From Pine View Farm

Stray Question 3

Why does every device that comes with a USB cable say, “Use only the cable that came with this [device name]”?

The probes of my meter are too large to fit into the port to check whether the cables manipulate the voltage between the computer end and the device end, but I find that possibility really far-fetched.

The only explanation I can think of is that some manufacturers, such as the one that made my camera, change the shape of the port on the device end slightly, so that, if you lose or damage the cable, you can’t use a $5.00 replacement from Radio Slum; you have to get a $25.00 replacement from the manufacturer. In that case, using the wrong cable could physically, as opposed to electrically or electronically, damage the port.

One would hope that most people would have enough sense to figure out that, if it doesn’t fit easily, don’t force it.

Well, some people.

Well, a few people.

Well, highly trained geeks electronics technicians.

(As a old support person, I never underestimate the ability of users to find new ways to break stuff. Heck, I’m pretty good at breaking stuff myself. That’s how I came to know so many ways to fix stuff.)

But, honestly, the same cable fits easily fits my GPS, media player, and phone. Is there any valid reason that I have to juggle three?



  1. Karen

    January 21, 2009 at 3:50 pm

    Let’s see if I can spell the word: Proprietary. (If it ain’t spelled right, you know what I mean.) They want their money. Either for a new cable, or a new device.

  2. Frank

    January 21, 2009 at 6:25 pm

    Proprietary is all well and good when you have something new and special.

    Otherwise, let me see if I can spell the word: “c-o-r-n-c-o-b”

  3. Karen

    January 22, 2009 at 11:23 am

    As in pipe?