I ordered 3 microUSB cables over ebay. My phone was at about 50% battery and I wanted to use it as a hot spot for some browsing on my laptop, so I plugged it in, a charging icon appeared on the phone, my laptop showed it as a connected usb device and so I went about my business.

About 30 minutes later I checked the phone and to my dismay saw 45% battery. But ahh, I thought, I have been putting the poor little thing under too much pressure, acting as a WiFi hotspot must drain the battery quicker than it can charge via usb, perhaps even using my laptops usb port wouldn't output enough power. Unscathed I continued on and when I was going to bed I plugged the usb cable into a mains adapter and switched everything battery consuming off and content, went to sleep.

The next morning I was awoken by my phones alarm which got cut off unexpectedly. I attempted to unlock my phone which showed no more signs of life.

Why isn't my phone charging with these new USB cables?

For clarity:

  • They transfer data with no problems
  • The phone appears to be charging, showing all the signs and lights it normally would,
    the cable that came with the phone works as you would expect, so its not a fault with the phone,
  • I think they slow the discharging of the phone, but I could be wrong.

Are these just bad quality cables? Is there a way to fix this issue?

closed as off topic by ChrisF, Hennes, Canadian Luke, Simon Sheehan, 3498DB Dec 1 '12 at 18:17

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  • 4
    Do all cables in question have all connectors available? Look at the connectors - some cables only use two. Perhaps the phone is expecting one or the other. – Daniel Andersson May 8 '12 at 16:11
  • I have the same thing going on with my Nokia Lumia 800. If I use any other micro-USB cable than the one supplied it, it only charges with a tenth of the current. Anyway, this is off-topic for this site. – paradroid May 8 '12 at 16:11
  • @paradroid is it? sorry i only use stack overflow (as you can probably tell from my rep score) i thought this was the stack for this kind of question – Jacxel May 8 '12 at 16:13
  • WiFi hotspot like Netflix will drain the device battery faster the 500 ma usb port can charge it. This is very common, thats why you want a USB charger that can provide at lease 750 -1000ma of Current. – TheSavo May 8 '12 at 16:15
  • 2
    @Breakthrough: But the same cable can still charge my brother's HTC phone fast. From what I can remember from a conversation with an electronics guy, it is the way the pins are connected as well as the phone's microcontroller which makes certain cables compatible, leading to an increased charge current. However, I cannot find the conversation in order to make an accurate answer. There are a lot of discussions on the web about this, for different makes of phone. It seems that the phone charger micro-USB 'standard', which Nokia was one of the main promoters, is not really a standard at all. – paradroid May 9 '12 at 4:25

So i took a multimeter to the connections and as Breakthrough said there was quite the difference in the resistance of the wires compared to the charger that came with the phone.

So just poor quality material apparently.


This may seem obvious, but make sure the cable is plugged in all the way.

If it's plugged in only halfway, it may show the charging icon, but it isn't really charging.

I encountered the same problem, when using a different cable: it had a larger size cover on its end, which caused it not to plug in properly, and I didn't notice.


Typically, a computer connected USB port will only supply a maximum of 500 mA. That might not be enough to both operate and charge the battery at the same time. A charger can supply a maximum of 1000 mA or even more, so it charges faster.

There are also different kind of micro (not mini) usb cables. They are identified by the amount of resistance to ground on one of the pins. Some are made for charging, and others for data. If a data cable is used the host controller may not supply any current for charging.

  • like i said, i tried with a socket usb adapter with the same results, and its micro usb not mini usb. – Jacxel May 17 '12 at 10:46

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