USB Cable Clarification

So, the endless debate continues…

Can the USB cable used to flash be a power cable, as well as a data cable, or only the latter? Thanks, and if you could post an Amazon link to one or two you may have experience with, that’d be ideal.

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It just needs data in some capacity. I use a cable that came with a Arturia MIDI keyboard which has both power and data, for example.

Perhaps there is a misconception about data + charging. Is there any risk related with using a cable that includes charging capabilities? There must be a reason I see so many disclaimers on the type of cable.

Short answer: There is 100% no danger in using a working, charging only cable. There’s simply no data communication so you won’t be able to program the board. That’s it.
Of course, if it’s plugged into a WALL CHARGER, that’s a different story, where the problem would be the amount of power coming into the board, regardless if the cable has data capability or not…

So the backstory as to why there’s all the warnings and misinformation out there goes like this:
Lando Sabers released a how-to Proffieboard video a while back in which he strongly stressed that using a charging-only cable would “fry the board.” It’s the first thing he says and it’s heavily stressed.

This was based on a personal experience he had, and included a reference to a 2nd opinion from the installer who did the hilt in question.
While it’s admirable to try and help people, and of course “better safe than sorry,” the information was given/taken as law, and the problem with that is that it’s incorrect on a basic level.
So while it’s possible that the cable that was used in that instance may have been a charging only cable, it it more likely it was a BROKEN cable, because there is 100% nothing wrong or dangerous about using a USB cable that is simply missing the data lines.
There are 4 wires in a USB cable. VCC+, GND, Data+, Data-.
If there are no data wires, and the cable is designed to be used with a device that only needs charging (a flashlight, a toy, anything like that), the only result of plugging it into a computer and a Proffieboard is that the board will receive USB power (as normal), boot up and behave normally, but there just won’t be any data communication, therefore you can’t use that cable to program with.

There is ZERO DANGER using a charging only cable (unless of course, like any type of USB cable, there’s a problem with it and it’s shorted or something broken in the plug etc…), or the other end is plugged into a wall charger instead of a computer USB port.

There’s just no point in using one really.
That said. Charging-only cables are far more rare than a typical sync cable, so it is practically a non-issue anyway.
I would post a link to a cable but it is literally fine to choose just about any one that says “data transfer” or “sync” in its description.

As usual, you provide a comprehensive, clear, and record-setting explanation. This has clarified for me, and I will clarify for anyone else I discuss this with.

Thank you and MTFBWY.


Thanks. Yes, please refer them to that post if it comes up.
I’m very tempted to reach out to Lando Sabers and ask him to edit the video.

You know, I heard it on that video too, but imagined it was him relaying, rather than contriving. Probably could swing the narrative for future folks with an edit on the video and some clarifications around the forums/Reddit.

Charge-only cables are technically not USB cables at all.
Here is a tool you can use to fix charge-only cables:

Whenever possible, I recommend using USB-IF certified USB cables.


And to be clear; There is no such thing as a data-only cable.

I didn’t know additional clarity was needed after the link to such a powerful tool. :wink:

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