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

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

Technology News |
By Nick Flaherty

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 act as either a power sink or source (or in a dual role capacity) supporting Fast Role Swap, and the other port serving solely as a sink. 

“We are aiming at industrial customers, people using displays for signage or a high power peripheral into a laptop to simplify the cost of installation,” said Lunn. “We’ve been in a fortunate position on the development. We’ve only had to focus on the power side and extend the data side that we already have, so the design cycle has been 9 to 12 months. We’ve not been one of the early adopters so the specification has had a chance to mature, and mobile phones are starting to show up with Type C so the timing is good for real world products.”

“We plan to launch in mid 2019 so we are just starting the validation phase. Now we need to get into testing with the USB Implementers Forum,” he added.

The chip relies on a single 3.3V power source for both VCC and VCCIO and has an operational temperature range spanning from -40°C to +85°C.

It is supplied in a 76-pin QFN package and volume production is planned for mid 2019 with a part number of FT4233H .

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