USB-C with power delivery makes universal adapters a reality

7th March 2019
Lanna Cooper

Cypress has introduced a USB-C Power Delivery solution designed to reduce the e-waste resulting from the estimated one million tons of power adapters produced per year1. The EZ-PD Barrel Connector Replacement (BCR) solution has the potential to replace the myriad of barrel connectors used in power adapters that consumers are currently burdened by. It can also replace all legacy USB micro-B connectors that provide only 7.5W, which is not nearly enough to power most consumer electronic devices or industrial applications.

USB-C connectors with USB PD provide up to 100W and are widely being adopted in automobiles, smartphones, laptops and peripherals, and tablets.

This combination makes USB-C connectors suitable to serve as a universal power adapter standard that eliminates the need for manufacturers to produce customised chargers - enabling the convenience of reusing chargers for electronic devices such as IoT devices, smart speakers, power tools, electric shavers, drones and other rechargeable devices.

Cypress’ EZ-PD BCR controller offers a high level of integration in a small footprint package that minimises bill-of-material cost and simplifies designs, enabling developers to quickly convert their products to be powered via a USB-C connector with few external components and no firmware required. Cypress accelerates the transition to USB-C connectors with the new EZ-PD BCR Kit, which enables product developers to quickly prototype without requiring firmware development.

“Using USB-C with Power Delivery as the universal power adapter solution makes sense across the board,” said Ajay Srikrishna, Vice President of Cypress’ Wired Connectivity Business Unit.

“For consumers, having one charger for multiple devices is much more convenient. For manufacturers, using our Barrel Connector Replacement solution to quickly prototype USB PD charging and eliminate the need to ship a custom charger with your product provides cost savings over the long haul. And, of course, the world as a whole benefits from the reduction of e-waste by maximising the re-use and sharing of a universal charger for multiple devices.”

The EZ-PD BCR Kit enables product developers to quickly prototype the conversion of their products from a conventional power adapter to USB PD in three steps:

  • One, select a commercially available USB PD power adapter that supports the desired power profile;
  • Two, set up the desired USB PD power profile with the EZ-PD BCR Kit and quickly prototype with no firmware development required;
  • And three, embed the EZ-PD BCR controller into the product, replacing the barrel receptacle with a USB-C receptacle.

The product can then be powered by any USB-C power adapter supporting the desired USB Power Delivery profile, giving the manufacturer the option to allow consumers to use their own USB-C power adapters instead of providing one in-box.

Cypress’ EZ-PD BCR solution complies with the latest USB Type-C and USB PD 3.0 standards. The BCR controller integrates a complete Type-C USB-PD transceiver, a load switch controller with a soft start, all termination resistors required for a USB-C port and system-level ESD protection.

The one-chip solution minimises bill-of-material costs for USB-C power adapters by integrating error amplifiers for constant voltage, constant current and PPS applications, a 30V regulator that allows direct operation from VBUS, VBUS short protection on configuration channel (CC) pins, gate drivers for high voltage power FETs, a low side current sense amplifier, and dedicated hardware for legacy charger detection protocols plus system level electrostatic discharge (ESD) protection.

Overvoltage and overcurrent circuitry protects systems against power overloads and other faulty operating conditions.

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