What is USB Power Delivery

July 7, 2018 | By: 313 0

In addition to the latest USB 3.1 specification, electronic manufacturers are also introducing the USB Type-C connector. It is quite different from older USB connectors and ports that have been in use since the 1990s. USB-C uses a uniquely shaped connector and port that aren’t backward compatible with older USB protocols without a converter. That’s because USB-C was built to take advantage of newer and better protocols like USB-PD, which delivers rapid charging for a wide range of devices and takes advantage of USB-C’s full potential. USB-PD-compliant chargers allow for power output of up to 100 watts, which means laptops can be charged via USB cables. This isn’t just convenient for customers and end users; it also means a potential world where a single charger can be used to recharge laptops, tablets, smartphones, and consumer electronics at lightning-quick speeds. Because USB-PD charges smaller devices more quickly, there are particular benefits for smartphone owners. For smartphones, the benefit is comparable to Quick Charge 2.0 and 3.0 technology; We found that current generation phones charge 50 percent more quickly than conventional 5-watt charging for a device similar to a Nexus 6P. Unlike Qualcomm’s Quick Charge 3.0, which also works with the USB-C connector, the USB PD protocol can safely handle a wider range of devices (Quick Charge 3.0 is restricted to products with Snapdragon™ chipsets) and allows more devices to interact with a single charger controller. USB-PD also offers major benefits for tomorrow’s phones and tablets. They will have even more demands on the processor and graphic fronts, and USB-PD-based rapid charging means that they won’t have to sit tethered to a charger for hours daily. We found that a staggering 61.8 percent of customers are likely to buy a charger that can recharge a phone within minutes … and USB-PD makes that a possibility. For users, USB-PD also means an end to storing and carrying around multiple charging adapters for different devices. Manufacturers are committing to integrating USB-PD into future devices. This means the same charger can be used on phones, tablets, laptops, and other devices. The public expects more mobility from their computing experiences, and USB-PD offers that. The protocol offers access to powerful accessories at home, and the ability to take their computing with them on the go. With USB-PD, laptops or ultrabooks can be connected to a single USB-C cable. In turn, the USB-C cable is connected up to a dock that provides power and connection to all kinds of other devices such as an external HDD, speakers, printers, keyboard, mouse, and monitor. To give one example of how this changes things, an external HDD traditionally requires two cable connections: one for power, the other for data. With USB-C and Power Delivery, only one cable is required since both data and power transfer through the same connection. There’s also a lot of momentum behind this technology. According to industry blog Electronic Design, USB-C has the highest adoption rate of any USB protocol in history. USB-PD chargers aren’t just power chargers— they’re miniature computers in and of themselves. When a USB-C device connects to a charger, the device interfaces with a special controller in the charger. These chargers can have many different power delivery “profiles,” which are pegged to the different voltage levels specifically required by devices of completely different sizes, like a smartphone and a laptop. A chipset in the charger automatically determines which profile it is interfacing with and matches the appropriate voltage to the device. The number of profiles depends on the device, with some chargers just supporting charging smartphones at faster speeds, while computers and other devices charge at slower speeds. However, higher-end USB-PD chargers can have up to five different standard power profiles (or possibly more if manufacturers implement their own specific voltage profiles), allowing support for anything from a smartphone to a power-hungry laptop from the same charger. In order for USB-PD to work to its full potential, both the device and the charger need to have embedded USB-PD controller chips and share the correct settings for voltage and amperage. But even if the device doesn’t, the special chargers (support PD technology) are backward-compatible and support the highest amperage for any given voltage profile, so they will work with as many devices as possible. Even Apple, which has traditionally released its own proprietary cords and chargers, is embracing USB-PD. The computing and mobile giant now offers USB-C to Lightning Cables3 and promotes fast charging on the iPad Pro (12.9-inch) via USB-PD (optimally at 14.5 volts, maximum 2 Amps, while other voltage levels may be supported up to 2 Amps maximum).