USB-C charger certification aims to weed out faulty chargers

JC Torres - Aug 17, 2016, 4:00 am CDT
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USB-C charger certification aims to weed out faulty chargers

The USB Type C standard is a very young one, but thanks to the push from certain companies, everyone is jumping in quickly. So it’s not really surprising that not everyone gets it right. And not everyone even tries for that matter. Soon, however, worries about picking up a correct USB-C charger or even bringing multiple chargers for different USB-C devices will be a thing of the past. The USB Implementers Forum, a.k.a. the USB-IF, has just announced a certification program that will ensure that chargers comply with set standards and are, therefore, safe to use.

There are many new USB-C accessories popping up, both from well-known makers as well as shady brands, and not all of them comply well enough with the standard. And that’s true even for more trusted companies, as OnePlus once proved. In some cases, like with cables or adapters, that may be more of a nuisance. But when chargers are involved, the failure to meet specifications becomes dangerous, both for the device and the owner.

Thus, the USB-IF is implementing a Charger Compliance and Logo Program to try and rein in the herd before things go out of control. And if Benson Leung’s regular reports are any indication, it’s getting rather messy out there. Compliant chargers who closely follow the USB Type C standard as well as the Power Delivery specification will be allowed to carry a “Certified USB Charger 45W” logo.

The program has both safety and practical benefits. Undergoing certification will naturally bring charger makers in line and expose shoddy manufacturers and faulty units. But it also means that, in theory, users won’t have to carry multiple USB-C chargers anymore, as the certification means a single charger will work for any compliant USB-C device. At least, in theory.

Certified_USB_Charger_Logo_&_Certification_Program_Infographic

This all still depends on manufacturers. While some might indeed comply with the spirit of the standard, they might also throw in added features that would nullify the advantages of a certification program. Case in point would be the OnePlus 3, whose DASH Charge fast charging only works with OnePlus’ own charger and cable and nothing else. While you will indeed be able to charge the OnePlus 3 using any other certified USB-C charger, but you won’t be getting the DASH Charge benefit.

And, of course, there will be more enterprising accessory makers that will undoubtedly put the stamp on their chargers without going through the certification process, making the whole premise moot.


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