Most chargers that are available on the market are pure counterfeit. But how dangerous are fake chargers for you and your phone?
Well, these particular chargers have not been through the same quality control process as genuine cables from Samsung or Apple. Every head, whether it's an 8 Pin Lightning, Micro USB or USB-C, has to go through the correct manufacturing process. This way, it's ensured that it'll be safe for you and your phone to use. There have been countless incidents where fake cables lead to horrible accidents like house fires, battery explosions, and electric shocks.
How to spot a fake phone charger?
In order to get to know how dangerous a fake charger is for your phone, you have to know how to spot a fake charger.
There are 6 great tips to know how to spot a fake charger:
- Marking and the text on the plug
- Plug pin finish
- Check the USB port
- Weight check
- Voltage check
Take a look at the plug and check if there's any CE marking. This is the certification mark that is required from the European Law for product safety. The majority of counterfeits don't' have the proper facilities to produce such stamps. And even if they do, it always looks faded or wonky. But, you'll still have to take care because some manufacturers are more sophisticated
Next, take a look at the plug pin finish. This is a more obvious sign of a fake charger. You can figure this out by checking if the placement of the 3 pin connector fits the plastic casing correctly. If not, it's a clear sign of poor workmanship, which leads the cost to be lower and the price cheap. Genuine plugs will align perfectly and fit the case with no loose pins and a flush fit.
You also have to take a good look at the USB port. Usually, the USB port on fake plugs gives it all away in a second. Most fake plugs have very wonky or loose USB ports and it's very hard to connect them.
The main reason why these chargers explode is because of their material. The reason why you pay so little for them is that it lacks the high-level material that originals use. The components inside the head of the cable are compromised to the bare minimum and the soldering is usually missing. This allows crossed wiring or overloaded circuit boards. And without the right components, the electrical currents will overload and lead to a risk of fire, electrical shock or overloaded phone battery.
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How dangerous are fake chargers for your phone?
Fake chargers are one of those things you should never trifle with. Fake chargers have been responsible for deaths in the past, and that's part of the reason why they shouldn't be taken lightly.
Here are a couple of reasons why it's very dangerous to have a fake charger:
- The risk of electrocution/explosion
- Ruining your smartphone
- Cause battery damage
- You don't have any guarantee if they stop working
The risk of electrocution or explosion is extremely higher when it comes to fake chargers. That's how dangerous fake chargers are for you, or your phone. They're usually made with no quality checking process, no safety, and no regulatory agencies quality certification. Because of these reasons, they're way more prone to explosions or shocks. Not saying that original chargers have never exploded, but the proportion to fake ones is way lower.
You also have to take care of the overheating is also a great threat to you. And that's for the same reason mentioned above. Even if it doesn't catch on fire itself, it may spark or heat up another object and lead to a fire. That's all because fake manufacturers are not really concerned with the materials they use, so the plastic will not stand up to the heat for sure.
Is my smartphone safe?
Not at all.
If flames, death, and destruction are none of your concern but your phone is, then you better keep on reading. Because this happens way more frequently than the three before.
Quality problems in fake chargers can damage your smartphone. The real chargers come with a small fuse inside that burns out in case it overloads. This prevents the damage from going to the smartphone or set up sparks or fires. The amperage, voltage, and current don't really matter without basic safety precautions, because your phone could still fry. So, while you're trying to save a couple of bucks on a charger, you can end up sacrificing your phone altogether.
Also, the fake charger may reduce your phone battery life, or damage your battery very badly. A counterfeit charger has the main concern is being the cheapest in the market. So, the quality is not their main goal to achieve, and there's a pretty good chance it will not work as well as it should. This is what gets people to buy one – it still works, but not with the same quality it should've.
Fast charging is very rare to find. And what ends up happening is that one of these will take much longer than the original charger to get your phone to 100%. It might even take twice as long to charge, which makes you waste more time and electricity.
And what's worse, there's no one to complain to. That's also something to take into account because these kinds of chargers stop working much sooner than you'd expect. And while there's no guarantee, you can't really complain to anyone – including the store you bought it from.
How can a fake charger fry up your phone?
Just last year, when someone asked on the Apple forum if it's worth buying a 19$ charging accessory, or if it's necessary to do so. The comment with the most likes was “You betcha!”.
That's one other answer on the “How dangerous are fake chargers” question and a pretty good one.
Real lightning cables prevent your phone from frying.
“The MFi cables are important because those have a chip inside the cable that will protect your device from voltage fluctuations that will kill the device.”
MFi cables are designed to work with an iPhone, and the Tristar regulates the amount of power your phone's logic board receives. A bonafide MFi charger has something called an E75 chip, and it works kind of like a bouncer. It scans the crowd outside and makes sure everything is in order and chill. And only then tells your phone that it's okay to go ahead and take in the voltage. Then, the E75 validates the message with a secret password.
That's why when you plug in a fake/unknown charger you get the “Accessory not supported” message on your phone. No password, no charging. Easy as that.
But, of course, this part is not very important to fake charger manufacturers. They reverse-engineered the E75 component into a cheap, knockoff charging cable. The fake E75 chip tricks your phone by acting like a high schooler with a fake ID. Then things can get heated up because the charger routes unregulated power into the device. This can completely destroy the Tristar chip and cause the aforementioned battery woes.
So, to sum it up, the cheaper the charging cord, the more likely it is to be shady charging cable that will eventually fry your phone.
Alicia leads content strategy for LearnWorthy managing a team of content producers, strategists, and copywriters. She creatively oversees content programs, awareness campaigns, research reports, and other integrated marketing projects.