Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 4th Sep 2018 21:30 UTC
Hardware, Embedded Systems

It's almost the end of 2018, but I'm finally able to say that almost all of my day-to-day devices have been replaced with a USB-C option, or can be replaced in the near future.

I bought a fully specced out Dell XPS 13, and it's the first laptop I've ever had that charges over USB-C. Cool and all, but I quickly realized that only the 27W charger it came with actually charges it; other USB-C chargers simply don't work because they're not powerful enough.

I'm not quite sure USB-C is there, yet.

Order by: Score:
Still needs some work
by imthefrizzlefry on Tue 4th Sep 2018 21:50 UTC
imthefrizzlefry
Member since:
2010-10-28

I have been burnt twice now by USB-C ports that don't charge the laptop, or aren't Thunderbolt 3, so I can't use a dual-4K-monitor USB-C dock. It's also unreasonably difficult to figure out if a device's USB-C port is the most modern type of USB-C. So, I still think the technology has a little ways to go; also, I mourn having a headphone jack on my phone, and despise having to choose between charging or using a dongle. I can only imagine the hell Macbook users are stuck with. Personally, I think a laptop should have four or five USB-C ports if you are expected to use USB-C for everything.

Reply Score: 7

Macbook charger
by sukru on Tue 4th Sep 2018 21:55 UTC
sukru
Member since:
2006-11-19

Ironically I found the MacBook pro charger to be the most compatible high powered one, even for dell or other devices.

The ability to "dock" (for keyboard-mouse-monitor combo) + power over a simple port is very useful, and works across devices. However such a dock easily runs $150-$200 including the price of the charger.

Reply Score: 4

RE: Macbook charger
by Carewolf on Thu 6th Sep 2018 11:56 UTC in reply to "Macbook charger"
Carewolf Member since:
2005-09-08

USB-C has terrible docking though. It can't do the alternative protocols in parallel, so it is either power, or display-port, or USB3. Thunderbolt has much worse display support, but can at least do it in parallel and dockable.

Reply Score: 3

USB-C chargers
by weckart on Tue 4th Sep 2018 22:11 UTC
weckart
Member since:
2006-01-11

To be fair, 27W sounds weedy for a notebook charger. Even Atom based netbooks came mostly with 40W chargers.

Reply Score: 3

Comment by FlyingJester
by FlyingJester on Tue 4th Sep 2018 23:36 UTC
FlyingJester
Member since:
2016-05-11

I am still not sure what problem USB C really solves. I mean, I guess powering laptops? I would expect that the range of power laptops can pull is very large, though.

Also, why would I want my charging port to be the same as an extension port?

I guess I don't see the point of USB C?

Reply Score: 5

RE: Comment by FlyingJester
by WorknMan on Wed 5th Sep 2018 00:05 UTC in reply to "Comment by FlyingJester"
WorknMan Member since:
2005-11-13

I am still not sure what problem USB C really solves.


Reversible plus FTW.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Comment by FlyingJester
by Alfman on Wed 5th Sep 2018 04:29 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by FlyingJester"
Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

WorknMan,

Reversible plus FTW.


Yea, USB ports have always had an accessibility problem. After all these years of using it, plugging one in the right way is still trial and error.

As for power, I'd rather have a dedicated port for that and not have to waste a USB-C port for it. That and you have to compromise on power. My laptop has a 120W power supply, well outside the specs for USB-C.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USB-C
All USB-C cables must be able to carry a minimum of 3 A current (up to 60 W @20V) but can also carry high-power 5 A current (up to 100 W).[12] All USB-C to USB-C cables must contain e-marker chips programmed to identify the cable and its current capabilities. USB Charging ports should also be clearly marked with capable power wattage.





Something I find extremely stupid with USB3 that still hasn't been fixed is that they never provided a negotiation/translation layer between USB2 and USB3. This is surprising and disappointing.

Wire diagram:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USB-C#USB_Type-C_Specification_1.0


I have a bit of a gripe because I had a project where I needed to record video from several logitech webcams. I bought USB3 hubs & extenders thinking I could dangle all my USB cameras on a USB3 hub and share the 5gbps between them, what a disappointment when I found out all USB2 peripherals where stuck using a lousy USB2 bus inside of my USB3 hubs & cables.


Instead of negotiating the protocol (ie USB2 vs USB3) as was done for previous upgrades (ie USB1 & USB2), this time they physically ran separate data lines for each USB version. USB3 peripherals are supposed to support both physical channels for USB2 & USB3. So in normal use of any given USB3 peripheral, there are two wires that will have zero usage by design. On a USB2 host, the USB3 lines are wasted. On a USB3 host, the USB2 lines are wasted.

It gets worse. Since USB3 doesn't support USB2/USB3 translation, a USB3 hub has two completely separate hubs inside, one for the USB2 wires and another for the USB3 wires. These two separate buses go all the way back to the computer, which has two separate controllers for USB3 and USB2.

Sorry for the rant, it's just disappointing that poor engineering decisions for USB3 also carried forward into the cable spec for USB-C. Oh well.

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: Comment by FlyingJester
by Verenkeitin on Wed 5th Sep 2018 19:14 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by FlyingJester"
Verenkeitin Member since:
2007-07-01

If I've understood correctly, USB-C is USB3.1 with a different connector that may or may not support connecting a monitor and/or/not transfer power, except that laptops actually require more power than the spec allows, and 4K and up resolutions means low refresh rate. And then there's the cables that may burn your house down. /s

There's no way this nonsense last for long. Then its back to dongles for USB-C to USB-5.

Reply Score: 5

RE[3]: Comment by FlyingJester
by zima on Thu 6th Sep 2018 00:15 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by FlyingJester"
zima Member since:
2005-07-06

Yea, USB ports have always had an accessibility problem. After all these years of using it, plugging one in the right way is still trial and error.

Not a problem for me - just remember that the side of the plug with USB logo is "up"...

Reply Score: 3

RE[4]: Comment by FlyingJester
by Carewolf on Thu 6th Sep 2018 11:58 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Comment by FlyingJester"
Carewolf Member since:
2005-09-08

And if there is no logo, it is a non-standard cable and you should throw it out as it is likely to break early anyway.

Reply Score: 3

RE[4]: Comment by FlyingJester
by Alfman on Thu 6th Sep 2018 12:32 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Comment by FlyingJester"
Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

zima,

Not a problem for me - just remember that the side of the plug with USB logo is "up"...


You are a better man than me ;)

Seriously, there's not enough light to see that behind a computer and in the front of most computers the ports are always vertical and I don't know which side is "up" anyways. I appreciate that USB-C is reversible, though with that said I only have one USB-C webcam and it's only USB-C on the camera's side, I still have no USB-C ports on any of my computers including the newest one I bought this year since that feature is rare in the used PC market, so I would need a dongle to use them.

Reply Score: 2

RE[5]: Comment by FlyingJester
by zima on Sat 8th Sep 2018 01:20 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Comment by FlyingJester"
zima Member since:
2005-07-06

In darkness behind a computer it might also work out fine - the USB logo is usually convex/raised after all, so you can feel it with your thumb. ;) Also, "most computers" for a while are laptops, and there ports are horizontal... (and I have no USB-C cables or ports and I'm still good)

PS. What for did you need multiple webcams connected to one PC? ;)

Reply Score: 2

RE: Comment by FlyingJester
by ssokolow on Wed 5th Sep 2018 04:35 UTC in reply to "Comment by FlyingJester"
ssokolow Member since:
2010-01-21

I guess I don't see the point of USB C?


As I understand it, it's meant to provide phones with a standard docking connector that can do three things at once:

1. Provide for USB peripherals like an external keyboard, mouse, and hard drive(s).
2. Simultaneously carry a high-bandwidth alternate data channel suitable for driving an external monitor.
3. Despite acting as a USB host, be charged and powered by what it's plugged into like a USB device is.

Basically, it's intended as the mobile phone equivalent to how they've crammed video, audio, CEC, audio return, and Ethernet into a single HDMI cable.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Comment by FlyingJester
by xylifyx on Wed 5th Sep 2018 06:16 UTC in reply to "Comment by FlyingJester"
xylifyx Member since:
2008-05-03

It is really nice to be able to charge to the left and right of your notebook. Also you only need to bring one charger for your phone, tablet, notebook.

It is true that a macbook from being a fully uncharged needs a capable charger to be able to start up. But over night when it is off, you can charge it with a less capable charger.

You need to experience it to really appreciate it. But if all your equipment is USB-C without dongles, it is really nice.

Reply Score: 0

RE[2]: Comment by FlyingJester
by Morgan on Wed 5th Sep 2018 22:51 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by FlyingJester"
Morgan Member since:
2005-06-29

But if all your equipment is USB-C without dongles, it is really nice.


Except the iPhone and iPad are still Lightning, not USB-C, so if you're all in on Apple you're screwed, forced to use dongles.

I think Apple is waiting for USB-C to truly standardize before it moves its smaller devices to the platform.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Comment by FlyingJester
by kurkosdr on Thu 6th Sep 2018 17:14 UTC in reply to "Comment by FlyingJester"
kurkosdr Member since:
2011-04-11

I am still not sure what problem USB C really solves.


Making the industry move through backwards-incompatible changes to connectors. Apple has been doing it for a while and all the other manufacturers wanted a piece of the action. As a side-benefit, mentally-challenged people who cannot figure out how to plug a USB plug because they cannot figure out the correct side by looking at the connector also get a reversible plug. It can also deliver more power, but USB should have been able to do that too.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Comment by FlyingJester
by Alfman on Fri 7th Sep 2018 02:38 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by FlyingJester"
Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

kurkosdr,

Making the industry move through backwards-incompatible changes to connectors. Apple has been doing it for a while and all the other manufacturers wanted a piece of the action. As a side-benefit, mentally-challenged people who cannot figure out how to plug a USB plug because they cannot figure out the correct side by looking at the connector also get a reversible plug. It can also deliver more power, but USB should have been able to do that too.


Reminds me of this college humor bit about apple chargers.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jyTA33HQZLA
Why are you doing this? The old one was fine. Because, f-you, that's why.



Not that I'm an apple guy, but I thought the magnetic power plug was pretty clever (back whenever it was they had that).

Reply Score: 2

missingxtension
Member since:
2011-01-14

You might not see the problem USB C solves, but that doesn't mean it's not useful. The problem is the form factor, they should have kept the USB b and a connectors where they rightly should be. Now you just have this stupid mobile mobile form factors. Before usb madness you had serial and scsi madness, that means that devices didn't identity themselves, you had to tell the os/bios what port, parity, baudand device was where. Also the data link didn't provide power, you had to plug into the socket. What a problem it was!!
Actually no! It wasn't a problem, usb c is a solution waiting for a problem.
K.I.S.S, but not on Apple

Reply Score: 0

ThomasFuhringer
Member since:
2007-01-25

I do not get why at this day and age they still ship phones with a charger. Usually somebody has already a bunch of them lying about at home or they can buy it for the price of a hamburger.

Reply Score: 3

The123king Member since:
2009-05-28

Not everyone has a box full of cables and chargers. It's Better to bundle another, than have to deal with the fallout from someone complaining they had to buy a new charger for their new phone because it didn't come with one. Trading Standards and similar organisations could sue them for shipping non-working or faulty goods if it doesn't have everything included in the box.

Reply Score: 1

avgalen Member since:
2010-09-23

Don't include the charger, but include a coupon for a 5 dollar discount OR a free charger...

Edited 2018-09-05 10:01 UTC

Reply Score: 4

Morgan Member since:
2005-06-29

No need for personal attacks, how about a well thought out rebuttal instead?

Reply Score: 2

zima Member since:
2005-07-06

Look at his posting history, personal attacks is virtually all what Yoko_T does here...

Reply Score: 2

avgalen Member since:
2010-09-23

Nope, IQ 135, "Very superior".
But I have no idea what I personally did, or what you read in that post, that warranted your response.
Looking forward to your response

Reply Score: 2

Comment by ahferroin7
by ahferroin7 on Wed 5th Sep 2018 12:32 UTC
ahferroin7
Member since:
2015-10-30

Yeah, no, USB-C is not anywhere near where it needs to be to live up to all the hype over it. The simple fact that you can connect any two arbitrary devices with USB-C connectors and not know if they will do something useful, do nothing, crash, or destroy hardware pretty much means it's useless from a practical perspective for anything beyond the limited usage it's seen so far. A lot of people seem to forget that USB is not properly implemented by most devices as-is, and USB-C adds dozens more ways for things to be improperly implemented.

At minimum, device manufacturers need to start including a list of supported modes for each USB-C port (because some devices support different things on different ports) on their devices in the device documentation, and they ideally need to figure out some standard marking for common device sos that it's obvious what they support without having to look at documentation. And that needs to include cables too, as people are selling USB-C to USB-C cables that support only USB-PD or only USB 2.0 and look no different from regular full-featured cables (because a lot of full-featured cables skip the requirement for the USB logo on both ends).

Reply Score: 4

RE: Comment by ahferroin7
by ssokolow on Wed 5th Sep 2018 14:38 UTC in reply to "Comment by ahferroin7"
ssokolow Member since:
2010-01-21

USB-C is sort of intrinsically ironic, given that USB 1.0 was specifically designed on the principle of "if the plug fits, it works" to supplant a whole bunch of purpose-limited ports.

Just goes to show that, left to their own devices, industries have a tendency to screw UX up.

Edited 2018-09-05 14:39 UTC

Reply Score: 3

It will be
by Poseidon on Wed 5th Sep 2018 12:33 UTC
Poseidon
Member since:
2009-10-31

It will be ready just in time for USB D, by which time they will have changed the connector and capable speeds and maybe, just maybe, make it not backwards compatible due to security issues.


That’s what I’m expecting anyways.

Reply Score: 3

Power source
by JLF65 on Wed 5th Sep 2018 12:46 UTC
JLF65
Member since:
2005-07-06

These days, most UPSs have USB ports for charging devices like your phone or laptop. Mine does. This is also great in case the power is out for an extended period.

It's not just phones or laptops, a LOT of devices now all run off USB-C power. I have three hand-held gaming devices, two phones, a composite to hdmi converter, an hdmi recorder, an hdmi splitter, and a camera that all run off USB-C.

Reply Score: 3

USB-C but what can it do?
by BushLin on Wed 5th Sep 2018 18:26 UTC
BushLin
Member since:
2011-01-26

I'm sure someone will tell me why but it feels like they should have created USB 4 which mandates hosts to support USB-C, video and 20v power delivery.
Created a new logo/label/connector colour and we just plug stuff in without having to do research.

Edited 2018-09-05 18:27 UTC

Reply Score: 3

USB-C not ready yet
by wocowboy on Wed 5th Sep 2018 21:20 UTC
wocowboy
Member since:
2006-06-01

In its current state, USB-C is a complete nightmare of incompatibility and functionality. It was touted as the end-all and be-all of connectors, yet the only REAL benefit so far is that it is reversible. No two devices, cables, chargers, or whatever, that use the connector are compatible with each other, and until that situation is corrected, it will go to heap of failed connector standards along with the rest of them. It had potential but has not realized it yet.

One prime example is USB-C headphones. Very few exist, and some that do are missing vital features that those with Lightning connectors have as the normal standard. This is not just a lack of features that these headphones were designed for, they just totally lack them and cannot have them because the connector doesn't support them. This is just ridiculous.

Edited 2018-09-05 21:23 UTC

Reply Score: 3

USB C
by kallisti5 on Thu 6th Sep 2018 02:03 UTC
kallisti5
Member since:
2009-09-08

Cool and all, but I quickly realized that only the 27W charger it came with actually charges it; other USB-C chargers simply don't work because they're not powerful enough.

Actually, there are some fine nuances here that didn't exist before. USB C comes with several "bolt-on specs"

USB C == USB communications + 5v (generally USB 3.1).
USB C + PD == USB comm + 5v + Power Delivery charging.
USB C + TB == USB comm + 5v + Thunderbolt

You need to find chargers which explicitly say "USB C Power Delivery (or PD)". The XPS 13 uses PD to charge. The PD specification allows USB C to ramp up the voltage to the needed levels to charge.

So, if you plug a non-PD USB C cable into a power-hungry device like the XPS 13 expecting it to charge... it just won't work. You have to use a USB C PD compatible charger. (check amazon for examples)

Edited 2018-09-06 02:08 UTC

Reply Score: 3

Not about power
by TheNorseWind on Sat 8th Sep 2018 00:18 UTC
TheNorseWind
Member since:
2015-07-21

"other USB-C chargers simply don't work because they're not powerful enough. "

Thom, it's possible that your system wouldn't charge due to lack of power, but I can also attest that USB-C can fail to charge for other reasons.

I've tried hooking a Motorola phone to a 25W powered USB hub through a USB-A to USB-C adapter without any luck. The OEM charger is rated at 15W, and everything else works flawlessly in that hub, but not USB-C.

I dicked around with cables and finally got the phone's internal battery to charge, but not the add-on battery. The same is true of charging it from a USB-A port on a computer.

Reply Score: 1