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What is USB PD?

by Natalie Schlueter

Wondering if USB PD is something important that is worth learning about?
USB PD has hit the scene as a top product that changes the way we work. The product is efficient and smart. It manages rapid data transfers and power.

The best news is that the deliverables save both time and money. It is no wonder that USB PD is taking the technology world by storm, but what exactly is it? Find out everything you need to know right here.

USB PD is not the USB product invented back in the mid-1990s…

USB Overview

In its infancy, USB seemed to be content as a flash drive connector. By the turn of the century, high-speed connectors were released as USB 2.0 with several connector types. By 2007, the connector was used for data transfer and charging devices.

Toward the end of 2008, about 2 billion devices annually received USB 3.0 connectors with super speed transfer rates. The speeds were high enough to use with video. The earlier power transferred over the USB 3.X connectors varied from 5v to 20v.

The introduction of USB4 in 2019, also known as thunderbolt 3, was a game-changer. The USB4 could handle 40 gigabits of data transfer per second. The USB4, a type C connector, could also manage the transfer of up to 20v, but with up to 5 amps of power instead of the previously standard 3 amps.

USB PD Explained

The name USB PD stands for USB-C Power Delivery. The C-type connector has a reversible tip which means there is no right-side-up orientation, which means you can plug it in without having to figure out which direction it plugs in.
 The new standard provides a new variety of power voltage and amperage. The device’s need determines the amount provided.

Here is how it works:

There is a dynamic negotiation between the device and the power source. The device passes on its specifications, and the power source adjusts its output for the fastest charge. In other words, one charger can provide different voltages and amperages based on any given device’s need.

This frees the user from having to buy lots of different adapters. The standard also allows for multiple devices being gang charged regardless of their voltage and amperage needs. This enablement has led to the growth of charging stations, lockers, and carts.

Groups of users have benefited from this new power delivery system. The list includes businesses, retailers, manufacturers, schools, and hospitals.

Charging stations can be set up on each building wing or floor. Each station can simultaneously charge various devices. All devices will have a negotiated amount of voltage and amperage.
Those working in the field can take advantage of the USB PD, allowing power to flow both ways. Should an associates’ battery drop too low, the employees can plug their devices together. The device with the low battery would get a boost to get through the rest of the project.

Group Charging Equipment

Centralization of storage and charging is one of the greatest benefits USB PD brings to bear. Mobile devices also empower this with cloud-based software programs or apps.

Charging Carts

Most USB PD charging carts are metal, on wheels, and lockable. The cart can be moved near a wall outlet and plugged into the socket. Whether the cart is a top or side loader, the doors are opened to reveal the storage shelves.

A device is placed into the selected slot, and the power cable is connected. The device then communicates to the built-in power adapter to determine the voltage and amperage needed for charging. Since this service’s protocol is designed for speed, the item will be charged at the fastest possible rate based on the device’s requirements.

The rear access panel has an area where all the cables are neatly managed. This keeps the area of cables behind the scenes for a clean and manageable look. This is important since many carts can charge 16-32 devices at a time. Bretford charging carts can charge 10-40 devices at a time.

Charging Stations

Charging stations are similar to carts but are less mobile. Some are designed like vaults, while others hold tablets in an open rack, similar to storing file folders in easy access racks. In all cases, the station is designed for quick and efficient charging. Similar to gang radio charges, these device chargers take up very little space.

The products are metal and durable. They typically hold about 10-20 devices and provide simultaneous and maximum charging to each device. The units use a small footprint to be placed on a cabinet, small table, or desk extension.

The stations come fully assembled and are welded for durability. With stations, it is possible to securely store and quickly charge many different devices at the same time from a convenient location. Stations allow for easy access and quick deployment when matched with USB PD charging solutions.

Fast USB PD Charger

The design of USB PD chargers allows any iOS device to charge to 50% capacity within 30 minutes. That is about 2.4 times faster than standard chargers. Bigger devices like an iPad Pro would hit the 50% mark within 40 minutes.

Android will hit a 50% charge in just under 40 minutes. These numbers alter with each device based on the range of power the device requires. The higher the wattage a device can handle, the faster it charges to 50%.

Laptops require twice the amount of power to recharge the battery. But thanks to USB PD, even those devices can charge at a much faster rate than before. The charger or adapter needs to be sized based on the largest equipment’s power requirements.

For instance, a 45 watt wall charger can facilitate the charging of all devices. Since USB PD is a smart system, a plugged-in iPhone X will only require 18 watts. The 45 watt wall charger will adjust its output and only deliver the required 18 watts. With a Bretford Solution, a cart or station can have the capacity to charge devices up to 65 watts with a 60 watt power cord included.

Never Over Juiced

The USB PD is one of the safest methods for charging since the adapters will never send too much power to a device. Portable backup batteries with a USB PD connector no longer need to be right-sized. All connected devices can send or receive power in the amount needed.

When a device’s battery strength wanes, most people aren’t thinking about a full charge. Speed is more important. They only want enough power to get them through their project.

This desire for speed does not trump a person’s need for safety. No one wants their device to overheat and become a fire waiting to happen. Embracing safe charging methods is the way to go.

The USB PD Solution

Times have changed, and USB PD can move large amounts of data and the right amount of energy fast. The average device can be brought back to a 50% charge level in about a half-hour.
USB PD is a dynamic protocol that negotiates between the device and charger. This results in the right-sizing of the power requirements. Each device receives the fastest and safest possible charge based on its requirements.

The industry is rapidly expanding with charging carts, lockers, and stations. Charging carts are portable while keeping the cables out of sight and well managed.

Charging stations provide a durable, locked-down location for gang charging along with easy access and quick deployment. In all cases, the USB PD solution takes care of each device based on its own specific needs.

USB PD is faster, carries more data, and always right-sizes its power charging capabilities to meet the device’s needs. This reduces the number of adapters an employee needs, all while keeping the person and device safe.

Experience the Solution

It’s time to explore the right solution using USB PD. Bretford empowers mobile users with their USB PD solutions. Their customers experience increased productivity, effectiveness, and leverage actionable intelligence.

Learn more about safe product solutions that will keep employees efficiently functioning by following us on social media, or reaching out to our headquarters by calling +1 800-521-9614.

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