Loose micro USB cables

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A new cable works wonderfully. For maybe 6 weeks. Then when I use the Samsung  
phone while charging... "Beep-boop, beep-boop?, charge indicator on, off,  
on, off. Over and over.

Replace cable, all is well.

Rinse, repeat.

Buying a new cable every month is not expensive but also not something one  
should have to do.

Yes, I've cleaned out the phone's connector of lint and debris.

I've seen instructions re. fixing the cable connector by bending the tension  
pins (external, bottom-side) but there are several types of tensioning  
designs; not all are repairable, IME.

Anyone find a long-term fix, or quality cable that avoids this problem  
altogether?

Thanks.


Re: Loose micro USB cables

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Maybe the phone connector is damaged. It gets a lot of wear. My phone
has some damaged pins that mangled the mates too. It has
cradle-charging connections on the side, so I use that now.

USB is really mediocre. The polarization is always ambiguous (except
for the ancient B connector), the pins are flimsy, and there are so
many different "universal" connectors.


--  

John Larkin         Highland Technology, Inc
picosecond timing   precision measurement  

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Re: Loose micro USB cables
On 4 Jul 2016, John Larkin wrote:

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I think the fact that for 6 weeks there?s no problem eliminates the  
possibility that the phone connector is damaged.

It?s not the electrical pins, it?s the robustness of the physical  
retention mechanism.

Thanks,
Dave



Re: Loose micro USB cables

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I have cameras and cables that have been mated/unmated maybe 1000
times, no problems. I bet the phone is breaking the cables.


--  

John Larkin         Highland Technology, Inc
picosecond timing   precision measurement  

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Re: Loose micro USB cables

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It's designed to destroy the cable instead of the connector in your
unspecified model Samsung phone.  In previous mini-USB connector was a
problem because it would destroy the connector in the phone which
would be far more expensive than replacing the USB cable.  The
improved micro-USB connector destroys the much cheaper USB cable.  I
think I pay about $1/ea for cables.
<http://www.ebay.com/itm/141558130661
You might want to stock up on cables.

These might explain the situation:
<http://electronics.stackexchange.com/questions/18552/why-was-mini-usb-deprecated-in-favor-of-micro-usb
<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USB#Durability

I can't tell from your description why your cables are failing.  I
don't think it's the cables as most of them are quite durable.  The
connector is rated for 10,000 insertion/removal cycles.  If you
plugged and unplugged your phone 4 times per day, that's 2,500 days or
6.8 years.

I occasionally see some problems caused by rubberized phone
"protectors".  The charging connector doesn't quite fit through the
rubber case so the user applies brute force to complete the
connection.  Sometimes the hole in the case is misaligned with the
phone connector or sometimes the molded plug on the cable is too large
to fit neatly in the hole in the case.  If you suspect the case, you
might try a different one, with a larger opening for the charger
connector.

Another problem is arcing.  The micro-USB connector system is made to
be hot pluggable/unpluggable.  Unfortunately, some phones and chargers
have large capacitors across the output which can pit the gold plated
contacts.  The chargers are suppose to start at a low current,
negotiate the maximum current, and then switch to the higher (2A)
charging current.  Some cheap chargers go directly to 2A causing the
arcing.  Some dirt and crud in the connector can produce a tiny arc.
The problem is that you have to tear the plug apart to see the damage
to the contacts.  You might try that on one of your numerous failed
cables.  If that seems to be the problem, which I think quite likely,
buy a different and better charger.

<http://www.righto.com/2012/03/inside-cheap-phone-charger-and-why-you.html
<http://www.righto.com/2012/10/a-dozen-usb-chargers-in-lab-apple-is.html

--  
Jeff Liebermann     snipped-for-privacy@cruzio.com
150 Felker St #D    http://www.LearnByDestroying.com
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Re: Loose micro USB cables
On 7/4/2016 8:20 PM, Jeff Liebermann wrote:
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Would be interesting to learn how they estimated that reliability.
If you have a machine that properly aligns the connectors when
plugged, maybe.
When a human plugs it in, rips it out, uses the device while charging
so that the connector gets pulled, pushed, twisted, things can get loose
really fast.

I buy most of my devices used at garage sales.  I've never had any
problems with mini-usb connections.
Virtually ALL acquired devices with micro-usb connectors are loose or  
intermittent.
I've switched to add-on Qi charge adapters that stay connected permanently
and don't get stressed in use.
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Re: Loose micro USB cables

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Durability or reliability?  This is old but probably good enough:
<http://www.usb.org/developers/docs/devclass_docs/CabConn20.pdf
See Pg 14 under "durability".  It references EIA-364-09 for the number
of insertion/extraction cycles.
     1500 cycles  
     5000 cycles for Mini B  
   10,000 cycles for Micro series  
   10,000 cycles for ruggedized Standard A  
   Cycle rate of 500 cycles per hour if done  
   automatically and 200 if manual cycle.
EIA-364-09 does not specify a specific test fixture (section 2):
<http://www.kekaoxing.com/upimg/standard/EIA/EIA-364-09C.pdf
I've seen one in action at a local headset manufacturer.  It was
rather boring to watch.  Something like this:
<http://qctest.sale.fustat.com/pz69bafb9-rotating-eccentric-type-usb-connector-durability-testing-machine-durability-test-equipment.html
but made in house.  More:
<http://gizmodo.com/the-r-d-machines-that-push-your-smartphone-til-it-break-1684892168
My guess(tm) is that it could be done properly with just a rotating
crank and piston arrangement instrumented with strain and force
gauges.

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Such tests are usually performed under ideal and controlled
conditions.  Unless connector side loading and torque limits are
specified, it's unlikely that anyone tests for those.  Presumably, the
metal framework around the micro-USB connector will survive longer
than the mating contacts so direct insertion/extraction testing should
provide an adequate test.  However, if you want to test for surviving
various forms of abuse, it will need to be added to the specification.

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Again, that's intentional.  If they were a snug fit, abrasive action
would wear down the connector rather rapidly.  There was also some
effort to minimize (not maximize) the retention forces so that it
would disconnect during cord pulling, dropping, and use as a yo-yo.

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That's probably the way to go.  However, that only solves the charging
problem.  There's still all the other stuff that the USB connector is
used for (USB OTG, file transfers, external devices, etc).  USB
connectors are unlikely to disappear.

--  
Jeff Liebermann     snipped-for-privacy@cruzio.com
150 Felker St #D    http://www.LearnByDestroying.com
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Re: Loose micro USB cables

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  The problem is that when it is already under power, which with most
dopey, lazy humans, it already is, it makes little arcs as it connects
and the microinch of Gold goes away and the carbonized conductor...  no
longer does.

Re: Loose micro USB cables
On Tue, 05 Jul 2016 17:28:28 -0400, DecadentLinuxUserNumeroUno

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AlwaysWrong.

Re: Loose micro USB cables
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All the purdee colors! This is the brand you buy? (looking for a  
recommendation not just Google results...)

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Hence my inquiry here.

How often do *you* replace a micro-USB cable, Jeff?
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Not using a case or protector.
Thanks.


Re: Loose micro USB cables

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Actually yes, I do buy colored USB cables.  They help keep my charging
mess somewhat organized so that I plug the stuff that needs 0.5A into
the tiny chargers, and the stuff that needs 2A into the larger
chargers.

I don't have any recommended brand or supplier.  I pass out USB cables
and chargers at my palatial office like they were candy.  I could put
a jar of them in place of jelly beans on the desk and have them
disappear in a week.  No failures, or at least no complaints for the
cords so far.  Big problems with cheap chargers, both AC and
automotive.  There's lots of junk out there.  I had to run around and
confiscate some 12V chargers I gave away for holiday gifts because
they were a short/smoke/fire hazard.

Incidentally, this is a good USB car charger:
<
http://802.11junk.com/jeffl/Powergen%20USB%20car%20charger/Powergen%20USB%20car%20charger.jpg


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I really don't know but close to zero for any kind of connector
failure.  I tend to loose cords, but not destroy them.  When I do
repairs, it's mostly replacing the receptacle on the phone, which is
beyond the abilities of most of my customers.  For my own equipment, I
usually have 3 chargers per device (office, home, car).  Of those that
use micro-USB charging (2 phones, 4 BT headsets, 2 tablets, Kindle), I
have never needed a replacement cable.  On some of the junk I buy at
garage sales, flea markets, and from customers, some of them required
replacement, but mostly because they were in some way abused.  Teeth
marks from kids and animals are common.  

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Some Samsung phones have removable backs that let you inspect the
micro-USB receptacle.  If your unspecified model Samsung is like that,
you might check if the two halves of the metal frame have seperated,
thus reducing the retention force and changing the pin alignment.

Also, you might try disclosing the Samsung phone model number.
Different phones tend to have specific problems.  Also, are you doing
anything unusual while charging, such as charging the phone while it's
sitting on a car seat while bouncing down the road or anything that
might cause movement of the connector while charging?  An excessively
loose connector will make that worse.  You might compare your
retention force with a different phone and micro-USB connector pair.

--  
Jeff Liebermann     snipped-for-privacy@cruzio.com
150 Felker St #D    http://www.LearnByDestroying.com
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Re: Loose micro USB cables
On 5 Jul 2016, Jeff Liebermann wrote:

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Sam Galaxy S3.

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I use it while charging, sitting on the couch or lying in bed. The  
cable/phone does get moved around. But for 6 weeks this isn?t a problem. So  
I rule out the phone?s connector as cause. A new cable fixes the issue.

Thanks.


Re: Loose micro USB cables

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Thanks.  I found no history of the S3 destroying connectors.

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While that's some movement while charging, it's probably not enough to
arc over the contacts.  Still, if the receptacle is loose, and you're
getting an intermittent connection, it might do some arcing.  Any
evidence of an intermittent connection on the battery meter or monitor
program?

Hmmmm...  Is you charging cable very thin (small diameter)?  At 2A,
tinsel and ultra fine wire cables can easily turn into fuses.  Any
chance your cable failures are fused wire failures instead of
connector failures?  


--  
Jeff Liebermann     snipped-for-privacy@cruzio.com
150 Felker St #D    http://www.LearnByDestroying.com
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Re: Loose micro USB cables
On 5 Jul 2016, Jeff Liebermann writ:

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Well, that?s the symptom that drives my search for the cause. Suddenly no  
charge indicator. Then I move the cable, ?beep-boop? the indicator shows  
charging. Is this a case of chicken or egg?
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Never go for those thin ones. Always fat (5mm?) ones.


Re: Loose micro USB cables

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Omelette perhaps?  When you wiggle the cable, I can't tell from here
whether you have a broken wire inside the molded connector, or you
have a contact connection problem.  Hold the phone and connector in
one hand so that the connector doesn't move.  Then, wiggle the cable
and see if it's still intermittent.  That should separate the
potential causes.  

Also, if it's that bad, I would tear apart the phone and visually
inspect the connector.  Same with using a magnifier to inspect the
contacts from outside the phone.  Might as well run a stiff
non-conductive brush through the receptacle while you're at it. Pocket
lint tends to be the same dark color as the connector insulation and
is difficult to see.  I've seen phones that I swear looked clean when
I looked inside with a magnifier, yet had an accumulation of lint at
the bottom of the connector which was preventing the connector from
seating properly.

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So much for that idea.  I've seen a few cables that are mostly
insulation with very little copper.  Maybe tear apart one of the
cables that had previously failed.

--  
Jeff Liebermann     snipped-for-privacy@cruzio.com
150 Felker St #D    http://www.LearnByDestroying.com
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Re: Loose micro USB cables
wrote:

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Here's a YouTube video showing the pocket lint in the connector
problem and cleaning procedure:
<
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R6p0Eg-yq3A


--  
Jeff Liebermann     snipped-for-privacy@cruzio.com
150 Felker St #D    http://www.LearnByDestroying.com
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Re: Loose micro USB cables
On 6 Jul 2016, Jeff Liebermann writ:

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Appreciate the pointer Jeff; that?s the first thing I did. Didn?t change  
the symptom I?ve reported here.

Cheers.


Re: Loose micro USB cables
On 4 Jul 2016, Jeff Liebermann wrote:

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The offer at that link is confusing: it first says ?Price: US $0.99? and  
I presume quantity is 1.

Then when you go to the drop-down menus for quantity, you have the choice of  
?X1? and ?X2? which changes the price to $3.00 and $5.19  
respectively.

Huh?

Anyone know what?s going on there?


Re: Loose micro USB cables

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Yeah, it's a bit of a muddle.  You have 4 selections to make.  Color,
Qty 1x or 2x, Model, and Quantity.

If you pick (for example) white, 1x qty, and for your Samsung Galaxy
S3, and one item, the price is $3.99 for one cable which is a bit
high.  If you pick Quantity (4th choice) at 10 pcs, you get a straight
multiplication without discount of $39.90 for 10 cables, also high.
However, if you pick the 10 color assortment, the total price is
$16.99 or less than half price.  

Not very clever because there's no way to get a discount price for 10
cables of a single color.  Just play with it and keep track of the
total price.  Or, find another vendor.

I prefer flat cables, but the same vendor offers a round braided
cabled:
<http://www.ebay.com/itm/141408686649
and in different lengths.  If you don't like braided cables, there are
thinner cables available:
<http://www.ebay.com/itm/201498237735
<http://www.ebay.com/itm/331385416604
Look around and you'll find them in flat cable, round cable, with LED
lights, glow in the dark cable, coiled cords, etc.  Whatever you buy,
get an assortment.  Also, buy a different charger, which I think is
causing the problem.


--  
Jeff Liebermann     snipped-for-privacy@cruzio.com
150 Felker St #D    http://www.LearnByDestroying.com
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Re: Loose micro USB cables
Jeff Liebermann wrote:
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    Dollar Tree stores have recently started selling the flat cables for  
$1 plus sales tax, and in a half dozen colors. There are a half dozen of  
their stores in my area. :)


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