USB quick charging and Honor 8

Modern smart phones use lots of powr, have high capacity batteries and many people want that they can be charged quickly. Fast charging is a name for battery charging technologies that charges the battery faster that normally by increasing the charging power.

The standard USB charging is somewhat complicated enough with several standard versions and manufacturer specific features. The standard USB charging depending on version supplies 5V voltage and the device can take maximum from 500mA to 2.1A current (you can measure the current taken with suitable USB tester). There are several issues how devices being charged can determine how much current they can take from the port safely. I have covered some of the details at Apple and other USB charger secrets article. The USB charging is universal way to charge devices and widely used dispite risks like information security: Please stop charging your phone in public ports or use USB condom or similar protective devices. Best is to have your own charger, but make sure it is not a safety riskbad USB charging can potentially harm or even kill you in several ways (electrocution, fire risk, exploding bad battery in phone).

The practical limit of power from normal USB port is 10W (5V 2.1A).  When phones need more power than available from normal traditional USB port connectors, some changes needs to be made. One possibility is to use New USB Type-C Connector that allows much more power to be transfered (theoretically up 100W on certain conditions). Your next phone could have USB Type-C (and that’s a good thing) as These powerful, reversible charging ports are all the rage. The downside is that switching to USB-C means you’ll have to remember to pack your new cable with you when you leave the house and you needs need to be careful when shopping chargers with USB-C connectors because some of them are dangerous.

There has been also developments in trying to get more power out of normal USB connectors (USB A, micro-USB).  You’ve probably heard of quick charging, turbo charging, adaptive fast charging, rapid charging, and Qualcomm Quick Charge 2.0 before. What you may not know is that all of them are actually basically the same thing, based on the same licensed technology from Qualcomm known as Quick Charge. The idea in this technique is that when phone and charger support those technques and are compatible, they can push more voltage and/or current theough USB connecor that the normal USB specs allow (devices on both ends of cable need to understand what they are doing to make things work and not fry electronics).That means both your phone and your charger need to support quick charging in order for it to work.

Quick, Rapid, Turbo, And Fast Charging Explained: What You Need To Know About Charging Your Smartphone article tells that you might not need an OEM-branded charger to get the maximum charging speed out of your smartphone. And understanding that could save you a fair bit of money.  So, how do you know if your phone supports quick charging? You’ll need to do some research on the web. You’re going to have to consult Qualcomm’s Quick Charge website or your device manufacturer if you want to know for sure without actually trying a quick charger. Everything you need to know about Qualcomm Quick Charge article has overview on quick charge’s latest deails (there are several revisions of quick charge).

But there is more on quick charging than that. There are some manufacturer specific quick charging systems. For example Honor 8 phone from Huawei supports fast charging. Obviously it’s not Quick Charge, but Huawei/Honor’s own spec. It is possible to use other USB chargers with Honor 8 as long as you have suitable USB-C cable or USB-C adapter -However it won’t charge fast as you have to use the bundled charger that came with the honor 8 for it to charge fast (orignal claims 0 to 50% in about 30+ minutes!)

What is special on factory supplied charger compared to normal USB charger? Original Honor 8 charger is dual voltage 9V and 5V 2.1A Fast Charging. Honor 8 9V2A fast charging only works with the factory-provided charger that can which from 5V to 9V when Honor 8 commands it to do so (using method I don’t know yet).  If your charger does not full support dual voltage Adaptive Fast Charging, this will still charge at 5Volts using 2.1A.

5 things I learned traveling with the Honor 8 article tells that Huawei’s Quick Charge is weird: The Honor 8 supports 9V/2A quick charging, but it’s not your regular rebadged Qualcomm QuickCharge, as you might be used to from most other Android phone makers. For faster charging speeds you’ll need to use a Huawei Quick Charger like the one bundled in the box (nice bump over bog-standard 5V charging). It was also noted that Huawei’s Quick Charger can quick charge QuickCharge 2.0 phones just fine, even though the reverse isn’t true. Weird.

Here is some of my measurements of currents and voltages that are present on USB A connector when Honor 8 is connected to original charger:



  1. Tomi Engdahl says:

    HVDCP stands for

    High Voltage Dedicated Charging Port
    Read more:

  2. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Handshaking Between Adjustable HVDCP Adapters and Battery Chargers

    high-voltage dedicated charging port (HVDCP)
    adapters that provide different voltage outputs,
    such as 5 V, 9 V, or 12 V.

    Others also offer adjustable voltage output
    that can be changed
    on the fly by handshaking with the charger.

    The bq25890H allows each of the D+/D– lines to be controlled
    independently to output one of the preset voltage levels
    (0 V, 0.6 V, 1.2 V, 2.0 V, 2.7 V, 3.3 V, and HiZ).
    Each line can be set to one of these presets over I2C.

    Example of Controlling a High-Voltage Adjustable Adapter using the D+/D– Driver

    D+ D– Mode Selected
    0.6 1.2 Set output to 5 V
    0.6 2.7 Set output to 8 V
    0.6 0.6 Adjustable mode (500 mV steps)

    Once in adjustable mode, to increase
    the voltage a step on the D+ from
    0.6 V to 3.3 V with a duration of at least
    2 ms forces the output to increase by 500 mV (∆V).
    To decrease the voltage, the same applies but on the D– line.

  3. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Qualcomm releases Quickcharge 3.0 Technology
    3GLTES 2015: More wattage, more speed, and more life too

    USB2 can only supply a little current and USB3 ups things a little. USB-PD can get you the required wattage, up to 100W, but it is ill-suited for mobile use for a number of reasons.

    Having technology that charges things quickly, keeps it cool while doing so, and minimizes damage to the cells during charging is the goal, and that is what Qualcomm’s Quickcharge does.

    The idea started out with Quickcharge 1.0 which didn’t do much for actually speeding up the charging, it was more of a battery protection mechanism.

    If you looks at what Quickcharge 1.0 brings to the table, it mainly identifies what a power source can deliver, what a device can take, and effectively caps out the current delivery at the maximum usable rate.

    Quickcharge 2.0 is much more like what people consider to be quick charging with a claimed 1.5x charge speed over normal USB with QC1.0. There are two main technologies added with QC2.0, HVDCP and parallel charging. Parallel charging is just what it sounds like, you put two chargers in the device and they both deliver energy to the battery.

    HVDCP is a little more interesting, it stands for High Voltage Downstream Charge Port and allows higher voltages to be passed over the USB cable. With HVDCP a QC2.0 charger can send the standard 5v or ramp things up to 9v or 12v if needed. This of course requires the device to negotiate with the charger to request this higher voltage but the result can mean much higher wattages delivered vs vanilla USB sans -PD.

    Unlike USB-PD, QC2.0 and HVDCP doesn’t require an authentication chip in the cable itself, it just pumps more juice across the wire as long as both ends agree that they can take it.

    If you have ever plugged a cheap cable into a QC2.0 adapter and device, you can clearly see that there is some testing going on because the pairing correctly keeps the voltage low and most devices display a, “slow charging” error message. The author speculates that the actual mechanism is an analog test of the cable similar to those proposed in the early days of USB-PD before the authentication chip was ratified.

    Moving on to the latest iteration of Quickcharge, version 3.0 adds quite a bit of new goodies.

    INOV stands for Intelligent Negotiation for Optimum Voltage and is the successor to the 5/9/12v scheme of HVDCP. It still works over the same USB wires aka ports from HVDCP but INOV adds much more granularity to the scheme. This new iteration can vary the voltage from 3.6 to 20v in steps of 200mV as required but the device. It also allows for up to 3A of current for a total of between 10 and 60W delivered to the device.

    Battery Saver Technologies (BST) are a bit more murky in their operation probably because it is more toward what most consider to be ‘secret sauce’. What it does is to determine the highest deliverable current the battery can take without damaging it, and do so on the fly. T

    In theory QC3.0, if fully implemented, can charge a battery at a claimed “>2x” rate of plain USB while still working over standard USB cables.

    Since QC2.0 is open and royalty free, anyone can implement it. There is a certification process that does cost money

    Some vendors call their version different names but under the hood they should all be compatible. Qualcomm of course makes SoCs and PMICs with Quickcharge features built-in but also sell a standalone charging chip.

  4. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Paul Miller / The Verge:
    Qualcomm says Quick Charge 4+ standard will charge phones up to 15% faster, 30% more efficiently, and that new safety features will monitor against overheating

    Qualcomm’s new Quick Charge 4+ standard is 15 percent faster than Quick Charge 4
    But it means more work for device manufacturers

    Qualcomm loves its charging standards, which have become just as much a selling point for its Snapdragon chipsets as the processor power. Now, just a mere six months after announcing Quick Charge 4, which boosted charging times and safety considerably over its predecessors, Qualcomm is introducing the new Quick Charge 4+ standard.

    Unlike previous standards, which required a new chipset, 4+ is something device and accessory manufacturers can implement by adding three enhancements to Quick Charge 4-compliant devices:

    “Dual Charge,” which is already an option in earlier version of Quick Charge, but is “now more powerful”
    “Intelligent Thermal Balancing,” which steers current through whichever of the dual charging pathways is coolest to keep temperatures down
    “Advanced Safety Features” to monitor both the phone temperature and the connector temperature to protect against overheating and short-circuit damage

  5. Tomi Engdahl says:

    USB Charger Fooled into Variable Voltage Source

    USB chargers are everywhere and it is the responsibility of every hacker to use this commonly available device to its peak potential. [Septillion] and [Hugatry] have come up with a hack to manipulate a USB charger into becoming a variable voltage source. Their project QC2Control works with chargers that employ Quick Charge 2.0 technology which includes wall warts as well as power banks.

    Qualcomm’s Quick Charge is designed to deliver up to 24 watts over a micro USB connector so as to reduce the charging time of compatible devices. It requires both the charger as well as the end device to have compatible power management chips so that they may negotiate voltage limiting cycles.

    In their project, [Septillion] and [Hugatry] use a 3.3 V Arduino Pro Mini to talk to the charger in question through a small circuit consisting of a few resistors and diodes. The QC2.0 device outputs voltages of 5 V, 9 V and 12 V when it sees predefined voltage levels transmitted over the D+ and D- lines, set by Arduino and voltage dividers.

    Set the voltage of a Quick Charge 2.0 source via the Arduino.

  6. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Look what came out of my USB charger !

    Quick Charge, Qualcomm’s power delivery over USB technology, was introduced in 2013 and has evolved over several versions offering increasing levels of power transfer. The current version — QCv3.0 — offers 18 W power at voltage levels between 3.6 V to 20 V. Moreover, connected devices can negotiate and request any voltage between these two limits in 200 mV steps. After some tinkering, [Vincent Deconinck] succeeded in turning a Quick Charge 3.0 charger into a variable voltage power supply.

    His blog post is a great introduction and walk through of the Quick Charge ecosystem. [Vincent] was motivated after reading about [Septillion] and [Hugatry]’s work on coaxing a QCv2.0 charger into a variable voltage source which could output either 5 V, 9 V or 12 V. He built upon their work and added QCv3.0 features to create a new QC3Control library.

    Turning a Quick Charge 3.0 charger into a variable voltage power supply

    A few months ago, I stumbled upon a Hackaday post presenting the QC2Control library by Timo Engelgeer (Septillion), which makes it very easy to turn a Qualcomm Quick Charge 2.0 compatible USB charger into a 9V or 12V power supply. I used that trick successfully to power a small project that required both 5V and 12V, and its simplicity made me want to dig a bit further into Qualcomm’s Quick Charge technology.

    As you may know, Quick Charge 3.0 adds the possibility to request any voltage between 3.6V and 12V (with 0.2V steps), and with some QC3 chargers available for less than 4 EUR,

  7. Tomi Engdahl says:

    QC3.0 & NT6008 Introduction

    QC3.0 defines continuous mode as D+ = 0.6, D- = 3.3V

    Output voltage increases/decreases 200mV upon each D+/D- toggle

    Output voltage range: 3.6V ~ 20V (12V for class A)


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