USB Charging Technologies Explained

USB Charging Technologies Explained

USB charging technologies have come a long way since their inception. Initially, USB ports were only used for data transfer, but as technology advanced, they began to be used for charging electronic devices as well. The first USB charging specification was introduced in 2007, which allowed for a maximum power output of 2.5W. Since then, several fast charging technologies have been developed to increase the charging speed of devices, including Quick Charge (QC), Power Delivery (PD), Programmable Power Supply (PPS) and now Extended Power Range (EPR).

USB-C, also known as USB Type-C, is a versatile and relatively new standard for connectivity and charging. It was introduced in 2014 by the USB Implementers Forum (USB-IF), the same organization responsible for previous USB standards like USB-A and USB-B.

The introduction of the USB-C port has revolutionized the way we charge our devices. USB-C is a versatile port that supports data transfer, video output, and charging all in one. It is capable of delivering up to 240W of power, making it possible to charge laptops and other high-power devices using a single cable. The latest version of USB Power Delivery, PD 3.1, takes advantage of the capabilities of the USB-C port to provide even faster charging speeds. 

Charging Technologies Explained

  • Quick Charge (QC) - is a fast charging technology developed by Qualcomm that increases the charging voltage to boost the wattage and achieve faster charging speeds. 
  • Power Delivery (PD) - is a fast charging standard introduced by the USB Implementers Forum that allows devices to charge quickly over a USB connection by providing high-speed charging with variable voltage using intelligent device negotiation. 
  • Programmable Power Supply (PPS) - is the most advanced charging technology for USB-C devices. It adjusts the voltage and current in real-time, depending on a device’s charging status, to provide maximum power. PPS allows for stepwise changes in current and voltage, decreasing conversion loss during charging and making the charge more efficient. 
  • Extended Power Range (EPR) - is a new specification for USB Power Delivery that allows for the delivery of up to 240W via a USB Type-C cable. This is an increase from the previous maximum of 100W. With up to 240W available, you can expect to power gaming-focused laptops through a single USB Type-C connection, as well as provide additional power to other downstream USB devices.

    Technology Commonly Used Voltage Commonly Used Current Maximum Power
    Fast Charging 5V 2.4A 12W
    Quick Charge 5V, 9V, 12V 1A, 2A 27W
    Power Delivery 5V, 9V, 12V, 15V, 20V 5A 100W
    Power Delivery 3.1 28V, 36V, 48V 5A 240W


    It is important to select the correct USB-C cable for charging at full power. USB-C cables must be able to carry different currents but for high-power 48V/5A (240W) charging, you need a 5A-rated USB-C to USB-C cable that contains E-Marker chip to identify the cable and its current capabilities. Using an incorrect cable can lead to slow charging. So, it is important to choose the right cable for your device and its charging needs.

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