First USB Type-C Hub Controller with Power Delivery for docks and monitors

First USB Type-C Hub Controller with Power Delivery for docks and monitors

Technology News |
By Nick Flaherty

The multi-core EZ-USB HX3C integrates a USB 3.1 Gen 1 hub controller, a USB Billboard controller and two USB Type-C port controllers in a 10 x 10 mm BGA package. The hub controller presents itself to connected devices as a compound hub, providing three exposed downstream ports and one non-removable port. The two USB Type-C port controllers are associated with the upstream port and one downstream port of the hub, supporting Dual Role Port (DRP) on the upstream port and Down Facing Port (DFP) on the downstream port. The non-removable port is permanently attached to the embedded USB Billboard controller, which can be enabled or disabled via configuration settings. In addition to USB Power Delivery, HX3C supports USB Battery Charging v1.2 (BC 1.2) and Apple charging standards on all of its downstream ports, providing a complete USB charger solution for portable electronics.

The USB Type-C and Power Delivery specifications from the USB Implementers Forum (USB-IF) are gaining support with top-tier PC makers by enabling slim industrial designs, easy-to-use connectors and cables, the ability to transmit multiple protocols, and delivery of up to 100W of power – a significant improvement over the previous 7.5W standard. This allows peripherals to be powered by the monitor or USB hub, simplifiying the power design of embedded systems.

“The integration of four chips in one makes HX3C the most compelling USB hub solution for any applications requiring multiple USB Type-C ports supporting Power Delivery and battery charging standards,” said Mark Fu, Sr. Marketing Director of Cypress’s USB Business Unit. “HX3C can help customers save 30% on PCB size and 10% on BOM cost compared to discrete solutions. HX3C greatly reduces system design complexity of USB Type-C docking stations, monitors and accessories, and helps PC OEMs to broaden their USB Type-C and Power Delivery product offerings quickly.”

The USB Type-C standard enables the transfer of data, power and video to PCs, tablets and smartphones and replaces multiple connectors with a single connector. The 2.4-mm-height USB Type-C plug is significantly smaller than current 4.5-mm USB Type-A plug. It also allows for transport of USB signals and DisplayPort, MHL, or Thunderbolt signals via the Alternate Mode capability on the same connector. USB Type-C device shipments are expected to grow from 50 million units in 2015 to over more than 2 billion in 2019 according to IHS and Cypress estimates. 

“USB Type-C’s slim mechanical design, reversible plug orientation, scalable Power Delivery and Alternate Modes provide end-users with an easy-to-use, single-cable solution for data, video and power,” said Jeff Ravencraft, USB-IF President and COO. “We welcome Cypress’s continued expansion of its USB Type-C and Power Delivery portfolio, which adds to the rapid growth of the USB ecosystem.” 

The two USB Type-C port controllers contain baseband transceivers and physical-layer logic to provide provide BMC and 4b/5b encoding and decoding functions as well as the 1.2-V front end. The required termination resistors are also integrated to identify the roles of HX3C’s USB Type-C ports; Rd is used to identify an Up Facing Port (UFP) in a docking station or a monitor, and an integrated current source performs the role of Rp resistor when configured as DFP. This current source can be programmed to indicate the complete range of current capacity on VBUS defined in the USB Power Delivery specification. 

The HX3C contains two 48Mhz ARM Cortex-M0 CPUs, each of which is optimized for low-power operation with extensive clock gating. It uses 16-bit instructions and executes a subset of the Thumb-2 instruction set. This enables fully compatible binary upward migration of the code to higher performance processors. The CPU includes a nested vectored interrupt controller (NVIC) block with 32 interrupt inputs and a Wakeup Interrupt Controller (WIC). The WIC can wake up the CPU from the Deep Sleep mode, allowing power to be switched off to the main processor when HX3C is in Deep Sleep. The HX3C contains 64KB flash for program storage, supporting firmware upgrade in both USB Type-C port controllers and the USB Billboard controller. The included flash accelerator is designed to deliver 1 wait-state (WS) access time at 48 MHz and with 0-WS access time at 24 MHz.  

The HX3C (CYUSB33x3) USB Type-C Hub controller family is currently sampling and is expected to be in production in the third quarter of 2016. HX3C is available in a 121-ball BGA package supporting the commercial and industrial temperature range. 

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