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Power Technology

USB SuperSpeed Power Spec To Leap From 10W To 100W 242

Posted by samzenpus
from the power-up dept.
Lucas123 writes "While news stories have focused on the upcoming jump from 5Gbps to 10Gbps for USB SuperSpeed, less talked about has been the fact that it will also increase charging capabilities from 10W to 100W, meaning you'll be able to charge your laptop, monitor, even a television using a USB cord. Along with USB, the Thunderbolt peripheral interconnect will also be doubling it throughput thanks to a new controller chip, in its case from 10Gbps to 20Gbps. As with USB SuperSpeed, Thunderbolt's bandwidth increase is considered an evolutionary step, but the power transfer increase is being considered revolutionary, according to Jeff Ravencraft, president of the USB Implementers Forum (USB-IF). 'This is going to change the way computers, peripheral devices and even HDTVs will not only consume but deliver power,' Ravencraft said. 'You can have an HDTV with a USB hub built into it where not only can you exchange data and audio/video, but you can charge all your devices from it.'"
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USB SuperSpeed Power Spec To Leap From 10W To 100W

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  • by goombah99 (560566) on Monday April 22, 2013 @02:23PM (#43517501)

    I have an iphone 5 and like newer samsungs and ipads these want to draw 2.1 amps from USB, which is a no-no for standard USB. THere are a number of USB hubs that pretend that they are apple/samsung compatible, promising 2.1 amps. But what they don't tell you is that you can't have 2.1 amps if the hub is connected to a computer. It will only act as a USB high current charger when it is incapable of making a serial connection. It's either a serial port or a high current charger but not both.

    I'm guessing this is because a lot of devices expect their current overload regulation to come from the USB hub which is limited to 0.5 amps by spec.

    Will this superspeed use the same USB plug and thus have the same limit of either being a charger or a USB port, or will it do both at the same time.

  • Re:Dangerous (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 22, 2013 @02:34PM (#43517617)

    It will most certainly not kill you. The voltages supplied by the USB cable is far below what it needs to push enough amps through your body to disrupt any bodily function. People usually say "it's the amps that kill you", what it should say is that "it's the amps that PASSES through your body that kills you". If I remember correctly from the specs it will provide no more than 15 to 20 volts maximum. Which is still considered safe.

  • by king_nebuchadnezzar (1134313) on Monday April 22, 2013 @02:36PM (#43517635)
    Repost here as I accidentally posted as AC. One of the main problems with FireWire was that it required expensive cables due to the high quality cables needed to carry the bulk power. With this spec change and the data model for SS USB, have we now got a high tech FireWire-- with all of the disadvantages and none of the advantages (I.e. daisy chaining. Guarantees about latency etc).
  • Re:or firewire? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Baloroth (2370816) on Monday April 22, 2013 @02:49PM (#43517765)

    Firewire goes to 30GB/s and 45 watts (30v @ 1.5 amps) and you can daisy chain it. Seems like a better idea than inventing a non-backward compatible serial port and pretending it is somehow related to USBs of yore.

    Do you have a source on the non-backwards compatibility thing? Because the USB spec release [usb.org][PDF warning] for the new USB SuperSpeed states it will be.

    I should add that the newest FireWire specs only go up to 800mb/s, so also a source on that would be nice.

  • Re:Dangerous (Score:4, Informative)

    by Trepidity (597) <delirium-slashdo ... org minus author> on Monday April 22, 2013 @02:55PM (#43517819)

    In theory it should also be doing some kind of negotiation before pushing power, such as ensuring that it has a connection to something that speaks USB on the other end (as opposed to, say, your finger, which doesn't), and that resistance is within the expected range for the cable. It's not "always on" current like an electric socket is.

  • Re:Already done (Score:4, Informative)

    by SuricouRaven (1897204) on Monday April 22, 2013 @04:32PM (#43518775)

    Thunderbolt cables have part of the interface electronics physically in the connector body - that's why they cost so much. It also means you can swap a thunderbolt copper cable for a thunderbolt fiber cable without having to worry about the equipment at the ends having an exotic fiber interface.

    I don't know if you can even get a thunderbolt fiber cable yet. They don't go any faster than copper, but they do go longer, which could be handy in a few niche applications. I'm thinking supercomputer and cluster interconnects. Could be cheaper than infiniband, and lower latency than ten-gig ethernet.

  • Re:we've had a few (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 22, 2013 @04:49PM (#43518921)

    Small world :)

    The reason they chose "off the shelves" ethernet cables is much more likely because it's cheaper.
    The issue with this is that it's completely not ok if you want to get certified (linefit) by Airbus/Boeing, it won't pass fire tests, it's also not very reliable when submitted to vibrations like in an airplane.

    You can actually make ethernet cables that are aircraft compliant, but they cost 10 times more, use specific connectors, specific wrappings, etc...

    Now regarding fiber, I can tell you that stuff is resilient (depends on the kind, some will break more easily). Caught our feet in it quite a few times to the point of tumbling, and it bent but never broke. Always worked after that, which actually surprised us. It's also lighter than copper, and there are repair kits that work really fine just in case. Downside is that you will need an optic copper converter at some point.

  • by alannon (54117) on Monday April 22, 2013 @04:50PM (#43518937)
    Take a look at the conductive "pins" (strips) on the inside of a USB connector (cable side). See how they're not all the same length? When you're pulling out the plug, the shorter pins (that don't carry power, only data) lose contact first, triggering the hub end to cut off the power pins before the power pins break contact. The reverse happens when you plug it in. No power from the hub until the data pins connect. Thus, no arcing. Any connector designed to be hot-swappable has this type of design.
  • Re:ugh! (Score:4, Informative)

    by jandrese (485) <kensama@vt.edu> on Monday April 22, 2013 @05:14PM (#43519097) Homepage Journal
    That's how you're supposed to do it. You try to plug it in and discover that it is upside down, so you turn it over and discover that it is still upside down, so you turn it over again and it actually goes in.
  • Re:we've had a few (Score:4, Informative)

    by mirix (1649853) on Monday April 22, 2013 @06:48PM (#43520229)

    Old military electronics always had wires laced (maybe they still do this, haven't been into any new equipment).

    It's laced with a heavy waxed cloth, similar to extra wide tooth floss. Originally cotton, probably something synthetic now. There would be loops every inch or two down the wire bundle, connected to each other. I'm having a hard time explaining that for some reason.

    Do you mean something like this?
    Here's a picture [wikimedia.org]

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