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Raspberry Pi 4: Manufacturer confirms USB Type-C fault

Will Georgiadis
10 Jul 2019
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Users of the Raspberry Pi 4 report that the device is incompatible with certain USB Type-C chargers

Raspberry Pi has admitted that the Pi 4 is suffering from a USB Type-C functionality fault. Toted as a viable alternative to a full-blooded desktop PC, the Pi 4 launched in May to a positive reception, but some users have begun to notice issues with certain kinds of USB Type-C charger.

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Concerns about the issue were originally voiced in a post by blogger Tyler Ward, who pointed out that many users have found certain USB Type-C chargers – such as Apple’s MacBook chargers – to be incompatible with the Pi 4.

The technical explanation of the issue is pretty complex, but the gist is simple enough to understand. In creating the Pi 4, Raspberry Pi came up with a new, compact circuit system for supplying power to the device via USB Type-C. This system is non-compliant with industry power regulations, and therefore won’t work with certain chargers.

Raspberry Pi co-creator Eben Upton has since confirmed to Tech Republic that this is all accurate and that the Pi 4 will not work with a number of USB Type-C chargers. These chargers are described as being “electronically marked”, which apparently means that they recognise the Pi 4 as an audio adapter accessory rather than a PC.

Upton says that he expects the issue to be resolved in a “future board revision”. Owners of the current Raspberry Pi 4 will reportedly need to make use of a workaround: Upton suggests “using older chargers with [USB] A-C cables or micro B to C adaptors”.

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