So it looks like several Amazon Basics products are fire hazards. Particularly a USB cord that started a house fire!
It is! At first blush it seems like it should be pretty simple to manufacture generics that meet basic safety requirements when dealing with electricity. I mean, I would have expected cables to charge slowly and deliver suboptimal performance on data transfer, but to actually catch fire?! That’s a major problem! One we shouldn’t even have to discuss!
I keep seeing an issue with how these generic brands lack the necessary info to help consumers make good choices. I was reviewing a product I purchased for work purposes this morning and several questions asked about using a USB to USB-C cable for a macbook pro specifically. The answers that came out were it would be fine, but the risk of starting a fire is high if you use that cable with a high powered charger that could exceed the current handling capabilities or push them to the limit. This isnt even taking into account poorly made products that lack regulation. If you do not do enough to educate users and tell them that as long as the plugs are right you are fine, you always risk the consumer. Its sad.
Agree with the concern if buy cheap buy twice.
But some common sense and basic electrical knowledge does wonders.
I very much doubt a USB cable by itself can cause a fire. It would require the cable to short and the charger to not cut out. If you had an Anker charger to a substandard cable then as the current increased the charger would stop the current before enough energy got into the cable to cause a fire.
The items to not go cheap on are those which regulates power.
Also what would happen with a MBP on a bad cable, the badness of the cable would manifest as lower voltage and lower current as the energy intended for the MBP is lost as heat in the cable. The MBP would then automatically stop taking power as the negotiations asking for, say, 20V gives 18V implies bad cable.
A power supply can sense a short as the current is too high.
A device can sense a short as the voltage is too low.
You certainly can cause a safety issue if you had a cheap charger which doesn’t cutout power if too high, with a bad cable, with a bad device which doesn’t cut if the voltage is funny.
Maybe I do not explain this right. If a substandard cable or one with too small of a line is installed into an Anker charger, I do not expect it to cause an immediate problem. If you put too much current onto a cable, it would not always just open or short. It could take time to heat up and then melt through the insulation. A good charger may not see this immediately because the line can handle it (unsafely mind you). Overcurrent protection does not come into play until things go terribly wrong, but things can start to go bad before the device sees an issue. I have bought cables personally in the past that are extremely hot when in use, even OEM cables have done so for me.
One thing that can lead to these issues is that a stranded wire typically used in all charge cables are rated for maximum current based on the number of strands. 20 AWG for instance is capable of 6 amps as a single core, but only 3.5 if there are 7-24 strands. Cheaper cables often have more strands in the wire itself (but not always) to make them more flexible, which also decreases the overall safe handling conditions.
Insulators can also lead to issues. Teflon insulation on a high number of strands can initially handle higher than proper current until they burn up (i.e. possible fire), which could happen before the charger ever sees the emergency shutoff conditions.
The easiest answer is that all cables are not created equal, pick 5 random cables that all can supply 2.4 amps, but some could get hot to the touch raising questions about how well it can handle that current. Chargers do not always protect this from causing an issue until it is too late. One spark is all it takes to start a fire in certain conditions and a cable that goes bad with a decent sized current can be part of the condition.
I bought an Amazon Basics cable once. Since then, it’s been Anker or Nothing for me. (Didn’t even bother taking the Apple cable & charger out of the box when I upgraded my iPhone in May!)
Lucky for me almost all the cables I use are Anker
Same I think I only have two non anker cables but are used in cars.
I’m on the road. I have only Anker chargers. I have 2 Anker cables, one Amazon basics and one EasyAcc USB cable.
For a cable to make heat it must deliver substantially less energy out the end it received, so just don’t do everything cheap. My Amazon basics 6 inch USBC cable is working fine, I periodically test all cables and last check was losing 0.2V, I’d buy Anker but they don’t make one. The EasyAcc cable reminds me why Anker, doesn’t work in all sockets but it’s about 4 inches and Anker doesn’t make one.
The 6ft USBC cable is Anker, the 3ft cables is Anker. My USBC and USB A chargers are Anker. I certainly could create an unreliable unsafe combination of cheap crap charger with cheap crap cable, been there done that.
for cables I tend to be more willing to spend more then save a few bucks considering your basically plugging in a mini-pc. Just not worth it if something does go wrong. Better to pay few bucks more then spend $700+ on a new phone