Have you bought one of Targus/Sanho/Hyper/Hyperjuice’s nifty 100W or 65W USB-C chargers with stackable passthrough AC outlets that let you theoretically hook up to loads of powerful ports? I did — and today, I’m thinking twice whether it belongs in my bedroom.
Yesterday, tipster Marc-Antoine Courteau brought to our attention that some of these devices are failing and not always in a friendly “port stops working” way. Many Kickstarter supporters say their units are overheating to the point that they can melt their plastic housing. “I’m lucky I sat with it, smelled the melting plastic, and took immediate action,” wrote one supporter named Scott.
So we asked Hyper’s PR team about it and were surprised by the company’s response. Hyper Social Media Manager Ian Revling not only Told us that Hyper’s chargers have overheating problems – a company a company has known for months! — but Hyper decided to quietly remove the product from sale instead of issuing a recall or even telling customers about it.
Here’s the statement Revling sent us:
Unfortunately it came to our attention that a handful of HyperJuice 65W and 100W stackable GaN charger units were malfunctioning around early spring.
After adequate testing and reviewing faulty units, our product team discovered that the overheating malfunction was primarily due to the AC passthrough.
We took immediate action and blocked any further purchases for any units from our website. They are not available for purchase since last several months.
Our product team is currently working on a replacement which we expect will launch in the fall to winter time frame.
We encourage any customer who has issues and issues to reach out to us within warranty and we will replace the unit with the most suitable option in our current lineup which is the 100W GaN USB-C Charger.
Problematic, isn’t it? If this is all true, why didn’t the company tell me months ago? I backed up the charger, and never got an email. And should I seriously keep using my 65W charger until it melts? Why isn’t Targus, the company that bought Hyper last May, issuing a formal recall?
But when I asked the company about those questions, I got a callback from Hyper CEO Daniel Chin, who now says that practically everything was wrong in the company’s original statement, They claim there are no overheating problems and that Hyper never pulled the product from shelves to correct the defect—but rather because of a lack of parts. (He admits they’re redesigning the charger, but only to use a different part that’s no longer available.)
chin there says was Fixed a problem with some early chargers where the components were heavily compressed during assembly and could short-circuit when you plugged them in – but he says this only affects the Kickstarter batch, the charger Only the 65W version, and that you’d know pretty quickly if your charger was torn.
“If you have this problem, your charger will fail within the first few times of use,” says Chin. “If you’ve been using this charger without any problems, you’re fine.”
Chin says the fault can actually cause smoke when the short circuit protection burns out and that some forms of short circuit can even distort the part of the plastic housing near the burned out components. But he insists that the company uses fireproof casings and won’t cause any further damage. “It’s not like the charger is exploding or catching fire,” Chin says. “The charger is designed to handle failures like this.”
What about the fact that many of those complaining on Kickstarter say they’ve got a 100W charger, not 65W, and that their chargers melt away instantly, rather than months or a full year of use? “It’s part of the normal defect rate with any product. When you sell thousands or thousands of products, there’s bound to be some lemons in there.”
Chin told me that he has no reports of house fires and that these chargers have a failure rate of just 2 percent. “We are not issuing a complete recall because we are not seeing a systemic failure,” he says.
It’s true that every company’s chargers fail sometimes, so it’s plausible that people on Kickstarter are experiencing the fluke. I certainly haven’t had any overheating problems with my charger yet, and neither has my colleague Dan Seifert, who bought the 100W model.
But I can’t wrap my head around the fact that the company’s PR sent us a statement explicitly stating that it was No a temp, charger Were overheating, and that company Clearly They were removed from sale to deal with the problem. How is it when such statements often go through layers of approval?
“No one approved of this statement,” Chin says when I ask. “I think the PR person was too eager to talk ledge,
I’m still trying to decide if I’m comfortable keeping the charger in my bedroom, where it’s been powering my phone (and Steam deck) for months. If I decide not to, though, Chin says the company will have my back: “If for whatever reason you’re uncomfortable with the charger, we can replace it for something else.” They say that if you pay the difference you’ll be able to exchange for a newer 65W model when it’s available, or for a higher-rated model.
Chin also says that Hyper will always exchange any defective unit, even if it was purchased through Kickstarter without any warranty and even if it is more than a year.