The reason behind the Switch being bricked by some third party docks may have been discovered

I only ever go with licensed accessories and peripherals on all my systems, Nintendo or otherwise. I'm absolutely paranoid about something breaking my portable/console, and I always have been. That said, I never thought it to be wrong for others to go with third party options. I am just extra paranoid about that stuff, or so I thought.

For quite awhile now, there have been reports of the Switch being bricked by third party docks. Most of the time you hear complaints tied to Nyko's dock, but they aren't the only company causing issues. Other third party docks have resulted in bricked Switch units as well. What's the deal here? Surely there has to be some explanation for all this.

Thanks to Reddit users Nathan K. and Intoxicus5, we may finally have an answer. Once again, I'm too dumb to grasp the full explanation, so I'm going to pull information from what these two Reddit sleuths have discovered.

- the USB-C protocols in the Switch do not "play nice" with third party products
- the Switch USB Type-C power supply is not USB-PD spec compliant
- this means it overdraws some USB-PD power supplies by 300%

As you can see, overdrawing some power supplies by 300% could certainly cause one hell of an issue. If this information is correct, it would seem Nintendo is the one to blame here. Just to be extremely clear, this is not an official explanation of the situation, and no companies involved have offered up a clear-cut answer. For now, the only thing we can say for sure is to stay away from third party docks and stick with what Nintendo offers.

Categories: Top Stories, Consoles
Tags: switch


If the power brick of the Switch outputs more power than other usb-c bricks and the official Switch dock can handle it so it doesn't fry the Switch itself, then it's third party docks that are built on the cheap. There may well be reasons why the official one is so expensive to begin with methinks. It may be built of stronger stuff than third party cheaper alternatives.

Sure not complying with the standards is not very nice of Nintendo but I guess they did so for a reason and not for the pleasure of having to refund us for bricked consoles or for the pleasure of offering repairs and replacements on their dime. Shouldn't third party manufacturers have made sure that the stuff they sell you for your Switch is built with the actual Switch itself and not some standard that the system wasnt fully compliant with all along and which, had they done their homework, they should have been fully aware of?

Lame. They're called standards for a reason.

Thu Mar 29 18 06:55am
Rating: 2 (Updated 1 time)

This is to be expected. The switch needs 15 volts (and 2.6A) to operate in docked mode. This is 3 times more than what cheap accesories can draw out, which is 5 volts(and 1 - 1.8A). This is also why you can't just use any powerbank on the switch; they also suffer from lower power output.

If you want to purchase a third party switch dock, you have to be certain that the power output is set at 15 volts and 2.6A. Otherwise, it will be fried in no time. Same thing with powerbanks. There are some good 10k mAh powerbanks on best buy that can output up to 3.2A, more than enough for your Switch.

Actually no, the device only fries when you're consuming more power than allowed for the system. The power limit of the switch is 38 watts, power Banks are usually limited between from 18 to 22 watts, so don't be afraid using power Banks. In case of dock chargers is a completely different story, even the system detects the power income to change from handheld mode to dock mode, in case of third party docks for some reason are charging more power than allowed from the switch in this case is probably because the switch has his own USBC specs and using the industrial standard has issues that drags more power than allowed from the switch.

I agree that powerbanks are not fried (at least I havent seen any reported ones). But a powerbank with less than 2.6A of current will actually make the main battery drain, like what happens when I play SMO and XC2 on portable with a 2.1A powerbank

But does this only effect when docked?
Is there any risk charging from a power brick, or any other source when not docked?

I’ve used an Apple USB charger, Airplane USB ports, a power brick and haven’t seen any issue but this information has me worried.

I can somewhat understand deviating from the standard when docked, but if there is a risk undocked then that would completely bullshit on Nintendo’s part.

I play mostly on portable, and the switch does indeed require the same 15v and 2.6A. I have a 2.1A powerbank and it still drains the main battery while using the powerbank. Also, a phone charger with usb c, which use 1.8A, is not enough to charge and play at the same time either.

Thanks! Yeah I’ve noticed that playing handheld but plugged in doesn’t charge depending on the source it just slows down the rate of battery usage.

I usually just charge while not playing and only really play disconnected.

fred duck
Thu Mar 29 18 08:52am
(Updated 1 time)

What does the U in USB stand for again? "Unusable?" Seriously, on top of the range of connectors and complete lack of firm definition for exactly what is transmitted over the bus, you have incompetent companies violating the specs on top of that.

Then there are the companies that cheap out and lie about what their products are capable of handling. There's even a guy on Amazon who buys and tests USB-C cables to see which one will fry his devices.

So, can this be fixed with a firmware update? I just need a solution so I can start using my Nyko doc again. People have used the original Switch power adapter with the 3rd party doc and still bricked their console, so the problem isn't just the adapter, but is with the communication between the power adapter, the dock, and the Switch. So, for now all I can do is wait until this gets resolved before being able to safely use the Nyko dock again.

Thu Mar 29 18 12:10pm
Rating: 1

Weirdly enough, there's been claims about the Nyko dock bricking Switches well before update 5.00. Which is partially why the suspicion that it's the update the caused the issue feels a bit unfounded.

This whole thing is a legit concern, but IMO, it seems like people are worrying a little excessively despite 1) Not having hard numbers/estimates about the actual amount of bricked Switches post-update, 2) What brand of docks are bricking Switches, and 3) Going off some articles that were posted well before the update landed.

The fact that the Switch isnt compliant with USB-C standards is informative, but not exactly conclusive evidence of the overall issue, considering the docks do more than just power the console.

All that said, you probably are better off avoiding your Nyko dock until more news comes out.

Thu Mar 29 18 03:51pm
Rating: 1

This lends credence to my theory that the Switch wasn't ready to release when it did.

Interested to hear more on this theory?

I’m sure the Switch was never gonna release beyond March 31st 2017 as it would have pushed into the next fiscal year for Nintendo. It’s a simple reality that often products (both hardware and software) are bound by fiscal years and/or quarters to release when then do. I’m sure they’d like to have had more time, but it’s balancing act.

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