By Chris Haynes 19 August 2016

USB Type-C – why is it better?

USB Type-C is the latest connector that’s being incorporated into USB devices for charging and syncing data. It was first released in August 2014 and uses a new small 24-pin reversible-plug connector.

This makes plugging in devices much easier and no more guessing which way is up!

As the adoption of USB Type-C increases its a good time to know what the latest updates are in the world of Type-C, and how it affects you:

1.  Universal cables and chargers for all of your devices! – The main original USB connectors are TypeA , TypeB , miniB and microB. The new USB Type-C should eventually replace all of these meaning a much easier and more universal way to manage your devices.

2.  Faster device charging -Type-C can support significantly faster charging if the device and charger support it, this is known as Power Delivery ( PD) – something that will be welcomed by all of us!

3.  Charge your laptop over USB – An increase in power available with USB Type-C will allow you to charge higher powered devices such as laptops with this new style connector.

4.  Faster data transfer – Type-C connectors by default support USB2 and can support the faster USB3 data transfer speeds of 10Gbps! There are two generations of USB 3 known as ‘USB 3.1 Gen1’ and ‘USB 3.1 Gen2’. Gen 1 is up to 5Gbps of data which is about 10x fast than USB 2.0 and Gen 2 is up to 10Gbps which is about 20x fast than USB 2.0.

5.  Additional data available – Type-C connectors enable remote monitoring of the device battery if the device supports it.

Type-C Cables

When buying USB Type-C cables you need to know that there are two levels of power available.

Currently you can purchase either a 3A (60W) or 5A (100W) Type-C cable so depending on the power and speed of what you need to charge or charge and sync would determine the cable to use.

It is very important to get the right cable as a low power cable could mean slower charging!

Through our testing we found of a number of poor quality USB Type-C cables which is very disappointing, so please be careful when buying any cables!

If you have any questions regarding USB Type-C cables for your project please do get in touch as we are happy advise you further.

USB Type-C Chargers and the future…

The latest version of the Power Delivery (PD) specification has made marking of power supplies simpler for the end user. PD enables the device and charger to negotiate what voltage and how much current is available to use for charging.

In the original specification this could mean a charger could provide 20v at 2Amp ( 40Watts) but not provide 9v @2Amp ( 18Watts) . So the 40Watt charger wouldn’t charge a device that only needs 18Watts!

This has since been changed so a charger that is compliant with the latest PD specification will always be able to charge devices up to its power rating. If a charger is rated at 27Watts this will charge all devices that require 27Watts or lower.

It is typically expected you will see chargers rated at 15W, 27W, 45W, 60W, 100Watts . So just to be clear a 45Watt charging must now support 15W and 27W as well as 45Watts!

The latest specification also supports authentication of chargers this enables devices to check they are being powered from a genuine charger. We will have to wait and see how the charger market progresses with this, but it could be a significant shake up in the charger market.

As you would expect the engineers at Cambrionix have been busy working on our range of USB Type-C boards and are currently testing prototype units!

We hope our update on USB Type-C is informative, please feel free to contact us.