Loose micro USB cable on Android devices

Recently almost all the major handset manufacturers agreed to use micro-USB as the standard charger interface in the EU for all new phones. Likely this will become a worldwide standard as there is little benefit in manufacturing a different model in different parts of the world.

Whilst I think this is a great move (to have a standardized charger/data interface), the choice of micro-USB I am not totally sold on.  I have had the pleasure to regularly use 3 different Android devices over the last couple of years, one with mini-USB and two with micro-USB.  None of these have been perfect, but the micro-USB seems to have provided more issues, especially in the sense of a loose connection.

A micro-USB extension cable

Initially I though this loose connection was an issue caused by the USB socket on the phone getting worn over time.  This was the conclusion reached after buying a few different replacement cables from eBay.  They would only charge if pressure was placed on the cable (i.e. bending it down with the screen facing up) and rarely would data connectivity be achieved.  This conclusion was further solidified after buying a new handset and having the same issue with the same cables.

So the first point to note here is that not all micro-USB cables are the same (even though it is a standard) and the fact that perhaps some phones are more fussy about what cables are used.  The new phone I was testing was an HTC Incredible S.  The HTC cable that came with the phone worked perfectly (although still felt a bit loose), but the range of eBay cables all had issues.

After a bit of searching at the local office supplies store, I found a micro USB cable supplied by Nokia that looked like it had slightly bigger teeth on it than the other cables.  After buying one of these cables I confirmed that it also worked perfectly (like the stock HTC cable).

So the takeaway here is, steer away from the cheapo eBay cables and get a Nokia, HTC or other manufacturer cable.  You can pick up the Nokia cables on eBay pretty cheap, just look out for the cable clip that comes with the genuine ones, but not the knock offs.



20 thoughts on “Loose micro USB cable on Android devices”

  1. The fundamental problem is with micro-USB, NOT the brand of cable or device. It is a spectacularly bad design for any kind of function, including non-mobile use. But for mobile use it is just mindblowingly bad. How this pos “push in” design got approved for cellphones I will never know. What is needed is a secure “push, twist and lock” design like a car radiator cap. It needs to be a secure connection to the phone to the point that the cord will break before it will pull out of the phone. “Push, twist and lock…push, twist and unlock” is a no brained for cords of all kinds, especially on mobile use devices. The people who chose micro-usb, besides choosing a supremely flimsy design, also must have imagined that cellphones sit all day on a desk like a PC, and NEVER are used while charging.

    1. I aggree. I hear this from so many users.

      I do understand the reason. For not using a twist on. If the cord is pulled, you do want it to release. The design problem seems to be in the physical support. The is no angular support,. The grip should come flat against the case, so that there is less twisting, which causes the damage.
      There also seems to be a problem with tolerances between manufactures. Once a connector with a size on the high end is used, than most other connectors don’t hold.
      I really wish someone would solve this

    2. Actually I’ve tried the toothpick cleaning and never had any luck. Some even want to say that they female port structure has been bent due to mishandling of the cable while it us inserted. But I just finally found the trick is to gently brush the port with an old toothbrush. Problem solved.

  2. It is very poor design for anything that gets regular use.
    The best charger would maintain a good mechanical connection to the phone without stressing the electrical contacts.
    I use to like the Nextel types of chargers even though their phone service was lousy. The micro USB is a guaranteed failure.

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  6. I know the pitfalls of micro-USB all too well, as I got one on my smart phone. The two connection barbs on the plug get worn out too easily. As a hack, I actually had to trim out a tiny paper shim and stick it into the jack with the plug (triple folded on the beveled side of the plug, where the jack is way too roomy) to make it connect after the plug’s barbs got worn out. The cord will have to stay plugged in all the time, but it’s better than the plug being loose.

    1. Just used your paper shim idea.Thank you it’s a great fix. When computers and IT first arrived they were going to introduce the “paperless office” Now we need 1square centimetre of paper folded into 3 to get the power into the machines to keep the world operating .That’s Progress

    2. wish you had a video, or picture by picture diagram on this paper shim idea. just cram a folded small piece of paper between the port and the male micro usb cord?

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