USB-C PD3.0 bridge controller cuts out the power cord in industrial designs

November 20, 2018 // By Nick Flaherty
FTDI Chip is developing a USB Type-C bridge chip that combines the latest Power Delivery (PD3.0) technology with USB data to eliminate the power cable in industrial applications.

It demonstrated a test chip at the Electronica 2018 tradehow that supports applications up to 100W with 3A currents for a wide range of industrial applications.

“The device is specified to 100W but I would imagine the applications will be in the middle ground, for example for a notebook at 40W and the USB Implementers Forum are anticipating ramp up through 2019 and 2020,” said Gordon Lunn, technical marketing manager at FTDI Chip in Glasgow.

“By putting power through the USB connector you can eliminate the power cord, and It’s offering a lot more current than a traditional Type A connector,” he said. “It allows power to come in either direction, eg from a laptop to charge signage, or use it just as a USB port as a data bridge. We have a charging port on the chip and we can use the charge through path, so we were putting 40W through the board to charge the notebook, as opposed to 5V, 0.5A going the other way. The other thing that’s quite key is that when we were flipping the power sources, eg between charging and not charging, the data was not affected.”

 

This is because all the negotiation and power gauging activities are taken care of directly, via the IC’s integrated 32-bit PD Policy Engine and USB Protocol Engine elements (with no USB specific firmware programming being required). As a result the system microcontroller does not have to get involved in such functions and the system performance is not affected.

The bridge supporting USB High-Speed data rates of 480Mbit/s and is compatible with the quad high-speed USB to multi-purpose bridging offered by the company’s previous generation FT4232H device - including UART, I2C, JTAG, Bit-Bang or SPI via its integrated MPSSE Engine, on up to 4 independently controllable channels. It supports two Type-C ports is encompassed, with a configurable port that can


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