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Reader tip: Don’t use 2.1A chargers with the HTC One [Updated]

HTC One Sprint - for some reason we don't have an alt tag herePocketables reader Matt H. just sent us a message about his experience using a 2.1A charger with his brand new HTC One:

I received my HTC One from Sprint just after launch day, with my pre-order, as advertised. I was blown away by how smoothly it ran; the battery life was damn good for even my moderate to heavy use, but around the third week it began to complain when I plugged it into the charger in my truck.

It would tell me that the charger was not compatible with the phone, and to unplug it to prevent further damage to my phone. I was puzzled by this, since the Just Wireless dual USB 2.1A charger I was using was the same one that had charged my original EVO 4G for two and a half years. But after a little research, I found out that the standard HTC charger only pushes 1A, and thought that an overvoltage from the charger in my truck could possibly be what the HTC One was complaining about.

I stopped using the car charger after that. But then, about three days ago, I noticed that my phone was running a bit warm, and video was starting to have a hard time running in almost any format. After leaving my phone to charge overnight on the wall, I proceeded to check the weather on it and get into my truck, when I noticed that the phone would not respond to me at all. The
screen was off, the phone would not respond to any input, and attempts to charge it or have it respond to a computer did nothing. It was a paperweight, and I hadn’t even had the chance to root it yet.

I called Sprint, and they quickly sent me a new one with no real hassle, thankfully. I just hope that this helps others in keeping their phones from dying on them.

Have you had a similar experience? Let us know in the comments below!

Update: As pointed out in the comments, devices choose how much current to draw from chargers, up to the amount of current that specific chargers can provide. However, at the same time, aftermarket chargers are capable of and have caused damage to devices in the past. That’s why HTC advises in its user manual that users should “[u]se only the adapter and the USB cable that came with HTC One to charge the battery.” It’s impossible from this reader’s story to determine whether his aftermarket charger was the ultimate cause of the phone’s demise, but at least one other person has experienced something similar. If you choose to use a different charger, you do so at your own risk.

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John F

John was the editor-in-chief at Pocketables. His articles generally focus on all things Google, including Chrome and Android, although his love of new gadgets and technology doesn't stop there. His current arsenal includes the Nexus 6 by Motorola, the 2013 Nexus 7 by ASUS, the Nexus 9 by HTC, the LG G Watch, and the Chromebook Pixel, among others.

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41 thoughts on “Reader tip: Don’t use 2.1A chargers with the HTC One [Updated]

  • There is likely something else going on. Chargers don’t “push” current to the device attached, they only provide a set voltage. The device chooses how much current to draw, but the charger can only provide a limited amount of current at the given voltage.

    Reply
    • I agree, this guy’s device failure is not due to the higher-current spec of the charger. Maybe the charger was defective and was putting out the wrong voltage, causing the warning on the phone. Also, the phone got hot and failed at some unspecified later date after he stopped using the questionable charger. There’s not much reason to believe the failure was caused by the charger, and HTC One should *not* require the HTC charger; any (non-defective) USB charger is OK. This article really shouldn’t be posted, at least not with the conclusion stated in the headline.

      Reply
    • … Oh, and people shouldn’t pay $75 + $20 for one-month shipping for a cheapie lighter-socket charger.

      See the link to the “Just Wireless dual USB 2.1A charger” in the article. Has to be the worst online shopper ever.

      Reply
  • This doesn’t sound right. Just because a charger is capable of delivering 2.1 amps doesn’t mean that the phone is going to draw the full amount. I know my EVO LTE only pulls half an amp if the data pins are not shorted (i.e. it thinks its charging from a USB device) instead of an AC charger. It wasn’t until I upgraded the kernel and toggled the feature to treat unknown chargers as an AC charger in order to pull 1 amp from the charger.

    Reply
    • Avatar of NelsonTitua

      Which feature was that? And how quicker is your evo charging now?

      Reply
      • ElementalX and Arc Reactor kernels have this feature baked in but it needs to be toggled on for it to work. I think a file needs to be created that either contains 1 (on) or 0 (off). You can do that in terminal or get an app that does it for you. Paul featured one back at the end of April in his big list of root apps. I think I went off on my own and installed Fast Charge. It definitely charges faster…not twice as fast, but noticeably faster. More importantly I can use navigation and have the screen on without draining the battery now.

        Reply
  • Hwyman, really, what kernel are you using?

    Reply
    • I use ElementalX…Arc Reactor also has it.

      Reply
  • “Voltage is given, amperage is taken” is the first thing taught in basic electronics.

    The device pulls as many amps as it wants, if the charger can deliver 2.1 amps and the device only pulls 1 then it’s fine. If the charger can only deliver 0.5 amps, the device will still take 1 amp and eventually melt the charger.

    Reply
    • If the charger can only deliver 0.5A, the device will get 0.5A because that’s all the charger can supply. It won’t melt the charger.

      Reply
      • Amperage is TAKEN. If something wants 1A and the supply can only provide 0.5A, it will attempt to take more and it will overheat the transformer and melt the surrounding pieces.

        Reply
        • Avatar of Andreas Ødegård

          No… if that was the case, half the world would be on fire

          Reply
          • Yes…that’s why we have fuses/breakers…so we don’t set half the world on fire.

          • Avatar of Simon Belmont

            You’re right. A device won’t pull any more amps than the charger can provide. A charger that can only provide half an amp to a device that can pull 1 amp will just charge half as slow. Simple math.

            The only time to worry is if the charger is pushing more VOLTS than the device can safely handle. Also, one needs to be careful about regulation of volts being pushed when using a cheap, crummy, charger in a less regulated environment, like a DC adapter in a car due to the variations in power from the alternator and car battery.

        • Avatar of Simon Belmont

          In my experience, one really only has to worry about the voltage being pushed, and not the amps being pulled. For example, you wouldn’t want a charger to push 5 volts to a device that can only handle 3.7 volts.

          On the flip-side, if a device is getting the right amount of volts pushed to it and it’s able to pull more amps, then that’s fine. The device is smart enough to know how many amps it can pull, so a charger with 2+ amps will only have 1 amp pulled if that’s what the device wants.

          Reply
          • Avatar of Simon Belmont

            Derp. That wasn’t meant to be in reply to you.

            My apologies. Disregard.

  • Avatar of Cjohnson1073

    Funny that this article appeared today. I’ve had my HTC One for just over a week and have been using the same generic charger that I was using with my EVO LTE. All has been working fine until today when I got the message mentioned in the article above. I quit using the charger for now until I can get a compatible one.

    Reply
  • So now you have to have a “specialized charger” Sounds like they are getting closer to the iphone. First, non removable battery, non removable memory…now have to use HTC only charger. Was thinking about getting the One for my wife…but she usually just grabs whatever charger is closest…she’d have issues w/in days then….thanks for the heads up. Probably sway her to another phone.

    Reply
  • It’s frustrating that people are now saying they won’t get this phone because of this article. Anecdotal evidence isn’t proof. The amperage of the charger is not an issue. OP please update the article before more people are lead astray.

    Reply
    • Good luck with that. This place has gone pretty downhill compared to when Jenn was running things.

      Reply
      • Avatar of JRDemaskus

        That wasn’t very nice.
        The current set of writers are doing a Great job here, and Jenn still pops in when she has something to add.
        I check this site first every time I sit down to surf the web. And spend most of my available time reading their plentiful articles.
        And incase you didn’t notice, they did update the OP.
        I think you should apologize to this hard working crew.
        Peace

        Reply
        • I’ll apologize when they stop putting poorly written and considered posts like this one. That they would publish something like this without anybody on staff with some basic HIGH SCHOOL LEVEL science knowledge to vet this is ridiculous. Pocketables is out of my feed for good, and I’ve told everyone I know to do the same.

          Reply
  • Avatar of Michael Perry

    I use the Asus charger that was provided with my Nexus 7, and it works like a champ. I think that the blogger only had a faulty unit is all, as mine has hummed like a Honda since turning it on :-)

    Reply
    • …wait.. and that’s a “positive” right?

      humming like a Honda?

      Reply
  • I’ve never had such indecision on picking a phone in my life. after getting my s4 and having that for a week..I decided I couldn’t stand it….especially the amoled screen. anyways…to stay on subject…I picked up another HTC One yesterday..and was happy to have it back…that is until I went to bed and plugged it in.. interestingly enough it would not charge…at all. obviously I was using the new cable and plug..so I tried a few more cables and plugs…nothing. I don’t know if some have issues like this? anyway…I went back AGAIN today…and they gave me a new one. this one works good so far. happy I went back..what a mistake!

    Reply
  • The point I guess I was trying to make wasn’t the amperage issue, it was the fact that the phone was seriously complaining about it. It was the only thing that I had noticed before the phone bricked itself. Just to see what would happen, I tried my new One on the same charger, which is apparently running the updated software, and the LED started blinking. No warning message, and it refused to charge at all with that one. I think the charger was faulty but the EVO never noticed. My wife gave me that charger, and just informed me today that it hadn’t been working for her GNex. I thanked her for the heads up (better late than never) and bought a new charger. Btw phone has been working fine.

    Reply
  • Oh, and maybe the title should be “Don’t use crappy aftermarket chargers on your brand new phone like this moron did”.

    Reply
  • But if the manual says only use the cord that came with it then this phone can not be used on any car charger. None came with it and not car chargers are listed on t mobile as being the one that is supposed to be for htc one. They only sell universal car chargers from what I found when I tried to buy one made for this phone.

    Instead of a manual my phone came with a breif fold out paper that is about equal to one page of pager (its half as fat but twice as long). It told you only very limited information about the phone. Nothing about the charger to be used mentioned there. The manual didn’t come with my phone (bought at t-mobile store), nor was any link provided in the materials. But I got the link after calling t mobile and it took the rep a while to get it.

    Reply
  • Thanks for sharing your experience here, i am also facing the same problem with my cell phone ,it gets warm each time i charge it. Now i can solve my problem too. Thank u for writing it .

    Reply
  • Yes thats true, in my experience HTC devices charge best with original htc chargers. After market chargers dont work very well. Plus over voltage will damage the phone.

    Reply
  • I too faced charging problem when i used capdase atom charger to charge my htc one. Though it shows on charger its 1amp but when connected to phone it is recognized as usb charging, took 6 hrs to charge my phone, used it with my iphone earlier but never had ny probs. Since then i now use only original htc charger.

    Reply
  • This is great, as of today my HTC One has turned off forever. I hooked it up to an anker Astro portable battery, used the factory cable, and the phone constantly pulls up some random app and refuses to charge. It only quickened its death by waking up every 2 minutes to tell me to remove a charging device that wasn’t present.

    Don’t worry, the ‘tech’ support (Sanchez, in the USA… sure….) told me to inspect the battery. He also told me to hook it up with a different cable. Both of those things void your warranty, he decided I voided my warranty and he cant help me after that session. (I didn’t inspect the battery)

    Reply
  • Avatar of Maurits Moeys

    Hi,

    I am experiencing similar problems, although not exactly the same. I hooked up my phone to a portable charger, which has been used on many different devices, and from then on, it started to act weird. It told me to unplug the charger, thats what I did.

    From then on, I had problems opening my apps. When I started something, I couldn’t prevent my screen from rotating. There is an option that prevents rotation. Toggling this had no effect. There is no option that forces rotation, although that is what it did.

    Also, my bluetooth automatically enables when restarting my phone. I was able to fix it by completely depleting my battery and recharging it with an original one. However, there is some damage now. I can’t charge my phone anymore by hooking it up to my macbook air, which was possible before. And now, using any different charger (like a blackberry charger) which used to work before, now triggers the same problem as the portable battery did.
    I don’t understand. There seems to be no straight link to amperage. All chargers I used had 5V output, and an current raging from 0.7 A to 2.1 A (latter one being a car charger).

    Is there anyone who knows what caused the problem? I’m going to contact HTC for warranty.

    Reply
  • SOLVED: I’ve had the same problems: phone starts opening apps only in landscape mode, no reaction to charging attempts neither from my ORIGINAL HTC Charge, nor from USB port of my laptop. Charges only if phone switched off or battery completely flat.

    I have downloaded battery calibration app from here:
    https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.nema.batterycalibration&hl=en
    The app clears the batterystats file and all starts working. Follow the instructions and you are sorted! :)

    Reply
  • Avatar of Isaac Coombs

    Mine over heated just now and I’m worried

    Reply
  • Avatar of allan lewis kluttz jr

    I came from an jailbroken iPhone… I must say I have a love hate relationship with my new One.
    LOVE the design and screen…

    Hate the charging times and the extent that it lasts on battery. I found this site hoping to find an answer.
    Also, I think part of the problem is not HTC, and rather android issues and third party software. If I had my way, I would root the HTC and put iOS on it.

    I just don’t want to void my warranty, plus it isn’t exactly legal :(

    Any help with static on speakers too, hotness of phone, battery issues? Android seems very unpolished. Guess I’m not happy with either.

    Reply
  • For me am using an old htc touch diamond 2 . It has stopped charging the battery for over a month now.
    The phone is telling me to change. The power source because the source cannot charge device. I’ve used several chargers but still the problem exists . The phone will take several hours plugged in to thepower source but the battery percentage do not rise at all . I even changed the battery but still it didn’t work

    Reply
  • This article is full of fails, stop spreading ignorance, go read a physics textbook.

    Reply
  • I too have the HTC one and used my phone fine for about 3 nd a half months before it did the exact same thing. it wouldn’t charge or respond. Att had to send me a new phone but I had only used the original HTC charger with it. It’s not the charger people. It’s the phone. Every once in a while a few come out defective no matter what phone you use.

    Reply
  • “I found out that the standard HTC charger only pushes 1A”

    This is not how current works. The charger supplies 5 V, and the phone determines the amount of current drawn, not the charger. Chargers often use the D+ and D- pins to tell the phone how much current it is *allowed* to draw, but there are many conflicting ways to do this.

    The charger may be damaging the phone, but not by pushing too much current into it. It might be poorly regulated and producing overvoltage spikes, it might be drooping to too low of a voltage when the phone draws 2 A which screws up the phone, etc.

    Reply

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