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Old 08-11-2012, 01:18 AM   #1
Gordo68
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What's different about Kobo USB cables (charging question)

Hi guys,
I have had a surprising time trying different cables for my Kobo.
I no longer have the original one and I assumed that any old micro USB cable would suffice - not so!
I gathered all the ones I could find in the house. Two worked as expected, four did not, although they all work perfectly for their original devices.

So... whats "special" about Kobo micro USB cables?
Are they wired differently?
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Old 08-11-2012, 02:34 AM   #2
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I'm using a generic third party cable for my Touch. No problems with it.
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Old 08-11-2012, 03:05 AM   #3
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I have all sorts of micro usb cords in this house and they all work for me. My partners one for his HTC mobile phone works for me too.
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Old 08-11-2012, 03:51 AM   #4
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Well, I had read people generally just used any old micro usb cable, so I was quite confident that I would have a spare that worked.
Five hours of "charging" and the battery icon had not moved. It was odd as I could move books off and on to the reader and Windows was showing it functioning correctly in device manger. I should also say, my Kobo is a the older regular non-touch one but it is in new condition, I have only used it a few times and I have not installed the Kobo software. I just use Calibre.
So I did a little test. I gave it two hours with each of the six cables I found around the house.
Only an old Optus tab and a Logitech USB dock cable charged as per normal. The four other generic ones were all able to transfer files but did not move the icon at all.
I assume that the not every USB cable has the exact same pin connections or all the pins connected? I know its old news that people have to use proprietary Apple cables and wall chargers due to slight pin differences, so I guessed there must be something similar with the Kobo?
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Old 08-11-2012, 06:22 AM   #5
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All USB cables of a size (normal, mini, micro) should be wired the same.
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Old 08-11-2012, 07:55 AM   #6
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If you are using your computers USB port, funny things can happen with different cables.
On a wall charger they should work more reliably.
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Old 08-11-2012, 08:17 AM   #7
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Yes I noticed that.
I tried one of the generic cables with a USB wall charger and it went ahead and charged fine. One of the ones that failed to to charge with the computer despite saying "plugged in" and "charging" on the Kobo.
All the cables are new looking, just some work and some dont using the computers USB ports. BTW I tested this on two family computers. Same results with same cables.

Some variable is at play here, just not sure what exactly.
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Old 08-11-2012, 09:42 AM   #8
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I've had exactly the same problem with the Sony T1 - I already had a collection of multi-cables for charging various devices, which included micro-USB cables. All of these charged the T1, either through a wall charger or the PC, without any problem, but the device didn't show up on the PC and I couldn't transfer data. That was fine - I'd bought them as charging cables, and so I assumed that a data transfer cable must be be different. However, in the past week, I've bought two micro-USB cables that claimed not only to be data transfer cables, but to be specific for the T1, and neither worked. So like you, I'm rather bemused by this.

Both of these new cables were thicker than the multi-'charging' cables, and looked exactly like the original Sony cable. In both cases, when I plugged the Sony into the PC, I got the message about whether I wanted to transfer data, but before I could press it, the screen started to flash and another message popped up to say it wasn't charging. Same thing happened with different USB ports and different computers, and when I tried the cables with the wall charger, the light on the Sony didn't come on, but it did immediately with one of the multi-cables. So it does seem there's some difference somewhere.
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Old 08-11-2012, 11:43 AM   #9
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For those having problems: Are you using USB extension cords, cord adaptors, or a front panel or external USB hub? I've noticed that my Kobo *loathes* using anything other than a single micro-USB cord plugged directly into a motherboard's native USB ports.
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Old 08-11-2012, 12:27 PM   #10
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That's weird, I use multiple different USB cables on my Kobo wireless as I may plug it in to a different computer in the house and have never had a problem. Can you transfer books and updates through the Kobo app or use it as a storage device in Windows with the cable you're having a problem with?
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Old 08-11-2012, 04:36 PM   #11
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You didn't say which Kobo you have - the Kobo Vox definitely is wired differently due to the 2A charger and you cannot use any generic micro USB cable for the Vox.
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Old 08-11-2012, 11:51 PM   #12
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Hi, its the original Kobo e-reader. And nope, no extension cords, lesser USB ports etc. Tried on two family computers, many different ports.

Its simple.
Will charge completely with some cables, wont at all with others. Data transfers normally with all. Kobo always shows "plugged in" with red charging LED
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Old 08-14-2012, 03:51 AM   #13
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I don't know if they are wired differently but I recently had some problems (described here) with a kobo touch. It died and wouldn;t charge with the usb (any usb) cable or with the wall charger I bought for the kobo but it charged using a samsung phone charger.
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Old 08-16-2012, 12:40 AM   #14
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Have a read of this article: http://www.extremetech.com/computing...our-smartphone
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Old 09-09-2012, 06:56 PM   #15
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There are also issues related to total power delivered to USB ports from a computer.
If you've got too much other USB stuff plugged in, you may be exceeding the total power specs, and the computer may not be willing to enable another one.
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