Fix: Samsung Galaxy S3 not charging, charges slowly or charge toggles on and off

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s3-charging-smallPretty soon after I bought my brand new Samsung Galaxy S3, it began to be erratic charging behavior. It would often not charge, charge slowly or rapidly switch/toggle between charging and not charging. Searching on the web didn’t yield any good solutions, with most sites arguing about whether the cable, phone, or software was to blame.

The charging cable seemed suspect, since it would work better sometimes if I manually held it at a particular angle. However, even if I used a brand new cable, our car’s USB cable or my wife’s cable (which was still working for her S3), my phone had this problem. After a few months, my wife’s Galaxy S3 started having the same problem.

Temporary Solution

prop-cable-smallEventually I noticed a temporary solution. The phone would (almost) consistently charge if I propped the charging cable up while the phone was lying flat on its back (see picture). This would almost always work, but the phone generally charged slower than normal. Once my wife’s phone started having the same problem, this solution worked for her, too.

Complete Solution

new-cable-smallBecause of my observations above, along with the fact that pretty much every cable we owned seemed to have a lot of wiggle room when plugged into our phones, I concluded that there must be something slighty off with either the design of the cables or the phone’s port. I came across a lot of reviews online of a cable made by Mediabridge, where Amazon’s product page had virtually no bad reviews and was chock full of praise from people who had the same problem with their Galaxy S3 and this cable fixed their problems. UPDATE – I can’t recommend the Mediabridge cables anymore, but I do recommend these EZOPower cables that have fixed my charging problem – it also has a lot of reviews on Amazon from other people whose charging problems were solved with this cable!

new-cable-pluggedSo I ordered a couple of the cables. They surprisingly cost very little (around $5 – $7)! And sure enough – they click satisfyingly into place, have no wiggle room, are sturdily built, and charge my phone completely and quickly every time!

Apparently the problem is inferior cable design (compounded by regular phone port wear and tear), and is easily solved by purchasing a well-built cable.

I thought I should also mention the car charger that I use with these cables, since these phones also have a problem with getting enough power while using GPS if you don’t have a good charger. I really like the Anker 24W dual-port charger (link below), but be warned that its two ports are specialized – one is only for Android and the other is only for Apple (if you plug into the wrong one nothing bad will happen, but it will just charge really slowly).

UPDATE 2014-12-15: Testing More Cables
After Mediabridge stopped making the quality cables that I originally recommended in this post, I had to find other cables that worked. I purchased and tested each of the cables below. Each cable is rated based on whether it would work every time plugged in for my phone (which exhibits moderate charging problems) and my wife’s phone (severe charging problem) without having to move the cable around to get it to connect properly. I was surprised that there was only one cable that was consistently good, the EZOPower cable.

CableRecommend?
EZOPower 6ft micro-USB

This one has the best reviews for Galaxy S3 phones that have charging problems. Sure enough, these cables worked for both my phone and my wife’s phone, with very firm connections and fast charging, too! The connection is slightly sensitive on my wife’s phone, but only if you try to move the cable in an unnatural direction. These cables also look and feel really good! I’ll update this recommendation if we run into problems later.

YES!
Anker 6ft / 1.8m micro USB cable

I really like the Anker car USB charger that I have, so I had hoped that these cables would be the same quality. Unfortunately, while these cables would make a consistent connection to my phone every time, they would sometimes charge my phone really fast and other times really slow – it seemed a bit random. Additionally, they would only charge my wife’s phone if the cable was held at an awkward angle relative to the phone. These seemed a bit better than all the other “NO” cables below and might work well if you only have moderate charging problems (like my phone) – so I am giving this one a “MAYBE” rating.

MAYBE
FRiEQ 6 Ft/1.8m, nylon braided, micro USB cable

These would sometimes charge and sometimes not, usually toggling on and off quickly and on average not charging the phone faster than it discharges. These behave similar to the new Mediabridge cables that I am trying to replace.

NO
Hi-mobiler fabric braided, 6ft micro cable, gold-plated connectors

These seemed promising, they consistently would start charging my phone pretty much every time when plugged in. However, they did not charge fast enough, so that when the screen was turned on the battery levels would actually go down. Additionally, these did not work for my wife’s phone.

NO
Hi-mobiler 10ft micro cable, plastic (non-fabric) gold-plated

These did not work for my wife’s phone, and they would work for my phone only if the cable and phone were held at an awkward angle. I was disappointed, because these cables look really nice and fit very snug in the phone.

NO
(Dolphin strap) micro USB, 2M 6FT, braided cable

These cables would consistently plug in and charge for my phone, but they would charge really slowly and the phone wouldn’t get above around 85% full. These cables simply did not work for my wife’s phone, unless held at an awkward angle.

NO
AmazonBasics USB micro cable, 6 Feet (1.8 Meters)

The ends of these cables are HUGE, which would probably interfere with most phone protector cases. These cables have a few good reviews for Galaxy S3 phones that have a problem with charging, but in the end these cables did not work at all for either of our phones.

NO
Magic-T 5pcs micro USB, 6ft 2m, nylon braided cable

Does not work at all for either of our phones! Avoid this cable!

NO
iXCC 10ft micro USB cable, 2 pcs

Does not work at all for either of our phones! Avoid this cable!

NO
BRILA 8.2ft 2.5m micro USB, aluminium connector, flat cable

Does not work at all for either of our phones! Avoid this cable!

NO
(Owl logo) 6.6 feet , pack Of 5 (BOS-27U) braided micro USB cable

Had several negative Galaxy S3 charging problem reviews, so I did not order.

NO

While searching for cables to try out, I limited my selection to cables that clearly had different manufacturing sources (i.e., visually they were constructed differently), were offered in at least 6-foot (2 meter) lengths, could be used for both charging and data sync, and were available for ordering via Amazon Prime (this last stipulation was my way of only selecting cables that have high-volume production and deemed low enough risk that they are included on Amazon’s distribution center shelves). I ordered 2 of each cable to check for consistent behavior for each. Additionally, I checked the existing reviews for the products, and if they had many reviews that expressed the same problem for the S3, then I did not order them (but included this observation in the list above).


OLD UPDATES…

2014-12-15:
Mediabridge has updated these cable models. The old version (all black) worked great and lasted a long time. The new version, which are black with gray tips at the ends of the cable, does not work well (at least not with picky devices like my Galaxy S3). The new version of the cable (gray-tipped) either doesn’t work at all, or is just like every other cable out there where you have to angle the cable in a really weird direction for it to occasionally work. So for now I can’t recommend these cables anymore. I’ll be looking around to find a replacement that does as good of a job as the old version of the Mediabridge cable. For reference, I’m including the original link here to the Mediabridge cable.

Please leave a comment below if you know of a different cable that works well, so I can try it out and update this post! In the meantime I will order several different cables from many different manufacturers, so check back here in a few weeks for another update!

2014-06-30:
The cables are all still working fine, except for one that got dropped with the phone still plugged in and ruined the end of it, but you have to expect it to get damaged in that case.

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10 thoughts on “Fix: Samsung Galaxy S3 not charging, charges slowly or charge toggles on and off”

  1. SAMSUNG GALAXY S3 BATTERY BACKUP IS GOOD.YES I FACE A PROBLEM IN NOKIA MOBILE.BUT AFTER PURCHASING FROM TELEFONIKA STORE THERE WERE NO BACKUP PROBLEM.BATTERY LIFE IS GOOD.SO ANY WHO IS INTERESTED CAN PURCHASE FROM TELEFONIKA STORE.

  2. Thanks for the article Mike. Whats the latest update on your s3 situation? Since you switched cords are you still problem free? When you use a different charger (e.g. your car charger) do you still have issues?

    1. Still problem free, using the same cords I originally purchased when I wrote this article. I’m not using the car chargers that have built-in cables anymore, I’m using a car charger where I can plug these good cables in.

    2. In case you’re interested, I’ve posted a link to the car charger that I now use along with these cables. I was having problems with other chargers not supplying enough power when I was using my phone as GPS, but the Anker 24W dual-port one works really well. Just be warned that only one of the 2 ports is supposed to be used for Android devices, and the other is for Apple.

  3. Hi Mike- are you still using the EZOPower 6ft micro-USB without issues? Have an S3 with similar charging issues and like you mentioned in your blog, there is a lot of conflicting information out there whether it is the driver, cable, charger or phone design that is at fault.

    1. Hi Brad,

      Yes, the EZOPower cables are working great! They actually work better than the old Mediabridge ones that I used to use.

      I agree that there is a lot of conflicting information about what causes the charging problems. If you look in the charging port on your phone and the little mating connector isn’t broken off or bent in a strange direction, then I doubt that there is anything wrong with the phone (other than maybe the fact that these S3’s seems to always have this problem). Also, the driver isn’t the problem if different USB cables work differently for you, or if you can angle some cables in a direction that actually works.

      These cables are cheap enough that I figure it wasn’t worth voiding my phone warranty by opening up my phone until after I tried something like this.

  4. I just wanna say thank you so much for writing this article I’ve been using a Motorola skn 6378 for the longest and even tho it works great it started to break I ordered the same model since no other charger would work and it just didn’t work out so reading this I’m going to order those cables and hope they work for my phone!

  5. I am so happy I found your article!! I am on my 3rd Galaxy S3 and my husband insists it is me and not the phone. I have already done one warranty/deductible trade in and I am buying time till an upgrade is available through my carrier. I just ordered the EZO cable and it will be here next week. All crossable parts crossed it works and buys me the time I need !! Thank you again !!

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