Handy Tools' Mike P. has released a compact PCB designed to check micro USB, mini USB, and USB Type-C cables for continuity and data transfer capabilities — after picking up the wrong cable one too many times himself.
"As a maker I have tons of cable around me and with every device that arrives in lab I get even more cables," writes Mike P. "Because I'm not keeping my table organized (as I should :-) ), I always grab the cable that is closest to my hand put it in use. In many situations, I have had problems as the cables were either Charge ONLY or they were poor quality and the wires inside were interrupted. This led me to build my own simple and efficient cable tester for any USB 2.0 cable that can roam my desk."
The result is a compact keyring-size board which has a USB Type-A connector at one end, micro USB and USB Type-C at the other, and a classic mini USB at the far end. The top of the board includes a holder for a CR2032 coin-cell battery, making the entire unit self-contained. Simply connect the Type-A end of the cable to the Type-A connector then whichever of the other connectors it has to the other and LEDs read out continuity on power, ground, and the two data lines.
"You don't need to understand volts, amps, watts nor any other electronics to read it," Mike P. explains. "Because it is powered by a coin cell battery (CR2032) you can use it anywhere and you don't need another power source to get it going."
More information is available on the Handy Tools Tindie page, where the tester can be ordered for $12.