iPad Charger Teardown Reveals Risks in Using Counterfeit Chargers

Computer programmer and current Google employee Ken Shirriff has compared a counterfeit iPad power adapter to a genuine Apple adapter in a blog post, revealing how major internal differences between the two impact on power delivery and safety of the charging device. For starters, the genuine charger delivered a little above the 10W claimed, while the counterfeit delivered only 5.9W, meaning it would take almost twice as long to charge an iPad.

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The author highlights that Apple sells their iPad charger for $19, while you can buy a counterfeit iPad charger on eBay for just $3. While the two chargers may look identical to each other from the outside, the counterfeit charger poses significant safety risks when looked inside. The Apple charger uses larger, higher-quality components and has much more insulation. The counterfeit charger not only has minimal insulation, but also has poor build quality.

“The build quality of the Apple charger is much higher. In the counterfeit charger, some components are visibly crooked or askew. While this doesn’t affect the circuit electrically, it indicates a lack of care in construction.

Flipping the boards over reveals that the circuitry of the genuine Apple charger is much more complex than the counterfeit. The Apple board is crammed with tiny surface-mounted components in every available spot. The counterfeit board has a lot of empty space, with just a few components. Note the reddish insulating tape in the lower center of the Apple board, another safety feature of the genuine charger.”

Shirriff stresses that even though Apple’s charger is expensive, it is also a significantly higher quality product and users should stay away from the cheap counterfeit chargers.

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(Left: Original – Right: Counterfeit)

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