New USB Type-C Connector

USB Type-C Connector is on the news today as they have introduced another new type of USB connector that is not directly compatible with any existing connectors. USB Type-C Connector Specifications Finalized article tells that today the USB-IF (USB Implementers Forum) announced that the latest USB connector which we first caught a glimpse of in April has been finalized. This Type-C specification tries to correct many of the issues with previous USB as a connector models. There are a lot of changes coming, with some excellent enhancements. Check USB Type-C Connector Specifications Finalized and Reversible USB Type-C connector finalized: Devices, cables, and adapters coming soon articles for details. The new connector is for example has reversible plug orientation, similar size to micro-USB, ertified for USB 3.1 data rates (10 Gbps) and support higher power charging.

With this new design, existing devices won’t be able to mate using the new cables, so there are specifications for adapter cables. There will be some time until this new connector becomes widely used. One issue on mobile devices might be the the fact that China, the EU, and the GSMA have all agreed that new mobile devices use Micro-USB for charging  (solution could maybe be including a Micro-USB-to-Type-C adapter with every new smartphone).




  1. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Ensuring Content Protection over USB Type-C

    High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection (HDCP) 2.2 is a security specification for protecting delivery, recording and subsequent unauthorized copying or distribution of premium audio/video content. As we move into the era of transmitting and providing high resolution content like 4K Ultra-High Definition (UHD), High Dynamic Range (HDR) and 8K UHD, robust security becomes even more important for the protection of premium content. HDCP 2.2 is widely used today by HDMI connections, less often for DisplayPort connections, and very seldom with legacy USB connections. However, as USB Type-CTM connections are getting designed into devices from phones to televisions, keeping premium content secure as it travels through this interface is critical. This article describes the challenges system-on-chip (SoC) developers face in providing a secure solution to deliver UHD content over USB Type-C and the path to finding the right solution.

    Securing Content

    To deliver UHD content, content providers require higher security to be in place. Organizations like MovieLabs, founded by Hollywood studios Disney, Paramount, Twentieth Century Fox, Sony Pictures, Universal and Warner Bros provide specific guidelines on how to protect the content as it is moved from the source to the end displays. The MovieLabs Enhanced Content Protection specification requires that devices such as tablets, smartphones, UHD TVs and other media devices, which receive high value content, implement strict security measures to ensure that content cannot be copied or freely redistributed from those devices. Among other items, the MovieLabs specification requires:

    Protection of content sent to a remote display using High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection (HDCP) 2.2 link protection (Figure 1)
    A hardware root of trust to protect Digital Rights Management (DRM) and link protection keys
    A secure computation environment, hardware-enforced, for authenticating code that performs critical operations at power up and during runtime
    A protected video processing pipeline
    A random number generator compliant with NIST SP800-90C specification

    Meeting these security requirements entails significant investment in R&D and is easy to get wrong, leaving an implementation vulnerable to attacks and implementers potentially open to liability.

    For example, solutions based on a Trusted Execution Environment (TEE) enabled by a single CPU with hardware separation may not be sufficient to face these attacks.

    USB is a widely used interconnect standard, and the introduction of the USB Type-C connector is making USB Type-C ubiquitous.

    As an SoC developer planning to support the latest multimedia requirements, finding a pre-integrated, well tested, and certified technology for protection against vulnerabilities is imperative. When looking for USB Type-C and HDCP 2.2 IP solutions, you should ask your supplier questions such as:

    Are all the features required by the market supported?
    How was this solution tested for interoperability?
    Is the solution certified by DCP (Digital Content Protection) licensing authority?
    Can you explain in detail how robustness criteria were met?
    What protection is provided against side channel attacks? Also against code modifications, fuzzing, glitching and fault injection? How have those been evaluated and what were the results?
    How many designs and devices in the market use this implementation?

    The right solution goes beyond just current specifications and mandates. While compliance is a challenging and necessary requirement, planning for future threats is even more arduous yet imperative to consider.

  2. Tomi Engdahl says:

    One cable to rule them all

    When Apple thinks there is a better option available than current de facto connectivity standards it has never been afraid to pioneer it.

    Apple’s decision to go all-in with USB-C helped familiarise people with the standard and legitimise the latest iteration of the USB connector. From the specifications, USB Type-C, or USB-C, is advantageous to consumer device design – with faster data transfer, better power delivery options and, importantly, the ability to do both concurrently. All of this makes USB-C much more than a normal iteration of the standard. Google and others have also seen its potential and started integrating it into their products.

    The USB-C connector is similar in size to its Micro-USB predecessor. One major difference is it is completely symmetrical so it can connect both ways up, thereby removing a downside of previous USB plugs. Moreover, both ends of the USB-C cable can be the same, making them reversible (unlike earlier USB leads). This means that cabling is much easier to use.

    The USB-C also offers a substantial increase in data transfer speeds, using the USB 3.1 protocol to deliver up to 10Gbps. As a result it compares much more favorably to other high-speed data protocols, such as Thunderbolt and 10 GbE networking, than earlier USB did.

    It has another trick up its sleeve – advanced charging. Using the USB Power Delivery protocol, it can deliver 100W (more than adequate to charge a laptop, tablet or smartphone). Crucially, it can deliver this level of power while also transferring data.

    USB-C offers five power profiles to ensure devices can be charged according to their own particular requirements. These range from 5V, 2A up to 20V, 5A.

    It is difficult for any new technology to break into the mainstream. While USB-C offers huge plus points over traditional connectivity, these existing cables work, and wherever we are, usually it is easy to find one.

  3. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Microsoft Thinks USB-C Isn’t Ready For the Mainstream

    When Microsoft unveiled the Surface Laptop last week, it left many customers and members of the press scratching their heads over its lack of a USB Type-C port. According to general manager of Surface Engineering, Pete Kyriacou, Microsoft seems to think that the technology isn’t ready for the mainstream.

    Microsoft does not want customers to deal with the various Type-C cables, underwhelming chargers, all the adapters, and the third-party Type-C docks. That is why the Surface Laptop features only one USB 3.1 Gen1 Type-A port, one headphone jack, one Mini DisplayPort connector, and the Surface Connect port. Simplicity. That latter connection is how customers can “safely” expand their Surface device experience

    Microsoft expands on its stance to not to use a USB Type-C port

    Microsoft’s continued stance against using USB Type-C ports is a good example of the confusion from the multiple uses of this technology.

    As we mentioned last week, USB Type-C has nothing to do with speed — it defines the port size and type of connector. The typical USB 3.1 port uses a large, rectangular “Type-A” interface relying on a single-sided this-side-up connector. But with the combined introduction of USB 3.1 Gen2, Thunderbolt 3, and Type-C, there is a lot of misconception that they are all one in the same.

    But that is not the case at all. Even more, there are specific cables required for the technology residing behind the Type-C port and they all generally look the same. Adding to the confusion, Type-C ports are sometimes used to charge their host devices. Customers could essentially grab the wrong Type-C charger and quickly run out of battery juice because the charger was not up for the task. Users would then turn to the device maker with their complaints, not the charger manufacturer.

    Microsoft does not want that. Microsoft does not want customers to deal with the various Type-C cables, underwhelming chargers, all the adapters, and the third-party Type-C docks. That is why the Surface Laptop features only one USB 3.1 Gen1 Type-A port, one headphone jack, one Mini DisplayPort connector, and the Surface Connect port. Simplicity.

  4. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Texas Instruments – USB Type C short-to-VBus and IEC ESD protector for CC (TPD2S300)

    The TPD2S300, from Texas Instruments, is a single chip USB Type-C port protection solution that provides 20V Short-to-VBUS overvoltage and IEC ESD protection for the CC1 and CC2 pins.

    Since the release of the USB Type-C connector, many products and accessories for USB Type-C have been released which do not meet the USB Type-C specification. One example of this is USB Type-C Power Delivery adaptors that start out with 20 V on the Vbus line.

    Another concern for USB Type-C is that mechanical twisting and sliding of the connector could short pins due to the close proximity they have in this small connector. This can cause 20V Vbus to be shorted to the CC pins. Also, due to the close proximity of the pins in the Type-C connector, there is a heightened concern that debris and moisture is going to cause the 20V VBUS pin to be shorted to the CC pins.

    These non-ideal equipments and mechanical events make it necessary for the CC pins to be 20V tolerant, even though they only operate at 5V or lower. The device enables the CC pins to be 20V tolerant without interfering with normal operation by providing overvoltage protection on the CC pins. The device places high voltage FETs in series on the CC lines. When a voltage above the OVP threshold is detected on these lines, the high voltage switches are opened up, isolating the rest of the system from the high voltage condition present on the connector.

  5. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Thunderbolt 3 is coming

    On Wednesday, Intel announced it will integrate Thunderbolt 3 into future CPUs. More importantly, the company said it would open up the long-secret protocol to the world, royalty-free.
    A world where one USB-C connector does it all—today, and for many years to come.

  6. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Protection From Puppies (or Wombats): A Closer Look at USB PD 3.0’s Fast Role Swap

    We’ve talked quite a lot about the new USB specifications in recent articles (see here, here, and here). One feature we haven’t covered in depth is Fast Role Swap (FRS), defined in the latest USB Power Delivery specification (USB PD) version 3.0.

    Sponsored by: Texas Instruments. FRS supports USB’s vision of a flexible, low-voltage dc power-distribution system by allowing for seamless power transfer and continued system operation following an unexpected loss of power.

  7. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Seven-port USB 3.1 Gen1 Hub ICs for USB Type C™ Connections

    Microchips’ USB 58 and 59 Series of SmartHub IC is the industry’s first seven port USB 3.1 hubs for USB connections. They feature port splitting to provide even more ports for embedded and competing applications. With data rates up to 5Gbps, these SmartHub ICs integrate 2-to-1 multiplexer for reversible USB type-c connections and feature billboard support IO bridging and flex connect.

  8. Tomi Engdahl says:

    USB power switch affords fast role swap

    Diodes’ DPS1133 single-channel power switch meets the protection and FRS (fast role swap) timing requirements of the USB Power Delivery specification release 3.0, V1.0a. Specifically, the device protects the VBUS lines to and from USB Type-C connectors and adheres to the FRS timing criteria if there is an unexpected loss of USB power.

    The DPS1133 supports all the allowed USB-C port operational modes: downstream facing, upstream facing, and dual-role. Operating between 4.5 V and 24 V, it can either act to provision or consume power at up to 3.5 A through a USB Type-C connector, protecting against and recovering from fault conditions, such as overvoltage, overcurrent, short circuit, reverse voltage, and overtemperature—without the intervention of a system controller.

    Supplied in tubes of 100 pieces, the DPS1133 power switch costs $1 each in lots of 1000 units.


  9. Tomi Engdahl says:

    “Feeding The Hungry” with USB Type-C

    Sponsored by: Texas Instruments. To meet the demands of power-hungry USB applications, the USB Type-C connector was configured to comply with the USB Power Delivery spec to provide 20 V at 5 A, or 100 W.

    For a given charging current, the charging time of a battery is approximately proportional to its capacity. Over the last decade, smartphone manufacturers have steadily increased battery size (Fig. 2). All things being equal, a USB port will take twice as long to charge a Galaxy S8 as it will to charge an S1.

    As the power and data requirements increased for USB-connected devices, the USB specification has tried to keep pace. The data rate has gone from 480 Mb/s (USB 2.0) to 10Gb/s (USB 3.1). The table shows the increase in maximum power for successive USB revisions.

    USB 3.1 can supply up to 4.5 W using the familiar Type-A and Type-B connectors, but the USB Type-C connector allows up to 15 W. All three types (A,B, and C) supply 5-V power, but add USB Power Delivery (USB PD) compliance to the Type-C connector and the port can deliver up to 5 A at 20 V, or 100 W.

    This makes it ideal for meeting the needs of a new generation of power-hungry applications that rely on USB power. “Feeding the Hungry,” if you will.

    When it comes to data and power flow in a USB Type-C/USB PD system, we no longer have fixed assignments—both the host and device can change roles, and so can the direction of power transfer.

  10. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Linux support for USB-C is getting better

    Linus Torvalds has released kernel version 4.12. According to Torvalds, the version does not contain any sham, but a big step forward is the better native support for the new USB-C interface.

    One of the most important additions to the core is the TCPM driver, the C-type USB port driver. Its mission is to manage various USBC ports on the device.


  11. Tomi Engdahl says:

    The headphone jack also disappears from Android phones

    Many probably remember the devastation Apple caused by leaving the old 3.5-millimeter audio connection completely out of the previous iPhone. No worries. Android Camp will follow up next.

    Lenovo’s Moto Z and HTC’s pair of new models were all introduced with a C-type USB connector only. And although many may even swear the old headphones become turbulent, eventually switching to USB-C is going to be the best of everyone.

    However, Android audio support is not the same as Apple’s USB Audio implementation. In many analyzes, it has been found that an extra delay of about 10 milliseconds over Android will be heard via USB.

    This delay can be very damaging to the functionality of the application. For example, in virtual reality, the audio must be real-time. Digital helpers also suffer from a delay that a person feels disturbing.

    The problem with Android is also the fragmentation of the platform. Even if the newest Android audio is better implemented, its “streaming” to the devices of the manufacturers still takes too much time.

    If you use bluetooth speakers, the problem is smaller. As long as the manufacturer of bluetooth headphones drives their latest version of the standard and no old 2.x variant.


  12. Tomi Engdahl says:

    PD Buddy Sink
    Smart power jack for USB Power Delivery

    USB Power Delivery is a cool standard for getting lots of power—up to 100 W—from a USB Type-C port. Being an open standard for supplying enough power to charge phones, laptops, and just about anything else under the sun, USB PD is poised to greatly reduce the amount of e-waste produced worldwide from obsolete proprietary chargers. Unfortunately, like all USB standards, it’s quite complex, putting it out of reach of the average electronics hobbyist.

    PD Buddy Sink solves this problem, letting any hacker or maker use USB PD in their projects. Think of it as a smart power jack. To use it, first configure a voltage and current via the USB configuration interface. Then whenever the Sink is plugged in to a USB PD power supply, it negotiates the power your project needs and provides it on the output connector.

    I searched the web, and to my surprise, no such device was available! I realized that I would have to create it myself

    PD Buddy Sink is a smart power jack for USB Power Delivery. Configure it with the voltage and current your project needs, then plug it into any USB PD power supply with a high enough power capability. It negotiates with the power supply and turns on its output, giving your project up to 3 A at 5, 9, or 15 V, and up to 5 A at 20 V.

  13. Tomi Engdahl says:

    USB controllers are internally protected

    STMicroelectronics’ STUSB4710 and STUSB1602 USB Type-C port controllers provide overvoltage protection of up to 22 V for the CC (configuration channel) pins and up to 28 V for the VBUS pins. Manufactured using an analog CMOS process, the devices also include on-chip discharge circuitry for the VBUS and VCONN power lines, allowing cables to be disconnected safely.

    The STUSB4710 is dedicated to controlling downstream-facing ports, while the STUSB1602 can be used for downstream-facing, upstream-facing, or dual-role control. Both ICs support Type-C cable-attachment and connector-orientation detection and operate over a supply range of 3 V to 22 V with no external voltage regulator.

  14. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Juli Clover / MacRumors:
    USB 3.2 specification announced, which promises double data transfer speeds, or up to 20Gbps, over existing Type-C ports and cables

    Upcoming USB 3.2 Specification Will Double Data Rates Using Existing Cables

    The USB 3.0 Promoter Group, comprising Apple, HP, Intel, Microsoft, and other companies, today introduced an upcoming USB 3.2 specification, which will eventually replace the existing USB 3.1 specification upon release.

    An incremental update, USB 3.2 is designed to define multi-lane operation for USB 3.2 hosts and devices. USB Type-C cables already support multi-lane operation, and with USB 3.2, hosts and devices can be created as multi-lane solutions, allowing for either two lanes of 5Gb/s or two lanes of 10Gb/s operation.

    USB 3.0 Promoter Group Announces USB 3.2 Update
    Specification defines doubling bandwidth to extend existing USB Type-C™ cable performance

    While USB hosts and devices were originally designed as single-lane solutions, USB Type-C™ cables were designed to support multi-lane operation to ensure a path for scalable performance. New USB 3.2 hosts and devices can now be designed as multi-lane solutions, allowing for up to two lanes of 5 Gbps or two lanes of 10 Gbps operation. This enables platform developers to continue advancing USB products to fit their customers’ needs by effectively doubling the performance across existing cables. For example, a USB 3.2 host connected to a USB 3.2 storage device will now be capable of realizing over 2 GB/sec data transfer performance over an existing USB Type-C™ cable that is certified for SuperSpeed USB 10 Gbps.

    “When we introduced USB Type-C to the market, we intended to assure that USB Type-C cables and connectors certified for SuperSpeed USB or SuperSpeed USB 10 Gbps would, as produced, support higher performance USB as newer generations of USB 3.0 were developed,” said Brad Saunders, USB 3.0 Promoter Group Chairman. “The USB 3.2 update delivers the next level of performance.”

    Key characteristics of the USB 3.2 solution include:

    Two-lane operation using existing USB Type-C™ cables
    Continued use of existing SuperSpeed USB physical layer data rates and encoding techniques
    Minor update to hub specification to address increased performance and assure seamless transitions between single and two-lane operation

    For users to obtain the full benefit of this performance increase, a new USB 3.2 host must be used with a new USB 3.2 device and the appropriate certified USB Type-C™ cable. This update is part of the USB performance roadmap and is specifically targeted to developers at this time. Branding and marketing guidelines will be established after the final specification is published. The USB 3.2 specification is now in a final draft review phase with a planned formal release in time for the USB Developer Days North America event in September 2017.

  15. Tomi Engdahl says:

    The USB 3.2 update is on the horizon. The incremental update defines multi-lane operation for new USB 3.2 hosts and devices, allowing for up to two lanes of 5 Gbps or two lanes of 10 Gbps operation. Existing USB Type-C cables designed to support multi-lane operation (certified for SuperSpeed USB 10 Gbps) will see effectively doubled performance. The specification is in draft release, with a formal release by September’s USB Developer Days.


  16. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Don’t Leave Home Without It: Redrivers for USB Type-C Designs
    Sponsored by: Texas Instruments. To overcome signal-integrity issues that crop up in circuits incorporating USB Type-C, USB 3.1, and Alternate Mode, designers should consider adding a redriver.

  17. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Don’t Leave Home Without It: Redrivers for USB Type-C Designs

    Sponsored by: Texas Instruments. To overcome signal-integrity issues that crop up in circuits incorporating USB Type-C, USB 3.1, and Alternate Mode, designers should consider adding a redriver.

    In 2017, the USB Type-C set of specifications rules the roost. The complete set comprises the USB Type-C connector specification: the USB 3.1 interface specification with a maximum data rate of 10 Gb/s; and the USB Power Delivery specification (USB PD) for power-related functions. Although they’re often mentioned in same breath, a USB system can support one specification but not the others—USB Type-C but not USB 3.1 or USB PD, for example.

    What are some contributors to loss of signal integrity? Figure 1 tells the tale.

    Insertion loss is the loss of signal power resulting from any device added in the signal path between transmitter and receiver. In this context, a “device” can be a component, a connector, a cable, or even a PCB trace. The loss increases with the number of added devices or the length of the trace or cable.
    Crosstalk occurs when a signal propagating in one channel creates an undesired effect by coupling into another channel. The coupling mechanism can be capacitive, inductive, or conductive.
    Inter-symbol interference (ISI) is a form of signal distortion in which one symbol interferes with subsequent symbols. This is an unwanted phenomenon that makes the communication less reliable, since the current symbol sees the previous symbols as noise. The interval between symbols becomes smaller with increasing transmission speed, so a high-speed channel is more prone to ISI.
    Signal reflections occur when a signal encounters a change in impedance as it propagates from source to receiver. A portion of the signal power is reflected back to the transmitter while the rest continues in the original direction. Many elements may cause an impedance change, including connectors, in-line components, PCB vias, or a change in trace width.
    Jitter is any deviation from the true periodicity of a digital signal. The deviation can be in terms of amplitude, phase timing, or the width of the signal pulse. Among the causes of jitter are EMI and crosstalk with other signals. Jitter can create flicker in a display, extraneous noise or clicks in an audio signal, or affect the ability of a processor in a desktop or server to perform as intended.
    Noise is the portion of the signal that doesn’t carry useful information. A signal must maintain a minimum signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) in order to be decoded properly by the receiver.

    Any of these factors will cause high-speed signals to suffer signal degradation.

    Use Equalization to Compensate for Signal-Integrity Problems

    The Linear Redriver, USB 3.1, and USB Type-C

    Texas Instruments offers a range of redrivers for different applications. The TUSB522, for example, is a dual-channel, single-lane USB 3.1 redriver that supports 5-Gb/s (Gen 1) operation. The device incorporates receiver equalization with multiple gain settings, and selectable transmitter de-emphasis and output swing control to compensate for downstream losses.

    The TUSB522 also features an intelligent low-frequency periodic-signaling (LFPS) controller. LFPS is a communication sideband sent on the normal USB 3.0/3.1 data lines, but at a lower frequency of 10-50 MHz instead of the usual 5/10 Gb/s. This sideband signals initialization and low-power management information when the bus is in the idle state (no signaling occurring). The controller senses the low-frequency LFPS signals and automatically disables the de-emphasis function. This is required for full USB 3.1 compliance.

    Although redrivers such as the TUSB522 have all of the features needed for a USB 3.1 system with a Type-A or Type-B connector, the USB Type-C connector requires additional switching circuitry to accommodate connector flipping (Fig. 4).

  18. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Programmable USB Type-C switch introduced by Acroname

    Featuring four USB Type-C ports, the programmable USB-C switch from Acroname is optimized for applications in manufacturing and development environments. The USB-C Switch enables users to to programmatically select one of the four USB ports to conduct hot-plug and un-plug operations, enable and disable individual ports, monitor current and voltage and automate connector orientation flip operations, while advanced USB Type-C features—including USB Power Delivery (USB-PD), Alternate Modes such as DisplayPort and HDMI—are supported. Additionally, the switch is directional, allowing it to be used in 1:4 or 4:1 configurations, and APIs in C, C++, Python and LabVIEW control the switch and a cross-platform GUI application is provided.

  19. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Old display connectors disappear

    At one time, monitors had more connections at the back or bottom. There was often an old VGA connection, a DVI connection, a DisplayPort connection, and several HDMI connections. Samsung now shows the model with its new professional display. They have only one type of connectivity, type C USB.

    Specifically, the USBC is not the only interface of Samsung’s newmonitor monitors. They also feature a DP linking interface that allows multiple display DisplayPort signals to be chained to different screens.

    However, physically different connectors will disappear because the USB-C can support different protocols.


  20. Tomi Engdahl says:

    A primer on USB Type-C and Power Delivery applications and requirements

    This introduction to USB Type-C™ and Power
    Delivery dives deep into various applications
    and their data and power requirements.

  21. Tomi Engdahl says:

    The USB bus is now twice as fast

    The USBIF organization, the Universal Serial Bus Implementers Forum, has released the final version of the USB standard 3.2 specification. Four years have passed since the previous standard, ie 3.1 Superspeed.

    With the 3.2 standard, the speed of the bus increases from the current 10 gigabytes per second to double that of 20 gigabits per second. The bus upgrade is underpinned by the higher number of conductors of the new C-type connector.

    With the 3.2 standard, data is obtained via a C-type USB connection to run at 20 gigabits per second, or 2.5 gigabytes per second. The pace is twice as old as the 3.1 standard, but half of the Thunderbolt 3.0 speed.

    Equipment manufacturers have not yet been able to publish 3.2-standard equipment


  22. Tomi Engdahl says:

    USB Type-C Alternate Mode: The One for All

    Type-C connector being used with third party peripherals in-addition to USB. The mode in which the Type-C cable assembly facilitates operation of “Alternate” protocols is called Alternate Mode. USB Type-C Alternate Mode specification allows MHL, DisplayPort, HDMI, and Thunderbolt over Type-C. Alternate Mode is an option made available to the USB Hosts; however, USB should be the preeminent interface to be exposed over Type-C assembly, justifying the tag ‘Alternate’.

    Available Pins

    Alternate Mode achieves the purpose by reconfiguring groups of available pins. It should be noted that all the pins are not available for reconfiguration during Alternate Mode. The pins A2, A3, B10, B11 and B2, B3, A10, A11 represent two pairs of differential signals available for USB Gen A and Gen B operation. During Alternate Mode, these pins are used for third party protocol traffic.

    In addition, a pair of side buffer pins (A8, A9) are also available, however these pins are of no significance to USB. For example, per VESA Alt Mode specification for DisplayPort, differential pairs represent Main Link (Lane1-4) and side buffers are used to connect the Auxiliary channel.

    How to Enter ‘Alternate Mode’

    Downstream Facing Port (DFP) and Upstream Facing Ports (UFP) use Power Delivery’s Structured Vendor Defined Messages (VDMs) to discover, configure, enter or exit “Alternate” Modes. The Power Delivery traffic on CC pin, in the form of VDMs, could identify the alternate standards using 32-bit SVIDs (Standard or Vendor ID). SVIDs are allocated by the USB Implementers Forum and each SVID represents a unique protocol. A standard flow must be followed to recognize the Alternate Modes, so a UFP can support them. The minimum criteria before exchanging VDM messages with UFP is that the power contract between DFP and UFP should have been established.

    DFP can request mode entry/exit. UFP will respond with an ACK or NAK depending on if it accepts or rejects the mode entry/exit. Once ‘Enter Mode’ message exchange is complete, the Pins available for reconfiguration are assigned to the peripheral for which the mode entry was requested.

    Type-C with Alternate Mode, a connector which is light and diminutively “form factored”, provides convenience to High Definition audio video consumers. With USB literally being universal and USB 3.2 on the horizon with an expected 20Gbps data transfer at its disposal,

  23. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Microchip USB4715 FlexConnect Operation
    Posted Oct 05, 2017 at 8:30 am


    The Microchip USB4715 smart hub allows any of the 4 FlexConnect capable USB ports to assume the role of USB host at any time during hub operation. This host role exchange feature is called FlexConnect.

    his functionality can be used in two primary ways:

    Host Swapping: This functionality can be achieved through a hub wherein a host and device can agree to swap the host/device relationship; The host becomes a device, and the device becomes a host.

    In a host swapping application, the role of host is exchanged between two dual-role capable devices. This host mode switching can be initiated through ID pin control, protocol handshake, or some other proprietary method.

    Host Sharing: A USB ecosystem can be shared between multiple hosts. Note that only 1 host may access to the USB tree at a time.

    In a host sharing application, multiple hosts are connected to the hub; only one of these hosts has access to the USB device tree at a time. All other hosts are effectively ‘disconnected’ from the USB tree when they do not control the host port.

    FlexConnect can be enabled through any of the following three methods:

    SMBus Control: An embedded SMBus master can control the state of the FlexConnect feature through basic write/read operations.
    USB Command: FlexConnect can be initiated via a special USB command directed to the hub’s internal Hub Feature Controller device.
    Direct Pin Control: Any available GPIO pin on the hub can be assigned the role of a FlexConnect control pin.

  24. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Hackaday Prize Entry: Playing With USB Power Delivery

    USB Power Delivery is the technology that’s able to pump 100 Watts down a USB cable. It’s been around for half a decade now, but only in the last few years have devices and power supplies supporting USB PD shown up on the market. This is a really interesting technology, and we can’t wait to see the outcome of people messing around with five amps flowing through a cable they picked up at the dollar store, but where are the DIY solutions to futz around with USB PD?

    For his Hackaday Prize entry, [Clayton] is doing just that. He’s built a tiny little power jack for USB PD that has a USB type-C plug on one end and a pair of screw terminals on the other. It’s the USB PD Buddy Sink, and once we find some cheap 100 Watt USB power adapters, this is going to be an invaluable tool.

    PD Buddy Sink
    Smart power jack for USB Power Delivery

  25. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Controller automates Type-C validation

    The N7018A test controller from Keysight enables automated validation of USB 3.1, Thunderbolt 3, and DisplayPort devices over a USB Type-C interface. A key component of Keysights’ high-speed validation systems, the N7018A provides full control of the USB Type-C interface and can set power contracts up to 100 W (consuming or providing). It can also put devices into alternate mode for DisplayPort or Thunderbolt testing.

    By using LFPS (low-frequency periodic signaling) for the control of USB 3.1 devices and routing SBU (sideband use) lines to industry-standard controllers for alternate-mode testing, the N7018A provides complete test device control. LBPM (LFPS based pulse width modulation) signaling is supported to ensure a device is able to negotiate up to USB 3.1 Gen 2, while access to key signals, such as VBUS, SBU, and CC (configuration channel) lines, allows power up/debug, interface protocol monitoring, and power delivery testing.

  26. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Controller automates Type-C validation

    The N7018A test controller from Keysight enables automated validation of USB 3.1, Thunderbolt 3, and DisplayPort devices over a USB Type-C interface. A key component of Keysights’ high-speed validation systems, the N7018A provides full control of the USB Type-C interface and can set power contracts up to 100 W (consuming or providing). It can also put devices into alternate mode for DisplayPort or Thunderbolt testing.

    By using LFPS (low-frequency periodic signaling) for the control of USB 3.1 devices and routing SBU (sideband use) lines to industry-standard controllers for alternate-mode testing, the N7018A provides complete test device control. LBPM (LFPS based pulse width modulation) signaling is supported to ensure a device is able to negotiate up to USB 3.1 Gen 2, while access to key signals, such as VBUS, SBU, and CC (configuration channel) lines, allows power up/debug, interface protocol monitoring, and power delivery testing.

  27. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Rechargeable Li-ion Packs Focus of USB Type-C Reference Design

    We’re seeing more portable devices turning to USB Type-C, as evidenced recently with the Huawei Mate 9 and the LG G5 phones. More designers also realize that as Type-C evolves, it brings with it a wider array of advantages. For example, they can now create dual-role port (DRP) applications with USB Type-C power delivery (PD).

    In another advance, Silicon Labs has developed a reference design that helps designers simplify the production of USB Type-C rechargeable lithium-ion battery packs

    With Silicon Labs’ new single-chip solution, designers can develop customized USB Type-C rechargeable lithium-ion battery packs for dual-role port applications.

  28. Tomi Engdahl says:

    USB 3.2 Cable Lengths and Water Delivery

    From USB 2.0 to USB 3.2, USB cables became shorter.

    When USB replaced keyboards and mice, USB’s signaling rates of 1.5 Mbps and 12 Mbps. Transmitted more than enough data. If you know what a floppy disk is, those stored data in the Megabytes.

    When USB 2.0 launched in 1999 it maintained the 5 meter cable length.

    With USB 3.0 the cable length dropped to about 2-3 meters for 5 Gbps.

    And with USB 3.1 it dropped to 1 meter for 10 Gbps.

    USB 3.2 cables can be 1 meter because it uses 2 lanes of 10 Gbps.

    The PHY / electrical signaling for USB 3.1/3.2 is exactly the same so cables can stay the same length.

    The specifications don’t actually specific cable length. They specify the amount of signal loss through a “cable” that is allowable. Signal loss is measured in decibels or dB.

    For USB 3.1/USB 3.2 the loss budget (allowable signal loss) 23 dB. This means the budget loss is 8.5 dB for the host, 6 dB for the cable assembly, and 8.5 for the device (peripheral) must be less than the total 23 dB.

    The USB-IF tests for logo certification of cables specifically to see if they are within the allowable loss. In this case the copper inside needs to have a wire gauge of 20-28 AWG for power and ground. For signals the wire can be a little thinner from 26-34 AWG. See the table for details.

    As long as the cable builds to the “The USB 3.1 Legacy Connector and Cable Specification” specification the supported cable length for 10 Gbps or 20 Gbps is 1m. This is in the 10 Gbps signaling mode.

  29. Tomi Engdahl says:

    USBC is becoming more common quickly

    The C-type C-type connector was introduced as standard in August 2014. Thereafter, the connector has become more commonplace than any other earlier interface. In the next few years, their market share will continue to grow at 70%. According to IHS, last year, there were 300 million devices using a USBC connection. Of these, a big part was smartphones, but the interface was also widespread on laptops.

    With growth, the USBC becomes the most common PC and peripheral interface. Sure, it will take some time. In 2021, the C-type USB connector has almost five billion units, IHS estimates.

    The absolute advantage of the USBC connector is that it supports not only USB 3.1′s high-speed data transfer but also power transfer with up to 100 watts. In addition, various audio and video signals can be transferred via the connector through the alt-mode function. Before long, the USBC will probably also replace, for example, HDMI terminals.

    The USBC is a two-sided 24-pin connector that can be set anywhere. The connector is 8.4 x 2.6 millimeters, making it a de facto standard for smart phones.



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