UPDATE 2015.03.24: Amazon has FAILED to make good on their word. The Vantec HDD adapter is BACK on Amazon fulfillment, and is no longer 'under review'. Their Safety Department failed to follow through on their promise to call me when the issue was resolved. They have not heard the last of me.
UPDATE 2015.02.24: Success! Amazon has recalled the product from their fulfillment center, and will have it down from their resellers ASAP. Consumer Product Safety Commission has acknowledged the issue, and escalated accordingly. Consumer Reports has forwarded the story to the proper department. Thank you so much for all who helped spread the word!
I'm just one guy here. Don't see this blog and think it's all been taken care of. I've been working on this for days, and I'm getting burnt out. Someone needs to take this torch and run with it (No pun intended, but it works). If you can help me with legal fees, I've set up a Please chip in for legal and medical expenses, or BTC: 1PDoMu6Ye8HWa2fKJQhRECTXaE6JZjnyDq Thanks.
Since there has been some confusion, I’ll clarify that the problem is not with the USB data interface, it is with the AC cable that comes with it
You should be concerned about this. This COULD start a fire
Vantec USB Hard Drive Adapter
The AC power cable that comes with the Vantec USB Hard Drive Adapter (and Flypower power supply) is labeled with a 10A 250V rating, but is made with wires that are about as big as the USB cables that you charge your phone with, that should NEVER be plugged directly into an outlet. A redditor said they received a similar cable with a Sabrent HDD Adapter (See pics at bottom). This cable could very well be in many devices on the market. They look and feel the same from the outside, but if you accidentally use one with a computer or any device that draws more power than a hard drive, it could melt and possibly start a fire. If you might have one of these mixed in with your extra power cables, I highly recommend that you cut the ends off and throw them all away, and buy new ones. It’s worth the money.
Vantec/Flypower vs. Legal Cable
By law, power cables that have the standard IEC C13 connector must be rated at 10 amps. It says 10A 250V right on it, mine started MELTING at 2.6A 123V. A proper cable will be made with conductors that are at least 18AWG, these are nowhere near adequate. Here’s a close-up comparison with a decent one. You’ll notice that the Vantec/Flypower wires have more plastic than copper, and are also missing the strings that prevent damage if the cable is pulled on.
They look identical from the outside
When I plugged in the power supply, the LED flashed on, and then went out almost immediately. The AC cable that came with it didn’t seat quite properly, so I thought I’d try a different cable. It still didn’t work, so I set them both aside and just used the computer’s PSU to power the hard drive. When I needed to test another piece of equipment later in the day, I unknowingly grabbed this cable. Within 5 minutes, the cable was so hot that it burned my hand when I went to unplug it, and the plastic jacket was getting soft and almost melted. If I hadn’t been right there, it could have easily burned my house down, and I would be surprised if it has happened to someone already.
I’ve notified Amazon, and they said they will investigate within 7 days and take it off the market if they agree with my findings. I’ve also emailed Vantec, with CC to UL regulatory agency. The Flypower power supply had certification logos from around 10 different agencies, I can almost guarantee that a power supply this light and cheaply built was not certified by all, if any of them, considering how much testing costs.
Please spread the word, and help me get this thing recalled
Judging by the response, there are many people who have owned a unit like these, and think they have one of these cables somewhere in their collection. Cheap imports are great, but they’re definitely not worth the cost of human lives or property. When you find a problem like this, report it everywhere you can, and warn everyone you know. Force all manufacturers to sell a safe product, or push them out of the market and make room for quality domestic manufacturers to take their place.
I’ve notified the Consumer Product Safety Commission, my Attorney General, Consumer Reports, UL, and the manufacturers Vantec USA and Sabrent. Vantec replied, saying the cable was only designed to be used with a hard drive, which is clearly not an excuse. Sabrent quickly contacted me by phone, and were eager to address my concerns. UL connected me with their representative in Taiwan, who says they have no jurisdiction, since the cable itself does not have the (UL) marking.
If you have one of these units, please contact the regulatory agencies above, the retailer, the manufacturer, and any media outlets you can
I posted a quick video on YouTube describing the problem, and comparing the Vantec/Flypower cable with a legal one.
Update 2015.02.09: A redditor said they received a similar cable with a Sabrent HDD Adapter:
This is just my personal opinion, I am not a company. If you're thinking about suing me, I'm disabled, have no income, and no assets.