Monday, January 21, 2013

Not all USB cords are created equal

I've always thought one USB cord was the same as the next. With that thinking in mind I was rather delighted as I kept acquiring devices with seemingly standard micro USB ports. First was the Mophie Juice Pack for iPhone 4s. Then came the Sony NEX-6. Finally came a XTG solar battery. Each device came with its own micro USB cable.

USB Conundrum

My iPhone 4s has never worked in the USB port of my Ford SYNC radio. However, after putting it in the Mophie Juice Pack and using the Mophie USB cable, it was suddenly playing music through SYNC and even displaying the artist and track on the screen in the dash.

Then I took a road trip, and I only brought the cord that came with my Sony camera. The iPhone suddenly quit being recognized by the SYNC system. I chalked it up to a glitch that it had even worked in the first place and went back to charging the phone and the Mophie Juice Pack through the cigarette lighter adapter, which worked fine with the Sony cord. However, when I got home and tried it again with the Mophie cord, it once again worked great.

Then I accidentally left the Sony cord at the office and tried to charge the camera with the XTG cord. No luck. In fact, the XTG cord wouldn't charge the camera or the phone. However, the Mophie cord worked great to both transfer photos and charge the camera.

So to break it down, I have three supposedly equal micro USB cables. One is seemingly magical and does all things for all devices. One will charge anything but only provides functionality with the camera. One will transfer data but won't charge anything.

What the hell is going on? I thought there was some kind of universal standard on these things!

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