17 comments on “Fire Hazard in Power Cables included with USB Hard Drive Adapters

  1. Why would you ever use an AC/charger/power cable that came from Amazon/eBay tho? I mean, come on now. Same thing with chargers. They are only good if you are suicidal or want to pull some nasty insurance scam. But otherwise…

    • I can’t afford to throw away every power cable that comes with a product and replace them with Tripp-Lite cables. I’m not expecting them to be great, but I expect them to meet the legal minimum standards.

      Thanks to a friend, though, I /do/ have pro cables for anything that draws a noticeable amount of power. Still, my ex managed to shuffle one of these in with my good cables, and if I didn’t always double-check, could have easily used it.

      These products are sold to the general population, without the expectation that they be electricians or technically knowledgeable to be safe.

  2. The problem doesn’t exist if the cable is used for it’s intended application – the (<50W) power adapter. The problem exists because people will try to use that same power cable in a high amperage application it wasn't intended for. It would be much better if such cables were permanently attached to the adapter.

    • That’s the bullshit answer that Vantec gave me. Bottom line is, the cable is STAMPED with the rating ’10A 250V’, but MELTS at 2.6 amps! It looks and feels like any regular PC power cable, but IT IS NOT. It is not legal, it is not safe, and it is not OK in any way.

  3. That wasn’t the concern raised. Try to use this universal cable specced cable say on my 1200 watt psu and wait for it to catch fire. That is what happened to me last year. Just we couldn’t figure out how it started and know I know.

    • Sorry that happened to you, I hope it didn’t do too much damage. Luckily, I never left the room, and was only using it for a quick test… it could have been disastrous. I’d be highly surprised if this hasn’t already caused many fires.

      Thanks for the reply. I went ahead and got a whole box of Tripp-Lite 14AWG power cables to replace ALL of them in my house, cut both ends off the old ones, and threw them away. I’m not taking any chances, it’s nowhere near worth it.

      • Hey, are there any identifying markings on the cable? I have one of these, but I can’t tell which one it is in my collection. Any ideas how to find it?

      • The only markings on it are ’10A 250V’ on the C13 (PC) side. If you take a close look at the pic in the article, you may be able to find it by that plus the tapered gripper lines. It’s the same thickness as a regular cable, but has more rubber than copper, so it does feel slightly spongier if you bend it between your fingers. Personally, I bought brand new Tripp-Lite 14AWG cables for every device in my house (with holographic UL markings on them). I took the rest of them, but both ends off, and threw them away. I don’t trust a damn one of ’em. There’s no telling how many products these or similar cables have been shipped with.

        Best of luck.

      • Thanks Fry, most of my cables are branded, but I’ll look for the unbranded and marked as you noted.

      • I found it, it has gold square connectors on the PC side, and it has W-P27CL stamped on the face.

  4. I came an your blog from another site who who posted a story about this. So here i am and found your concerns about the cable.

    Rest assured the cable is totally ok for this power adapter as well as for supporting the usb harddrive.
    A harddrive does not need much power and therefore it does not need to provide much power. The power adapter is rated for 34W Output in total. It has two readings 24W(Ausgang: 12V 2000mA) and a second rating for 10W (Output 5V 2000mA). This semms to be both for the hard drive and thats more than enought power for the hard drive.

    For 34W however the cables dont need to be big inside. Think of a smartphone power adapter it is very small as well. It just needs to charge the smartphone. Or think of a laptop who needs much more power than a single harddrive.

    Why do i know this things? Its my profession. I have made my A-level exams in elecronics.

    So dont worry 😉

    • Vantec is just a rebrand of chinese products.
      Obviously made in China cable to save on copper costs. ( at least they tried ^_^)

      • They tried what? They tried to save a few pennies, at the risk of lives and property? Yes, clearly this is a Chinese product. Why do so many people defend them? It was sold through Vantec USA in California… they’re still subject to the same safety regulations that all companies who sell products here are.

    • OK, smart guy… I’ve been a Senior Systems Administrator for over 15 years, and an amateur Electrical Engineer since my teens. I know what a standard PC power cable looks and feels like, and this cable looks and feels like a normal one. It isn’t until you accidentally swap it with an identical looking one that you find your house on fire. If you mistakenly grab this cable on the way to install a machine in a data center, you’re looking at hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of damage. Get it yet?

    • Yeah, you obviously don’t know what you are talking about if you think it is OK for a rated cable to melt at less than half its rating. I hope that you do not design consumer products.

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