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Three Design Points of USB Type-C Cables and Connectors

Oct. 09, 2020

The USB Type-C standard—a set of rules for making smarter USB Cables, connectors, and plugs—continues to evolve, while the range of applications it can provide is expanding.

This single-piece solution for data and power transmission without a separate power adapter is rapidly becoming popular in portable devices, data centers, car diagnostics and infotainment systems, medical electronic equipment, and outdoor LED displays.

However, at the same time, poorly designed USB Type-C cables, connectors, and other accessories may cause permanent damage to the hardware they serve. Therefore, it is necessary for Type C Cables (with Type C connectors at each end) to meet strict quality standards.

Below is a quick overview of the three key design parameters that engineers need to consider when deciding on Type-C cables and accessories:

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Trade media widely reported the Benson Leung saga incident. Because of the wrong connection of the USB Type-C cable, Google engineer Leung eventually destroyed the $800 Chromebook Pixel laptop.

It is vital that USB Type-C cables and connectors send and receive the right amount of power and require the correct components. A 56-kohm resistor and a system for power leveling will ensure that the cable only consumes the same power as the host device.

USB Type-C Connector

USB Type-C Connector

Multifunctional signal transmission

The USB Type-C standard also requires cables to use precise wire sizes and correct connector construction. Proper signal integrity, as well as protection against RF and electromagnetic interference, can make multifunctional signals work effectively.

For example, TE Connectivity is a provider of USB Type-C connector solutions. The company claims to provide a shielding design on the back of the socket housing to help eliminate unnecessary electromagnetic interference leakage.

Sturdy structure

TE Connectivity also provides enhanced retention features and splash-proof options to ensure that the USB Type-C connector can work in harsh industrial environments. This requires enhanced environmental tightness and mechanical strength.

For starters, the IEC-60529-IP67 specification ensures that the connection is sealed to prevent dust intrusion and is protected by high-pressure water jets. It also supports immersion in water for a limited time.

Next, the robust structure of the USB Type-C connector can be completed with upgraded materials; for example, gold-plated and nickel-plated contacts to prevent corrosion. Design features such as conductive silicone rubber gaskets and threaded panel connection points also enable the connector to work in extreme environments.

The USB Type-C Connector also has a through-hole mounting function, which facilitates a mechanically strong PCB connection

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