Eben Upton dismisses the Raspberry Pi 4's USB-C flaw, blames people for owning expensive chargers

Two months ago, the Raspberry Pi Foundation brought out a brand new version of its hugely popular uncased credit-card sized computer. The Raspberry Pi 4 is described as being a "complete desktop system" for just $35.

While it’s a great little computer, it does have one big flaw -- due to a design issue, many chargers aren’t compatible with the new board’s USB-C port, so they won’t work.


In a new YouTube video, the Raspberry Pi Foundation's Eben Upton, James Adams, and Gordon Hollingworth answer some questions about the new Pi, and of course the USB-C controversy is one of them.

Responding to the question, Eben Upton, the founder of the Foundation and the brains behind the Pi, had this to say:

Yeah there's been some fun with the USB-C of course. There's a missing resistor on the board which means that if you have -- as far as we can tell -- it means you can’t power it from a MacBook charger, in practical terms, so there are, if you have a nice smart charger, you have a nice expensive USB-C cable, there is a chance that it won't power your Raspberry Pi. But other than that, we've been pretty happy with the transition.

The problem is that the Raspberry Pi 4 can only be powered by "simple" USB-C cables, not those with e-marker chips in them, like laptop charger/thunderbolt and 5A-capable cables.

Now, I don’t own an Apple MacBook, meaning I don't have a MacBook charger, but none of my USB-C cables/chargers worked with the Pi 4, so for ease and speed I had to buy the official charger so that I could get my new Pi 4 up and running in order to hit a deadline. In other words, I had to pay more money to the Raspberry Pi Foundation to solve a problem that was of its own making.

It’s a little bit disappointing that Upton has dismissed the problem like this, suggesting that if you have an expensive USB-C cable, it’s your fault that the Pi won’t charge. It isn't. It's the fault of bad design on the Foundation's behalf.

What’s your view on this? Do you agree that’s not a big deal, or should the Raspberry Pi Foundation be taking action over the flaw, perhaps by offering purchasers free -- or at the very least, discounted -- chargers? Let me know in the comments.

You can watch the full video below. Eben’s comments on USB-C are here.

Image Credit: pathdoc / Shutterstock

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