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Why do USB Chargers Stop Working (And How to Fix Them)

There’s nothing as frustrating as when you need to use your smartphone or laptop and release it’s out of battery. So you go to charge it, only to discover that your charger is not working. What should you do in this disastrous scenario, and why does this even happen in the first place?

There are many reasons why a charger may not work such as a fault with the charger itself, the charging cable, or even the outlet. Sometimes even pocket lint in a phone’s charging port can prevent charging. You should troubleshoot which component is faulty before attempting to repair or replace anything.

To fix your charger, you first need to find out why it’s not working in the first place. You need to know what exactly can make your charger not work, how to tell if your charger is the problem or not, how to fix it, and if it turns out that your charger has given up completely, some high-quality chargers you can buy to replace it.

Do USB Chargers Wear Out?

Types of Usb connectors

Like anything manufactured, your charger will eventually wear out, especially if you’re a bit careless when handling it. More often than not, the charger’s cords and connections will wear out faster than the charger itself.

Of course, just like any product, quality often comes at a price. More expensive chargers will probably last longer than cheaper ones, but only if they’re properly taken care of.

What Part of the Charger is Likely to get Damaged?

The Port

The port is a very sensitive part of the charger, and you need to be especially careful when plugging it in and unplugging it. It’s best to prevent damage caused by plugging the port in the wrong way, but this situation is often unavoidable.

Of course, there is no “wrong” way with the newer USB-C port, which is one huge benefit, but even the USB-C has charging tabs and metal parts that need to be kept in shape.

You also need to note that most ports have no protective covering; hence, they should be protected from dust, corrosion, and debris.

The Connectors

The connector is a very fragile part of the charger which is often made from plastic and metal, therefore can be damaged easily. So you should be particularly careful how you store it, plug it in, and make sure to keep it free from debris and dust.

You should also check to see if the plastic covering of your charger is in good condition to prevent damage to the devices you are charging.


USB chargers contain many thin metal threads that allow devices needing electricity to be connected to a power source. When these wires are bent or misshapen repeatedly, they tend to break which can cause huge damage to your charger.

How Can you Prevent a USB Charger Wearing Out?

To avoid damaging your charger, and keep it working well for as long as possible, refer to our advice below.

  1. Avoid bending the wires and cords connected to the charger.
  2. Make sure your charger is stored properly and out of harm’s way.
  3. When you are plugging in and disconnecting the charger, be careful not to pull it and cause unneccesary stress on the cable.
  4. Make sure your connectors and cords are kept clean.
  5. For extra protection, you can buy “cord collars” which prevent the fraying of cords, especially when they are bent, by reinforcing the cord with a strong, durable cover. Cord collars can protect cables, but also help you identify and differentiate between different cords.

See this example of a pack of cord collars:

Nite Ize CordCollar, Cord Identification and Protection, 8-Pack, Black

How to Tell if your Battery Charger is Working

A charger that is not working means that you probably won’t be able to use most of your devices. This may limit your ability to communicate, or even do your work properly. There are several ways below to test if your charger is working well or not:

  • Plug the charger into a device, and then connect the charger to a power source. All devices will have some kind of indicator that shows if it’s being charged (a notifcation or a light). If this comes on, there’s no problem!
  • If the indicator doesn’t come on, pick another device and plug that one into the charger. If both devices don’t charge, your charger is the problem instead of the device; if the second device charges and the first one doesn’t, the first device is the problem and not the charger.
  • You can also check whether your charger is working by using two apps called Ampere or AccuBattery. For this, you will need your charger and a power outlet. The most accurate measurements will be given when you connect to a wall outlet rather than a computer or a portable battery power bank.

How to Fix a Broken Wall Charger

New wall outlet socket with USB 5V 2.1A included

There are a few things you can try to see if you can get your charger working again:

  • Switch the cable: One of the most common reasons for a charger to not work is the cable. USB cables, in most instances, are used in many ways that can cause them to get damaged fast. So if you find that the charger is working with a new cable, then the charger itself has no problem.
  • Check if the charger you are using is compatible with the cable: Most chargers, especially for laptops, are very sensitive to the cable you connect to it. Most devices work best when using the original cables and chargers they came with when you bought the device. If you discover that your cable and charger are incompatible, then you’ll need to find a compatible one.
  • Check the components that are being connected to the charger: The issue could be with the outlet or the surge protector. Remove the surge protector and reconnect the charger. If it suddenly works, then you need to replace your surge protector. If it still doesn’t work after that test, connect the charger to a different outlet to confirm that it’s not the outlet itself that is the problem.
  • Check your fuses: Open the fuse box and look for a flip breaker, and switch it back on. To know if the flip breaker has flipped, you can check whether it is facing the same direction as the other switches. When a flip breaker is in a different direction from the rest, then it has “flipped” and needs to be changed.
  • Check the charging port: The problem could be as simple as some debris or dust causing an obstruction, which could be blocking the connection. This is usually obvious when you plug in the cable and cannot hear a clicking sound. Remove any obstructions using a toothpick, cotton swab, or plastic tweezers. (Make sure while doing so that the outlet power is off or the charger is unplugged from the outlet)
  • Use a Multimeter: This contraption can be used to measure the power a charger is able to provide. Plug the charger into the outlet with the Multimeter set to detect AC Voltage, and check whether the charger is conducting power. If there is no measurable voltage, then the charger is not conducting power and is broken.
  • Check whether the charger has been damaged: You need to check whether the cable’s copper wiring is possibly damaged. To test this, plug the cable in and wiggle it at both ends. If the charger seems to be turning on and off as you wiggle the wire, then it is damaged and you need to buy a new one. If you can see stripped insulation or wire shielding, or a bare wire, then your charger is damaged and it would be best to buy a new one.

What High-Quality Wall Chargers will Last the Longest

If all the above tests fail and you sadly discover that the charger is indeed damaged, the wisest decision is to just buy a new one. In that case, it’s best to look for a good quality charger.

A good quality charger like this Anker 45W Ultra-Slim USB-C model (on Amazon) will assure that all your devices don’t get damaged while they’re charging, and the charger might even outlast your devices.