Using USB Type-C on hobbyist projects

The new Type-C USB connector is the latest addition to the USB connector standards. It offers reversible plugs, direction independent cables, USB3.1 speeds, and 3A charging in a connector only a little bigger than the USB 2.0 MicroB connector. In order to add these capabilities the plugs and connectors have additional configuration pins to allow devices to negotiate their state. Supporting the configuration channel may seem like a difficult challenge but it can be achieved fairly simply for the basic use cases.

Using USB Type-C on hobbyist projects

Type-C as a 2.0 device with a type-C receptacle

In this mode the Type-C device is acting as an UFP (Upstream facing port).
This is the equivalent of devices equipped with either a B, Mini-B or Micro-B socket and majority of hobbyist projects will probably fit into this category.
Luckily this is fairly easy to implement as we can avoid worrying about multiplexing or managing connection states.

The simplest implementation of this is to use two 5.1k pull down resistors on the CC lines.
This allows for detection by other devices when using a USB C-C cable.
The USB 2.0 Data lines can both be connected together at the receptacle as only one pair will be populated in the connector.
The power and ground lines will all want connecting to the appropriate power rails on your board.
The Sideband pins and superspeed pins should be left unconnected in this configuration.

Type-C as a 2.0 device with a type-C plug or captive cable

If you wish to have a device plug directly into a Type-C receptacle this can be done much the same as above with a few small differences.
As the orientation of the plug is fixed at your end only one pull-down configuration resistor (5.1k) will be needed (the one attached to A5). This needs to be the correct cc channel as some devices multiplex the USB2.0 data lines.
In addition only one set of USB 2 data pins should be present in the plug (A6 and A7) so there isn’t a need to connect to both pairs like the previous case.

Using Type-C power on devices

If you want to use Type-C power which provides up to 3A at 5V (note: this is different to the USB Power Delivery capabilities) you will need to monitor the voltages at the CC lines to perform power detection. This can be achieved by either using an ADC or using a IC To manage the CC detection for you. Table 4-25 in the USB Spec covers the voltages that represent the power sources capabilities. note: the capabilities of a host may change while connected so this needs to be monitored throughout the connection.

* less than 0.2v nothing is plugged in/the other CC line is connected.
* between 0.2v and 0.66v only default USB power is available.
* between 0.66v and 1.23v 1.5A USB-C power is available.
* above 1.23v 3A USB-C power is available.

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