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This is why your new Raspberry Pi 4 doesn’t work with your MacBook charger

By Ng Chong Seng - on 8 Jul 2019, 11:33pm

This is why your new Raspberry Pi 4 doesn’t work with your MacBook charger

(Image: Raspberry Pi Foundation.)

Last week, we reported the launch of a new Raspberry Pi called the Raspberry Pi 4 Model B. Available with up to 4GB RAM, the Pi 4 comes with several upgrades that have made it a must-buy for single-board computer fans all over the world, such as support for dual 4K displays, USB 3 ports, and gigabit networking that’s finally not limited by the USB 2.0 bus.

The Pi 4 also features USB-C for power, a first for the Pi family. This change basically allows more power to be delivered downstream to connected peripherals. However, at present, the recommendation is to use the official power supply because it has been discovered that not all USB-C cables/chargers are compatible with the board.

Long story short, according to some good investigative work from Tyler Ward, the culprit is the shared CC pull-down resistor on the Pi 4’s USB-C connector. If you use a basic USB-C cable that has one CC line, you may not encounter any problem. But if you were to use a more advanced cable (e.g. one with an e-marker chip) or an adapter that follows the USB-C spec down to the letter and has two distinct CC resistors, you will find that your (perfectly fine) accessory simply won’t power up the Pi 4.

Thankfully, the solution is relatively simple: you can either buy the official power adapter or find a non-e-marked cable. For the latter, your best bet short of buying one is to try the USB-C charging cable that comes with your phone.

Me? I’m waiting for a board revision.

Source: Tyler Ward, Benson Leung.

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