Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Get HideMyAss! VPN, PC Mag's Top 10 VPNs of 2016 for 55% off for a Limited Time ×
Microsoft Portables Power Hardware

Microsoft's 'Replacement' Surface Pro Charger Cable Is an Off-Brand, and Short (theinquirer.net) 74

Carly Page writes with a story from The Inquirer, where: As part of its Surface Pro charger recall, Microsoft has chosen to replace the sleek, shapely matt[e] plastic original with a cable approximately half the length and ordered from an off-brand manufacturer, in our case China's I-Sheng Electric Wire and Cable Company. Writer Peter Gothard points out a plausible reason for the length, though: "The extraordinarily short length of the cord is presumably to discourage behaviour that resulted in the "tightly wrapped" or "repeatedly bent" cables catching fire in at least 56 separate incidents."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Microsoft's 'Replacement' Surface Pro Charger Cable Is an Off-Brand, and Short

Comments Filter:
  • And, it cheaper (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Overzeetop ( 214511 )

    It's cheaper than providing a high-quality cable which isn't as affected by wrapping, or providing a built in wrapping mechanism, or some other inventive technical fix.

    It's not like this is for some super-premium flagship device that they're...oh, whoops.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by macs4all ( 973270 )

      It's cheaper than providing a high-quality cable which isn't as affected by wrapping

      You mean like Apple does with it's silicone-rubber cables that resist cracking...

      or providing a built in wrapping mechanism

      You mean like Apple does on many chargers.

      Now cue all the people who yank their charger cables out "by the roots" repeatedly, then complain that the cables eventually fail at the junction of the connector and cable.

      Everything has a breaking-point; but obviously Microsoft paid absolutely ZERO attention to both the problem, and what's worse, to the supposed "solution".

      • Re:And, it cheaper (Score:4, Informative)

        by Maxwell ( 13985 ) on Thursday February 11, 2016 @02:39PM (#51488695) Homepage
        SP3 owner here. They could have made the power adapter a wall wart - it isn't that big. Wallwart---cable--connector. Simple Instead they went wall--cable--brick---cable---connector. This just begs to have both cables wrapped around the brick when travelling. It's that first cable that breaks open. The second cable is much more robust, has the flexy thing at the joint and is permanently attached to the brick. the first cable is a standard type used in electric razors, old toshiba laptops etc. Very common part. And from the pic the replacement does not look anymore robust than the original...so will have exactly same issue....people will wrap it around the brick..and it will fail.
        • by Niddix ( 544323 )
          Don't know what happened with the cord in the article. I just received 15 of them. They are the exact same cord that came with the surface, except they now have a strain relief boot at the brick end. Same length, same look just the added boot.
          • by bondsbw ( 888959 )

            It seems that which replacement you get largely depends on the outlet type [winbeta.org], which of course depends on your location. Plenty of people are saying their replacement cord looks identical or nearly identical while having different part numbers.

        • Re:And, it cheaper (Score:5, Insightful)

          by fustakrakich ( 1673220 ) on Thursday February 11, 2016 @03:18PM (#51489063) Journal

          The person who invented the wall wart should be taken out and shot. I can only use two of the six outlets on the power strip. Some are so heavy they fall out of the wall socket. "cable--brick--cable" eliminates that problem. Flexing the cable when you're packing the thing two or three times a day, every day, is going to break it pretty quick, no matter how well it is made.

          • Flexing the cable when you're packing the thing two or three times a day, every day, is going to break it pretty quick, no matter how well it is made.

            This. And, since the cables in question can be had for $2/dozen, give or take, it makes sense to leave one plugged in wherever you're likely to need it and just unplug it from the charger.

          • by dkman ( 863999 )
            What you need are some of these cord extensions [amazon.com]
          • No, the person who decided to use a "cable-brick-cable" instead should be taken out and shot. First of all, nothing stops you from simply adding an extension cord to the wall wart if necessary, but doing the opposite is not possible. Second, there's no reason the transformer can't be the same size as the outlet in the X and Y directions, and as long or short as it needs to be in the Z direction. Third, if plugs are falling out of your wall sockets, then your wall sockets are worn out and need to be replaced

            • Yo dawg! I got a cable for your cable! Only a dollah! Buy three and I guarantee at least two of them will work. Such a deal!

              Sorry, I shouldn't have to buy and carry an extra extension cable... The damn charger is already one too many.

            • by Lumpy ( 12016 )

              Which is why the apple power supply is perfect. it comes as a wall wart that you can plug in a cable to to make it a cable-brick-cable. It's the best of all worlds.

              I really like the 500ma charge port on my surface pro's power brick, it is handy!

          • So does a 1' extension cord.
      • This is why we have sugru! [sugru.com]

      • Or cue all the people who treat their chargers with some respect and yet still have these issues. I don't wrap my MacBook charger cables around the provided wrap tines because even those are too tight, with sharp 90 degree corners at the inner wrapping; I loop the cord slightly larger than the charger itself and use a proper velcro wrap to hold it together and have never had an issue with cable breakage. However, though I also always unplug the charger by the connector, and never by the cable, between my wi
      • by gl4ss ( 559668 )

        resist cracking?

        look, do you know why there exists an entire product category of plastic connector protectors? BECAUSE EVERY SINGLE iphone 4/5/6 cable breaks at the stem in a year of normal use!

        (seriously, apples cables are just as bad as any other, nokia used to make decent microusb cables but then they started ordering from the same places everyone else does and it's apple style copy shit)

        • resist cracking?

          look, do you know why there exists an entire product category of plastic connector protectors? BECAUSE EVERY SINGLE iphone 4/5/6 cable breaks at the stem in a year of normal use!

          (seriously, apples cables are just as bad as any other, nokia used to make decent microusb cables but then they started ordering from the same places everyone else does and it's apple style copy shit)

          EVERY SINGLE ONE?!?

          Tell that to my pristine 4 year old iPhone 4s Cable, and my pristine 1.25 year old iPhone 6+ Cable.

          Sorry. You're full of shit, and obviously don't know how to not abuse a cable. Note that you have had problems with other cables, too. So perhaps it is time to place the blame where it REALLY lies: You.

          No one can make an abuse-proof cable. Ask the people of Western Electric, who tried their level best for DECADES to make pay telephone handset cables that vandals couldn't destroy. How m

    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      TFA is bullshit anyway. This cable is probably fine, they are just snobs about things with Chinese names on them. The original was probably made in China too, it's just got different branding on it.

      There are issues, like the length, but complaining that it's a Chinese "off-brand" (meaning not American) is just racist.

      • by swb ( 14022 )

        There are issues, like the length, but complaining that it's a Chinese "off-brand" (meaning not American) is just racist.

        That's a bit of a leap, isn't it?

        I mean, I generally love generally high quality and extremely low cost made in China stuff, but the fact of the matter is there is there is some really crappy, off-brand Chinese made stuff, like the dual port 2.1A USB car adapters I bought that are undersized by several mm and won't make contact well enough to even work.

        How exactly does it disparage the race of the makers if I describe it as off-brand Chinese parts? It indicates where it came from and that it is not even a

  • by SuperKendall ( 25149 ) on Thursday February 11, 2016 @02:28PM (#51488571)

    For the few of you that actually bothered to click on the article link, the picture shows some kind of really short cord with a plug at the end...

    I don't know what the hell that is but it cannot be the cord the article is about, because the cord MS is sending is just the cord that goes between the power brick and Surface Pro, so it doesn't have a plug.

    Also worth noting that the article summary might lad you to believe this was about the current Surface Pro, but it's not - Surface Pro 3 and older. Even then it does not apply to a Surface Pro 3 you'd buy new from Microsoft now, they ship with fixed cables already. It doesn't affect the Surface Pro 4 at all.

    • by Maxwell ( 13985 )

      For the few of you that actually bothered to click on the article link, the picture shows some kind of really short cord with a plug at the end...

      I don't know what the hell that is but it cannot be the cord the article is about, because the cord MS is sending is just the cord that goes between the power brick and Surface Pro, so it doesn't have a plug.

      Also worth noting that the article summary might lad you to believe this was about the current Surface Pro, but it's not - Surface Pro 3 and older. Even then it does not apply to a Surface Pro 3 you'd buy new from Microsoft now, they ship with fixed cables already. It doesn't affect the Surface Pro 4 at all.

      ?? the cord that goes from the Sp3 to the brick is permanently attached. That can only be replaced by swapping out the brick itself. The *other* cord is the one being replaced, as shown in the pic.

      • Intersting, that goes against what the article was saying and what other link I read said.

        • by Khyber ( 864651 )

          Your article also goes against what has been common use for a decade-plus.

          Every portable computer I've had comes with wall-cord-brick-cord-portable device charging scheme. Desktops still follow this convention once you decouple the idea of internal vs external.

          Only my phones have wallwart-cord-device charging.

          • Only my phones have wallwart-cord-device charging.

            Sorry, wrong!

            Although this 65W Apple Wall-wart charger [jumia.co.ke] (yes, that's an ad for a generic rip-off, but it has the best pictures) for my 2013 MacBook Pro comes with a cable that snaps in, in place of the built-in plug (which also has retractable "blades"), it does indeed function in "Wall-wart" configuration, too.

            And yes, it's nice to have the flexibility. At home, I can just plug it into the power strip on my desk, but sometimes it is nice to have the extra 6 ft. of cord that the AC cable provides. Yes, I

            • by Khyber ( 864651 )

              "Sorry, wrong!"

              Apparently your dumb ass forgot to read the *MY* part.

              • "Sorry, wrong!"

                Apparently your dumb ass forgot to read the *MY* part.

                No I didn't. But apparently YOUR dumb ass forgot to parse the sentence correctly. The subject of your sentence was "phones", not "my". Meaning that only "phones" had Wall-wart chargers.

                I was saying that my LAPTOP had a Wall-wart charger.

        • Interesting, SuperKendall spouted off about some shit he knew nothing about and got caught, yet again.

    • > I don't know what the hell that is but it cannot be the cord the article is about, because the cord MS is sending is just the cord that goes between the power brick and Surface Pro, so it doesn't have a plug.

      Probably a stock photo. I bet if we use Google Images to search for it, we'd find it in some stock collection.

    • SP2 owner here.

      When I got my recall notice (via Amazon, where I bought it), my first thought was "good thing I don't keep mine plugged in all the time" (it sees very light usage, and the battery holds up nicely for weeks on end while powered down)

      Then I clicked on the actual notice and was puzzled for a bit. The charger pictured in the notice didn't look anything like the one that came with my Surface. Mine was a compact wall wart with folding prongs. More searching led me to a listing for a Surface 24 [amazon.com]
  • by mnslinky ( 1105103 ) * on Thursday February 11, 2016 @02:29PM (#51488581) Homepage

    It'd be nice if customers would figure this out. They're supposed to be kept flat and straight, or left in the packaging they shipped in. jeez.

  • by Cutriss ( 262920 ) on Thursday February 11, 2016 @02:30PM (#51488591) Homepage

    The AC cable for the Surface Pro series is two pieces like most laptop cables. There's a simple AC cable without ground that goes from the wall to the transformer block, and then the transformer has a fixed DC wire that goes to the tablet itself.

    This recall *only* affected the AC cable, and that cable was already pretty short (like two feet tops). The bulk of the cable length comes from the DC cable itself, and that did not shorten (because it wasn't replaced). Don't get me wrong, the DC cable has issues and needs a reinforced boot, but we're talking of a total cable length loss of maybe six inches.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I just received 15 of them.

      The new ones are exactly the same length as the cable they replaced.

    • by Khyber ( 864651 )

      "There's a simple AC cable without ground"

      In many, if not most USA electrical panels, neutral and ground are tied together at the bus. A separate ground is run (or tied to pre-existing metal plumbing going into earth) for the third prong. Even without the third prong, the general protection remains the same.

      Still the same effect. This is essentially irrelevant unless some idiot wired hot/neutral backwards, and even then, the additional ground won't help much.

      • by Cutriss ( 262920 )

        Yeah, I'm not an electrical guy, I should've just said "two prong", heh.

      • The ground line gives you a true ground, isolated from any shit that bad devices (or bad utility power) might shit out onto the neutral line, making it NOT a neutral line. And anyone who's ever dealt with audio equipment knows what hell it can be when you can't get a real ground. Do you like audible 60 Hz sine waves? Because improperly grounding shit is how you get them.

        There are plenty of reasons we added the third prong, and it's not because Khyber is smarter than the dumb scientists, engineers, and el

        • by Khyber ( 864651 )

          "making it NOT a neutral line."

          Until some dumbass (Like I've seen in Texas) puts tied neutral/grounds too close to separated grounds, and wet ground conditions cause problems when lighting hits.

          But hey, I've actually bothered with having to install full-building electrical systems. You keep talking.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Not sure if it is because I'm in the US, but my replacement cable for my Surface Pro 3 is pretty much identical to my original cable, same looks and the same length.

    http://i.imgur.com/SWYoudk.jpg

  • This [xboxlive.com] is the actual image of the cord being replaced by Microsoft.

  • The extraordinarily short length of the cord is presumably to discourage behaviour that resulted in the "tightly wrapped" or "repeatedly bent" cables catching fire in at least 56 separate incidents.

    Hmmm ... You're holding it wrong?

    Sorry, but people wind cables, it's a use case. This sounds like a bit of bullshit to me.

  • Seriously, this is what is considered news around here? A company sends out a free replacement power cord that prevents fires, and people bitch about the fact that it isn't four miles long and encrusted with diamonds? I got mine, swapped it, thought "one less thing to burn my house down" and moved on with life. I urge you all to do the same.

    At least they didn't link to Forbes again, so they've got that going for them, which is nice.

    • by Nkwe ( 604125 )
      I got my replacement yesterday. It was about a half inch longer then the original. Seems like a non news event to me as well. I have the US version, perhaps other models changed; even if they did, I don't think a free replacement is much of a news event.
    • by phayes ( 202222 )

      So go wail about mid-east in a forum dedicated to it. This is /. where the subject is on topic and you are not.

  • My replacement cable is the same length as the original. I ordered a European replacement for an Australian original.
    My partner's replacement cable is also the same length as the original. She ordered an Australian replacement for an Australian original. That was we have both basis covered.

    I don't give a crap what brand the cable is. It looks fine, well built, has stress relief in the proper places, and if it doesn't burn my house down then that's a bonus. It also comes with proper markings, certifications

  • by hypergreatthing ( 254983 ) on Thursday February 11, 2016 @05:17PM (#51489903)

    What exactly is an on-brand power to converter cable manufacturer?

  • For xmas I got a bluetooth speaker. Like it quite a bit, except the damned USB cable it came with is 18" long. Which makes it a serious pain to charge, I can either put it on the floor to charge, or charge it in the kitchen or bathroom. Why don't I just buy another USB cable, you ask? Because the damned thing is a different sized micro USB connector. Neither my PS3 cable nor my phone cable will fit. So I don't know that I can buy a longer cable.

    Which brings up the question, Why are all crockpot po

Real Programmers don't write in FORTRAN. FORTRAN is for pipe stress freaks and crystallography weenies. FORTRAN is for wimp engineers who wear white socks.

Working...