USB-C Charging Cable Post-Mortem

Good evening everyone

Long story short, I tripped on my charging cable while my laptop was charging. Shame on me, should’ve been more careful. Having tried to bend the plug back into place with no luck, I declared the charging cable a lost cause. I decided to explore the cable that FW ships with their laptops.

Having immediately cut the charging plug off, here’s the decapitated and mangled plug:

And the rest of the cable, for reference:

Now, I stripped the charging cable into its component wires:

My initial guesses, based on the color coding of the wires, I assumed USB 3.0 wiring:

Those are some t h i c c power wires, even if stranded.

Another FW user, @Josh_Cook, suggested I take a deeper dive into the plug’s assembly. Here’s what the plug looks like after the rubber shell was removed:


Now, I wanted to see what the solder joint was encased in, so I took out some snips. Snipping a portion of the encasement reveals that this isn’t your typical hot glue, as the force required to shear was significantly higher and produced stress coloration where the snips have sheared.

I was kinda stuck - that being said, @Josh_Cook suggested I take a heatgun to the plug. And so I did. A mini PCB fell out along with the wires. Afterwards, I attempted to remove the shielding from the plug and ended up with this:

The USB plug itself is soldered to a 2x6 set of pads on the PCB, one on each side of the board. The PCB had some markings on it, one side with markings for power:

The other side had markings for USB data lines and some other signals (I could’ve sworn it was supposed to be SuperSpeed lines)

@Josh_Cook suggested that these also may be CC lines for USB-PD.

Lastly, I try to see if there’s a part number for these plug assemblies. Here’s the best I can do with my smartphone lens:

From inspection alone, I can make out the text CITA21113A on the plug itself. I could be wrong. I have also not found these connectors on major distributors like Digikey, Mouser, Newark, etc. These must be from a manufacturer catalogue instead.

Further work

While the plug itself is completely mangled, I’d like to salvage the cable. Please confirm the wiring arrangements I have uncovered here, and if you can, please suggest a suitable replacement USB-C plug assembly for repair. I know cables are relatively cheap in the grand scale of things, but it’d be a waste to throw out this one for conveniece sake.

Credits

@Josh_Cook for helping out with the exploration and interpretation

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Just to note, a good magnetic connector would help avoid such.

But thanks for the time you took to do a breakdown.

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That is a really bad suggestion. USB-C magnetic cables are not USB-IF certified meaning that if it causes any damage you will be accountable for fixing the damages at your own cost, if the cable is USB-IF certified and had an issue like ESD discharge framework would replace it. USB in general is meant to be shielded so no one touches the contacts, if anything that is conductive gets in between the pins it will blow the power supply. Or if you touch it you will get a high amperage shock. Any OEM who created a magnetic charger engineered it so it is safe. I’ve still had bad experiences with Apple MagSafe.

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OK I’d better check that out and maybe only use the ones I’ve order on my phone :slight_smile: I’d better check with the phone manufacturers too I suppose.

Well that could be said of any connector, but I would hope a decent source would be protected from a short.

Hardly likely from a 5v output. The 20V is only provided via the cable one the device and charger communicate and I’m an electrician and handle 24V systems with no concern. 50V whilst in the bath may be an issue :slight_smile:

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Did an annotation of the PCB


Well I’ve contacted ‘support’ with the info of my ‘magnetic’ cables and here is their response.

Thank you for your inquiry and we are more than happy to assist you. Our warranty guide didn’t mention any specific brands. On the forum (USB-C Charging Cable Post-Mortem - #2 by amoun) he might be referring to number 4 on our warranty guide: Damage caused by third-party parts or modules not tested and certified by Framework. You can know more about our warranty limitations through this link: Framework | Framework | Warranty

I would say the cable is not a module nor a part and is therefore OK to use.

If you think that a magnetic cable wouldn’t be considered a part or module during a warranty claim, then I’ve got a bridge to sell you. If it harms your Framework I would not count on any warranty support.

I see no note from Framework that a user has to use any specific power adapter or cable, or SD card or whatever you plug into the laptop.

Sure if the attachment causes a problem that is another matter.

  1. Damage caused by third-party parts or modules not tested and certified by Framework. A cable is a part/module.

Sure if the table the laptop is on or the roof caves in on the laptop the warranty doesn’t work.

You may be arguing against yourself here as I don’t disagree with the basics, just the ‘Bad idea’ bit.

What’s bad to you is a personal experience, not something I am encumbered with :slight_smile:

The issue is, does Framework’s warranty become void if you have a non authorised roof over your head, use a table to place the computer on, use a non authorised charger.

Clearly in any of those cases the liability is down to builder of the accessory.

The use of accessories does not invalidate the warranty else the same would be said for inserting anything into an expansion card that Framework hasn’t authorised.

The issue is that of liability, certification of a cable doesn’t mean Fairphone will take liability, nor for the table.

Going seriously off topic talking about the warranty. Framework made it quite clear in their email to me, which stated as expected. No worries, no bad vibes.

Let’s not continue this.

3 Likes

Hmm, thread became a bit heated with warranty talk.

As for the magnetic connector, idk if it’s even safe to do 60W with the current USB-C MagSafe-style connectors. Higher contact resistance due to small contact area is probably going to burn out the magnetic connectors faster, considering that you’re pushing quite a bit of current into it. The way I see it, it would probably need a lot more contacts to deliver the power with a lot less amperage per pin.

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Our cables do, by supporting the universal charging standard USB PD up to 60W.

Will see how they fare when I get them :slight_smile:

I’ve long replaced the damaged cable with a Pluggable TB4 cable. The corpse remains on my desk drawer, waiting for a saviour.