Tristar/U2/Hydra Charging Issues


Do you have an iPhone that won’t charge past 1%? Power issues can be caused by many factors, such as a damaged charger port, dying batteries, water damage, or damage to the Tristar.

Let’s say a technician tried replacing the charge port and the battery and it’s still not charging. Until this problem, this phone stayed in a case and has never been dropped, submerged in liquid, or otherwise broken. So what happened? It might be the Tristar chip.

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    Probably Not the Lightning Port

    The dock or port is not a complex component. It is a simple housing and wire extension from the exterior Lightning port to the connection on the logic board. The chances of it failing are so slim. You can almost always rule out the port as the cause of a non-charging iPhone. Checking the charging port for pocket lint is of course an easy, good idea.

    Battery Testing

    Batteries can be easily checked for life and cycle count. A new battery can be connected to test the device’s bootup capability. These steps should be completed before deducing it is a chip or board issue.

    Liquid Damage

    Water damage necessitates a deep, ultrasonic cleaning and possible replacement of components. Repair technicians can diagnose this need quickly, and it is generally a separate issue from Tristar repair which is detailed below.

    The Culprit? Tristar.

    The Tristar normally fails after using cheap external accessories: charge cords, charging blocks, car chargers, or portable batteries. Once other possibilities are eliminated, repair should focus on one possibility: the Tristar IC. So what is the Tristar IC?

    Microchips like these are used to control the functions of USB such as charging. Voltage spikes and noisy electrical signals can potentially damage the chip.

    Tristar? Or Hydra? Or U2?

    The iPhone 5 was the first device to include this chip. The “U2 IC” name comes from the Tristar’s board position on the iPhone’s schematic. IC is an abbreviation for “integrated circuit”. U2 was the label assigned to this particular microchip location on the schematic. U is the designation for a microchip (D is for diode, R is for resistor, C is for capacitor). The number 2 is the assigned number from Apple’s electrical engineering team.

    There are also designations for U3, U4, U5, etc. The chip designation changes in other iPhone models. It’s U1700 on the iPhone 6. The number varies among iPads. However, most people just call it the “U2 chip”. Technically, the proper name would be Tristar since that’s what the chip is, no matter its schematic label.

    Tristar was, however, replaced by Hydra in later models of phones. It provides the same functions as the Tristar. However, the chip is actually a different part. Additionally, it is not located in the U2 schematic position anymore.

    We Can Fix Tristar

    Whatever you choose to call this issue, our master repair technician and micro-solder expert Alex can repair it. He has been performing highly technical micro-solder repairs on phones and tablets for ten years.