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Author Topic: Nintendo warns Switch users not to buy cheap USB-C cables to avoid borkage  (Read 151 times)

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Offline 1bit

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NINTENDO HAS become the latest company to warn users about the dangers of sub-standard USB-C cabling, emphasising that cheap add-ons cost warranties.

The issue of USB-C, a standard that has had a more troublesome rollout than that time you tried to replace the duvet cover whilst drunk, has long been a talking point in tech circles. You may remember a Google Engineer fried his Pixelbook testing cheap cabling so you don't have to.

Now Nintendo has added to its online FAQs a warning to customers to make sure their cabling has a 56-ohm resistor or it may fry the unit, possibly beyond repair.

The problem originates from the fact that USB-C is cable of carrying significant power in a way its predecessors did not.

Many small third-party manufacturers (Shenzhen, we're looking in your direction) didn't follow the USB-C spec properly and, as such, cheap USB cables not only don't have the resistor that regulates that power when it isn't required but also doesn't transfer data any faster than an old USB socket.

At present, Nintendo doesn't sell the official cable on its own outside Japan (though it is bundled with some official accessories) so the warning isn't a "no third party accessories" jobbie - that'd be quite mean.

Rather, the company is, rather refreshingly, treating us like grown-ups, explaining the criteria and letting us work it out for ourselves.

Now let's be clear on this - the ball is now in your court. If you don't know if your cable/accessory is definitely compatible then assume it isn't, because neither manufacturer is likely to reimburse you for a case of fried Switch (though Nintendo says it will fix under warranty terms).

But the other issue is that, as much as we love the Switch, it has a couple of gaping omissions and one of those is remote data storage. So if you lose your game data, that is it, you're screwed.

Don't assume it won't happen - ask users of Nyko's third-party dock which had been working alright, but fried consoles after a firmware update.

Tip: Nintendo does have a flash on boxes to show approved products, but it's easily faked. For other cables and accessories, look for ones that meet the USB-IF standard.

Fortunately, as the firm's latest accessories - the Labo range - are made of cardboard, this won't be so much of an issue.

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