Never Mind Your Ps and Qs, Mind Your Cs
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Never Mind Your Ps and Qs, Mind Your Cs

November 19, 19 - Posted in: Tech Talk by Kevin Quinn, Thee DocKtor
Never Mind Your Ps and Qs, Mind Your Cs

As described in a previous Tech Talk blog about the different types of USB Type-C, the USB Type-C connector pair is capable of many use cases, but not all of these may be implemented in a Type-C port pair, and even if implemented may not be compatible.

Laptops stacked on one another

Many receptacle ports are not labeled leaving it up to the user to crawl through a datasheet or web page trying to figure out what the receptacle is capable of. For instance, the pairs in the top two platforms shown above are Thunderbolt 3 ports of which only one on one machine is labeled as such. One of the platforms supports Power Delivery 3.0 power role swapping, the other platform supports only Power Delivery of 5V @ 3A downstream facing (bus power). These TB3 ports can contain USB and DisplayPort video as part of the TB3 tunnel.

The port on the bottom platform is a USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-C port, aka USB 3.1 Gen 1 aka USB 3.0 aka SuperSpeed aka 5Gbps port.  This one does not support Power Delivery other than 5V @ 0.9A like a traditional USB Type-A port. If there was a small “10” used as an exponent of sorts to the USB Trident, then the port would be a 10Gbps USB SuperSpeed+ port.

The platform stacked on top of this one supports DisplayPort Alternate and Multi-Function DisplayPort Alternate Mode (DisplayPort Video and USB) but it too does not support Power Delivery other than 5V @ 0.9A. This mode is arguably the most prevalent of the USB Type-C Alternate Modes and as such many refer to it simply at “USB-C”.

These are just a few examples of Type-C receptacle markings and meanings.  Feel free to contact us if you need help with any Type-C connectivity needs.

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