Don't Buy a Generic Car Charger


  1. I bought a generic car charger for my Droid. My thought was something along the lines of "a micro USB charger is a micro USB charger" and clearly I was wrong.

    I noticed that after an hour on the charger while i was using GPS, 3G and Bluetooth, that the charge on my phone had actually dropped by about 10%. At best, the generic charger only slowed the drain from the battery. I replaced it with a Rocketfish charger from Best Buy and, while charging was painfully slow, it did charge.

    Maybe it was the brand of charger and maybe my charger was faulty but I thought I'd throw this out there for anyone who is going to grab one.

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  2. Mrwirez

    Mrwirez Well-Known Member

    I will only buy Verizon accessories from now on. I tried the Rocketfish charger from Best Buy but took it back. The cord was way too short and it did take a while to charge. The Verizon cord was a good eight inches longer and charged in about 30 minutes..

    I once bought a cheap generic Chinese accessory kit from eBay.. the car charger shorted out and cooked my old LG vx8100 (*I had insurance).

    Do yourself a favor, buy Verizon accessories from a real VW store. It is only a couple of dollars more but very much worth it.

    OT: I also bought the Asurion insurance for my Droid.. Its $8.00/month. I break everything and average about three phones per contract. I once broke my phone on a Sunday afternoon, went to the Asurion website and was unwrapping my replacement phone the next day at 2:00 pm...
  3. stearic

    stearic Well-Known Member

    Well as for the original poster, there really wasn't anything wrong with that charger. You have to remember with that while using the navigation, your using both gps and 3g at the same time. That's a big drain on the battery. The charger may only like you said "slow the drain" as it was most likely only pushing out .5A. Keep in mind i'm taking a guess taking into account that you said it's a generic charger. Nothing wrong with generic chargers, but you do need to look at the quality of the build and where you buy it from. You do get what you pay for with a generic charger, longer charge time but at a discount price for the charger.
  4. rsbenedict

    rsbenedict Well-Known Member

    I bought a generic charger that recoils when not using it and I haven't noticed any issues. It keeps the phone charged throughout the whole trip and I do use navigation/3g services.
  5. Droid503

    Droid503 Member

    I bought all my extra charging accessories from Monoprice and they work fine. My car charger cost me less than $3 (I love Monoprice) and I'm getting a charge while using nav and Pandora.
  6. kam187

    kam187 Well-Known Member

    The generic cheap chargers only have a regulator in them, and so don't negotiate upto to 500mA high power USB. That means the phone only draws 100mA to charge.
  7. Backnblack

    Backnblack Well-Known Member

    I never buy off brand chargers for $600 devices....just a quirk of mine.
  8. stearic

    stearic Well-Known Member

    I know alot of people that won't buy off-brand chargers just because of the whole "don't trust a $10 charger on a $600 device" mentality. Nothing wrong with it at all. You just have to be careful in where you buy and what the brand is that your buying. Some are known to be crappy and some are known to work very well.
  9. Mrwirez

    Mrwirez Well-Known Member

    I agree... why not spend an extra $10 for the proper charger? Like I said, I cooked my LG.....
  10. AndroidSPCS

    AndroidSPCS Well-Known Member

    I use generic and off-brand chargers for all the phones I've had, from my very first Palm Treo and very first Blackberry device, and have never had a problem.

    If there is a problem, isn't that what the warranty you're paying on your $600 device for? :)

    The money I've saved buying $5 / $10 chargers instead of $20 / $30 chargers have saved me enough money to buy a smartphone or two.
  11. Backnblack

    Backnblack Well-Known Member

    What about the time changing out devices and reloading everything? No thanks, My time is worth more than that...
  12. AndroidSPCS

    AndroidSPCS Well-Known Member

    Like I said I have never had a problem ever. So I have never had to reload.

    Problems with devices come in many forms, ie accidents / stolen / lost, etc, not just chargers.

    I've saved over $300 in chargers, which definitely made it worth my time since I never had to swap out phones. :)

    And if I did, with Palm desktop (Treo), and my Blackberries (Blackberry sync to Outlook), I would have nothing to reload manually - everything is automatic.

    With Android it's just as simple, since almost all data is in the cloud. So time to reload should be virtually nil. :D

    If it makes you feel better, keep spending the $30 on that expensive charger and feel as if you are doing the right thing. I'll keep saving my $20-$30 and put that into my pocket. ;)

    PS - this is a topic that has been debated endlessly in Treo / Blackberry forums, and no one can ever prove that generic chargers has ever done any harm. There are specifications to USB, miniUSB, and microUSB that manufacturers must adhere to, which makes it even safer to buy than proprietary cellphone chargers. I have no worries whatsoever.
  13. Amw3000

    Amw3000 Member

    Not sure how picky the providers in the US are, however up here in Canada, if you are using 3rd party chargers, they have the option to void your warranty.
  14. UncleMike

    UncleMike Well-Known Member

    If the $15-$20 savings on each charger has added up to enough to buy a smartphone or two, you've bought WAY many more chargers that I have. It sounds like the FEW $30 chargers I've bought cost less overall than your repeatedly buying the $5-$10 variety.

    The mere existence of specifications does not mean that manufacturers follow them. Cheap components can lead to potentially damaging power fluctuations. I trust name brand manufacturers to follow the specs and use quality components more so than I do off-brand manufacturers. That trust may be misplaced, but it's there none the less.

    That said, I don't personally know anyone who's device was damaged by an off-brand charger.

    I imagine that here in the US the warranty would be voided as well, IF the manufacturer could show that you were using an "unauthorized" charger. That's a BIG IF though.
  15. AndroidSPCS

    AndroidSPCS Well-Known Member

    Wow, you're really stretching here. Are you a sales person for the cellphone manufacturers by chance? :p

    I carry multiple phones, and I travel often for work. So I have a set of chargers at home which stay at home, I have a set of chargers in my car that stays in my car, and I have a set of chargers in my luggage that stay in my luggage when I travel.

    I never have to ever worry / forget chargers where ever I am. By buying the cheap generic chargers, which work wonderful, I have saved a ton of money, not to mention I have not invested $30 X many obsolete proprietary chargers on old phones that I no longer use.

    You guys are so funny, really stretching for a reason to justify why EVERYONE should waste their $30 to buy over-priced OEM chargers. :D

    I'd like to see someone bring up some fine print from some contract that states using a non-OEM charger will void the warranty. That could be grounds for a FTC investigation into monopolistic practices of cell phone makers.

    Imagine if you bought an after-market battery for your car, and your auto-maker voids your car warranty because you use an after-market battery. That would not fare well in the US, and nor would using an after-market generic charger for the phones.

    BINGO!! Nor have I, and I have been around a very very long time on many cellphone forums, from Treo forums, Blackberry forums, various Carrier forums, Howard Forums, and I have yet to hear of one such incident that can be proved to be related to an after-market charger.


    Again, this topic has been endlessly debated on virtually every forum I've visited. Every board there's someone who thinks that the cellphone gadgets are so poorly made and so sensitive that only the OEM chargers are going to prevent damage. This horse has been beaten to death millions of times over. No one has ever proven that spending 3-4 times the money for an OEM charger has ever done anything substantial other than lighten the buyer's wallet.
  16. Mrwirez

    Mrwirez Well-Known Member


    Hello, I'm MrWirez..:D
  17. Grizzld

    Grizzld Well-Known Member

    I just use the Touchstone charger for my Eris :D
  18. rsbenedict

    rsbenedict Well-Known Member

    How can you use Palm's touchstone charger for your HTC Eris??????

    Being sarcastic????
  19. Grizzld

    Grizzld Well-Known Member

  20. rsbenedict

    rsbenedict Well-Known Member

    Haha, I get it. :/
  21. UncleMike

    UncleMike Well-Known Member

    You're right! It is a stretch - and a big one at that. But it does seem that you buy WAY many more chargers than I do, but for a good reason, and nothing to do with their quality or lack thereof. I can see your savings adding up before my eyes. :) And no, I don't work for a cell carrier, manufacturer, nor do I benefit in any way from charger sales.

    I didn't mean to imply that anyone should buy name-brand or OEM chargers. But I do buy them, and was explaining why. Since my post above I realized that I bought two batteries for my last phone on eBay. So I have to admit that my thinking on this issue is inconsistent at best. I hereby hang my head in shame.
  22. Backnblack

    Backnblack Well-Known Member

    I buy name brand chargers.... My device, My choice.....

    YMMV
  23. d1pham

    d1pham Well-Known Member

    I never use or buy car chargers. I take the original wall charger and plug it into a car power inverter. Problem solved.
  24. michaelk

    michaelk Well-Known Member

    exactly- specifically the spec says (and the droid unlike many other devices appears to follow it) that when the droid first latches on it can get a MAX of 100 mA and then must negotiate up to 300 or 500 (or higher apparently on the latest spec now that everyone is going to use micro usb- but you would need a host that can go above 500).


    totally untrue- there ARE specs but no one NEEDS to follow the USB specs. The only time I think they are obligated to is is if they want to put the USB logo on the device- even then check out how palm is violating the specs right now to try and trick itunes into syncing (which I actually have no problem with). There's no big army or USB spec police enforcing anything. So do you really think some factory in china turning out chargers for a nickel each cares about following any spec? They take shortcuts and poison much more expensive/important things.

    as kam187 wrote above many are so cheap becasue they dont have the logic/shunts/whatever inside to negotiate anything higher than 100 mA. The stock droid wallwart apparently outputs 850 mA. So 100 probably doesn't even trickle charge with the evdo and gps cranking like in the OP.

    As above the warrenty wont cover you if you buy non-compliant stuff. Not that I have ever heard of verizon or anyone for that matter ever balking, but is it really right if the charger blows up the phone to make the phone people pay for the replacement via warrenty exchange? Wouldn't that be the charger people's fault and they should pay?

    All that said I've frequently bought 3rd party stuff for my smartphones/handheld video games/ cameras/ etc in the past. (generally name brands like seido or gomadic or charepod though and not the 5 cent items with 7 dollar chipping on ebay). But this time around I'm actually thinking I'm going to spend the "big bucks" for a "proper" micro-usb charger because if eveerything comes together like it should it should be the last car charger I ever buy. Al the big guns (including Apple even) have agreed to use micro-USB for charging for any smartphone sold in Europe and I just cant imagine that Moto for instance would put one connector on some future european droid and then another proprietary connector for the US version.

    part of the point of the agreement on micro usb was for just that reason- so we all stop buying new car chargers every 2 years and filling the landfill with all the crap in the old ones. Also since one charger will do it all going forward one can focus on buying the best quality, most efficient one, and then use it forever.

    all just my 2 cents so take it for what it's worth.
  25. endo

    endo Member

    I bought a Motorola micro-usb charger for the Droid off Amazon, it was about $8 shipped. It was a third party store, of course...forget name of company, something like "OEM Warehouse".
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