Microsoft plans to recall power cables for previous-generation Surface Pro tablets. The cords can overheat and pose fire hazard, according to reports. While Microsoft recalls millions of cables, the company insists that only a very small number of them can actually be dangerous.

Power cables of Surface Pro, Surface Pro 2 and Surface Pro 3 are vulnerable to overheating and could pose a fire hazard after they are sharply or repeatedly bent or tightly wrapped, according to Microsoft. Microsoft did not name the supplier of the power cords it shipped for about three years. The potentially dangerous cables look like regular power cords used with variety of notebook PSUs. Such cables are not very bendable and, as it appears, can be damaged. Fortunately, they are detachable and users, who want to replace their cables now, can do so without waiting for Microsoft.

On Wednesday the company confirmed to ZDNet that the recall will be taking place, and will officially issue a statement on the matter of Surface Pro power cables early on Friday. The voluntary recall will be applied to all devices sold before mid-July, 2015, worldwide. Eligible customers wishing to get a replacement will have to order it via a special web-site. Microsoft plans to advice customers to stop using potentially dangerous power cords and to dispose of them in accordance with local regulations.

Microsoft Surface Pro charger is on the left side of the picture.

Microsoft’s Surface (non-Pro) slates as well as the latest Surface Pro 4 tablets are not affected, the software giant said, reports

The first-generation Surface Pro was introduced along with the Windows 8 operating system in October, 2012. It became available in early 2013 and was replaced by the Surface Pro 2 later that year. The third-generation Surface Pro hit the market in mid-2014. To date, Microsoft has sold millions of its slates, which it positions as notebook replacement tablets.

Many power cords should not be bent or wrapped too tightly because they can be damaged this way. Some companies try to use softer cables and/or equip their cables with some form of cable management. Unfortunately, power cords of Microsoft Surface Pro only come with a tiny hook.

Keeping in mind that so far, there have been no reports about overheating cables or PSUs of Microsoft’s Surface Pro tablets, the cables should be generally safe to use. Nonetheless, it is somewhat sad that Microsoft has not discovered the potential issue earlier.

Update: Owners can get a new cord from Microsoft from this link:


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  • Alexvrb - Wednesday, January 20, 2016 - link

    In this particular case, unlike Li-ion battery packs, I would bet that 99% of the issues are caused by improper use/damage by users. I mean these chargers are pretty low-amp and for such a high-profile device I've never seen any articles about issues with the chargers - and they've been out for years. Kudos to Anton for pointing out that you shouldn't wrap the cords too tight - I see this all the time and it makes me cringe. I know people that have crippled console controller cords this way, they wrap them up tight whenever they put them away. I only ever wrapped them loosely - thankfully most controllers are wireless now. :P
  • Visual - Thursday, January 21, 2016 - link

    To clarify my particular case, the problem was not the adapter itself, nor the way the cord gets wrapped for storage or transport, but the way it bends right under the connector while it is plugged in the tablet.
  • damianrobertjones - Thursday, January 21, 2016 - link

    Hence why I always place the charger in the appropriate way (Up or facing down) when using my SP4.
  • Visual - Thursday, January 21, 2016 - link

    Since the options are only up or down, and power outlets are usually in a direction more like backwards, left or right of tables, beds and other places where tablets get used instead of directly above or below them, your comment is stupid.
  • mkozakewich - Thursday, January 21, 2016 - link

    If you angle it up, gravity bends the cord. If you angle it down, the table bends the cord. Lose-lose.
  • Alexvrb - Saturday, January 23, 2016 - link

    I always run my cable in such a way that it doesn't bend sharply at the connector. I can't see a situation where I would need to do otherwise... unless I was plugging it in and stretching it to the max reach. Extension cord? Seriously I don't see how you could be doing that. I let the cable have a little slack. Same for any device even microUSB - if I have the cord at a bad angle, I let it have a little slack so it's not making any tight bends at the connector itself.
  • Visual - Monday, January 25, 2016 - link

    You seem to be having a comprehension problem. The cable does not make tight bends, the cable is used normally with the usual bends you expect and it eventually breaks from those, over the course of months of use.
  • MikeMurphy - Thursday, January 21, 2016 - link

    Cord loops should be about the size of your foot print. Never had a cable go bad on me.
  • nagi603 - Thursday, January 21, 2016 - link

    Damnit. I hope they will post to all countries...
  • Visual - Thursday, January 21, 2016 - link

    I already replaced my SP2 cable with some chinese knockoff, because it tore itself from bending right under the connector after a couple years of use. First went the rubber insulation, later the wire mesh shielding and eventually the cables inside it as well.
    I don't think it was heating up unusually before the physical damage, if anyone is worried from that. And after the physical damage, it's only natural.
    When they say a potential fire hazard, many people would probably imagine some spontaneous and unexpected failure and that can be very worrying, but if what they actually mean is the same thing that happened to mine, at least its a gradual and apparent process.

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