Will a Thunderbolt 3 cable blow up my Switch?

It had to be asked, so I’m going to ask it for anyone too afraid to ask:

Will a Thunderbolt 3 cable, which claims to deliver 100W charging, blow up a Nintendo Switch due to the pin layout being different? And is there a difference between a USB-C PD capable 10Gbps cable vs a Thunderbolt 3 cable?

Looking right now at USB PD chargers for both Laptops and Nintendo Switch right now.

No. It still uses USB pd. It’s the same power delivery protocol, so it will work fine.

Now, if you can trust the charger is another question. I’ve seen some sketchy chargers out there. (know a guy who lost an hp envy over one)

The power bank I’m looking at is the Dell Powerbank, and I haven’t heard of anyone yet using it with the Switch.

Still, if I got a Alpine Ridge or Titan Ridge card, can I safely charge the Switch off of it or not?

When you run a 200GE of a 1600W PSU, it won’t blow up. If you go over the 1600W however, the PSU will start to sweat.

↑ this

Yes, but are the pin layouts identical or slightly different between Thunderbolt 3 and USB-C PD capable Gen2 cables?

The pinlayouts are compatible, not identical.

Similar question & answer

1 Like

I mean for the cable itself, not the electrical pins for the port.

And I am looking specifically at 15V 3A power banks to power the Switch in docked mode on the go, so that answer (which uBO threw a hissy fit over) doesn’t answer the question of the cable itself, but rather it answered that using a lower tier of USB PD means the dock won’t work.

If you’re looking for a USB C cable that can provide that power you can buy an Anker Powerline+ cable on Amazon. Or get one of the USB cable bundled with Oppo/Oneplus/Huawei phones that charge at 45W or more. I wouldn’t risk it if you have to buy a cable anyway.

This should answer your question.

But, if you need more confirmation, I use a thunderbolt cable to charge my phone (definitely not thunderbolt) off a USB 60w wall wart, and so far, it’s still kicking.

I also charge my laptop with the same setup. Works great.

The whole system is designed to be a one-size-fits-all power delivery system for small electronic components.

Hold on

Out of curiosity, I started looking up the switch’s USB C info, and it turns out Nintendo fucked it all up.

Looks like it’s capable of overdrawing what it’s really supposed to be using.

While this has absolutely nothing to do with the cable, you should be absolutely wary of the chargers.


About PSU wattage:
If you run an i3 and a GT750ti of a 1600W PSU, nothing blows up.

So tell me:
Why is everyone and their dog concerned if charging their <device> on <x wattage> is bad?

Oh fuck! I remember stories about that. Now that you mentioned it.
Was something about how they fucked up their implementation of Quick Charge or something.

New is scary.

Now, the problem isn’t the wattage, it’s the voltage.

Given that the USB PD spec has 5 levels which include the following “exotic” delivery modes:

  • 12v3a
  • 15v3/5a
  • 20v3/5a

Now, this makes a lot of sense to me, You don’t want your 12v device to succ 20v into it’s battery. insert video of lithium fire

Of course, most portable devices have overcharge and overvolt protections in the form of violent disconnect. (damaging the pcb rather than the battery)

This doesn’t really address the issue though. I don’t know how the Switch fucked it up, because I haven’t read that much into it and I’m only just waking up, but at the end of the day, my recommendation is to go yell at Nintendo for being dumbasses, and solder one of these into your switch:

You can then use it for safe PD charging.


Reading more into it, it looks like it’s about the amperage limit request when docked, which won’t cause issues since you can’t draw more amperage than you need.

I’m not particularly concerned with this, and apparently this issue could be resolved with a firmware update and was reported in 2017, so who knows, it may have been resolved.

Maybe I am old school that way, but I like my USB to be 5V and 5V only.

The quick charge protocol should be like PoE in networking gear: If in doubt, stay off.

1 Like

I thought so for a while, but charging my phone, camera, gopro and laptop off the same charger is really goddamn nice.

USB PD starts at 5v2a, then allows for negotiation signals to request more. The problem is basically one of two things:

  1. incompetence on the engineers part
  2. unavailability of proper spec documentation

Yeah, this is exactly why I ask because firmware bugs can cause the Switch to blow up, but also bad implementations of USB PD on unofficial docks have been known to kill Switches.

So, it’s about trusting the source, not the cable.

The cable is just copper wire. At the currents the switch needs, it’s not an issue.

You should check switch-focused communities for a good PD source (be it a portable battery or a wall wart) that people have experience with.

Sorry I didn’t realize at first the situation.

And I was curious about how the copper wire was wired, whether there was any difference between a Thunderbolt 3 cable wiring vs a USB PD 3.1 Gen2 cable… Haven’t found anything on that since Thunderbolt is so niche.

Yes, there is a difference, but it’s backwards compatible with the connector, so you can do what you’d like with it.

I know that’s not a detailed answer, but it’s what I can offer. :confused:

Sadly, it looks like that is not always true; for a while Anker was making Powerline cables that emulated a device and (as I understand it) would not reset the Power Delivery negotiation when disconnected:

According to the comments, Anker recalled these, but I do not know if only Anker has tried this sort of emulated-device nonsense; heck, for all I know maybe they still do this but just properly reset on disconnect.

I really do not know enough about USB Type-C and PD, is it not possible to just make a dumb, chip-less cable?

What the fuck?

It’s recommended that the cable has a chip that tells the high power sender how much power the cable is capable of handling (wattage, that is)

That said, it’s not required. If it doesn’t have that, it’ll top out at 2a

At least, that’s my understanding.

1 Like

For anyone interested, this site has a lot of good information on charging the switch and USB C PD chargers

To answer OPs question, anything that doesn’t violate USB C PD specs is fine to use on the switch. You may have been thinking of using USB A to C cables that didnt use the resistor to signal not to overdraw from the charger. In that case any cable USB-IF certified or states that is has the resistor it also fine. I like Anker, Aukey, and RavPower chargers and use them to charge my switch, laptop, phones, etc.