Are there any 3-in-1 cables that work with USB-C chargers?
December 1, 2021 4:17 AM   Subscribe

I want to buy a decent 3-in-1 charging cable to charge my plethora of micro-USB, Lightning and USB-C devices - however my Google/Amazon searches always give me ones that work with a USB-A charger (example). Are there any ones from a decent brand (ideally sold on Amazon UK) that work with my 40W USB-C charger? I'm unable to find a single product and would like to avoid using a USB-A to USB-C adapter if I can!
posted by mr_silver to Technology (8 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
The problem here is likely micro USB, because it predates USB-C and they are not compatible. I don't think a micro USB to C connector is supported in the specification, so you would only find very sketchy companies trying to sell you that. All three specs derive from the base USB specs so that is why they are compatible with an A connector but not with each other. Putting a c-to-a adaptor on a c power supply is also pretty sketchy. This probably does not exist, and you need a charger that starts from A
posted by JZig at 8:00 AM on December 1, 2021

Response by poster: The problem here is likely micro USB, because it predates USB-C and they are not compatible.

I wondered that at first, but Amazon do sell quite a few USB-C cables for charging micro USB devices (such as this one).
posted by mr_silver at 8:39 AM on December 1, 2021

I've got one that is functionally identical to this (except the manufacturer got their name from a different anagram store). Works fine. You'll notice that only the USB-C tip carries data.
posted by adamrice at 11:35 AM on December 1, 2021 [1 favorite]

Anker sells a USB to USB-C adaptor, that you can pair with another Anker cable.

I have both the Anker 3 in 1 cable, and the Anker usb adaptor, and they both work really well. However, I haven't tried them together. The adaptor did work with other Anker cables, though, without any issues.
posted by spinifex23 at 11:57 AM on December 1, 2021

I think the problem is the USB-C and "power delivery" standard, that are not possible with regular microUSB charging.

Power Delivery or "PD" is a USB-C standard that can handle 60 to 100W. Regular USB handles 2amps, about 10W. Some claims up to 2.4A, so 12W. Even USB 3.1 can handle at most 3A, or 15 Watts. PD is supposed to allow 60W (12Amps) with regular USB-C to USB-C cable.

I suspect simple 3-in-1 cable can't accommodate for PD if you go for usb-c to usb-c without messing up the other two ends, so they don't try to make it with a USB-C on the source end.
posted by kschang at 12:26 PM on December 1, 2021 [1 favorite]

Yes. Rolling Square's InCharge X. I don't believe they're sold on Amazon -- which is good because Amazon is evil. I sell these in my own Toronto store and people love them.
posted by dobbs at 3:03 PM on December 1, 2021 [3 favorites]

USB-C carries a superset of the pins on USB-A, and it should default to a non-PD mode for adapters that only use the USB-A/Micro-USB pins, so I don't think PD is necessarily the issue with these cables being less common. That said, unless they wire up the full complement of signals for both ends of the USB-C connections, it may not support all of the USB-C standard, like PD-based fast charging for example.

It looks like searching for "6 in 1 charging cable" will get you a slightly larger selection of cables similar to the one adamrice links.
posted by Aleyn at 3:12 PM on December 1, 2021

Even if you do find one it probably won't work correctly with a 40 W charger (ie you won't get close to 40 W power levels).
posted by turkeyphant at 12:31 AM on December 3, 2021

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