Engineer creates a USB-C abomination that brings back the terror of USB-A cable flipping News
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The “cursed” USB-C device behaves differently depending on the orientation of the USB adapter being inserted (Image source: @mifune)

Mechanical engineer Pim de Groot (@mifune) created a USB-C that seemingly brings back the bad old days of USB adapters that don’t fit into ports the first (or second!) time.

Mechanical engineer Pim de Groot recently shared photos and video of what he described as a “cursed” USB Type-C device. The board lights up differently depending on the orientation of Type-C adapter you plug in. this might sound innocuous enough until you take a moment and remember the whole point of the Type-C design: to move past the mystifying and frustrating experience of trying to plug in a Type-A cable. 

Thanks to the laws of random chance, Type-A plugs almost always required multiple attempts to connect, an effect humorously described as “USB Superposition.” De Groot’s device relies on a lesser-known fact about the construction of USB Type-C plugs: while the adapter’s receptacle is symmetrical – allowing users to plug a Type-C cable in regardless of its orientation – only one side has D+ and D- contacts. It has green and red LEDs that light up differently, depending on whether D+ and D- contacts are shorted. 

De Groot’s box of horrors does seem to have some practical benefit, however: because of the internal differences, flipping your Type-C adapter might actually be a valid troubleshooting step in certain situations.

Arjun Krishna Lal, 2021-03-24 (Update: 2021-03-24)

I’ve had a passion for PC gaming since 1996, when I watched my dad score frags in Quake as a 1 year-old. I’ve gone on to become a Penguin-published author and tech journalist. When I’m not traveling the world, gathering stories for my next book, you can find me tinkering with my PC.


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