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  1. Mellfee's Avatar
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    Thread AuthorThread Author   #1  

    Default Blackberry USB cable question

    Hello everyone,

    Simple question hopefully...

    Is the USB cable supplied with a blackberry a particular type of USB cable?

    Due to my battery not holding a charge for very long I sometimes get caught out whilst away from home without my charger. In these instances I have tried to charge my Curve from someones computer using a USB cable but it never works. Only when I use the one I got with it does it ever put a charge in.

    Regards,

    Mellfee
  2. tae_254's Avatar
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    #2  

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    I broke my usb cable that came with my bb and I use one that was meant for a razor and it works fine.

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  3. tomvb2000's Avatar
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    It isn't the cable as that is standard. The Desktop Manager sw installs with a special USB driver which allows the charging current to be higher than allowed by the USB standard. I presume your friends computer didn't have DM installed.

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  4. wnm
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    The mini connector (BB end) is longer than a standard USB mini connector. That may have something to do with charging, however, I can charge from a regular USB cable.

    As for DM, I can charge without the DM active.
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    the usb cable is just a standard usb cable
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  6. tae_254's Avatar
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    Dm has nothing to do with charging the phone. I have a usb at work that I use to charge my phone and I don't have dm installed at work

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  7. jeffh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tomvb2000 View Post
    It isn't the cable as that is standard. The Desktop Manager sw installs with a special USB driver which allows the charging current to be higher than allowed by the USB standard. I presume your friends computer didn't have DM installed.

    Posted from my CrackBerry at wapforums.crackberry.com
    That's not correct, but it's a common misunderstanding. You can even find me repeating it here: http://forums.crackberry.com/f52/charging-usb-42137/

    The real problem is that not all PC USB ports can provide the specified voltage and current. If you have a BlackBerry that has a charging current requirement that's on the high end of the spec, and a computer USB port that delivers power on the low end of the spec, you can get a situation where the USB port won't charge the BlackBerry. The best solution is to carry a spare wall charger.
  8. Mellfee's Avatar
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    Thanks for all the responses guys. I have a Mac so Dont't have the DM installed and the supplied USB cable will charge it. BUt if I try to use any other USB cable, from my Mac or a friends PC it just won't do it. And sometimes a message comes up on my BB saying current too low.

    I'm pretty desperate to charge it now as it happens and I can't for this same reason.

    So is it fair to say ANY usb cable should do it...?
  9. tomvb2000's Avatar
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    True, but it will take longer because of the lower USB standard charging current. Perhaps that's what the OP experienced - took longer so figured it didn't work. Either that or the computers USB port was hosed due to a driver problem there.

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  10. Mellfee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JeffH View Post
    That's not correct, but it's a common misunderstanding. You can even find me repeating it here: http://forums.crackberry.com/f52/charging-usb-42137/

    The real problem is that not all PC USB ports can provide the specified voltage and current. If you have a BlackBerry that has a charging current requirement that's on the high end of the spec, and a computer USB port that delivers power on the low end of the spec, you can get a situation where the USB port won't charge the BlackBerry. The best solution is to carry a spare wall charger.


    Thanks Jeff. I'm still a little puzzled though. My supplied cable will charge from my Mac but any other USB won't.... Yet i'm using the same USB port.
  11. jeffh's Avatar
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    No other USB cable will work with your Mac USB port? How many have you tried? The cable that's supplied with a BlackBerry is just a standard, short USB cable.
  12. Mellfee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JeffH View Post
    No other USB cable will work with your Mac USB port? How many have you tried? The cable that's supplied with a BlackBerry is just a standard, short USB cable.


    I've tried a few. Could it be that I am getting my cables miced up? The cable I use to go from my USB port to a digital camera or SD card reader is the same cable, right? It looks the same. But its one o th cables that won't work...
  13. wnm
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    Quote Originally Posted by tomvb2000 View Post
    True, but it will take longer because of the lower USB standard charging current. Perhaps that's what the OP experienced - took longer so figured it didn't work. Either that or the computers USB port was hosed due to a driver problem there.

    Posted from my CrackBerry at wapforums.crackberry.com
    I don't think that's necessarily the case. Here are some other things to consider:

    http://forums.crackberry.com/f52/car...12/#post732985

    http://forums.crackberry.com/f52/tru...tml#post733029

    Charging BB's with USB or other manufacturers chargers comes up a lot. Perhaps one of our Guru's will consolidate the information into a How-to/Faq entry.
  14. jeffh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mellfee View Post
    I've tried a few. Could it be that I am getting my cables miced up? The cable I use to go from my USB port to a digital camera or SD card reader is the same cable, right? It looks the same. But its one o th cables that won't work...
    If it has a USB on one end and a mini-USB on the other, it should work. The only possible variation could be what the manufacturer does with the 5th wire. If you look, the USB end has 4 contacts. The mini-USB end has 5 contacts. The 5th contact, if it's wired at all, should be tied to ground and have no effect on charging. If it's not tied to ground, it should be unterminated.
  15. Mellfee's Avatar
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    Hmmmm, verrrry in-ter-esting....(scratches chin).

    I checked out the links from Wnm and the plot thickens...

    I know that with any re-chargable device you always need to match the amps correctly so when considering a wall charger, I would only ever use the one I got with my Curve.
    When it comes to charging from a USB cable though I was a little lazy and just assumed every cable and every port would give out the same and correct power. Not so, obviously.

    When I return home I will certainly be going over all my USB cables and comparing them with the one I got from BB. I know that cable charges from any computer, but I also know I have NEVER been able to do it from any other "normal" USB cable....


    Thanks for your help, Jeff, Wnm and all the other guys!
  16. wnm
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    You're welcome. Just trying to help.
  17. tomvb2000's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JeffH View Post
    That's not correct, but it's a common misunderstanding. You can even find me repeating it here: http://forums.crackberry.com/f52/charging-usb-42137/

    The real problem is that not all PC USB ports can provide the specified voltage and current. If you have a BlackBerry that has a charging current requirement that's on the high end of the spec, and a computer USB port that delivers power on the low end of the spec, you can get a situation where the USB port won't charge the BlackBerry. The best solution is to carry a spare wall charger.
    It looks like this BTSC article is either outdated, misleading, or just plain wrong. Perhaps it was true(er) for 7xxx BBs or before the USB driver was available in Windows Update - idk. I think that's where I remembered reading about this first and may be the root cause of the misunderstanding. This post that wnm mentioned seems very similar.

    After doing some more research and talking to someone more involved with the USB spec, it does sound like charging thru a computer port is more hit and miss than we'd normally expect from a "standard". Apparently the "USB charging" spec is separate from the USB communications spec (which came first) and has gone through some amount of change over time. As a result manufacturers have had more latitude on implementation which might explain why different USB hosts behave differently when it comes to charging. As mentioned earlier, 500mA is today's limit, but supposedly there is a draft spec to raise that to 900mA. Not sure how that's going to be compatible with existing USB cables without having some type of EM concern, but that's a different issue.

    Mellfee - Hadn't thought about this before, but something else to consider is Case 5 in this BTSC article which is simply that power mgmt on the friend's computer may have powered down the USB port. That situation might not be obvious, so I thought I'd throw it out.
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  18. Mellfee's Avatar
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    Can we get an agreement on whether a USB cable really is JUST a USB cable, or is a Blackberry supplied USB cable different...

    Im going to write to them and ask.
  19. jeffh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mellfee View Post
    Can we get an agreement on whether a USB cable really is JUST a USB cable, or is a Blackberry supplied USB cable different...

    Im going to write to them and ask.
    Yes. A USB cable is JUST a USB cable. There is no special BlackBerry USB cable.

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  20. Mellfee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tomvb2000 View Post
    Mellfee - Hadn't thought about this before, but something else to consider is Case 5 in this BTSC article which is simply that power mgmt on the friend's computer may have powered down the USB port. That situation might not be obvious, so I thought I'd throw it out.


    That ties in with what Jeff was saying. What is confusing me is how even on my Mac I can remember trying to use a friends USB cable and having no luck at all but then on return to my home and an attempt with my BB supplied USB cable it DID work. I can only conclude form that that the cables must be different. Perhaps what Jeff mentioned about the fifth pin. Or, from the linked thread, about the BB USB cable socket being slightly longer.

    I just want to know why a standard cable seems to work for some but not for others...
  21. tomvb2000's Avatar
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    Def not positive why. I'm using a generic one that came with some other device and it works fine. I have a wall charger and a car charger, so haven't tried other cables or computers.

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  22. kwbb's Avatar
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    Default ???

    I dont know if anyone mentioned this but... I would think that the type of usb port has a lot to do with the charge. I own a mac myself and my curve charges fine whenever I use the USB2.0 port!!! Its not going to charge off the keyboard usb jacks because they are usb1.0. Try that...

    btw... the blackberry usb is the same as any-other.... trust me! I lost my blackberry usb cable and use the one from my sidekick that has been laying in my studio. I happened to misplace that one too and used the cable from my external hard-drive... works fine.
  23. mc_automation's Avatar
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    Smile USB Cable charging

    Hi I search this thread to find out if I didn't smoke my Blackberry by using generic USB cable - first time using Windows 7. The second time I connected original cable and still charging didn't happen, went to device manager and found that it need driver for "RIM device" - next I automatically instal this from web and my cell start right away charging. This means that without proper driver your Blackberry will not start charging from the laptop...
  24. Kepeli's Avatar
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    Correct me if I'm wrong or if I'm supplying misinformation. The USB (Universal Serial Bus) is a published industry standard rated at 5 Volts (+/- .25). There is the High Power 2.0 USB (500 mA - 5 Loads of 100 mA current) and Low Power 1.1 USB (around 100ish mA - 1 Load of around 100 mA of current). The High Power is what the Blackberry (and many other phones) uses to charge. I believe there is now, a USB 3 gives out (900 mA - 6 Loads of 150 mA) to be released in 2010. On a side note, the USB interface for PDA's/cell phones comes in Micro and Mini tips. Different shapes as one is flatter.

    Transfer Rates: USB 1.1 (Low Power) 1.5 - 12 MB/s, USB 2.0 (High Power) up to 480 MB/s.

    So, as far as damaging your battery, the current levels are safe for any device to charge in a 2.0 or 1.1 rated USB cable or charger, although, the 1.1 might not provide adequate charging power. It is possible that a defective or damaged cable could cause irregular, sporadic, and/or erratic flow, thus damaging a battery. But, a correctly functioning one should not.
    The Golden Rule applies to your Blackberry device, too.
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    Note that new model Blackberry is being shipped with a micro-USB cable socket on the Blackberry, requiring a USB cable with a micro-USB plug at the Blackberry end, rather than more common mini-USB plug found on most USB cables at present. The micro-USB is to be the new standard for all phones from major suppliers. Cables with micro-USB are hard to find at present. Buy some mini-USB to micro-USB adaptor plugs (about $1.50 on Amazon) and use them with your existing USB cables, rather than stump up the requested $10-$20 for the new micro-USB cables.
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