In my years of using technology, I’d probably say that USB-C is a pretty robust version of USB connector over its predecessors. Like any mechanical and electrical interface, there comes a point where things start to fail. This handy USB-C probe will not only help you diagnose if there is a fault with your USB-C device but can indicate which pads on the USB connector are causing the faults. It can also help detect faulty cables if used with a USB-C gender changer.
The unit is supplied fully assembled; you just need to add your own CR2032 or CR2025 coin cell battery. With this slipped into the back of the probe you can then insert the device into any USB-C port you want to check. A small amount of current is passed into each USB C pad via an LED and a current-limiting resistor. If there is absolutely nothing connected to a particular pin then an LED simply won’t light. A grounded pin will cause the LED to be brightly lit and if a pad is connected to other circuitry then the LED will shine normally. Don’t worry if that sounds a little confusing as there are numerous images of examples over on the product page. As an additional diagnostic tool, after having run the probe and detected any issues, you can remove the battery and use a digital multimeter to explore any identified issues by probing the contact points, essentially using this device as a USB-C breakout board.
As USB-C becomes more and more ubiquitous, having tools to quickly diagnose connection issues can save huge amounts of time. Often, an intermittent connection on a USB connector can cause issues that may lead you to think there is something wrong with the device or your computer. Always make sure your cables are good before troubleshooting USB issues!