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USB Charger, USB Charging Port, How Do They Work?

Jan. 26, 2022

USB stands for Universal Serial Bus (USB), and the computing term "bus" refers to a system for transferring data between computers or between components within a computer.

A port is used to connect one device to another. Such devices include: computer mice, smartphones, printers, and keyboards.

In order for these devices to function, the USB connectors also transfers a certain amount of current from the main (powered) device (host) to its peripheral devices.

How do USB chargers work?

A USB network has a host and a device. The host is usually a PC or a power module that allows direct charging from a power source.

USB transmits both data and power. Traditionally, power has flowed in only one direction - from the host to the device. However, advances in power delivery technology mean that power can be transmitted in both directions.

The most common type of USB port has 4 pins that match the 4 wires in the USB charging cable. The internal pins allow data to be transferred while the external pins transfer current. Higher versions of USB include an additional 5 pins, as well as a compatible charging cable with an additional 5 wires.

What is the power output of the USB port?

Most computer USB ports provide 5V of power at a maximum current of 0.5A. This amount of current is standard for most computers, which means a total power output of up to 2.5 watts. Later USB designs increased this current to 0.9 A. However, most devices connected to a computer's USB port will only draw 0.1A unless more power is needed.

USB AM 3.0 to Type C (USB-C) Male Cable Data Charging Cable

Why are some USB chargers faster?

It has to do with the current provided at the charging point, measured in amps.

Both voltage and current affect how quickly a device can be charged. The current may also vary depending on the charging source. Computers typically allow only 0.5A, so charging is very slow and laborious. The plug into the USB charging cable usually provides 1A. Specialized USB charging modules can provide any current from 1-5A.

The cable used to charge the device can also affect the speed. A thinner cable will reduce the current strength and thus increase the charging time.

Over the years, there have been many versions of USB, both in terms of physical port shape and charging/data transfer speeds. Most people will be more familiar with the physical shape of the USB connector. These typically have a flat rectangular plug (male connector) on one end that plugs into a port on a computer or power module (outlet).

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