what power levels are supported, and if those resistors only allow power flow in 1 direction, that means despite being able to swap tips on either end of the cable, you still have an “in” and an “out” end, which nobody will EVER get right the first try, so it would lead to even more griping than just having a magnetic tip on one end, and then clever ~firebug~ people using one of the stubby USB-C/TB3/TB4 magnetic tips on the other end to do silly things.

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But the magnetic cables I have work just fine with the magnetic end on the charger…

In fact I can’t think of a single USB C cable I have that only works one way around…well, except USB-C Lightning cables obviously!

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@aquaticDolphin looks like I goofed up my search. Changes my opinion somewhat on the company. The quality is certainly better than amazon cables, but I am skeptical now. The only redeeming thing is that there is someone you can contact and there seems to be more quality control than the cheap chinese cables that disappear on amazon.

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@jr123 no problem. I was pretty interested in having a magsafe like power cable before until I read a bit more into it.

In shameless self-promotion, I’ll link to one of my own posts that convinced me to avoid magsafe like chargers.

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I’ve really enjoyed my Volta cables even if they stick out a little. Using the spark with my batch 2 Framework ever since I’ve received it.

One of the things I really like about (compared to other manufacturers) is the fact that they have a lifetime warranty. And I’ve definitely utilized that.

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Shout-out to @Sean_N who designed an expansion card for a more integrated magnetic charging solution. Been using it and it’s awesome.


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Does it really need all those pins to charge? How about a magnetic 2 conductor connection and a usb-c module Ina 3d print?

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so, as a big fan of magnetic USB cables for things like my phone(s), e-cig, bluetooth headphones, etc., I figured I’d give this a shot. I picked up the following adapters to use with my main TB3/USB-C Anker dock and a separate USB-C hub (so I can use my work and personal laptop at the same time while working from home a bit easier):

https://smile.amazon.com/dp/B09BC8XX6B?psc=1&ref=ppx_yo2_dt_b_product_details

I kind of hate it and already want to return it, but will likely hold on to the pair as they have potential.

The right angle is actually a problem for me. Picture for reference, my work laptop:

Combined with the cable’s end, it’s too tall and won’t point down, so now it’s actually blocking ports, the exact opposite of their advertise “feature” of being right angled and smaller than similar products. I prefer not to plug my web cam into the dock (my work laptop gets weird with it unless plugged directly in), so that’s a problem.

Unrelated, the magnet is weak. Good for the original magsafe idea of “can’t rip the laptop off the desk by accident!” but terrible if you lightly brush against it.

All that said, they do work as expected. Both monitors, ethernet, USB, etc. all function as they should and I get the full charge rate. I mostly picked them up to make switching from my home to work laptop during the work week a bit easier, and it arguably does that. If I didn’t need to use my work laptop at home the only real complaint would be how weak the magnet is, as I could lift my 3D printed dock/laptop stand and/or design a new one to incorporate the adapter better. However, for the foreseeable, I find it hard to recommend.

Loving everything I’m seeing here, but none of the 3D printed enclosures I’ve seen thus far for these are actually flush-mount (a la magsafe, with the contacts in line with the outer edge of the laptop enclosure, and a recessed lip around them to allow for the male connector to fit around it) is there a good reason for this, or do I just need to design my own?

Edit: @CJ_Elevated, how’s your design coming?

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probably due to the dimensions of the USB-c extender. You may be able to take an extender apart and then shrink the package. Would be a bear to pull off at small scale.

These connectors are marketed (and do actually work, I checked) as fully capable Thunderbolt connectors. That alone requires a certain number of pins.
Beyond that, you need more than two little pogo pins to reliably conduct the peak 65W of charging power. If you try to run several amperes of sustained current over a single pogopin connection, the only signals that connector will convey are smoke signals.

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