Your USB-C cable could soon charge devices at up to 240W


A new power delivery specification announced will enable USB-C cables to deliver up to 240W of power, more than double the current limit. — QISHIN TARIQ/The Star

Users will soon be able to get a lot more power out of their USB-C cables, with an update to its design to enable up to 240W of power delivery.

The USB Promoter Group, an alliance of tech companies that design the specifications of USB technology, announced the USB Power Delivery (USB PD) Revision 3.1 specification which allowed it to exceed the previous 100W limitation.

In comparison, currently most smartphones charge at 18-25W, while laptops like the Chromebook and Macbook Pro charge at 45W and 96W respectively, according to a report by Android Central.

In addition to the USB PD, the group also announced new cable requirements which set out the hardware requirements of the cables for it to handle the higher power output.

The architecture defined a more stringent power negotiation protocol that helped ensure that access to and use of this higher power capability can be done safely.

“With the new capabilities of USB Power Delivery 3.1, we now enable higher power products such as larger notebook PCs to shift from traditional power connectors to USB Type-C,” said USB Promoter Group chairman Brad Saunders, in a press release.

“We also anticipate a wider range of product application developers outside of the traditional USB ecosystem to now consider standardising on USB Type-C with USB PD (to) power their power needs,” he added.

The group stated that the key characteristics of the USB PD 3.1 specification included a choice of three new fixed voltages: 28V (above 100W), 36V (above 140W) and 48V (above 180W) joining previously defined 5V, 9V, 15V and 20V fixed voltages.

It would also have a new adjustable voltage mode enabling a range from 15V to one of three maximum voltages (28V, 36V or 48V); depending on the available power.

CNET speculated the higher power output would mean USB-C could support power-hungry devices like gaming laptops, docking stations, 4K monitors and even printers.

This update is part of the USB performance roadmap and targeted at developers first, while branding and marketing guidelines including labelling info for users would be established later.

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