Android Enthusiasts Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for enthusiasts and power users of the Android operating system. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

The plug sure looks like any old micro USB plug. Will another cable (like the one from my digital camera) work to charge the battery, or do I need one specifically designed for my phone (incredible)

share|improve this question
    
I took the liberty of editing the title, to make the search device independent, while my solution specifically uses your device as an example. Thanks – beeshyams Jan 22 at 11:37
up vote 8 down vote accepted

Any Micro USB cable that has the capability of charging your phone does excactly that.

I found a link on USB powering. The source is from 2005 but the issue remains the same.

Some cables do charge your device due to a sufficient power flow through the cable while others don't.

share|improve this answer
7  
That's not answering the question you are just saying that if it does then it does. Any piece of string that has the capability of charging your phone does exactly that. I'm not aware of any string that has the capability but if it had the capability then it would have that capability. Profound, yes, I know. Not all cables are capable of charging a phone. – Matt Sep 14 '10 at 15:53
    
That's true, but you should look in the cable's description whether the cable is capable of charging or not since your phone already has the charging contacts built into the USB socket. – keyboardsurfer Sep 16 '10 at 8:08
    
I have used three different cables that came with other devices and they have all worked just fine. But yes, not every cable will be fully wired to support power flow/charging. – BBlake Sep 17 '10 at 1:56

Edit: Proof of theory is in testing it, so the reults are right on top to encourage making an informed decision while shopping for USB charging cables.

Of late, I noticed that my Huawei Honor 6 device was charging slower and decided to replace USB charging cable. I bought these Tronsmart cables at a price comparable with budget cables. These are 20 AWG thickness for charging (provide best charging) 28 AWG for data (thinner thickness doesn't affect data transfer speeds). Picture below from product

enter image description here

Performance: I have two devices Samsung Note 2 and Huawei Honor 6 both with OEM chargers and OEM cables (nearly a year old). Charging current as measured using OEM cables and Tronsmart cables is very encouraging

  • Samsung Note 2 with OEM cable - 1100 mA, with Tronsmart cable - 1900 mA
  • Huawei Honor 6 with OEM cable - 550 mA, with Tronsmart cable - 1750 mA

Caution: Please make sure you don't end up buying CCA (Copper Clad Aluminum Cables) instead of Copper cables. Former are comparatively brittle and have lower conductivity compared to Copper conductors


Standards

  • USB standard 3.0 in lays down standards of 10 W: 5 V, 2 A  for smartphones and tablets
  • Battery Charging Revision 1.2 lays down " standard for establishing the proper way to charge a battery from a USB port "
  • American Wire Gauge (AWG) is a reference for thickness of cables. In this system, larger numbers indicate thinner wires. USB specification above makes reference to AWG numbers of 20, 22, 24, 26 and 28,

These standards are to ensure that appropriate Voltage and Current are available to the device being charged and selection of right USB cable is based on these to deliver right amount of Power to charge


This is applicable for all Android phones- OP's device is taken as an example ( see Notes at end )

All USB cables are NOT the same when it comes to charging

Selection of USB cables depends on:

  • Device it is meant to charge
  • Length of cable
  • Thickness of cable in AWG ( externally, they may look the same but what matters is the electrical conductor thickness internally ). USB cables of standard make are marked showing the thickness, for example,

    28AWG/2C and 24AWG/2C or 28AWG/1P + 24AWG/2C

This means

The first code is normally the specification of the data signal pair, which is normally 28AWG. "2C" means 2 conductors, and "1P" or "1Pr" means 1 pair. "2C" and "1P" are basically the same.

The important part is the second code, which is the specification of the power distribution pair (relevant to the solution here)

Before we get into details of how to select based on these factors, a quick recap of basic electrify would help:

Ohm's Law  Current = Voltage divided by Resistance

Resistance = Length  of cable divided by Area of cable (ignoring resistivity)

Power = Voltage multiplied by Current

What do those equations mean?

Current carrying capacity depends on resistance, for the same Voltage.

Resistance is inversely proportional to the area of the wire ( Less area = Thinner Wire = More Resistance = Less Current )

Resistance is directly proportional to length (Longer cable = More resistance and vice versa )

Power in turn is therefore dependent on length and thickness of cable (affecting resistance) and Voltage

In a nut shell, quoting from USB Cable Resistance: Why your phone/tablet might be charging slow

if you are going to replace your cable with an aftermarket cable, it would be best to see if you can find a cable with the thickest possible conductors for the power. If that isn’t possible, stick with short (to very short) lengths, as that always works.

Power (Voltage times Current), thickness, short lengths are qualitative and need to be in numbers to choose the right cable. For this you need to know, firstly, Power- Refers to the charger rating of your device . Your device as mentioned is "incredible" and Charger for HTC Droid Incredible shows it to be rated for 1A

Next, is Voltage- For a 5V output, the USB specification demands that the voltage remains within 5% (i.e. an acceptable voltage drop of 0.25V). Some vendors provide a slightly higher Voltage rating

.... some vendors have realized the issue (of Voltage drop ) and decided to push the output voltage up to 5.1v or 5.2v, which is still within USB specification but allows for an extra 0.1-0.2v voltage drop. This is a potentially nice feature as it means the requirements on the cables are slightly relaxed (i.e. maybe even 0.7v voltage drop is tolerable).

Choosing the right cable

You know the Power and Voltage , only thing left is to know the thickness and length of USB cable. For that refer to the tables (choose under the current rating of table With Contact Resistance, which is real life, without contact resistance is to give the effect of cable alone) and look for maximum cable length / thickness combinations by choosing "non red" color (green or yellow) which tell you that you can safely choose, as indicated by arrows:

  • 24 AWG cable upto 2 metres in length
  • 26 AWG cable upto 1 metres in length

enter image description here

Google for this cable specs (normally cables are commonly sold as 24/28 AWG ,in which case select maximum 1 meter length ) and buy from a reputed vendor. Done!!

Notes

  1. You can calculate the voltage drop using Ohm's law yourself. Tables are for convenience. Helpful pointers on using the tables :

    • If the exact rating of your charger is not available, say 1.35 A, select the next higher rating or work it out issuing Ohm's law
    • Green color in table indicates, that the values are compliant to USB standard.
    • Yellow While yellow-zone figures are not going to be strictly compliant with the USB -0.25V maximum drop, it may still be sufficient for a full charge as many devices can accept somewhat more loss of voltage without detriment to charging
    • Red Non compliant to standards. Don't use
    • For lower current rating upto 1.5 A, selection of yellow zone lengths may still be sufficient for a full charge as many devices can accept somewhat more loss of voltage without detriment to charging. For higher currents (more than 1.5V), you need to be more conservative, so you should choose towards the green.
  2. For Tablet users: you need to choose what falls in "green" zone only, since Voltage drop sensitivity is higher. See this as an example Google Nexus 7 Charging

  3. I am in no way affiliated with the source and I believe it to be credible given the detailed logic presented and relates well with other sources which recommend short cables, without proper justification. It is an educative read for those inclined to get into technical details

share|improve this answer
1  
A very well informed answer, +1, hope full the person asking the question can make sense of it all – Matt07211 Jan 22 at 21:07

For what it's worth, I purchased a generic MicroUSB cable on Amazon for like $2, which was advertised as being for BlackBerry users, and it works just fine on my Incredible. I use it as my charger at the office.

share|improve this answer

I'd say it depends on the cable, but you have a fair chance to get your phoned charged.

I've tested HTC Hero with 3 types of USB cable (universal, bought with my pocket hdd and bough with my dvd-drive), 2 types of a GPS charger and one type of a GPS car charger. All worked well. :)

share|improve this answer

My un-technical answer is no. I have a microUSB AC Adapter for a bluetooth headset that charges my headset just fine but won't charge my phone for some reason. I also have a retractable miniUSB cable to connect to the computer with and it is fine for data but it also fails to charge my phone.

share|improve this answer
4  
That is not an issue with the cable, its an issue with the power source. Some power sources(usb ports or wall worts) will not supply sufficient power for some devices. – Aaron Lee Sep 14 '10 at 11:31
    
No, it is an issue with the cable. I know the difference between powered and unpowered usb ports and the ones in question were all powered and worked fine to charge my phone through the stock cable that came with my phone. I'm pretty certain it was the slim retractable cable that failed because I tried it on 3 different computers. Data' yes; power, no. Also your comment does not take into account the ac charger I mentioned. – Matt Sep 14 '10 at 15:17
    
+1 useful answer – Michael Durrant Jul 4 '12 at 4:15

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.