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Using Waterproof USB Type-C Connectors in your next design

Traditional connectivity solutions are not meeting the needs as consumer products become denser, transfer larger files, have increased power needs, and are used in more demanding environments. While legacy USB and Micro USB connectors have been the standard for connectivity, USB Type-C is becoming the go-to connector solution for today’s consumer products because it offers higher performance, combined power and data connectivity, and a form factor that fits today’s products. True IPX8-rated waterproof versions of USB Type-C connectors are increasingly needed to meet customer requirements.

Below, we’ll review the advantages of USB Type-C connectors and will discuss selection and design considerations for using waterproof USB Type-C connectors.

Connectivity trends

Because users want to be able to take their devices with them wherever they go, waterproof products have become a trend in the industry. The iPhone, Samsung Galaxy, Huawei’s high-end phones and other mobile phones tout their water resistance as one of the attributes consumers want, and this attribute also applies to other products like electric shavers, electric toothbrushes, POS terminals, wearables, and automotive, medical and industrial products. The last thing users want to worry about is environmental sensitivity in an electrical product.

Another trend is faster operation – Because USB Type-C delivers ten times higher power and data rates, the market is transitioning from Micro USB to USB Type-C. Users want products to transfer data more quickly and charge more quickly. For example, a product with Micro USB might have used .9 Amps (with USB 3.0), but with USB Type-C it can use 5 Amps, so it can charge much more quickly. And while Micro USB data transfer rates were in the 5-gigabit range, USB Type-C data transfers can deliver up to 10Gbps. This extra speed makes a big difference when transferring large files from one device to another.

Finally, ease of use is a constant goal for many designers, and USB Type-C connectors are easier to use than Micro USB because they offer flip insertion (no specific connector orientation is required when inserting them).

Key requirements

Let’s look at some key requirements in a USB Type-C solution that supports these trends.

Signal integrity – Higher signal integrity equals faster data rates, so USB Type-C products with optimum signal integrity are preferred and should be rated for USB 3.1 performance. In some cases, manufacturers have leveraged their experience with previous data products to deliver 10Gbps throughput.

Power – USB Type-C products can transfer more power –100W at 5A compared to 10W at .5A in a Micro USB system, so devices can charge more quickly, assuming the rest of the system is designed for faster charging.

Environmental protection – To provide the environmental protection users require, waterproof USB Type-C connectors leverage a rubber seal and a seamless housing to keep water out. These connectors should be rated for IPX8 water ingression performance (per IEC 60529) and should be durable enough for thousands of mating cycles. Added board retention features help make for a robust design, providing high reliability and quality.

USB Type-C connectors with IPX8 waterproofing performance are becoming the new standard for a wide range of products because they deliver go-anywhere reliability, faster charging and faster data transfers. Micro USB has had a good history of delivering connectivity in a wide range of products, but USB Type-C is the connector of the future.


Note: DesignSpark has been informed that the IPX8 USB Type-C from TE Connectivity will be available soon at RS.

LAURENCE / TE CONNECTIVITY has not written a bio yet…

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