New USB-C Type 2.1 standard offers up to 240 W power delivery #USB @arstechnica
Benson Leung—Google engineer and intrepid USB-C cable tester—dropped the news on Twitter that a new USB-C cable specification has been released. The new spec allows for considerably heftier charging rates between compliant USB-PD devices.
Leung points out that the new specification has been under development for two years. Comparing the USB-C 2.0 standard to today’s 2.1 standard, the optional new Extended Power Range (EPR) specification—which bumps maximum voltage up to 48 V, sufficient to deliver 240 W at 5 A—seems to be by far the largest change.
Key characteristics of the USB PD 3.1 specification include:
A choice of three new fixed voltages: 28V (above 100W), 36V (above 140W) and 48V (above 180W) joining previously defined 5V, 9V, 15V and 20V fixed voltages.
A new adjustable voltage mode enabling a range from 15V to one of three maximum voltages (28V, 36V, or 48V) depending on the available power, allowing the device being powered to request specific voltages to a 100 mV resolution.
From a consumer’s perspective, the physical standard hasn’t changed—USB-C type 2.1 devices will plug into USB-C type 2.0 ports, and vice versa. Under the hood, the standards on the midplate have gotten stricter—a new paragraph has been added mandating that pins A4-A9 and B4-B9 (power, power delivery, and legacy USB 2.0 support) must not short to ground during connector mating.
USB Developer Days 2021, in the second half of this year, will include detailed technical training covering the updated USB PD and USB Type-C specifications.
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As power delivery increases, I would hope there would also be some increased standards from cable distributors. Right now it is difficult to know what you’re getting from some sellers on Amazon. Are there some decent systems in place for consumer safety?