Blog writer Ken Sharriff has done a very thorough teardown of the official iPad charger and of one of the many cheaper counterfeit ones that are abundant on the market. The temptation to pick up the cheaper models is high, given that official offerings are close to $20 and the cheaper ones can be as little at $3-4. They may look identical on the exterior, but the same cannot be said for the internal hardware.
“From the outside, the real charger (left) and counterfeit charger (right) are almost identical. If you look very closely, you can spot are a few differences in the text: The counterfeit removed “Designed by Apple in California. Assembled in China” and the manufacturer “Foxlink”, probably for legal reasons. (But strangely, the counterfeit still says “TM and © 2010 Apple Inc.”) The counterfeit charger displays a bunch of certifications (such as UL) that it doesn’t actually have. As you will see below, there is no way it could pass safety testing.”
Aside from the many manufacturing differences on the interior, which ranged from poor soldering, to cheaper and poorly installed components, his testing showed that the counterfeit doesn’t even put out as much power as it should, with a lot of noise on the power delivery. If this were a PSU like the one in your computer, your PC would likely be dead by now and the same is likely to happen to your device before long, and that’s if the charger doesn’t catch on fire first.
For more information I suggestion you check out the full article on Ken’s blog post here. One thing is for certain, it’s a clear reminder of why it’s not always a great idea to try save a few bucks with a cheaper product, it could prove to be damaging to your device, or worse, yourself.
Images courtesy of Ken Sharriff.