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Evolution of Ruggedized USB for Consumer Electronics
Universal Serial Bus (USB) as the name suggests has become a universal connector ever since it was introduced in the early 1990’s. This was primarily introduced for establishing connections between computers and peripheral devices, such as keyboards, printers, and external disk drives. However today it is used in various sectors ranging from consumer electronics to smartphone and even medical devices.
Evolution of USB Type C
In the earlier days, these connectors were used for simplifying connectivity by consolidating functions of multiple custom interfaces with a single connector. With the increased demand for higher data transfer rates led to improvising the capacity of the USB connector through generations. The evolution has presently reached USB Type-C which support SuperSpeed USB 3.1 protocols with data transfer rates of 10Gb/s, the power of 20V/5A and 9 to 24 contacts. The connector was also redesigned to deliver full reversibility in the receptacle and support bi-directional power and data transmissions.
Additionally, this connector helps in reducing the number of potential failure points, decreases maintenance costs, and simplifies installation of equipment, making it suitable for a wide range of designs. With the addition of two high-speed signal pairs in the USB Type-C connector, an alternate-mode communication can be established or multiple high-speed interfaces such as HDMI, DisplayPort, and other interfaces that would have previously required additional special ports and cables.
Standard USB Type-C connectors with copper alloy contacts are typically suited for most consumer electronics equipment that is primarily designed for indoor or otherwise protected environments like smartphones, laptops and tablets, televisions, interior automotive infotainment and GPS systems, and telecommunication devices.
Introduction of Ruggedized USB Type C
Many consumer applications required a connector that offered all the benefits of USB type C but with better mechanical strength to withstand harsh environments. This led to the evolution of ruggedized USB type C connectors. This version meets the IEC-60529-IP67 specification ensuring protection from dust ingress, water immersion for limited periods of time and high-pressure water jets. Ruggedized USB Type-C with conductive silicon rubber gasket and threaded panel connection points can withstand operating temperature ranges of -40°C to +105°C.
Faster and Stronger Applications
These are typically used in harsh environment consumer application like home surveillance cameras, that require high-speed Ethernet-based high-resolution video signals that need the USB Type-C’s increased bandwidth and reliable performance in outdoor and remote installations. Many modern commercial fitness equipments with mobile chargers and infotainments also use ruggedized USB for its bandwidth and capacity to withstand repeated mechanical stress, as well as protection from contamination, such as sweat, cleaning solutions.
Apart from these consumer applications, many portable medical electronic devices for patient diagnostics and monitoring benefit from these connectors to transfer high bandwidth video and audio data while maintaining a constant power charge, along with offering protection against cleaning sprays and bodily fluid contamination.
In short, the ruggedized “IP67+” version of the USB Type-C devices offer a standard form factor that combines high-speed, high-bandwidth signal transmission capability with increased power handling that requires operation in harsh environments or specialized applications. Read more about other USB offerings from Amphenol ICC.