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8 Posts

01-14-2016

St. Nowhere

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Planned Obsolescence - USB C Power Connector

2021-03-08, 17:59 PM

Using a USB C port to charge a laptop is a terrible engineering mistake.  Users plug and unplug the power cord multiple times a day every day for years.  Plus it is sticking out of the side of the machine.  It will have to survive some bumps and abuse.  The USB C form factor was never designed to take this kind of abuse.  Out of 3 Lenovo Laptops in the company with USB C charging ports, all three have had USB C charging ports fail in the last 2 months.  The second USB C port is used daily for external monitors and has also failed or is failing.  These are perfectly good X Series and T Series laptops that cost over 2k a piece when new.  We took them to the Chinese run repair shop to be re-soldered. This works in the very short term - long enough to back them up one last time.  Without a new motherboard, these laptops are junk.

 

I ordered a replacement Lenovo after the first failure.  I'm planning on ordering Dells to replace the next two.  Dell uses a coaxial power cord connection which is much, much stronger.  I'm not paying this much money for ThinkPad laptops that will fail again in only 2-3 years.  We've been using ThinkPads since the 90's.  Under Lenovo, ThinkPad T Series laptops had the same issue with USB-A ports coming loose from the motherboard. Since there were 3 USB-A ports, it was usually possible to keep using the laptop with 2 or 1 working USB-A port.  Those machines used a square power connector that never failed.

 

It doesn't make sense to pay the ThinkPad price premium if I know the laptop will fail unexpectedly in 2-3 years time. What's worse is the cost of downtime.

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2582 Posts

01-08-2021

Philippines

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Re:Planned Obsolescence - USB C Power Connector

2021-03-08, 20:24 PM

Hello dwenfoo88,

 


Greetings


Our Engineering Team conducted extensive research and tests to provide the best products to consumers.
The arrival of USB-C has been a game-changer for many electronics.

You can use the connection to charge devices and transfer media, and it’s conveniently reversible. That's one of the reason why Lenovo used USB C for power delivery.

We're sorry to hear if this doesn't satisfy your needs.
For comments or suggestion, I encourage you to voice it out thru our feedback section.
Kindly go to the support site, and on the right side click the feedback button then enter your comments or suggestion about your Lenovo experience

 

 

Best regards, 
Lorenzo_Lenovo



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4202 Posts

12-22-2008

Canada

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Re:Planned Obsolescence - USB C Power Connector

2021-03-08, 20:26 PM

While I agree that USB-C ports seem flimsy and are probably not well designed for power delivery, the design, both electrical and mechanical, is by https://www.usb.org/ not any specific PC maker. Part of the issue is that there is some sort of industry competition to produce ever thinner devices, especially notebooks and smartphones. At one time the constraint on thinness was the size of connectors like the RJ-45 Ethernet port and the large round barrel connector for AC charging. So it's likely there was considerable pressure on USB-C designers to come up with as thin a connector design as they could. That of course conflicts with sturdy mechanical design.

 

Nevertheless, even some of the most current Lenovo models do have the more conventional rectangular "slim tip" power connector in addition to USB-C. You can power these systems with either type of charger. One example: ThinkPad ThinkPad T15 Gen 2

 

Likewise Dell seems to offer systems that can be charged with USB-C PD as well as with their conventional barrel plug AC chargers.


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29 Posts

08-18-2015

United States of America

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  • Message 4 of 12

Planned Obsolescence - USB C Power Connector

2021-03-09, 2:24 AM
Why wouldn't you use Lenovo warranty repair to fix your USB-C issues? What do you mean by sticking out of the side? Photos?
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4158 Posts

12-02-2007

United States of America

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Re:Planned Obsolescence - USB C Power Connector

2021-03-09, 7:47 AM

Hello,

 

I have had a variety of devices from various manufacturers that use USB (Antec, ASRock, ASUS, Huawei, Motorola, Samsung and Zendure to name a few) and I cannot recall having a USB connector failure on any of them.  I have had to replace cables from time to time, but the devices themselves never seemed to exhibit any connector problems.

 

One thing I am very careful about is treating the devices with caution and gently plugging and unplugging them, and try to avoid any extreme bend radius in the cable.  I'm not sure how much that really helps, or is just me being cautious.

 

It may be worth noting that Lenovo's laptops which require more than 100 watts still use the Lenovo SlimTip adapter, which has about the same dimensions of a USB Type A connector.  I do not know if this connector is more rugged than the USB Type C connector, but it is physically larger and contains less pins.

 

Regards,

 

Aryeh Goretsky

 



I am a volunteer and neither a Lenovo nor a Microsoft employee.

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4202 Posts

12-22-2008

Canada

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  • Message 6 of 12

Re:Planned Obsolescence - USB C Power Connector

2021-03-09, 12:59 PM

 I cannot recall having a USB connector failure on any of them.

 

I've had the odd USB-A socket fail on hubs, probably due to heavy use.

 

I've never had a USB-C fail although the one on an X1C6 that I use to power the system is a bit wiggly. It works fine but the feel isn't very reassuring. 

 

Also a general comment. Now that these ports are all on the sides of the unit they're more susceptible to getting bumped or bent compared to when power connectors were on the back.


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5559 Posts

04-25-2008

United States of America

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  • Message 7 of 12

Re:Planned Obsolescence - USB C Power Connector

2021-04-23, 2:19 AM
The USB-C connectors on my X1C6 have have taken some hammer, and although they are not as tight feeling as originally, they've never given me any trouble, even with multiple daily connects and disconnects.
USB-C: Just cos it fits don't mean it works.
I don't work for Lenovo. I'm a crazy volunteer!
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190 Posts

11-07-2009

United States of America

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  • Message 8 of 12

Re:Planned Obsolescence - USB C Power Connector

2021-04-23, 8:30 AM

The USB-C power port socket of the newer generation thinkpad x1 (x1 yoga gen6 and carbon gen9), no longer uses through hole (power pins, shield pins) and SMD (data pins) connections. It is a tension mounted contact pins to the mother board, see photos for more detail:

 

 

Damage a usb-c socket no longer requires replacing a whole motherboard. Just open the case back (6 screws), and replace the usb-c socket (4 screws), total 5 minutes, if you can qualify for self service and request part from IBM MTSA account.

 

 

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190 Posts

11-07-2009

United States of America

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  • Message 9 of 12

Re:Planned Obsolescence - USB C Power Connector

2021-04-23, 8:48 AM

@ dwenfoo88 wrote:

Those machines used a square power connector that never failed.

 

 

By the way, Dell power plug uses 3 pin design: Vcc, GND and data. The motherboard first handshakes with data pin and determines if this is a genuine Dell charger, then allows power delivery. Often data pin has bad connection so that handshake fails. Your laptop looks has power plugged in but could never deliver. You will never notice until the battery is dead.

 

Old Lenovo/IBM also uses 3pin design, but they are more user friendly,  the data pin is just a dummy pin,  only has a resistor to ground as power identify. So no Dell issue.

 

Also dell power socket is through hole soldered to motherboard, same bad thing will happen if you apply excessive tension (unlike old IBM X61, it is flex connection).

 

You think old fashion 3pin power supply approach is better simply because you have no knowledge of these bad designs. USB-C appears in the main street market after so many years evolution. There is a reason why it was chosen .

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5 Posts

07-03-2021

United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland

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  • Message 10 of 12

Re:Planned Obsolescence - USB C Power Connector

2021-07-03, 15:35 PM

Your post and photo are extremely interesting, as I have a Gen 9 X1 with a possibly faulty usb-c power socket (located at the back-left of the laptop, with a very small led beside it).

 

One or two oddities:

That photo ought to be of the back-left (from font of laptop) and yet this would only be true if it was a view from the top side of the laptop

It looks therefore more like the back-right.

The separate component looks like a rectangular usb-a socket.

The parts list of my machine does include a single usb socket, and the parts list has photos which without doubt show a rectangular a-type socket

 

Therefore I am inclined to think that what you show is not the usb-c connection, but the usb-a one, and the item below, for example, is the SIM socket (which is on the right of my device).

The given parts list does not seem to have a separate usb-c socket unfortunately.

If you happen to have included the wrong photo, a photo of the usb-c socket assembly would be of great interest.

On the other hand, maybe I am comparing your photo with the wrong X1

 

Thanks for any clarification. I have probably just picked something up wrongly, but, regardless, I am very interested to know for sure of the power usb-c connector (back left) is indeed easily replaced.

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