After the USB-C interface supports 240W power supply, will it unify the fast charging world?

From the current point of view, among all the interfaces of consumer electronic products, USB-C can be said to be the most functional, the most widely applicable, and the interface with the greatest potential. It is not an exaggeration to say that it is a future-oriented interface.

The USB-C form interface has a rich protocol, it can be expanded, can be charged, and has a large bandwidth for fast data transmission. From small objects in smart homes to productivity tools such as smartphones, PCs, and Macs, you can see its shadow. Dominate the world with one mouthful.

However, the maximum charging power currently supported by USB-C is only 100W (not a magic change), and for some devices that require high-power power supply, 100W is obviously not enough.

Just like when I experienced ROG Magic 15 before, in order to make the dual U of AMD Ryzen 9 5900HS and Nvidia GeForce RTX3070 8GB Max-Q have normal performance release, 200W power supply is needed, and 100W input can only be temporarily " "Archive" 3070.

▲ The PD protocol only supports up to 100W of power. For better performance release, a 200W DC charger is a must.

For notebook computers that are positioned for e-sports or comprehensive strength, their built-in independent display and standard voltage processors often provide an additional high-power (about 200W) DC power supply, and rarely use USB with a maximum limit of 100W. The C interface is used for power supply, which is also a reason for the existence of DC power supply.

Not to mention the displays, hosts, eGPUs, and other devices that are still powered by the "Pin" port. Such power limitations also hinder the pace of the "universal unification" of the USB-C form interface.

Faced with the 100W limit, USB-IF is out

Faced with the limitation of the upper limit power, the USB-IF (USB Developer Forum), which focuses on promoting the USB-C interface, released a new revision of the USB-C specification 2.1 on its official website.

To put it bluntly, it is still to make revisions, or upgrades, in terms of connectivity, interactivity, and supported hardware. The most important thing is to increase the previous 100W power limit to 240W in one go. The PD protocol is still used.

In this way, the USB-C interface with 240W high power can play more power supply roles. As can be seen from the cnet report, the high-power USB-C interface is first for devices that require high-power power supply such as 4K monitors and gaming notebooks.

Specifically, the USB-C expansion power of this 240W PD mainly increases the voltage, from the previous 20V 5A to 48V 5A, instead of a high-current solution. The demand for cables will still support 5A current. It has a certain degree of compatibility with current cables.

Regarding the current cable chaos, USB-IF also stated that cables supporting 48V 5A will have a special logo in the future for consumers to distinguish. This can be regarded as a small optimization of the current extremely confusing USB-C cable and interface status.

In addition, USB-IF also said that it supports 240W of USB-C extended power, which will be delivered in the second half of 2021. If it goes well, we can see that the corresponding monitors and gaming notebooks will fully switch to the USB-C interface in the second half of the year. .

PD fast charging's "fullness" ideal and "skinny" reality

The PD fast charging protocol launched by the USB-IF Developer Forum aims to achieve "fast charging unified". In addition, Google follows the trend and requires that the fast charging protocol carried by mobile phones with Android 7.0 and above must support the PD protocol.

Since the development of the PD fast charging protocol, it has been updated to the PD 3.0 specification. Compared with PD 1.0 and PD 2.0, it includes a PPS (Programmable Power Supply) programmable power supply, which can be adjusted according to the power supply specification that realizes voltage and current adjustments, so as to adapt to Two fast charging modes of high voltage and low current and low voltage and high current.

As a result, the PD 3.0 specification with PPS almost covers the mainstream fast charging modes on the market, including Qualcomm’s QC3.0 and QC4.0, Huawei’s FCP and SCP, MediaTek’s PE2.0, PE3.0 and OPPO’s VOOC and other agreements. Therefore, in theory, smartphones that support these "various" fast charging can be replaced by PD 3.0 (with PPS) specifications, which means that a charging head that supports PD 3.0 (with PPS) can do a lot The mainstream smartphone is charged.

▲ PPS: If it can't be replaced, I will join you.

But in reality, it's a different story.

Leaving aside the complicated fast charging protocol on the device side, the PD protocol promoted by the USB-IF Developer Forum itself is not clear enough. The revised version of PD 1.0 has four versions of 1.0, 1.1, 1.2 and 1.3, but it is referred to as USB PD 1.0. The same situation also appears in the revised version of PD 2.0 and the revised version of PD 3.0.

The above-mentioned PPS specification will not be certified together with PD 3.0, which also means that USB PD 3.0 and USB PD 3.0 (PPS) will exist at the same time, and they do not have a clear and obvious logo.

The USB-IF has increased the extended power of the PD protocol to 240W, which is more of a technical specification. There are no corresponding specifications and guidelines for hardware manufacturing and identification distinction. For the charging head fast charging protocol (especially the multi-port ) The distinction may still need to read the product description carefully.

On the device side, the PD protocol promoted by USB-IF is not as fast as the innovation of smart phones. The private protocols of many manufacturers have already exceeded the 100W limit and directly come to 120W. On the one hand, this is a technical barrier and a strong selling point of a product. On the other hand, the investment in the public agreement and the output are not cost-effective.

In addition, many manufacturers' proprietary fast charging protocols, especially those using low voltage and high current, have already exceeded the upper limit of PD 5A current. For example, OPPO's SuperVOOC fast charging current is 6.25A. Even with a flexible and widely applicable agreement like PPS, it still has certain limitations for current manufacturers.

Therefore, on many different smart phones, even with high-power public fast charging such as PD 3.0 (PPS), they still promote their own private fast charging. For the PD protocol, more manufacturers will indicate the compatible power on the page, which is generally compatible with 9V2A power of about 18W.

In this way, if you want to achieve the 65W, 67W, 55W and other power advertised by the manufacturer, you need a dedicated dedicated line, otherwise, if you use public PD fast charging heads and cables, the probability will be maintained at 18W. This is undoubtedly a "small water pipe" for smartphones that have a 4500mAh battery at every turn.

▲ Some manufacturers did not indicate on the product description page whether they support the shared fast charge agreement.

Going back to the original question, the increase in the upper limit of 240W power may not be faster than before to unify the fast charging standards of various manufacturers. It may be that the ultra-high power can indeed expand the use of USB-C PD. .

In the past, USB-C PD was aimed at mobile devices, such as smartphones, tablets, or thin and light notebooks. The 240W extended power extends this range to some large-scale devices, such as 4K monitors, professional printers, and even in the future. DIY equipment for some PCs.

Judging from the current trend, giants such as Apple, Intel, and Microsoft are all members of the USB-IF Developer Forum, and their products are sparing no effort to promote the form of the USB-C interface and the PD fast charging protocol.

The emergence of USB-C PD 3.0 PPS is also deliberately compatible with different fast charging solutions on the market. The conditions for "universal unification" are almost mature, and the rest depends on the follow-up of manufacturers.

Unification may require a "East Wind"

In the past, before the concept of smart phones appeared, mobile phones had different charging ports and implemented different standards. When the original charger fails or is lost, the long matching process in the electronics market is enough to give you a headache. And when the mobile phone is discarded, the charging equipment will also be abandoned, resulting in a lot of waste, and the PVC material widely used in charging cables is not conducive to "environmental protection."

▲ Electronic waste.

After comprehensive consideration, in 2009, led by the European Union and the Global Association for Mobile Communications (GSM), it reached an agreement with 14 mobile phone manufacturers such as Nokia, LG, Motorola, Samsung, and Sony Ericsson to use the Micro USB interface as a unified interface before 2012. Standard charging interface specifications.

When Micro USB gradually became the mainstream, the European Union began to force all smartphones to use the Micro USB interface in 2017, which of course also includes iPhones that only use the Lightning interface to charge. Apple will provide a Micro USB to Lightning adapter in the iPhone package, so that it can be sold in Europe.

The current fast charging state of smartphones is actually somewhat similar to the previous non-uniform interface. Each company is vigorously developing its own private protocol. Although these fast charging protocols rely on the USB-C form, they do not have "universal" in nature. .

For the current PD protocol support is not deep, many products still stay in the 9V 2A gear, let alone support more flexible PPS.

On the original charging heads, many manufacturers' products only support their own proprietary protocols, and have not opened support for PD protocols and PPS. The general situation of cables is also the same. I think that only OnePlus will use C to C cables. More brands are still using A to C cables, but in fact they are "magic modified" A ports. In fact, C to C can be used instead.

It is undeniable that if manufacturers act in this way, there will be market, strategy, cost, etc. considerations. After all, "fast charging" is already a major "track" of current products. Modified PD (including PPS) is not the best choice for their technological breakthrough.

But on the other hand, when manufacturers are implementing their own private fast charging agreement, the original accessories are compatible with the public PD 3.0 (PPS) fast charging, which may be more meaningful to us than shouting "environmental protection". At the same time, the original charger will also have a wider range of applications.

Just as the popularization of Micro USB is led by GSM and the European Union, if you want to unify the fast charging experience, what may still be lacking is the "East Wind".

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Ai Faner | Original link · View comments · Sina Weibo