Anwar Sadat, PhD, Systems Manager, High Speed Interface, Texas Instruments
EDN (November 04, 2015)
Universal serial bus (USB) Type-C offers a number of features, including a high level of flexibility and convenience to end users. System designers must choose available options carefully so that the overall system cost stays within a reasonable limit. Two choices that have the most impact on cost and complexity of the systems are native Type-C power of 15 W versus enhanced power capability and video support. This article discusses how to implement a USB Type-C port so that it will minimally impact an existing system.
In the electronics industry, USB Type-C is in the mind of every system designer. This interface consolidates data, power and video into a single connector interface. It is also bringing a real opportunity to eliminate power barrel jack connector from new platforms. USB Type-C supports USB 2.0 and USB 3.1, and provides options for alternate (Alt) modes such as DisplayPort for video. USB Type-C introduces native power capability of 15 W and an enhanced capability of up to 100 W with the addition of USB Power Delivery (USB PD). The interface introduces smaller, thinner and more robust connectors that are ready for data rates up to 20 Gbps. The cable is reversible and flippable and connects a host or a client device in either direction. System designers are thinking how to bring these desirable features and flexibility to their customers.
Let us consider an example where a system designer is implementing a new notebook platform. How much will incorporating a USB Type-C port add to the overall cost? How many new Type-C connectors are needed? Will all the connectors be full-featured? The flexibility and simplicity that USB Type-C offers to end users also adds complexity and cost to system implementations. While the new eco-system provides more options for implementation, system designers must tread the water carefully so that their overall system cost stays acceptable.
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