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USB-C charging at 240 W?! The future is coming, and MPS has you covered

In our second interview with Monolithic Power Systems (MPS) at PCIM, ipXchange continues our chat with Tomás, this time about power delivery for the new USB-C standard. 

It’s no secret that USB PD (power delivery) aims to unify how consumers charge their devices across all markets – and even the mighty Apple has bowed to its supremacy now – but this does come with complications as most people are only used to using USB charging for smaller devices. 

With USB-C PD now coming into full swing, it was perhaps inevitable that much higher power levels would become the accepted standard. In fact, the standard USB charging/power range is now stated as being at up to 100 W. The extended power range takes this up to 240 W (limited to 48 V at 5 A), enabling power delivery using USB-C for a greater range of products, including e-scooters and larger appliances.  

As Tomás shows us, MPS’ new MPF52000 Dual USB PD Controller IC is well equipped to deal with this latest innovation in USB-C charging. MPS were exhibiting two reference designs / evaluation platforms that put this highly integrated chip to use, but before discussing those, let’s quickly break down the key benefits of the MPF52000 and what it can do for your design. 

In short, this device goes in the DC/DC portion of any USB-C power supply or charging interface, and it has two main functions. The first is to communicate with the device that has been plugged in for charging in order to negotiate what voltage it requires to do so. This is thanks to the USB data communication via the cable, because if you’re going to be messing with these power levels, any power delivery must be done cleverly and correctly. 

The second function of the device is to boost or buck the input voltage to match these charging requirements. If you hadn’t guessed already, the MPF52000 can be used as the USB-C DC/DC power ‘mediator’ whether the source is a battery or mains. 

And that’s where we come to the ways to evaluate this technology! MPS makes two evaluation platforms to serve both of these scenarios. The first is an AC/DC charger reference design that uses their HR1211 multi-mode PFC + current mode LLC controller and MPS625AGS dual-LLC synchronous rectifier ICs on the front end, with the MPF52000 providing that final DC/DC buck from 48 V at the output. 

The second is an automotive-grade DC/DC evaluation board that comes pre-optimised for EMC and demonstrates the MPF52000’s use as a single-IC USB-C charging solution with integrated buck and boost converters and USB-C communication capabilities. 

With USB PD also allowing for bidirectional exchange of energy – so that your phone can charge your laptop as opposed to the standard opposite – now is the time to get knowledgeable about this technology for your future products, and MPS would be a great partner to have in that endeavour. 

Keep designing! 

Monolithic Power Systems 240 W USB Type-C PD Extended Power Range Reference Designs

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