So… the Stream Deck XL does have a USB-C connector on itself, which means that it assumes the other end of the cable is going into a “regular” USB-A plug.
Since I have a plethora of USB-C-to-USB-C cables, I tried just using one of those to plug in the Stream Deck XL to my Mac.
It did not work.
When I used the original cable and used my USB-A-to-USB-C adapter, then it worked fine.
I’m not sure what’s going on, however, I have a suspicion / guess: I think that the cable that comes with the Stream Deck XL is not just an ordinary cable. I think it might even be a Thunderbolt cable, which can use the same USB-C connector. My reason for thinking this is that the original cable that came with the Stream Deck XL is much heavier/thicker than all of my other USB-C cables.
I have reached out to Elgato support on Twitter and through their support desk to see if I can get a clear answer on this (hopefully there’s a USB-C-only solution available, but, for the time being, it’s dongle-town.
Here is the response I received from their tech support (edited for length and clarity):
Not all USB type C cables work at USB 3.0 speeds; it is quite possible that the cable you picked up is one of the ones that does not. For example, the cable Apple provides with some of their products only work at USB 2 speeds.
While we haven’t tested this cable with the Elgato Stream Deck XL, we have tested it with the Elgato Game Capture HD60 S and it worked with that: https://www.amazon.com/Belkin-USB-IF-Certified-USB-C-Cable/dp/B00WJSPCSG
We’ve also had a customer report that this cable worked well for them with the Elgato Game Capture HD60 S: https://pbs.twimg.com/media/C6lxWgbVoAAK-H8.jpg
The key thing to look for is a cable that is capable of up to 10 Gbps of data.
Unfortunately the item they link to on Amazon is out-of-stock, but an Amazon search of “USB-C 10gbps” led to several results, including
[Intel Certified] Anker Thunderbolt 3.0 Cable (USB-C to USB-C) Supports 100W Charging / 40Gbps Data Transfer (Compatible with USB 3.1 Gen 1 and 2), Perfect for Type-C Macbooks - 1.6 ft
which does confirm my earlier suspicion that what is needed is a “Thunderbolt” cable.
Now that I’m looking at these, I remember Federico Viticci talking about trying to find cables that were “USB 3.1 Gen 2” compatible (gawd what a stupid name).
TIEGEM USB Type C 3.1 Gen 2 Cable (100W/10Gbps) USB C to USB-C Cable USB-IF TID Interface Type-C PD Cable E-Marker Power Delivery Wire for MacBook Pro Galaxy S9 S9 Plus OnePlus 6 (Red, 6.6ft): Gateway
- $11 for 3.3 foot (that’s “1 meter” to you folks outside the USA) or
- $12 for 6.6’ / 2 meter.
and it comes in red or black.
The Anker one is $30 for 1.6 ft / 0.5 meter, but only comes in black. I’m considering getting the red one, just to make it easier to spot as different from all my other “USB-C” cables, although I’m tempted to buy the Anker one, mostly because of their reputation. Fakespot’s adjusted review of TIEGEM only ranks it as ★★★☆☆ vs Fakespot on the Anker is ★★★★☆
The difference in “feel” (mostly thickness) of the “Thunderbolt” cable is immediately noticeable, but that doesn’t help when fishing around your laptop bag for a cable. On the other hand, it’s not like I’m going to be bringing the Stream Deck with me places… it’s most likely going to sit on my desk, so I probably won’t need a cable that I can differentiate easily, because it will always be attached to the Stream Deck anyway.
At least initially I’m just going to use the cable that came with it, attached to the USB-A-to-C adapter that I already have. If I need/want a USB-C-to-USB-C/Thunderbolt cable, I’ll buy one then.
Anyway, I hope this info will be useful to others. Going to x-post this to the Keyboard Maestro forum now.