Magnetic Cell Phone Charging Cables

Thread Starter

MrAl

Joined Jun 17, 2014
7,811
Hi,

Anybody here use one of these yet?
They are basically a cable with a magnetic connector on one end. The connector mates with another tiny plug like connector that plus into the phone and only sticks out about 1/16 of an inch.
The advantage is that you no longer have to plug and unplug the charge connector beacuse the plug stays in the phone for all time, you just bring the end of the cable up to the plug connector and it sticks and you're charging again.
Some work with just charging, others both charger and pass data as a normal cable would.

I only wonder if you bring it with you on a trip and the plug falls out for any reason, you'll need a regular charge cord again there's no way to use the cable without the plug in the phone too.

Thanks.
 

Dodgydave

Joined Jun 22, 2012
9,459
Yes the Sony Xperia has a magnetic charge socket on the side of the phone, but there are 2 small pins that connect to the magnetic lead, this plugs into your charger.

The magnet is just to hold the plug in place.
 

Wolframore

Joined Jan 21, 2019
1,797
I wonder if they last longer than the other $10-20 charge cords. I’ve seen them break, bend and even pin wear on lightning cables. Worst things ever.
 

Thread Starter

MrAl

Joined Jun 17, 2014
7,811
I wonder if they last longer than the other $10-20 charge cords. I’ve seen them break, bend and even pin wear on lightning cables. Worst things ever.
Hi,

Oh thanks for telling me that ithought the lightning cable connectors would last but then i havent had much experience with them yet.
But hey if you have cord breakage, then look into the nylon wrapped ones. They are tougher for sure. They make lots of cables like that now.

I would think the mag ones would last because there is no actual contacts to wear out. You never actually unplug your phone once you insert the plug. So as long as the cable does not get damaged you are ok. Then again the cables i have are nylon wrapped so they are really strong.
I also have nylon wrapped audio cords, i love them. Except the one with the female 3.5mm connector because the connector went south right away. The rest of them work good though with the male plugs on each end.
 

Thread Starter

MrAl

Joined Jun 17, 2014
7,811
Here is what the plugs look like. Lightning and micro USB.
Looks like they coukd be a smaller version of Lightning type on the side that connects to the cable. I guess then the only advantage would be quick disconnect and when the plug contacts wear out you just get a new plug rather than have to toss the whole phone. So they save wear on the phone connector at least.
 

Attachments

AnalogKid

Joined Aug 1, 2013
8,596
I wonder if they last longer than the other $10-20 charge cords.
The issue isn't the cords, it's the connector built into the phone. Hot plugging and unplugging causes small arcs, which degrade the contacts over time. You would get the same level of protection, with a trivial increase in inconvenience, with a 1 inch male-female extension cord coming out of the phone. When the connector on the end fails, replace a $2 cord instead of a $200 phone.

ak
 

Thread Starter

MrAl

Joined Jun 17, 2014
7,811
The issue isn't the cords, it's the connector built into the phone. Hot plugging and unplugging causes small arcs, which degrade the contacts over time. You would get the same level of protection, with a trivial increase in inconvenience, with a 1 inch male-female extension cord coming out of the phone. When the connector on the end fails, replace a $2 cord instead of a $200 phone.

ak
Hi,

Yes very well put :)

I was going to go that route too but all i could find at the time was a micro to USB C and then a C to micro, but even the single micro to USB C would stick out the bottom of the phone a whole inch. I cant use that because i have to carry the phone in a pouch and so the top would not close with that on the bottom. Too bad too i would have liked that.
The mag plugs only stick out the bottom about 1/16 inch so they dont interfere with anything else.

There is one drawback though. Although the magnets are strong and you cant pull the cord off very easily, if you simply tilt the connector down it breaks the magnetic connection and then comes right off. But that means if you accidentally press the connector down it breaks the data connection so that could be a problem.
 

Thread Starter

MrAl

Joined Jun 17, 2014
7,811
Hello again,

I found that when charging the connector can easily be disconnected by pushing down and the required force is so low that mine became loose twice already. This causes temporary problems with the data connection but for just charging you just lift it back up.

The nice thing is when you go to charge there is nothing to plug in, you just bring the end of the cord near to the plug in the phone and it sucks it right on to it and starts charging immediately. So no connectors to worry about.
If you pull straight out from the phone though the connector could be pulled out so it's best to push down slightly then remove iwhen done charging.

There is also the possibility that you could push down on it by accident and not notice that it broke the connection. So that means you'd have to check it if you touch it or the phone itself.
Lifting the phone is a bit tricky because you have to avoid the magnet connector too.

Overall i guess i give it thumbs up. because no more plugging and unplugging the charger. However, if there was a way to LOCK the connector onto the phone when charging that would be ideal. A push thing or something with a lip that engages somehow.
 

Thread Starter

MrAl

Joined Jun 17, 2014
7,811
Hello again,

I am finding that the little plug that goes into the phone gets pulled out now and then. It's a little too loose i think and should be a little tighter fit.

This leads me to think that i should find a way to hold it in better so any ideas?

For those that are not familiar with these kinds of cables i will describe them.

First, one end is a simple USB A male connector that plugs into say your PS computer USB port just like any other USB cable.
The other end though is a specially designed connector that has an oval magnet on it that encompasses the connector on it which is very small. This end is made to mate with another connector that is also magnetic, and that i call the "plug" because it plugs into the phone charge jack, and all yo usee then is a small connector that only protrudes about 1/16 inch out from the phone body. Thus you can leave the plug in, and when you have to charge you just bring the magnet end of the cable near the phone plug and it snaps into place through the magnetic attraction. The magnets stay together so the connection is maintained.

So the problem is that sometimes the plug gets pulled out by accident.

There is no way to screw it in, and no way to hold it in with a clamp of some sort because the connector body can not be interfered with or else the magnet end of the cable will not make close enough contact with the plug connector. So all i see here is maybe hot glue or something but that looks messy even when it cools.
I tried black hot glue a while back but that type has some sort of mix in with it that makes it black and that also means that it stays quite a bit sticky and somewhat soft even when cool, and that's not good.

What i tried was a tiny sliver of index card paper about 3/32 inch wide. I stuck it in the side of the jack hole then inserted the micro USB male plug. It definitely got tighter, but if it comes out again i'll loose the sliver of paper and i might not be home to fix it again. So any other ideas?
 

Thread Starter

MrAl

Joined Jun 17, 2014
7,811
Hello again,

Little update...

I have been using these magnetic connector cables for some time now this October 2020 will be one year. I have found another problem which i did not see when i first got them.

The problem is that the metal part of the micro USB male connector that goes into the actual phone USB port is a tiny bit shorter than another micro USB male cord connectors, however it is the same length as a different regular cable i have so it is probably in spec.

The thing is, the one with the longer USB metal part stays in the phone with some decent strength which seems normal, but the magnetic insert that goes into the phone port seems to have gotten even looser than it was maybe three months ago.
I had jammed a very small piece of paper on the side of the plug to keep it in there, but after a few months or so the connection became questionable being intermittent. After plugging the longer USB connector cord in it charged normally again.
After that i got the magnetic insert to work again but there is no reasonable explanation, except maybe the contacts got dirty. Inserting the longer USB connector may have cleaned the contacts inside the phone itself.

So really i wish the connectors that came with the magnetic cables had a longer USB metal part too, but they dont. After jamming a new piece of index card into the port with the connector it stays in again and makes contact again. So i'll have to see what happens down the road again.

These connectors are really very good in that they save the phones original USB connector (micro, usb C, lightning) but i think they are going to require some maintenance from time to time, and the worst part is if the little thing comes out of the phone by accident and you cant find it then you cant charge the phone with the magnetic cable you need a regular cable then. That means you have to carry two cables not just one. Also, because you end up valuing the little connector insert so much you have to constantly check to make sure it is still in the phone. That's a bit of a bother.

So there are pro's and con's which one you think is more important. I do have to say though that my phone is 4 years old now and after charging so much with a regular cable before i got these mag ones the connector became worn and so the normal charge cables dont stay in as good. Maybe if i got these mag cables when the phone was new it would be much better. I wont know until i work with them and a new phone.

Any thoughts appreciated.

----------------------------------------------------------------
 

Thread Starter

MrAl

Joined Jun 17, 2014
7,811
Little update...

My last post in this thread was about 3 months ago when i had a problem with the tiny connector adapter not making good contact with the Micro USB phone connector. Well, here i am 3 months later and it happened again. The phone had been sitting there for about 12 hours unmoved and yet when i picked it up after that 12 hours the battery level was around 97 percent even though it had been plugged into the charger the whole time. This told me that there was a very bad connection again.

I pulled up gently on the plug and the phone indicated that it was charging again, but letting go fo the plug and it stopped charging again. When i pull up on the connector plug it forces the prongs on the adapter to press harder on the prongs of the phone connector thus making the connection again. So i took out the little adapter and examined it and the phone connector and it seemed to be ok. Plugging it back in, i could not get the phone to charge again using that magnetic cable. Removing the adapter and plugging in a regular Micro USB cable and it charged fine again. This also cleaned the contacts of the phone connector, because after plugging the adapter back in the magnetic cable worked again to charge the phone.

So what seems to be happening is that the phone connector gets oxidized after some time like 3 months, and after that the phone connector contacts must be cleaned before the magnetic cable will work again. Unfortunately, this means carrying around a second cable, the real Micro USB connector cable, in order to clean the contacts or else find another way to clean them.

So the pro's and con's seem to be clear now. If you want to use a magnetic cable there is a little routine maintenance associated with using it. In addition, you have to constantly check that the little adapter did not fall out of the phone connector or else you have no way to charge the phone until you get a regular USB charge cable again.

So it seems clear that the design has to be improved a little more yet. Ideally, if a phone came with these kinds of magnetic connectors installed already that might be the best bet because there would be no adapter to lose or connector prongs to wear out. The phone manufacturers would have to be willing to make this kind of change however.
With the advent of Mini USB C however this may never happen because the Mini USB C connectors are much more robust and versatile.
 
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