Micro-USB Charging Cable Question

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AFAustin
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Micro-USB Charging Cable Question

Please forgive a very basic question—-I think I know the answer but just want to be sure.

Are Micro-USB charging cables interchangeable? I recently bought a couple of lights with USB charging capability (I’ve been out of the flashlight game for a few years and what a great innovation!): an Acebeam E10: https://www.acebeam.com/e10 and a Thrunite Neutron 2C V3: https://thrunite.com/neutron-2c-v3/ So can I use the Micro-USB charging cable that came with one light with the other?

I originally asked both Acebeam and Thrunite this question, and Thrunite said yes, but I’d like to get confirmation if possible.

I also began emailing Acebeam about this at the same time—-13 days ago. After multiple emails to all 4 people listed on their support page, as well as to the general support address, not a single answer. Is Acebeam’s CS usually this bad?

Thanks in advance.

Andrew

Lightbringer
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I never had any problems.

The thicker (“better”) the internal wiring, the less voltage sag and the better the charging, but I’m not in any itchin’ hurry most of the time, so I just used what I had on hand.

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AFAustin
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Lightbringer, thanks for the post and info.

Andrew

flydiver
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In theory, yes. If it fits, you should be able to use it.
But…..all those cables are NOT made equal. Cables that come from most inexpensive equipment have a high resistance and often connector that are kind of poor. I’ve thrown a lot of them away.
The longer any cable, the higher the resistance.

Good cables can make a world of difference for some applications. For others it makes minor or no difference.

hank
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I too have thrown out a lot of USB cables that started to fail, or fail intermittently, or appear connected but not charge lights or phones.
I think the wires are hair-thin and fragile in a lot of them.

AFAustin
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Gentlemen, thanks for the additional posts and advice. Hopefully the ones from ThruNite and Acebeam are of decent quality.

And I’m glad to know that shorter means less resistance, as the Acebeam cord is much shorter and is easier for me to use. That’s the one I want to use on both, hence my original question.

Andrew

Sirstinky
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I will say that the Acebeam micro USB cable is really good quality. One of the best to come with a product I’ve seen in a while. As others have said, yes, a good quality cable will charge better and last longer. I’ve had included cables break the same day, or only charge and not allow data connection. It’s cheaper in the end to buy quality and replace it less than buy ones for like $1 and replace them every 3 months.

AFAustin
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Thanks, Sirstinky. Glad to hear that about the Acebeam cable.

Andrew

2A
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Can’t say anything about Acebeam, never had one.

But, USB cables are not all the same. There are charging-only cables, charging and data and data only (for testing/lab purposes). Consumers should only be able to buy the charging and charging+data cables.
The Micro-USB plug can be short or extended (some devices have a recessed connector).
Depending on the quality and rating of the cable, you can quick charge, charge, and use them for data transfer. Bad/cheap cables might have too much resistance to allow higher amperage or quick charging.

to answer your question:
you should be able to use either one of the cables on your flashlights, depending on unique design decisions the product engineers have made.

AFAustin
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Thanks, 2A. I can see I’m already in over my head! But glad to know I can use the nice short Acebeam cable on other lights.

Andrew

flydiver
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You may want to get a power meter. This one is fairly simple, and can do capacity measurements. By changing USB cables while this is in line you can tell if there is a noticeable difference in throughput.
https://lygte-info.dk/review/USBmeter%20KCX-017%20UK.html

This is more simple, still useful, but you can’t do capacity. I have a couple, rarely use them anymore.
https://lygte-info.dk/review/USBmeter%20Charge%20doctor%20UK.html

There are a lot of these kind, with varying features. They are certainly more complicated. If you are willing to take the time to figure them out (not easy, at least not for me), they can do a LOT.
https://lygte-info.dk/review/usbMeter YZXStudio ZY1263 UK.html
There is a special way to test the actual resistance of USB cables. This is really what got me checking out cables and tossing a lot.

AFAustin
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Thanks, flydiver.

Andrew

d_t_a
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In general, as long as it’s not a damaged micro-USB cable, then they are interchangeable.

Another point is:
a) regular micro-USB “data” cable = these can also be used to transfer data (and for triggering QuickCharge or other protocols) (uses 4-wires)
b) “charging” cable only = these are not able to carry data (they use only 2 out of the 4 wires ; or they short 2 of the other 4 wires to mimic “DCPUSB cable protocol [I think — need to verify]) ; these will not be able to trigger QuickCharge or other protocols

the other point is mentioned above: – using a thicker/better quality wire inside will allow a higher current to pass through with less voltage sag. – a longer cable will usually have more voltage sag (more resistance), unless it uses a thicker wiring inside.

- a high voltage sag, means if used on a device that requires higher power, only a low current will be able to pass (at the acceptable voltage), this means the device will charge slower

In my limited experience, using a poorer / longer cable, the charging current (eg. on my smartphone), will charge at a lower current, whereas a shorter / better quality cable allows to charge at a higher current.

Usually an average cable should be able to charge at 1A properly. Although I’ve tried a few older / poor quality cables that have a hard time negotiating 0.5A charge current. Better quality cable can do 2+ Amp with less voltage sag.

AFAustin
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Thanks, d_t_a. This has been educational for a non-technical sort like me. The main lesson I’ve learned is that using a micro-USB cable that came with one flashlight on another flashlight is not a problem. I.e., there is no interchangeability (if that’s a word) issue. But, whichever cable you’re using, there can be a big difference in quality. And, in general, thicker wire and shorter length is better.

Andrew