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Safety Hazard: Why the Nintendo Switch is Prone to Getting Fried
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Safety Hazard: Why the Nintendo Switch is Prone to Getting Fried

by Aiman MaulanaAugust 7, 2019
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Safety Hazard: Why the Nintendo Switch is Prone to Getting Fried

Since launch, we’ve seen the Nintendo Switch getting bricked for a number of reasons. One of the more common reasons is the use of unofficial docks, which resulted in a bunch of systems getting fried. This was especially the case since the firmware update 5.0 which came out early last year. Have you ever wondered why it happens? Well, we might have an answer for that.

Unofficial Docks

According to Reddit users VECTORDRIVER, the Nintendo Switch uses an M92T36 Power Delivery chip for power / charging via USB-C. Interestingly, this is also the same part that usually burns out when used with third-party chargers / power adapters. There’s no data sheet for the chip but there is one for a very similar chipset called the Rohm Semiconductor M92T30, which has a maximum voltage rating of 6V on the Configuration Channel pin.

The Nyko Dock, which is responsible for a large number of bricking cases for the Nintendo Switch, doesn’t have a dedicated PD controller. Instead, it implements the PD protocol using a general purpose microcontroller which sends out 9V to the Nintendo Switch Configuration Channel pin. That is 3V over the maximum voltage rating, exceeding it by 50%. It’s no wonder why it’s prone to getting fried. Third-party chargers can also have the same effects, but the issue is more prevalent with the Nyko dock and the voltage may vary from charger to charger.

How to To Make the Nintendo Switch Dock Smaller: Step-by-Step Guide

If you want a smaller dock but don’t want to risk killing your Switch, we’ve figured out a way. Click right here for a step-by-step tutorial.

Unfortunately, there’s more.

Nintendo’s Design Choice

Safety Hazard: Why the Nintendo Switch is Prone to Getting Fried

The Nintendo Switch was designed to slide in and out of the official dock in a slick and smooth manner. The USB-C mechanical design specification prevents that from happening however. As such, the official dock is slightly narrower than the USB-C standard to provide the smooth experience as opposed to a snug click.

There are third-party accessory makes who want to emulate that mechanical feel as much as possible. Due to the lack of a published standard however, these companies essentially try to emulate it as best as they can based on their own understanding. This is quite dangerous given that the USB-C standard only has 0.5mm of space between pins, and even a small mistake could cause a port to die.

If the port fails open and there’s no electrical contact, it will be completely fine. If it fails short and there are pins that are bridge electrically to other pins that it isn’t supposed, you’re likely see more voltage on the pin than its supposed to. To put that to perspective, it’s only 0.5mm away from the VBus which carries 15V, and the maximum voltage of 6V on the Configuration Channel pin still applies.

USB Cable

Another possibility of frying your Nintendo Switch is with the use of USB-C to USB-A adapters. To be precise, ther eare two variants of this; one with a 10K ohm resistor, and one with a 56K ohm resistor.

While it doesn’t necessarily pose a direct threat to the hardware, a 10K ohm cable with low-powered USB-A charger has the capability of overloading the system and thus damage the charger, and you might not even know about it. This damaged charger could even produce unexpected voltage to an output pin, which in turn has the potential of damaging the Nintendo Switch hardware.

These are some of the more common reasons behind the Nintendo Switch getting fried since its launch. With newer hardware revisions, some of these may not even be an issue anymore. For now however, do keep these in mind to avoid killing your beloved game system. Be sure to stay tuned to Pokde.net for more awesome stuff on the Nintendo Switch and gaming.

About The Author
Aiman Maulana
Jack of all trades, master of none, but oftentimes better than a master of one. YouTuber, video editor, tech head, and a wizard of gaming. What's up? :)

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