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Monday, January 11, 2016

ST launches 100W USB-C controller

By Nick Flaherty

Low power microcontrollers and an efficient high power process technology are coming together for STMicroelectronics, allowing a controller for the reversible USB Type-C connector that can support up to 100W of power and data rates up to 10Gbit/s.

Manufactured using ST’s 20V process technology, the STUSB16 interface IC integrates short-circuit, over-voltage, over-current protection, eliminating the need for external circuitry. Additionally, it offers plug power support (VCONN) with up to 600mA programmable current capability and, per the USB Power Delivery specification, it integrates Bi-Phase Mark Coded (BMC) Physical Layer (PHY) coding and decoding logic.

ST sees a huge potential market for a connector with this power range, clearing the “Rat’s Nest” of cables in the office and living room currently used to charge and connect computers, smartphones, tablets, TVs, set-top boxes, gaming platforms, and a broad range of consumer, industrial, and IoT smart devices.

Interoperability is a key issue, as has already been shown by some of the early Type-C connectors. "Knowing well the frustration of being surrounded by numerous different cables with very limited interoperability, ST is working aggressively to build a strong and flexible portfolio of USB Type-C and power delivery solutions that include our STM32 microcontroller, ESD protection devices, and power-management products," said Andrea Onetti, Group Vice President and General Manager Volume MEMS Division, STMicroelectronics. “The new STUSB16 family embeds higher levels of circuit protection and a customer-configurable non-volatile memory, which enables IC configuration at power-up without software support. Overall, the ST portfolio delivers a low BOM cost and flexible hardware/software solution capable of meeting every power-profile requirement and customization need.”

ST has enabled the migration to the USB Type-C port through the simple addition of an STUSB16 companion chip to existing MCU-based designs, while minimizing MCU-resource requirements compared to alternate solutions. Together these features simplify software development and reduce time-to-market while allowing customers to focus on their own added-value differentiators.

The first member of the STUSB16 family, the STUSB1600QTR, is sampling to lead customers now at $0.95 in 1000 quantities so will be even more cost effective for higher volumes.

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