USB Type-C is the Next Generation of USB Connectors - USB 3.1 - Simpler, Faster and More Powerful


Xmultiple's Engineering Department

USB Type-C Provides Faster Data Rates

The Type-C is the next generation of USB connectors and cables which will be easier to use and able to push more data faster. USB connectors have become the connector of choice for some manufacturers of smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices. It is the desired means to connect mobile devices to power sources and to other devices. Currently, there are seven different types of USB connectors already in use: USB 2.0 A, B, mini B and micro B; and USB 3.0 A, B and micro B. The USB Type-C adds the eighth type of USB connector and is the most powerful of all the types available.

The new Type-C connector is also slightly bigger than the Apple Lightning connector, with Type-C sized at approximately 8.4mm by 2.6mm and Lightning coming in at 7.7 mm by 1.7 mm. Unlike the reversible Lightning, but similar to USB connectors before it, the USB Type-C connector has a mid-plate inside the receptacle that the plug surrounds when it's inserted.

The Type-C connector has 18 pins. Therefore, the Type-C is essentially two USB 3.1 SuperSpeed connectors. The Superspeed connectors have the standard four pins, plus five more to enable 10Gbps connections. If you plug the connector in one way, the top set of pins are used; if you plug it in the other way, the bottom set of pins are used. The Type-C connector also supports the new USB Power Delivery specifications which allows for up to 100 watts to be carried over a USB cable. This is enough power to charge a laptop or power most peripherals, including a monitor.

The Type-C plug may be the single most important USB connector ever developed and will be used to link everything from a smartphone, tablet, PC's keyboard and mouse to external storage devices and displays.

The Type-C plug has an advanced design and greatly enhances the power and capability of USB connectors and at the same time reducing their size.


The most important feature of the Type- C plus is that the USB Type-C connector is vertically symmetrical, which means no more trying to figure out the right way to plug it in. The Type- C plug is wider and thicker (8.3mm x 2.5mm) than the current Micro USB connector (which is 6.8mm x 1.8mm). It looks a lot like the current flat oval-shaped Micro USB plug. The Type-C connector is vertically symmetrical with contacts on both sides.

It's easy to see the difference between the older USB port (right) and the newer symmetrical one (left). The Type-C plug meets the SuperSpeed USB 31 10 Gbps Spec. and many new controller chips for devices that have been developed. Called SuperSpeed+ for short, the new spec is backward compatible to the older USB specs, and with the right equipment on both ends, will be able to move up to 10Gbps of data back and forth.

The Type-C can handle the faster data rates which means the USB 3.1 can be used for products with a variety of new uses. The Type-C has roughly the same peak bandwidth available as an HDMI 1.4 connection and is capable of potentially carrying a 4096 x 2304 video stream at 30 fps.

How USB deals with power has been updated in other ways as well. Currently, a typical micro USB plug is capable of producing enough power to charge a phone or tablet. The new Type-C incorporates and implements the USB Power Delivery Specification. As a result, a Type-C plug can work with devices that require five, 12 or 20 volts of electricity; it tops out at delivering 100 watts of power.

Key characteristics of the USB Type-C connector include:

  • New design Of USB Connector for Higher Data Speeds
  • Tailored for emerging Mobile product designs
  • Data Speeds for laptops and tablets; slim enough for mobile phones
  • Similar to size of USB 2.0 Micro-B
  • Usability enhancement
  • Reversible plug orientation and cable direction
  • Supports scalable power charging
  • Scalability
  • Designed to support future USB performance needs

Mechanical specifications:

  • Receptacle opening: ~8.4mm x ~2.6mm
  • Durability: 10,000 cycles
  • Improved EMI- and RFI-mitigation features
  • Power delivery capacity: 3A for standard cables and 5A for connectors


USB Type C Drawings

USB Type C SMT Vertical Mount Drawing

Recommended CAD/CAM for USB Type-C

Recommended CAD/CAM Layout for USB Type C Drawings

USB 3.1

A January 2013 press release from the USB group revealed plans to update USB 3.0 to 10 Gbit/s. The group ended up creating a new USB version, USB 3.1, which was released on 31 July 2013, introducing a faster transfer mode called "SuperSpeed USB 10 Gbit/s", putting it on par with a single first-generation Thunderbolt channel. The new mode's logo features a "Superspeed+" caption (stylized as SUPERSPEED+). The USB 3.1 standard increases the data signaling rate to 10 Gbit/s in the USB 3.1 Gen2 mode, double that of USB 3.0 (referred to as USB 3.1 Gen1) and reduces line encoding overhead to just 3% by changing the encoding scheme to 128b/132b. However, some initial tests demonstrated usable transfer speeds of only 7.2 Gbit/s, suggesting a 30% overall overhead.[29]

The USB 3.1 standard is backward compatible with USB 3.0 and USB 2.0.

The USB Type-C Specification 1.0 defines a new small reversible-plug connector for USB 3.1 devices. The Type-C plug will be used at both host and device side, replacing multiple Type-B and Type-A connectors and cables with a future-proof standard similar to Apple Lightning and Thunderbolt. The 24-pin double-sided connector provides four power/ground pairs, two differential pairs for USB 2.0 data bus (though only one pair is implemented in a Type-C cable), four pairs for high-speed data bus, two "sideband use" pins, and two configuration pins for cable orientation detection, dedicated biphase mark code (BMC) configuration data channel, and VCONN +5 V power for active cables. Type-A and Type-B adaptors/cables will be required for legacy devices in order to plug into Type-C hosts, however adaptors/cables with a Type-C receptacle are not allowed.

Full-featured USB 3.1 Type-C cables are active electronically marked cables and contain a chip with an ID function based on the configuration data channel and vendor-defined messages (VDMs) from the USB Power Delivery 2.0 specification. USB 3.1 Type-C devices also support power currents of 1.5 A and 3.0 A over the 5 V power bus in addition to baseline 900 mA; devices can either negotiate increased USB current through the configuration line, or they can optionally support the full Power Delivery specification using both BMC-coded configuration line and legacy BFSK-coded VBUS line.

Alternate Mode dedicates some of the physical wires in the Type-C cable for direct device-to-host transmission of alternate data protocols. The four high-speed lanes, two sideband pins, and - for dock, detachable device and permanent cable applications only - two USB 2.0 pins and one configuration pin can be used for Alternate Mode transmission. The modes are configured using VDMs through the configuration channel. As of December 2014, Alt Mode implementations include DisplayPort 1.3 and MHL 3.0; other serial protocols like PCI Express and Base-T Ethernet are possible.

Wiring Type C:

Full-featured USB 3.1 Type-C Cable Wiring

Type-C Plug 1 Type-C Cable Type-C Plug 2
Pin Name Wire Color Name Description Pin Name
Shell Shield Braid Shield Cable external braid Shell Shield
A1, B1, A12, B12 GND Tin-plated GND_PWRrt1
Ground for power return A1, B1, A12, B12 GND
A4, B4, A9, B9 VBUS Red PWR_VBUS1
VBUS power A4, B4, A9, B9 VBUS
B5 VCONN Yellow
A5 CC Blue CC Configuration Channel A5 CC
A6 Dp1 White UTP_Dp Unshielded twisted pair, positive A6 Dp1
A7 Dn1 Green UTP_Dn Unshielded twisted pair, negative A7 Dn1
A8 SBU1 Red SBU_A Sideband Use A B8 SBU2
B8 SBU2 Black SBU_B Sideband Use B A8 SBU1
A2 SSTXp1 Yellow * SDPp1 Shielded differential pair #1, positive B11 SSRXp1
A3 SSTXn1 Brown * SDPn1 Shielded differential pair #1, negative B10 SSRXn1
B11 SSRXp1 Green * SDPp2 Shielded differential pair #2, positive A2 SSTXp1
B10 SSRXn1 Orange * SDPn2 Shielded differential pair #2, negative A3 SSTXn1
B2 SSTXp2 White * SDPp3 Shielded differential pair #3, positive A11 SSRXp2
B3 SSTXn2 Black * SDPn3 Shielded differential pair #3, negative A10 SSRXn2
A11 SSRXp2 Red * SDPp4 Shielded differential pair #4, positive B2 SSTXp2
A10 SSRXn2 Blue * SDPn4 Shielded differential pair #4, negative B3 SSTXn2
* Wire colors for differential pairs are not mandated


USB Type C Pinouts:

USB Type-C Connector Pinouts

Pin Name Description Pin Name Description
A1 GND Ground return B12 GND Ground return
A2 SSTXp1 Positive half of first SuperSpeed TX differential pair B11 SSRXp1 Positive half of first SuperSpeed RX differential pair
A3 SSTXn1 Negative half of first SuperSpeed TX differential pair B10 SSRXn1 Negative half of first SuperSpeed RX differential pair
A4 VBUS Bus Power B9 VBUS Bus Power
A5 CC1 Configuration Channel B8 SBU2 Sideband Use (SBU)
A6 Dp1 Positive half of the USB 2.0 differential pair, Position 1 B7 Dn2 Negative half of the USB 2.0 differential pair, Position 2
A7 Dn1 Negative half of the USB 2.0 differential pair, Position 1 B6 Dp2 Positive half of the USB 2.0 differential pair, Position 2
A8 SBU1 Sideband Use (SBU) B5 CC2 Configuration Channel
A9 VBUS Bus Power B4 VBUS Bus Power
A10 SSRXn2 Negative half of second SuperSpeed RX differential pair B3 SSTXn2 Negative half of second SuperSpeed TX differential pair
A11 SSRXp2 Positive half of second SuperSpeed RX differential pair B2 SSTXp2 Positive half of second SuperSpeed TX differential pair
A12 GND Ground return B1 GND Ground return
* Pins B6 and B7 are not physically present in the plug


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