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  1. #1
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    awesome FAKE Samsung USB charger

    so about a week ago i decided that with four USB lights on my bike i should pick up extra USB chargers. i have a Samsung Galaxy Note 2 phone, which comes with a charger of the same size as other phone chargers, but with 10 watt output - same as iPad charger which is much larger. this is because Note is a "phablet" so it tries to give you the best of both worlds, and this is true also for the charger - it's phone-size but with tablet-power.

    now that charger is awesome - and as soon as i saw it i knew i wanted more of them - but none were for sale. but now it has changed !

    you can now buy this charger from Samsung directly for $40 ( Ouch ! You can buy a genuine MacBook Pro charger for less ! ) or you can buy it on Amazon for 7 bucks ! ! ! well, i paid 7 bucks because i picked a highly rated seller - you can actually buy it from Amazon for under 5 bucks from less reputable Amazon sellers ...

    7 bucks for the smallest, most powerful USB charger on the planet. great deal right ? there's only one problem - it's FAKE.

    but it was such a good deal i got it anyway, and today i tested it using an app "Galaxy Charging Current" and it delivers the same current as the real charger that came with my phone. it clocks at 1600+ MA just as the real one, while for example when i use the charger from my Kindle the current is only 460 MA. so it has 4 times the power of Kindle USB charger and it's only slightly larger.

    now when i examined it carefully some of the text on it isn't straight, which is a sure sign of a fake product, but it still delivers the goods and it comes with a very nice micro USB cable ( also fake Samsung ) included ! a cable this sexy by itself would cost as much as they're asking for the charger WITH the cable.

    so if i needed more USB chargers i would pick it up:

    Amazon.com: Samsung OEM 2.0 Amp Travel Charger with Detachable Micro USB Cable for Samsung Galaxy Note, Galaxy Note 2 II, Galaxy S3 S III, Galaxy S3 Mini & Other Smartphones (Bulk Packaging): Cell Phones & Accessories

    it appears to be a high quality CLONE of the Samsung. some people reported that in their testing it doesn't produce the claimed output but in my testing it does.

    unfortunately to save some money i cancelled my second order of Fireball spoke lights ( USB powered ) so i don't really need any more USB chargers at this point ( i have probably half a dozen of them ). but if you do this is a great deal IMO.

    the highest rated USB chargers on Amazon are powergen brand, and i have that as well, but the powergen is three times the size of the Samsung clone, costs twice as much, but doesn't deliver any more power - where is the logic in this ?

    just wanted to give heads up for anybody who needs a USB charger.

    i will say however that if you want a charger for an Apple product this is probably not for you. Apple, on purpose, makes sure their stuff doesn't work with anything but their own stuff ( like Sony used to ).

    if only i could figure out what i could possibly use extra USB chargers for i would order a few more

  2. #2
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    Dave Jones does a rather melodramatic teardown of these cheap/fake USB chargers on his EEVblog:

    EEVblog #388 - Fake Apple USB Charger Teardown | EEVblog - The Electronics Engineering Video Blog


    "Look at the creepage distance! Man, this thing is a bloody death trap!"

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by desolder View Post
    Dave Jones does a rather melodramatic teardown of these cheap/fake USB chargers on his EEVblog

    "Look at the creepage distance! Man, this thing is a bloody death trap!"
    that was funny. in theory i have a degree in Electrical Engineering but in practice i don't know enough to design anything that would work even half as well as that fake Chinese c4ap. it was still funny though.

    so what are you saying - that this fake Samsung charger isn't even worth the $5 that it costs ?

    the irony is that while it has a ton of negative reviews i don't see them mentioning anything catastrophic. on the other if you read the reviews of real powergen and look at 1 star reviews they pretty much all mention the charger catching on fire. so what is really more dangerous - a fake Samsung or a real PowerGen ?

    what are we supposed to buy the real Apple charger for $20 or real Samsung for $40 ? wouldn't that be a little bit crazy ? the entire iPhone costs 6 bucks to assemble and uses $200 worth of parts. a charger i would guess probably costs a dollar to assemble and uses a dollar worth of parts. i don't want to pay $20 for it ?

    what would you get ? i would like something that has 2 amp output.

    by the way i have 4 different USB chargers with 2 amp output and they all tested as delivering that much - a real Note 2 charger, a fake Note 2 charger, a Samsung Galaxy Tab charger from Amazon ( no idea real or fake ), and a PowerGen charger. On the other hand Amazon Kindle charger only put out 1/4 as much power, but it is also only rated for 1/4 the power of the others.

    and what am i supposed to do with this fake Samsung - use it and keep my fingers crossed that it won't catch on fire ?

  4. #4
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    this is the one picture of any powergen internals that i found:



    of course this is a car adapter, not a 120V adapter, but it's the only pic i could find. i guess it looks better than those Chinese fakes ...

  5. #5
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    OK screw it i will try to get refunded for it tomorrow ...

    In the mean time there is a new charger on the scene:

    Amazon.com: AnkerŽ 18W / 3.6A Wall Charger - The First and Only Adapter Capable of Delivering Simultaneous, Full-Speed Charges to iPads and Smartphones: Cell Phones & Accessories

    i like that it is 18W and cheaper than 15W powergen and has much better ratings. also i own an Anker portable lithium power bank thingy and it is awesome.

    i think this is the winner right there ...

    except that i sold my iPhone and iPad a long time ago and i have no USB powered Apple devices to use this charger with. why can't they make a charger for just android devices like Samsung one ? why do they need this stupid Apple port, and then they give the Apple port more power than Android port ...

    i wonder whether my USB lights will think they are Apple or Android LOL ? no seriously ?

  6. #6
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    The cheap chargers are a crap shoot, but it's not impossible to find a good cheap one. I bought Buy Best Dual USB US Plug Power Adapter for iPhone / iPad - White (110~240V) and tested it out with some dummy loads before using it. It really does output 2.1A, but the port labels are wrong. The "2.1A" port is optimized for Android phones because the D+ and D- lines are shorted. The "1A" port is for Apple Devices, the voltages applied to D+ and D- signal to Apple devices a 2.1A capable charger.

    Just as importantly - the power quality is pretty good. It doesn't cause my screen to go crazy like the some of the cheap chargers do. Plus, when I opened it up, it looks like it's following the recommended clearance/creepage recommendations for UL certification, so there's no danger of it electrocuting you if you hold your phone while charging and standing in a puddle of water!

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by desolder View Post
    The cheap chargers are a crap shoot, but it's not impossible to find a good cheap one. I bought Buy Best Dual USB US Plug Power Adapter for iPhone / iPad - White (110~240V) and tested it out with some dummy loads before using it. It really does output 2.1A, but the port labels are wrong. The "2.1A" port is optimized for Android phones because the D+ and D- lines are shorted. The "1A" port is for Apple Devices, the voltages applied to D+ and D- signal to Apple devices a 2.1A capable charger.

    Just as importantly - the power quality is pretty good. It doesn't cause my screen to go crazy like the some of the cheap chargers do. Plus, when I opened it up, it looks like it's following the recommended clearance/creepage recommendations for UL certification, so there's no danger of it electrocuting you if you hold your phone while charging and standing in a puddle of water!
    yeah i just plugged my fake right into my phone like a dumbass - but then nobody in the reviews mentioned their phones exploding ...

    in any case it's going back. i already printed the return label. it may only be $7.97 but i just don't see why i should finance fraud - in my opinion Amazon shouldn't even be selling this product - but many people like it ( they can't tell that it's fake ) so Amazon will probably continue selling it unless more people like me return it ...

    after watching your video i realized that an ultra-compact, high-power, fake charger is not a good idea when it comes to safety. i'd rather get Anker that is 4 times the size, but at least with that size it's less likely that things inside of it are so cramped that they are on the verge of shorting.

  8. #8
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    OK i found an even nicer one, although it's $18 compared to $12 for Anker:

    Amazon.com: BolseŽ 4.2Amp 20W High Output Turbo Charge Dual USB Port Wall Charger for iPad, iPhone 5, Samsung Galaxy S3 / S4, Amazon Kindle Fire, etc - White: Electronics

    this one claims 2.1 A to both ports ( doesn't mention anything about Apple or Non-Apple ). the Anker claims 2.1 A only to one port and 1.5 A to another, but what i really like about this one is that the plug folds. PowerGen has a charger with folding plug too, but theirs is problematic.

  9. #9
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    wow you really need to be careful reading those reviews ... the Bolse ones are almost all sponsored, while the Anker ones are almost all for the car charger ( car chargers obviously have much simpler circuitry ).

    what about this:

    Amazon.com: iFlash (4.5 Amps / 22Watt / Fastest Speed) Four Port USB Wall/Travel/AC Rapid Charger (Universal Compatibility) - White Color: Cell Phones & Accessories

    22 watts. 2.4A at one of the ports. i wonder if having a 2.4A port is dangerous ? i thought 2.1A was maximum ? maybe it will fry my device ? is a device smart enough to protect itself ? most devices obviously will only take what they need, but if a device needs 2.1A maybe it counts on the power supply not being able to deliver more as i haven't seen any that can ?

    hm ...

  10. #10
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    You do need to buy chargers from reputable manufacturers. Apple wound up with a huge problem in China when a airline cabin attendant had a fake one that looked like Apple's and wound up electrocuted with it - "electrocuted" as in "dead."

    It's one thing is the electronics are not reliable or they just die at some point but the issues of safety is a big deal and it has to do with how the grounds are done (that's a big part of what the UL rating is all about) and the regulation has to be good so it doesn't fry what you are trying to charge. With both of those issues, the money you save gets burned up in a hurry and they don't look like such a good deal anymore.

    J.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnJ80 View Post
    You do need to buy chargers from reputable manufacturers. Apple wound up with a huge problem in China when a airline cabin attendant had a fake one that looked like Apple's and wound up electrocuted with it - "electrocuted" as in "dead."

    It's one thing is the electronics are not reliable or they just die at some point but the issues of safety is a big deal and it has to do with how the grounds are done (that's a big part of what the UL rating is all about) and the regulation has to be good so it doesn't fry what you are trying to charge. With both of those issues, the money you save gets burned up in a hurry and they don't look like such a good deal anymore.

    J.
    i'm not disagreeing - but what's an affordable 2 amp USB charger made by a reputable company ?

    i hope Apple and Samsung aren't the only "reputable" companies capable of making a USB charger ?

  12. #12
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    I think that anyone is paying attention could figure it out. Cheapo knockoffs aren't hard to figure out.

    J.

  13. #13
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    just a pic. bike charging up.

    by the way this is a pretty cool surge protector. i just picked it up this week. it's all metal, comes with 15 foot cord and integrated cord storage, 8 outlets reasonably laid out. and i like the bright color because i don't want to step on my chargers accidentally. i also like that with the width it's not going to tip over unlike some thin profile surge protectors which tip over the second you pull on any cord. its quite heavy for a surge protector, and especially heavy with the cord.

    the plugs go in nice and firm, which is reassuring.

    there is a good deal on it as well:

    Amazon.com : Tripp Lite TLM815NS Safety Power Strip 120V 5-15R 8 Outlet Metal 15 feet Cord OSHA : Electronics

    funny thing is i have 6 chargers on it, and if i needed to plug in just one more there wouldn't be spot for it, but i only needed 6 anyway.


  14. #14
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    found this awesome article:

    Ken Shirriff's blog: A dozen USB chargers in the lab: Apple is very good, but not quite the best

    which measures and rates real and fake chargers ( along with some teardowns and tips on how to spot fakes )

    looks like there are 3 tiers of chargers:

    1 - genuine big-name
    2 - genuine third-party
    3 - fake

    which was obvious of course, but what was not obvious to me is how huge the difference in performance is.

    category 1 for the most part delivers on all counts

    category 2 for the most part delivers the advertised WATTS but falls short on everything else ( noise, ripple, regulation etc )

    category 3 is an across-the-board fail, delivering neither safety, nor advertised power levels, and power quality is so bad you might actually fry your device. basically this type of charger should go straight in the trash.

    before reading this article i was sure that genuine chargers from Apple and Samsung were pure rip-off cashing in on people's blind allegiance to brand, but after looking at the test results i'm leaning towards "you get what you pay for" view here ...

    this sucks !

  15. #15
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    actually Apple 12W iPad charger for $19.99 direct from Apple.com is a great deal ! there are some BS chargers selling for more on Amazon for more than that !

    problem is i don't have any Apple devices, and my Samsung would be best served by a Samsung charger, which is $40 to $50 from Samsung.com ( depending on model )

    the Samsung charger i got for $10 from Amazon last year is $50 from Samsung, which leads me to believe it is probably just as fake as the $40 Samsung charger i got for $7 from Amazon last week ...

    GRRRR ! ! !

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