Battle rages over USB-C charging in cars

November 15, 2018 //By Nick Flaherty
Battle rages over USB-C charging in cars
USB Type-C power delivery is penetrating the electronics market at a stunning rate, providing ten times the capability of previous USB standards. New phones such as the Asus ROG are using a single USB-C port for both power and data with a simpler connector.

This year’s Electronica tradeshow in Munich sees chip suppliers aiming at the automotive market to add USB-C power delivery (PD) version 3.0 charging inside cars.

Richtek of Taiwan has claimed the spot as the first to provide automotive qualitied parts, although both Cypress Semiconductor and ON Semiconductor are both launching USB-C PD 3.0 controllers. With the long lead times of automotive designs, quite who is ‘first’ to market is almost impossible to determine. AECQ-100 qualified parts will be sampling in the next month from all three, and reference designs are already available, as implementing high power charging and data protocols are not straight-forward for ODMs designing the automotive modules. The challenges further increase when expanding to multiple ports.

The Richtek controller integrates a DC-DC converter to provide the higher 100W power possible with the PD3.0 specification.  The RTQ7880 includes an ARM controller with a fully programmable PWM block. For charging legacy USB devices, the RTQ7880 includes USB data-line sensing circuits for detecting BC1.2, QC2.0 and QC3.0 and Apple mode systems.

To avoid voltage drops from long-distance power transmission for rear-seat passengers charging their devices, the RTQ7880 includes a 9-step programmable cable drop compensation function, which adjusts the output voltage based on charging current. The voltage compensation value is adjustable for different cable lengths. The result is a charging voltage through the charging cable end that varies less than ±50mV over charge current. 

ON Semi has developed a fully functional dual port, 100W automotive reference design to help engineers add the functionality to vehicles. 

The reference design (shown above) integrates power management, port control, protection and the software policy engine, and includes 100% voltage/power coverage as well as temperature protection. The power management allows for input voltage monitoring and de-rating of power based on the battery voltage with customizable limits. In additional to power management, versions of the board are available with USB SuperSpeed 3.2 (10Gbps) functions,

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