iPad "Not Charging" with 3m USB-dock-connector cable

I just bough two 3-meter (10ft) USB-dock-connector cables on eBay. When I connect the USB connector to an Apple 12W USB Power Adapter and plug the dock connector into my iPad 3, I get the "Not Charging" message next to the battery icon. The cable works fine with iPods and iPhones. The normal Apple 3m cable works fine. I know the message is caused by not supplying enough current from the charger, and that charging still takes place, just slowly, but how is this possible? It seems that the iPad 3 requires around 2 amps (10W/5V) of current to satisfy its power hunger. 12W would theoretically supple even more current (12W/5V=2.4A). So what could be causing this apparent "current deficit"? Certainly a 10m wire could not have enough resistance to cause such a large current drop. This is DC so there can be no impedance issues. I doubt the soldering is so sloppy that the joints would have a high resistance but you never know… I have two such cables and both display the same behavior. I can't measure anything in the dock connector with a VOM because the opening and the pins are too small. What are some other possibilities that would reduce the current so much?

Additional information:

I was able to ring out the +5V (pin 1) and GND (pin 4) pins of the USB connector of both 3m cables and I found that the GND pin is NOT connected to the outer grounding shell of the connector like it is on the official Apple cable so that definitely is a problem. It means the USB +5V is floating and USB GND is not tied in with other GND pins. Geeze…

USB pinouts:


Apple dock connector pinouts:


  • To clarify: other devices are charging on the 10 meter (30 feet) USB cable but the iPad does not. iPad does charge using Apple supplied 3 meter USB cable.
    – Ruskes
    May 20, 2014 at 17:30
  • @Buscar웃: That is correct about other devices but length is 3 meters (10ft) as stated. See my additional information about the USB GND pin.
    – PacoH
    May 20, 2014 at 18:17
  • sorry I was looking at this: Certainly a 10m wire could not have enough resistance to cause such a large current drop.
    – Ruskes
    May 20, 2014 at 18:20
  • the outer shell grounding is for protection from outer sources of interference. The power goes true the neutral and power wire. There is newer a ground used as power wire. In other words the Grounding is not must have but good to have specially if you use the USB cable for data communication to prevent interference from outside sources.
    – Ruskes
    May 20, 2014 at 18:25
  • 2
    The iPad needs to see certain voltages on the USB port to pull 10W or 12W. If the cable doesn't send all the pins where they should go, this could cause a problem: wabbitwanch.net/blog/?p=767 and voltaicsystems.com/blog/… Sep 25, 2014 at 21:19

1 Answer 1


I know Apple's answer - 'our cable works, there is no problem'.

IN SUMMARY - you either need to use Apple's own cables or the decent quality PC World versions or Asda or something, that are not really cheap but are two thirds the price of Apple, or half or something.

Really cheap clone cables will NOT work. Can't explain it, but know it is fact. My guess, they are not soldered properly inside the lightning end, and ipad depends on quality of connection being really good, maybe? Any money, not all the connector bits on the lightning are connected physically to the other end. ie it gets complicated.

Explanation follows:

I have found that Apples' own cable supplied (lightning) tends to kink near the ipad end, and horribly shorts out resulting in two main issues: a - ipad reboots or similar alarming thing b - it doesn't charge c- the charger that is on the plug gets very hot indeed, but the give-away is that unlike when charging the ipad properly, the back of the ipad where the battery/charging components are, remains completely cool to the touch.

So, it's the difference with your 3m cable to Apple's one. I have bought several 'clone' cables AND NONE OF THEM WORK. Short or long, makes no difference. I keep them in a bag marked 'cheap useless aftermarket cables'. If you go to PC World or somewhere similar that sells cables for over a tenner apiece, they'll probably work.

If the cable costs 2.50 gbp ir probably WON't work, that's my experience.

You don't reveal where you bought the non-apple cable? ASDA and places like PC World, their cables will work even non-apple ones. Others might not.

Last, the earthing (ground) thing. Generally, for signal-level power, only one end of the ground cable is earthed. I know the house-wiring norm is for all of them to be tied together - so I guess it depends which way Apple leaned on this one. Lightning adaptor of course, reconfigures uses of each contact, so which one is ground may not even stay the same?

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