Sunday, July 24, 2016

Trying to charge my MacBook 2015 with a Quick Charge 2.0 USB wall charger

What is Quick Charge 2.0?

The Apple MacBook 2015 charges using a USB-C cable and a 30 watt wall charger. When using a generic USB charger, they usually output 10 Watts at 5 Volts and 2 amps. Maximum possibly being 12 Watts at 5 Volts and 2.4 amps. Quick Charge 2.0 is capable of outputting a maximum of 18 Watts at 9 Volts 2 amps. Since that is more powerful than generic USB charging, can the MacBook take advantage of it?

Quick Charge 2.0 is a technology created by Qualcomm that allows faster charging of mobile phones. It is only supported by newer Snapdragon processors released by Qualcomm.

The contestant

The USB wall charger I will be using is the Aukey PA-T2 Wall Charger. It has 3 USB ports. Two of them are capable of outputting 5V at 2.4A for a capacity of 12 Watts. The third port is a Quick Charge 2.0 port that is capable of outputting 5V/2A, 9V/2A or 12V/1.5A. This gives us the maximum amount of 18 Watts at 9V/2A.

I do not have a direct USB-A to USB-C cable, so I will be using a USB-A to Micro-B cable and an Anker Micro-B to USB-C adapter which supports Quick Charge 3.0. This isn’t the ideal setup and may not give me the best results.

Using the standard USB port

With the standard USB port being used, my Kill-A-Watt device read 14.6 Watts. Using coconutBattery to verify, the system is reporting the power source to be 12 Watts. That sounds right, as the 14.6 Watt reading does not take into account power lost from the AC to DC conversion. It also reports the computer is charging, although not fast.

Using the Quick Charge port

With the Quick Charge port, my Kill-A-Watt device read 6.4 Watts being used. Verification from coconutBattery does indeed show the power source being 5 Watts. And the system reports that the computer is not charging, it is still discharging from the battery.

Quick Charge 2.0


Apple USB-C Wall Charger

Disappointing Conclusion

So not only did I not reach half the power capabilities of Apple's 30 Watt USB-C wall charger, but the Quick Charge port performed worse than the standard 5V/2.4A wall chargers! I was not expecting this AT ALL. Sure it made sense for the port not to perform at 9V/2A because the MacBook would not report back as being a Qualcomm Quick Charge 2.0 device. But to default back to a standard 5 Watt charger is heavily disappointing.

I would return this Aukey Quick Charge wall charger for the cheaper one without Quick Charge, but the return shipping is half the cost of the thing. So unless you get a USB-C charger that states it can output more than 12 Watts, do not bother with anything beyond the generic USB-A 12 Watt chargers.


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