I know someone who has a gaming "laptop" that needs two 300W+ PSU's if it is ordered with the highest spec graphics card. One of these weighs more than my laptop and PSU combined!
The USB Promoter Group has announced the completion of USB Power Delivery Specification Revision 3.1. Wake up! This is no mere standards document, because this one improves USB-C’s power-carrying capacity from 100W to 240W, where implemented. “With the new capabilities of USB Power Delivery 3.1, we now enable higher power …
One power supply rather than two, and I bought a second power supply for my overnight accommodation rather than carry one around, but I did buy a laptop of that ilk when I was working away from home four nights a week.
Meant I could use the same computer in both locations with minimal fuss and still get 'better than the average desktop' levels of compute and graphics.
We have Internet today, there's no need to lug around a computer to game with friends anymore.
Every Monday and Friday I have a gaming session in the evening with my friends. We play a range of games and we chat via Teamspeak at the same time. Works fine.
Of course, if you want to participate in a LAN competition, we're not talking about the same thing, but even then, I would think there are some who prefer to lug around their tower instead of trusting a laptop.
"We have Internet today, there's no need to lug around a computer to game with friends anymore."
I don't game. So, for me, these rather 'luggable laptops' are workstations that fit into a backpack. They are excellent for those with small apartments yet still wish some horsepower, or those with multiple locales that they wish to power-work from.
For me, both qualifications apply. When COVID hit I packed the laptop and left my weekday flat to stay in my rural home. All my data, applications and conveniences came with me without having to attempt to drag a desktop around, with monitor, on public transportation.
I can't wait to have an extremely high wattage USB-C socket on a cellphone.
I've always said it, ever since the Apple campaign "there's an app for that" well I can't indulge in my glass blowing hobby on a train, or smelt gold to make jewelry on the tube or toast a sandwich for my lunch on the go. I also can't perform an impromptu spot weld on a busted bus shelter when I see it.
With this new spec we're one step closer.
you are making the assumption that
1) Everyone would want to own one
2) Everyone could afford one
3) Other and often better EV's are available.
Personally, and after a brief period owning a Tesla, I would not want to be seen dead in one ever again.
I now drive a Polestar. A vastly superior vehicle and no I don't care about full self-driving or operating my car as a Robotaxi.
As for charging it over USB... 240w is an awfully slow way to charge a car.
call it 250W. That's 4 hours per kW and for an 80kWh battery that 320 hours or more than we week.
I wish you well. Personally, I'd rather watch paint dry.
That's actually one of the two arguments in favour of the UK style lump of a power connector:
1 - it is fused to the capacity of the cable (although tt's too easy to insert an unsuitable fuse).
2 - it ensures you know which lead is live and which is neutral so you can place a switch in the right wire.
That said, from a risk managament perspective option (2) is maybe not good because it creates an assumption with a latent possible error condition, whereas most European plugs are symmetrical and thus force switches in both leads.
Switches in both leads might be the required practice these practice these days. It might even be carried out in new installations. However, it is certainly not always in place in older installations. Light sockets in particular can still be live even when the switch is off.
I have not touched any live part for decades now without first testing for live current. Somewhat OCD I even do that with power down, but I figured it's a good enough habit not to break it for the sake of appearances. Leaving it automatic means I'll even do it when I'm distracted, which does happen.
In my younger days (long ago, thus) I did manage to accidentally hook myself up to 220VAC and didn't like it much. I liked a brief encounter with 380V even less, and I think that's about the last time I touched potentially live metal without testing.
"I have not touched any live part for decades now without first testing for live current. Somewhat OCD I even do that with power down, but I figured it's a good enough habit not to break it for the sake of appearances"
Not OCD at all...
How do you know that you.ve powered down the right circuit without testing for live *before* you turn the circuit off, and then again afterwards?
I've mentioned this one on ElReg before, but it's quite appropriate here.
Many years ago I was changing the light switches in my newly bought ground floor flat. Though I'd turned off the mains I obsessively checked each wire with a mains testing screwdriver. And the one by the front door lit up. It turned out that the previous owner's old mum had lived in the flat above, with the entrance adapted to allow access to both flats. So he'd wired the light switch to the upstairs flat in some Byzantine (and I'm sure illegal) way. Which meant it was still live.
So no, it's not OCD, it's just trying to stay alive.
> I obsessively checked each wire with a mains testing screwdriver. And the one by the front door lit up.
Terry's upstairs controlling the entry light *may* have been a legal connection. Stairways often have switches top and bottom for obvious safety reasons. This causes much confusion because There Are Many Ways To Do It(T).
My true tale: House from 1830. Original wiring by Tom Edison. Much later wiring done by homeowner's 'clever nephew'. The kitchen had no grounds, despite 3-conductor cable. That can be fixed. Best with power off. Breakers not clearly labeled, of course. So I plugged-in a radio and turned breakers off-and-on one-by-one. The radio never faltered.
WTF?? I reversed the game. ALL breakers off. The radio DID shut-up (otherwise I'd be rich selling perpetual power). Breakers on-and-off one by one. TWO breakers killed the radio.
The idiot had wired two 20A breakers onto the same 15A circuit. Not in the panel, that would be too easy. I had to open EVERY outlet box and un-do most of the screws to find the cross-connect.
Note also that on US 120-120 split there is a 50% chance of mis-wiring this wrong and making a 240V short circuit. Which may explain why the panel wiring looked odd.
These were two separate flats. They'd temporarily ( and without planning permission as far as I could tell) been given a single entrance for upper and lower flat. But both had their own mains supply and been returned to two flats ahead of the sale. Unfortunately he'd not sorted out the light switches by the entrance.
"How do you know that you.ve powered down the right circuit without testing for live *before* you turn the circuit off, and then again afterwards?"
Nonono... the right question is "How do you know some yutz hasn't taken an angle grinder to your tagout padlock so he can charge his phone?"
In my younger days I had a pysics prof tell me that a "proper" lab scientist needs an electric shock every so often, one kV making you feel "quite lively".
Nowadays i mostly turn off the power when working on circuits though I have done it without, being careful, and knowing that the off 240V zap does little harm.
When working as an electrician (in even younger days) in a working factory, sometimes it was considered unavoidable to wire something up while live, with well-insulated tools, shoes, and an abundance of caution.
It's only less dangerous if you're insulated and only make contact at one point so you get a decent warning but no current flow that will freeze your muscles so you can't let go, messes up your heart rhythm and does some cooking along the way from point A to point B via your body.
I've been there too, things that could not be switched off. I have found that after considerably simplifying my response to such request ("no"), solutions could be found.
Electricity deserves respect - it can and will kill you if given half the chance.
" I liked a brief encounter with 380V even less, and I think that's about the last time I touched potentially live metal without testing."
I used to work on test equipment and the CRT on a oscilloscope may be small, but it's still over 1kv. Only did that once. I love the LCD models.
Double-insulated does indeed imply 'not earthed', but it MUST still be fused appropriately.
No, the fuse is there to protect the mains flex, not the appliance. If there is no flex (e.g. plug top PSUs and chargers) there is no requirement for a fuse nor is one usually provided.
It's also quite possible for a device to conform to both class I and class II, in which case yes it is both double insulated and earthed. A device I'm working on right now does exactly that. Wooden enclosure and double-insulated construction. However inside there is a florescent lamp ballast and low voltage PSU module. Those are metal cased, not usually live but they are still earthed, even though it would not be a dangerous condition by itself if either case did become live.
There is a such a huge design flaw in the UK and EIRE plugs - anyone who walks around without shoes in a house knows - is that the flat plug when upside down causes immense pain.
That is by design and a safety feature. The right angle design and square pins make it impossible to plug a device by yanking the cable. That avoids the flex becoming damaged near the plug. Does make for a trip hazard but less of a fire risk.
> But not the user...
You're not wrong. Even the thickest of the thick has a fighting chance of picking up a cable and identifying it from the plug, but no more. The ebay cable purchase lottery has already become stacked against you, just as it is with other things-that-look-identical (eg microSD cards)
>The ebay ... purchase lottery has already become stacked against you, just as it is with other things-that-look-identical (eg microSD cards)
Just sourced some mPCIe WiFi adaptors and M.2 SSD's - where not only do you have to worry about pins and keys matching, but also the card size fits the laptop and that (in the case of the WiFi adaptor) the chipset used on the card is compatible with your motherboard chipset...
I thought I was intelligent, but am beginning to think I might be a bit thick! :)
"never been any problems with USB 3 or USB C chargers or cables before, have they"
I know where you're coming from but maybe think of it like this and see whether anything changes: dodgy "USB" charging gear has probably killed more people than (say) Grenfell Tower. Both caused in large part by pennypinching and or deliberate dodging of the rules.
Information sources include London Fire Brigade, Electrical Safety First, etc.
I'm really hoping the standards makers have thought of this and made sure that chargers can't supply too much and devices won't accept too much unless they detect the appropriate conditions at all 3 points (charger, cable, device). Not easy to do while maintaining compatibility, but I know from experience that fast charging doesn't work with any old cable, so there's something there already.
Not all chargers or cables are equal and navigating the compatibility between them all is a pain.
No, the controller will detect a high impedance cable and send the appropriate number of elections down it. No more (and usually far fewer) than it can handle.
Have you ever noticed that if you plug your phone and the cable it came with into its 2A charger, it will deliver 2A, but if you throw it on a cheap ebay cable, it will deliver 0.5A? The charge controllers are generally designed to deal with low quality cables with minimal drama.
This is 5A @48V, previous versions maxed out at 100 watts which was 5A @20V, so no greater risk of fusing the cable.
In addition, USB-C requires active cables to enable 5A power delivery, otherwise it is limited to 3A, so no one should burn down their house with 240 watt PD using a cable not designed to carry that much power.
Do OnePlus still use a proprietary fast charger standard, rather than USB PD?
I've got an old OnePlus 3, it's USB-C, but you can only fast charge if using their provided charger and cable, use a USB PD charger, or a different cable, and it just trickle charges.
Does anyone else do that?
I've no issue per say with them using some other standard, but that really aught to be in addition to USB PD, rather than instead of.
As it stands now, it means you still end up with two sets of chargers and cables, if you want to cover fast charging, even though both, or more, devices are USB-C.
In theory USB-C can provide power transfer in both directions.
But I recently purchased an electric car, and even plugging in chargers to both the USB-C ports in the car seems to have virtually no effect topping up the car's state of charge.
Fortunately it looks like there is a filler cap hatch on the outside body of the car, so I am guessing for now I can just add some petrol until they can get this charging business to work.
Hell that's (clickety clack> 48A at 5V!
Having a connector that delivers that is one thing - though I can't believe the current USB-C standard connector style is adequate for that after a couple of insertions and some pocket fluff on the connector - but designing a cable that's anything longer than a pigtail which will deliver 48A whilst coiled up, laying under a book on a desk next to a radiator without overheating or giving excessive voltage drop...? There is no diversity to allow for here (as interchangeability between devices is key) so the cable has to be able to deliver maximum power (48A) whatever the configuration. Under the standard UK wiring regs, 4mm2 cable would be pushing it in free air but assuming that size and the connector able to physically support the weight, at 48A the cable voltage drop alone of a 1m cable (is that a reasonable maximum length?) would be 1.68e--2*48x2=1.6V ... so the maximum voltage of any connected appliance has to be assumed as 3.4V (without building a buck psu into each device) ... is that feasable?
Seems to me this may be a standard which is technically possible but may not be that useful in a practical context - a wall wart will be replaced with an internal buck boost supply in every device which means bigger devices and far less efficient power delivery due to the cable losses. If all devices are natively 3V DC or less it would be ok but is that possible? Am I missing something?
This new spec allows up to 48V, so that would be about 5A. Just hope the "negotiation" doesn't go wrong or you could have a whole new lot of light emitting diodes, transistors, resistors etc in your teensy device.
Anybody remember Music Power? This was a rating that enabled fag packet size speakers to do 50W. I can just see the cheapskate tat-floggers putting out tinsel cables rated for "240W (Do Not Use for More Than 3 Seconds)". Then we'll doubtless get stories like "My Nan always crochets matinee jackets for our tech, how should we know it was going to catch fire while the cat was lying on it..."
Wasn't aware of voltage negotiation in the spec ... from experience I'm not sure if that makes it better or worse. I had a battery charger with it's charging terminals contacts floating at 240Vdc. After the initial shock (sic) I discovered all was well and good as the charger automatically detected the battery terminal voltage and set the output to the required charging characteristic ... until in this case it hadn't. Which is why I had it on my desk along with a battery with its arse blown off ...
Hey, you must admit that a USB-C power supply would be even more universal if you could also weld with it :).
Somehow I don't think this will happen at 5V, though. As cables signal themselves what they're capable of there's also scope to further up the voltage so you keep the amperage down.
In effect, that's what QC3 phone charging does with "regular" USB cables - if it cannot find a QC3 compatible device on the other side it will simply stick to 5V to prevent toasting anything else that users may plug in.
>Hey, you must admit that a USB-C power supply would be even more universal if you could also weld with it :).
Somehow I don't think this will happen at 5V
Never tried arc welding with a Durcell AA battery? The arc produced is sufficient to melt solder.
Which would indicate that hot swapping of these new USB-C cables is not to be recommended...
Heck, anything that requires certain power cables to be a bit beefier and stronger can only be a good thing. Why, yes, I am writing this as someone whose current weedy MagSafe2 cable has got to the terminally fraying/disintegrating stage, again (and these are stupidly hard-wired into the transformer part, rather than being a sacrificial removeable/replaceable cable). Apart from the actual MagSafe connector, the functional design of these PSUs is appallingly dreadful (their UK mains plug also has effectively no hand grip on it, and so is very hard to unplug, because it's not as if you would ever take a laptop on the move with you, would you?).
It's ridiculous that these are punier and a worse design than decent phone charging cables, which are only fractionally thicker, but are now mostly designed and made with a braided cable outer to make them much stronger and long lasting. This really is incredible advanced technology, well, apart from having been used in power cables for irons for donkey's years…
If Apple are, as rumoured, going to be reinventing the MagSafe cable, let's hope they actually get it properly right this time (although, to be honest, I'd now much prefer being able to use a relatively standard USB-C cable + magnetic adapter for power on either side of the laptop, depending on where the nearest suitable wall socket is).
Hmmm, maybe Apple changed the design at some point? Mine is for an 2015 MBP, and the plug (on the supplied plug to transformer cable) is only about half as thick as a normal UK plug, has completely smooth vertical sides (rather than the concave finger recesses that standard(?) plugs have), and is a very tight fit into the plug socket, all of which do conspire to make it (unnecessarily) hard to pull out!
Replacements for those are available in abundance on Amazon and the like, so if it really bothers you, change it.
Or get a typical main cable for a radio or something that end sin a figure eight type plug. Unplug UK plug from PSU, plug in power lead and off you go. Also super handy for when you're abroad and forget a power socket adaptor, most places have those spare.
Personally I found that one of the most massive benefits of moving to USB-C power: finally I can just rip a frayed cable out and replace it with a new one instead of having to replace the whole device (or opening it and re-solder the cable). Heck, I can even use a non-Apple power supply.
Apple also finally dispensed with the stupid lugs on the power supply which were a great invitation to destroy the power cable sooner by actually using them and winding the cable around those sharp edges. Not their best idea IMHO.
@Andy The Hat
Good point about the cable voltage drop, and you'd need at least 2.5 mm2 cores to carry 48 amps safely. (c. 2 kA/cm2).
However quite apart from any cable, at the 50 milliohm specified maximum contact resistance, there's going to be quite a voltage drop at the pins. There are four connections for VBus and four for GND, so the maximum loop resistance for the entire connector is 50x2/4 = 25 milliohms. Assuming VBus is at 5V, the total dissipation in the connector will be 482x0.025 = 57.6 watts, each connection dissipating about 7 watts. It's going to get hot.
Except it doesn't need to carry anything close to 48 Amps. If both device and PSU signal that they are capable of operating at the higher power levels, they switch to a higher voltage in order to deliver the high power with a lower current. At 48 volts, 240 watts will require the cable & connector to pass 5A of current.
The amount of geekery in this thread is impressive.
I would have thought that a 700+ page specification would be a guarantee of thoroughness and reliability - after all, this is not Borkzilla wat wrote it - but apparently there are a number of more intelligent people than me that have a lot to say about it.
El Reg is the best.
While I see that having the ability to delivery 240W is handy. I do feel like its every other week we get some change to the USB specification. We had 4 revisions to the USB power delivery specification between 2017 and 2019 and now another just announced in this article. (And that is not even taking in to consideration all the different specs for bandwidth that they have released).
Do those proposing these updated specifications not try and think ahead for more than a couple of years of what people will be wanting on there devices?
These are consumer devices. Sadly the labelling and descriptions of the various assorted USB connectors already around is so appealingly confused, if not to say obfuscated, that I just have a bad feeling about this.
PCWorld magazine, funnily enough had a column on this a week or two ago. It's even more confusing than I'd realised, and that was very confusing.
I think I may have a USB-C port on the laptop I bought in 2019, but I'd have to check to make sure as I haven't used it yet. I'm honestly more bothered about having enough USB-A ports on my laptops so that I can actually plug in USB sticks, mice and external keyboards without dumb dongles.
I think I'd prefer a standard barrel jack configuration for laptops over using USB-C with USB-PC, but whatever incinerates your USB cable, I guess?
>I think I'd prefer a standard barrel jack configuration for laptops over using USB-C with USB-PC, but whatever incinerates your USB cable, I guess?
The outstanding advantage of the standard barrel jack connector is that there is no confusion as to which port/'hole' it goes into.
I've found that many laptops only have one USB Type-C port that will take the power adaptor; when the laptop has to the casual user an identical USB port in identical positions (last port to the rear next to the screen hinge) on either side of the screen users will plug the power cable into either port and then complain their laptop isn't charging. I 'solved' this problem by the use of magnetic USB adaptors to make it obvious which (USB) port the power adaptor is to be plugged into (it also helps to prolong the life of the port).
I have similar issues with devices that have both USB 2 and USB 3 ports, plug in a USB 3 capable device in a USB 2 port and whilst the message informing me that I should use a different port to get best performance, its of little real help as Windows has proceeded to mount the device and the message gives no assistance (to non-IT users who don't remember the blue tab marking of USB 3 ports) as to which of the other USB ports might be faster.(*)
(*)This raises a question as to whether this new USB standard has introduced new port colour codings...
The sad thing is that if a phone supported a 240 watt charger some idiots would trumpet that as an advantage of that phone, while pointing and laughing at phones that could support "only" 30 or 60 or whatever more reasonable number of watts today's fastest charging USB-PD phones support.
I understand charging a phone via the available USB port. Real estate for ports is precious on phones but the power requirements are not high.
Laptops have more room for additional ports. So why a serial bus port for these levels of power? Why not come up with a universal power port more suited to these levers of voltage and current (I ask facetiously)? Like all the iGo/Targus configurable power bricks that ended up in a landfill because laptop manufacturers had to tweak the interface just enough to make them not work? Or worse yet, the software handshakes between proprietary power supply, battery and laptop that could disable charging with a firmware revision when the vendor decided it was time for you to buy new kit (Dell, I'm looking at you).
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