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  1. BrianCoe's Avatar
    I sent in my Surface 3 because it would't charge consistently. Kept getting "Plugged in, not charging" or various similar issues.

    I got a replacement unit, only to discover it did the same thing. I was ready to call tech supporty and read them the riot act. Then I started trying different cables.

    Low and behold, most of my USB cables didn't work. There doesn't seem to be much rhyme or reason to what works and what doesn't. I found an old Logitech cable that came with my Harmony remote that works nicely, and an old Rocketfish cable. There were a couple or random, cheap Staples cables that worked, but others in the same apparent product line did not. New cables I'd bought from Best Buy (10 foot cables) didn't work.

    So, now I'm a bit at a loss. What cables work and which do not? What features should I be looking for? Anyone have any idea? Does MS sell a cable that will work every time?
    12-05-2015 11:29 AM
  2. Paten1's Avatar
    I just buy Amazon Basic cables whenever I need a new USB cable. They always seem to work for me.
    12-06-2015 12:47 AM
  3. bockersjv's Avatar
    Any awg24 should work. They are spec'd for the higher charging current.
    12-06-2015 08:34 AM
  4. Dewg's Avatar
    Any awg24 should work. They are spec'd for the higher charging current.
    Bock's got it - the Surface, and most newer tablets, require a higher amperage, and most USB cables (especially those for phones) won't go over 1-1.5 amps. The cable that came with the Surface can handle 2-2.5A. If you get a Micro USB cable from Amazon, make sure it's a higher gauge that can handle the amps, like 24 gauge.
    12-06-2015 01:07 PM
  5. jack69453's Avatar
    If you are correct, how come people who are using the higher spec'd cable that came with the surface have the same issue?

    Or did they change the cable in later batches?
    Last edited by jack69453; 12-07-2015 at 07:00 AM. Reason: additional info
    12-07-2015 06:56 AM
  6. GizmoEV's Avatar
    If you are correct, how come people who are using the higher spec'd cable that came with the surface have the same issue?

    Or did they change the cable in later batches?
    I think the issue is related to the "charging" light on the original cable. When using it on some other device the light doesn't work so I'm guessing that the Surface has to enable it somehow. Since nearly every time the cable is plugged into the Surface first and then the other end into the charger where as if the plug in order is reversed then charging works only about half the time. I've read and tend to agree that plugging in the Surface end first allows the Surface to recognize the cable and get ready to charge when the other end is plugged in.

    I decided to pick up some more cables for charging. I ordered Anker PowerLine MicroUSB which have the heavier wire for the charging lines thus reducing the voltage drop of standard cables. All three (1 foot, 3 feet, and 6 feet) work just find and I don't have to plug in the Surface first. Maybe it is the "smarts" in the OEM cable that is the problem.
    12-09-2015 10:29 PM
  7. caliber90's Avatar
    I have similar situation like the OP where my S3 was replaced due to this problem and they are very nice to extend the warranty.

    Anyway, the new S3 still has the same problem after plugged into the original charger. Even more, sometimes I plugged the original charger in and got it charges the S3, a moment later, the not charging message appears, hence charging stops.

    I then bought a cheap MS S3 charger from China and with its cable, same problem so I started to try different cables, from Samsung S5 to cheap after market cable. All same until I found one. This one is less than 1 feet long, took it from my portable power pack so this cable has multiple leads from micro USB to iPhone leads. This cable itself is very thin so I guess each individual wire inside should not more than 24awg.

    I use this cable, plugged in to the cheap charger, or the original charger. It works every time, never see that message again only that the charger can get really, really warm.

    My guess to this situation is that the S3 is very picky on the voltage it sees from the power supply. Given the same power supply, the longer the cable, the higher in voltage drops. I just ordered a more powerful charger. If the charger is more powerful, it can hold its output voltage above what S3 demands when load is applied.
    Michael Bromley likes this.
    12-10-2015 03:50 AM
  8. 3earnhardt3's Avatar
    Someone needs to sticky the solution to this problem. The original charger and cable are junk, don't bother with them. Get a RavPower or Anker or Ipad charger that outputs 2.4a/5v, then grab a 20AWG portapow charge only cable (monoprice makes a 20awg cable as well but I haven't tested it). Most USB cables are 26/28AWG and are incapable of maintaining the amperage needed to charge the surface. I have not once had a plugged in, not charging issue since I replaced my charger, and I run it on 100% screen brightness with the graphics boost modification now. Stop returning perfectly good surface machines over a $15 set of parts.
    12-10-2015 08:28 AM
  9. Victoria Lewis1's Avatar
    Someone needs to sticky the solution to this problem. The original charger and cable are junk, don't bother with them. Get a RavPower or Anker or Ipad charger that outputs 2.4a/5v, then grab a 20AWG portapow charge only cable (monoprice makes a 20awg cable as well but I haven't tested it). Most USB cables are 26/28AWG and are incapable of maintaining the amperage needed to charge the surface. I have not once had a plugged in, not charging issue since I replaced my charger, and I run it on 100% screen brightness with the graphics boost modification now. Stop returning perfectly good surface machines over a $15 set of parts.

    You are a genius! I followed your instructions exactly and now my Surface works perfectly after having issues with charging for over a year. The solution seems so simple and straightforward now.
    07-06-2016 06:26 AM
  10. Manoj Daran's Avatar
    Does this method work for SB2, mine is having the exact same issues. Connected and Not charging or nothing at all.
    05-20-2018 09:46 PM
  11. Kryten2X4B523P's Avatar
    I have tried all the restarting, deleting and reinstalling files, etc. that Microsoft and other sites suggest, but the problem persists. Through experience I also believe it is a cable (or perhaps the port) problem.

    I have tried various cords, and what seems to work best is not so much the cord, but how I position it in the port. The cord tends to drop under gravity, and so I take off the pressure and prop it up in various ways depending on the cord.

    I have found that sometimes a new cord works amazingly well.... for a few weeks or so. I have tried cheaper cords for charging my headphones, to expensive fast speed cords. But regardless of what I am using, but ultimately, in the end, I need to adjust how the cord sits into the port.

    I really can't believe that Microsoft couldn't get something so fundamental as charging right in the first place, and I am absolutely flabbergasted that in their 6th model they still have this same issue. Do they have no shame?

    PS I will try the cord combination suggested by 3earndhard3 and see if that solves the issue once and for all, or if it only another temporary fix.
    07-21-2019 06:09 AM

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