Categories
HARDWARE TUTORIALS

What Is USB Type C? Explained In Simple Terms

USB Type C aka USB-C is a new type of USB connector that is getting popular these days in both smartphones and laptops for their high transfer speeds and easy connectivity (You can connect it in any direction you want and it will still work!). In this article, we will try to explain to you what a USB Type C connector and cable is and why everyone are moving to them.

USB-C is a set of new form of USB connectors that comes in two forms namely:

USB Type C Receptacle

USB Type C Receptacle

and

USB Type C Plug

USB Type C Plug

Usually, the USB-C Receptacles are found in devices such as laptops while USB-C Plugs are found in smartphones. We will then use a USB Type C cable to connect our smartphone to the laptop.

Why do we need to use a USB-C over micro-USB?

A USB device such as a USB mouse, USB keyboard, USB Pen drives etc all talk to our computers or smartphones using a special language called USB protocol. This USB protocol is designed by an organization called USB Implementers Forum or USB IF for short.

The USB protocol has been evolving over the years and its latest protocol was designed and revealed by USB IF recently. This new protocol called USB 3.0 has increased the speed at which data gets transferred between the computer and USB devices (like smartphones, USB stick) from 480 Mbps in the earlier USB 2.0 specification to 5 Gbps in USB 3.0 specification! This is a huge increase in speed of data transfer between the devices and hence using USB 3.0 was a major upgrade over USB 2.0

USB Type-C is a new type of USB connector that was released almost at the same time as when the new USB 3.0 specification was released. So almost all the USB device manufacturers who wanted to use USB 3.0 specification also adopted USB Type-C connector instead of the usual micro USB connectors used with USB 2.0

Hence, USB-C connector has recently become synonymous to USB 3.0, although you will still be able to find devices with USB-C connector still following USB 2.0 specification.

This has also given raise to a myriad of problems and confusions in terms of choosing the appropriate USB 3.0 cables which we will address and explain how to identify them in the future articles.

How exactly is USB 3.0 connector different from micro USB connector?

A simple micro USB connector which we have all been using all these years simply had 5 pins within itself where two pins were used to power the device (Vcc, Gnd), two more pins where used to transfer the data (D+ and D-) and a final pin was used to detect the device type (Mode Detect).

However, in case of a USB Type-C connector, we have 24 pins in total, each of which had a unique role to play in the data exchange and charging of devices. So in simple terms, USB Type-C connector increased the pin numbers within each connector from 5 pins earlier in micro USB to 24 pins now in USB Type-C connector!

In the upcoming articles, we will go in detail to understand how USB 3.0 protocol works with the new USB-C or USB Type-C connector and how it achieves the extra-ordinary speed of 5 Gbps data transfers, but for now, this should give you enough idea on the USB-C connector type and its difference from the earlier micro USB connector.

Categories
SMARTPHONES

Why Does Your Smartphone Not Fast Charge When Using Any USB Cable

Fast charging of smartphone batteries are a new and must needed feature these days, especially with Android devices supporting it effectively across all variants of smartphones and tablets. Most of the smartphone supports less than 30 minutes of charging sufficient to reach over 75% of battery charge.

How does a smartphone charge so quickly?

Most of these Android smartphones that support this fast charging feature in them makes it possible by using a proprietary USB fast charging technology. These proprietary fast charging technologies while helps in improving the charge time, but because of their proprietary nature, works well only when you use their provided USB chargers and cables. So, as a result if you try to use a different USB charger or a USB cable, the charging time would go slow again, thereby making you lose all the advantages of fast charging capabilities.

Is USB Fast Charging Not Standardized For Smartphones?

This begs the question as to why we are going for a proprietary USB fast charging technologies that limits its usage to only its own USB fast chargers and USB cables. Can’t this not be standardized in such a way that they can be made to work with all USB chargers and USB cables used with our smartphones?

The answer is yes. We do have a USB fast charging capability built into the USB C standards, covered under the category USB Power Delivery (or USB PD for short). This standard states that all smartphones and similar handheld devices such as Android tablets that comes built with USB Type C connectors and cables need to meet and support the USB Power Delivery (USB PD) specification.

The USB Power Delivery specification states that these smartphone/tablet or other handheld devices need to be capable of delivering upto 100W of power.

However, even then, many Android Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) still do not support this USB C Power Delivery (USB PD) specification and still continue to use proprietary USB fast charging technologies.

But recently, Google is coming down hard on these OEMs and trying to enforce USB PD support for all the Android devices manufactured by them, atleast from Android 10 onwards. This, when achieved, should eventually make all Proprietary USB Fast charging technologies redundant and bring in the USB Power Delivery (USB PD) as the industry standard for USB fast charging technology.

When this happen, we will finally be able to move out of proprietary USB Fast charging technologies and be free to use any USB chargers with any USB cables to charge our Android smartphones and tablets and still be able to enjoy the USB fast charging functionality.

Until then, we will have to make do with the warning messages on our smartphone devices that reads “Device charging slowly use original charger” when connected with non original USB chargers and USB cables. 🙁