Your Guide to USB-C: Benefits, Pinout, and Use Cases

As hardware and cable technology continues to scale with software, new and exciting cable types are being released rapidly into the market.

One of these cables — the USB-C — is certainly the child prodigy of the USB range of connectors. In fact, it’s incredible data transfer speeds, and power capabilities have poised it to take over as the new standard for a plethora of devices.

But, what is USB-C, what does it’s pinout look like, and why is it so valuable?

Let’s take a look.

What is USB-C?

USB type C (usually referred to as USB-C) is a new standard of USB cables that’s jam-packed with features. It can transfer data rapidly (up to 5GB/s) and supports some of the speedier tech out there like Thunderbolt (which has a mind-boggling 40GB/s data transfer speed).

USB-C Features

Let’s look at the four primary features that set USB-C apart from other USB tech.

  1. It’s flippable: We all know the pain of plugging a USB incorrectly the first time. You think you have it right; it doesn’t work, so you flip it only to realize you actually had it right the first time. It’s annoying. USB-C can plug in any-which-way.
  2. It’s incredibly fast: USB 3.1 gen 2 can theoretically deliver speeds of 10GB/s. 
  3. It has negotiable power levels: USB-C supports up to 20 V 5 amp (100w). That alone is fantastic. But, USB-C also lets the peripheral negotiate its own unique power supply needs, making it perfect for some of the more complex batteries out there (i.e., lithium ion).
  4. It supports tons of tech: Whether you’re looking for Thunderbolt, DisplayPort, HDMI, or even USB gen 2 support, USB-C has it. This makes it extremely versatile. To do this, USB-C takes advantage of CC configuration pins that let it use alternate modes (i.e., USB 2.0, 3.1, HDMI, AUX, and third-party modes like Thunderbolt).

USB-C Pinout

The USB-C connector has a total of 24 pins.

USB Type-C Receptacle Pinout

USB-C receptacle pinout end-on view


USB Type-C plug pinout

USB-C plug pinout end-on view


Both the VBUS and GND pins are power and ground pins. You may be wondering how it can reach 100w on a VBUS which carries a nominal 5V supply. Even though 5V is standard for VBUS, USB-C allows devices to negotiate and choose a non-default voltage up to 20W and 5A. This means that you can use USB-C to charge some power intensive devices like laptops.

RX and TX

USB-C has two sets of these standard digital I/O pins. The TX/RX pair is used to provide USB 3.1 mode, while one of the CC pins negotiates the USB mode. RX and TX carry USB SuperSpeed data, but they are also used for many of the USB-C alternate modes.


VCONN is a 5 V 1 W power supply used to power the IC within an electronically marked Type-C cable.

SBU1 and SBU2

The SBU1 and SBU2 sideband use pins are also used for alternate modes like AUX and display port.

CC1 and CC2

These are the configuration channel pins. You can think of these as the master pins in this group. They do role detection, cable detection, orientation, modes, etc.

D- and D+

These are the USB 2.0 data lines used for 2.0 compatibility.

Note: It’s important to note that the plug-side pinout only has one D- and D+ connection and has a VCONN that replaces one of the CC pins. The VCONN, again, is used to actually power the IC.


A significant upgrade to USB 3.1, USB-C is capable of delivering data faster and in multiple modes. It also packs a punch with 100w power — making it a nearly universal cable solution.

Are you looking for best-in-class USB-C cables to power your equipment? Contact us to start your next project with the right solutions.

IT’S ALIVE! Our Cee-Y Splitter Prototype is being put through the paces on our bench. You can now share your USB PD Power among multiple ports.

from Twitter

Our New Cee-Y Splitter, One 60Watt Type C Input splits into Two 25Watt Type C Outputs, Supports PD 3.0 with PPS. Currently with a 50/50 Power Sharing Algorithm.

from Twitter

Palm-Sized Power Delivery: CG-POE15VPD The Smallest PoE to USB C PD Adapter In The World

scale of usbc-poe-pod

Coolgear designed a sleek new integrated chip (CGPD18 IC) to support low power USB C devices with Power Delivery. The CGPD18 IC easily converts PoE to USB Type-C power and is expanding the possibilities of commercial and industrial USB-C PD designs.

The CGPD18 IC is currently being used in our new CG-POE15VPD USB C with PD (power delivery) PoE Splitter for Nest Cam IQ Outdoor & Nest Cam IQ Indoor.

What is USB C Power Delivery?

With 10 times the power capacity of earlier USB protocols, USB-C powers modern electronics with the capacity to charge a phone in 15 minutes or simultaneously charge a laptop and power an external monitor. Phones, cameras, Wifi Access Points, laptops and tablets utilize the USB-C PD standard.

While other USB connectors are still popular, many new designs tend to gravitate towards Type-C because of the long term advantages it offers. Before USB C, consumers found it challenging to locate USB-C chargers that were compatible with a variety of devices, so Coolgear developed the CGPD18 IC as a cost-effective USB-C PoE integration to be used in a broad range of implementations.

Why USB-C With Power over Ethernet?

While USB-C is gaining popularity, it still has its limits. Many of the best cables can only transmit power about ten feet (three meters). And USB-C is currently not integrated into the overall construction of buildings and homes.

Ethernet, on the other hand, has been cost effective, travels up to 330 feet and can be found in most modern construction projects. With PoE, you can transmit power without having to pay electricians or pull permits, providing enormous cost savings and ease of implementation. For a fraction of the cost, you can complete sophisticated installations with equipment you already have on hand.

Coolgear envisions the use of the chip in other converters and devices where additional cable length is needed for low power.

Coolgear’s IC Delivers Palm-sized Power Delivery For Nest Cams:

The Nest Cam security camera is one of the most sought after devices for remote security systems, but camera users found the out-of-box setup difficult to hide due to the need to plug the device into a power socket and the limited 25ft USB wire length. The new Mini PoE to USB Type C Adapter All-in-One (CG-POE15VPD), designed by Coolgear Labs makes use of the new integrated chip (CGPD18 IC). This all-in-one power extender allows camera users to move Nest Cams’ an additional 100m (328ft.) using a Cat5/6 cable from a PoE injector while removing the need for bulky A/C adapters that give away the location of the camera. Nest users can now create highly effective surveillance systems that are out-of-sight and secure from theft.

Partnering With Coolgear Labs to Design Innovative Solutions

Coolgear has designed and engineered this IC to be applied into your own circuit design and power delivery applications. The chip’s built-in features and benefits add a great value to its intended purpose.

Our IC was used to create the world’s smallest PoE to USB Type C adapter, 60% smaller than any other PoE to USB Type C solution.
  • Overload & short-circuit protection.
  • Industrial temperature operation.
  • Made to withstand harsh environments.
  • This chip has a maximum ambient operating temperature of 78°C
  • 9-12Watt PD profile.
  • Power Input: PoE PD IEEE802.3af compliant POE (PDoE)
  • Power Output: USB Type C PD.
  • Status LED.
  • Designed to provide power to low power PD devices with type C port.
  • Cost-effective and scalable solution.


  • Fully IEEE802.3at and IEEE802.3af compliant POE.
  • Class 0 (0.44 Watts to 12.95 Watts) USB type C PD 9-12Watt PD profile.
  • 1500VDC isolation (input to output).
  • Class 0 signature.

At Coolgear we’re dedicated to developing advanced technology, manufacturing quality products, and testing out new ideas and concepts for computer technology and its advancements. Need help with your next project? For more information, visit or contact us.

Taking Power To New Lengths: Coolgear, Inc., Designs its Own Integrated Circuit for Low Power Type-C Devices

Coolgear has developed and designed a new integrated circuit chip to work with USB Type-C power delivery outputs. This first-of-its-kind chip (CGPD18 IC) was designed to increase adoption of USB Type-C to power small electronics and provide ultimate flexibility for both business and casual consumers. As of today, this new technology has allowed us to create the smallest PoE to USB-C PD adapter in the world — 60 percent smaller than any other PoE to USB-C solution.

The Growing Popularity of USB-C Power Delivery

USB-C power delivery has become popular because of its speed in charging and powering electronics — in fact, it has 10 times the power capacity of past USB protocols. But Type-C is also limited because it can transmit power only about 10 feet (3 meters). An integrated circuit designed specifically for use with low power Type-C devices can increase options for compatible devices and converters, particularly from Ethernet (PoE) to Type-C, thus increasing adoption of USB-C.

USB Type-C Power Delivery provides new and exciting design options where size, industrial design and style are important factors. It also enhances ease of use due to less confusion for plug and cable orientation.  

USB is evolving from a data interface that supplies limited power to a primary source of power with the data interface.

  • Power Delivery – More power with USB Power Delivery (up to 100W)
  • USB Type-C – More Flexibility with a new reversible USB-C connector
  • More Protocols – Video Alt Mode, Display Port, HDMI, Ethernet
  • More Speed with USB 3.1 (10 Gbit/s)

Coolgear Brings New Innovation To The Nest CAM

Coolgear has introduced the chip commercially in a PoE to USB Type C PD adapter for use with Nest Cam Indoor and Nest Cam Outdoor plug-and-go security cameras. The Nest Cam Outdoor, for example, comes with a 25-foot USB Type C cable so it cannot be mounted further unless an extension featuring Coolgear’s technology (CG-POE15VPD) and new integrated circuit is in place. The addition of USB Type C as an option for low power devices has lead to more flexibility for electronics owners as well as increased data speeds and power transmission.



Features of the CGPD18 IC Chip

This new CGPD18 IC chip is versatile enough to be used with virtually any independent circuit design and power delivery application. It integrates overload and short-circuit protection for increased safety and prevention of damage to sensitive electronics.

Coolgear’s IC chip is built to support the following maximum PD voltage profiles: 5V 2.39A | 9V 2.07A | 12V 1.51A | 15V 1.27A | 20V 1.11A. See the following chart for information on the chip’s versatility for power delivery output.

Coolgear’s IC chip is built to support the following maximum PD voltage profiles: 5V 2.39A | 9V 2.07A | 12V 1.51A | 15V 1.27A | 20V 1.11A.

Made for use in harsh environments, Coolgear’s CGPD18 IC chip operates in temperatures up to 78°C (172°F), which is suitable for a variety of industrial uses.

A Lower Cost Solution To Power

In order to reduce cost and implementation time, the CGPD18 IC has been preprogrammed with lower PD profiles and is designed to work with various USB Type C outputs and supports PD voltage profiles from 5V to 20V. Instead of using expensive chips that need to be programmed to meet low power specifications, the CGPD18 IC costs three times less and works instantly.

CGPD18 Integrated Circuit Use

The Coolgear CGPD18 IC was developed to provide versatility for USB Type-C power delivery and can be used in a wide range of applications. Built-in features include:

  • Designed to provide power to low power PD devices with type C port
  • Compact design & footprint
  • Overload and short-circuit protection
  • Higher flexibility for designers needs
  • Industrial temperature operation
  • Cost-effective and scalable solution
  • Maximum ambient operating temperature of 78°C
  • Made to withstand harsh environments
  • Power Output: USB Type C PD

Coolgear engineers have been working hard over the past year to improve PoE development, and with the addition of the CGPD18 IC, the ability to easily convert PoE to USB Type-C is a reality. Coolgear envisions the use of the chip in other converters and devices where additional cable length is needed for low power.

About Coolgear

As one of the world’s largest internet-based companies, Florida-based Coolgear, Inc., offers innovative USB products paired with top-notch customer service and technical support. With a 20+-year history of supplying computer peripherals, industrial serial adapters and USB component products to the aerospace and education industries as well as consumers around the globe, Coolgear continues to develop advanced technologies that benefit engineers, product installers and end users. For more information, visit or contact us.

8 Tips For Selecting The Right USB Hub

When you have lots of USB devices to connect to one machine, a USB hub is the answer. But before you run off and buy a rackmount setup with 20 ports and call it a day, you’ll want to take several more factors into consideration. In this article, we will discuss all the styles of USB hubs available, along with the benefits.

Mounting Styles

USB hubs come in four styles for different uses.

  • Desktop hubs are popular with home computers. They plug into the computer and stand free. They’re simple and inexpensive, but they add to the clutter on the desk.
  • Surface mounted hubs are designed to be attached to a flat surface. They allow mounting in a fixed position with a minimum of hardware, but they’re harder to relocate than the alternatives.
  • DIN rail hubs can be mounted without a full rack installation. The hub just snaps onto the rail. Using a DIN rail to mount several devices keeps them neatly organized and reduces cable tangling.
  • Rackmount hubs fit in a standard 19-inch rack. When an installation has enough equipment to justify rack mounting, it economizes on space while making it easy to rearrange equipment when necessary. USB hubs generally take up just a 1U form factor.


In stock

Which Type Do You Need?

To narrow down the type of hub your operation requires, you need to go through this checklist:

  • What USB protocol do you require? The usual alternatives are USB 2.0, 3.0, and 3.1. Newer versions are compatible with older versions.
  • What type of connector will you use? The traditional Type A connector is still in wide use, but it’s gradually giving way to Type C (commonly called USB-C).
  • How many ports do you need? The most commonly available numbers are 4, 7, 10, 12, 16, and 20.
  • Will you need a powered hub, i.e., one that uses its own power supply rather than drawing power from the computer?
  • Do you want isolation to protect the computer from electrical damage by malfunctioning devices?

We offer industrial-grade hubs for USB 2.0, USB 3.0, USB 3.1 (Type A), and USB-C.

USB Protocols

The protocols in current use are USB 2.0, 3.0, and 3.1. Earlier versions are obsolete. Each version is fully compatible with earlier versions; a USB 3.1 hub can communicate with a 2.0 device, though it will be limited to 2.0 data rates. Each protocol supports more than one speed, including all the ones earlier versions support. The maximum speeds are:

  • USB 2.0: 480 Mbps
  • USB 3.0: 5 Gbps
  • USB 3.1: 5 Gbps or 10 Gbps

What is called USB 3.1 Gen 1 is effectively the same as 3.0. It delivers a top speed of 5 Gbps, called SuperSpeed or SS. USB 3.1 Gen 2 delivers 10 Gbps, called SuperSpeed+.

Compatibility runs in both directions. You can use a USB 3.1 drive with a computer that supports only 2.0, or the other way around. Of course, you’ll only get USB 2.0 speeds in either case. You should get a hub which supports a protocol version at least as high as the computer you’ll use it with.


The USB world includes many different connector types. Computers and hubs have traditionally used the rectangular Type A connector, which is notorious for being difficult to plug in on the first try with the correct orientation. The Type C or USB-C connector has no “wrong way” to plug in, and it has smaller dimensions (8.4 by 2.6 mm). It’s visually recognizable by its rounded ends.

USB-C devices usually support USB 3.1, but this isn’t always true. Check the specifications for the device you’re interested in.

USB-C connectors and cables are the same as the ones Thunderbolt 3 uses. Thunderbolt 3 ports also function as USB ports. However, ordinary USB-C ports don’t support Thunderbolt.

The small trapezoidal connectors you see on many devices are Type B, which has several varieties. Hubs seldom or never use Type B connectors.

External Power

Powered hubs have a separate power supply from a wall outlet. This ensures that all devices get enough power to charge and operate properly. A non-powered hub gets power from the computer, but it’s limited. A keyboard or mouse will work fine on a non-powered hub, but a disk driver that depends on USB for its power may not.

Devices that don’t need extra power when plugged directly into a computer may need it when plugged into a hub. The more devices a hub connects, the higher the demands are on its power source. Rackmount hubs usually support a large number of ports, so a powered one is more reliable.


Many hubs have plastic enclosures. Some are inexpensive and fragile, others strong. A metal enclosure is strong, and it shields the electronics from EM interference and magnetic fields. A rugged metal enclosure gives additional protection against shocks and spills. If a hub will be installed in a chaotic environment, a rugged enclosure is a good investment.

Surge Protection and Isolation

Sometimes peripherals develop defects. They may short out and deliver overvoltages to whatever they’re connected to. The result could be serious damage to a hub or computer. A hub with surge protection guards against such events.

The best protection is optical isolation. Such hubs have a gap which the data crosses in optical rather than electronic form. This guards against any overvoltage which isn’t so high that it arcs across the gap. That means withstanding thousands of volts.

Hubs with a rugged metal enclosure and isolation are extremely durable. They’ll withstand rough treatment and last for years.

TAA Compliance

Equipment sold to the General Services Administration needs to be compliant with the Trade Agreements Act (TAA). It requires that the finished product be made in the USA or another signatory country. While many countries are signatories, some major ones aren’t. If this is an issue, you should check the country of origin (COO) code on a hub before delivering a hub or other equipment as part of a contract.

CoolGear offers USB hubs to meet the most demanding needs. Contact us to find the products that will satisfy your requirements.

Coolgear USB 3.1 Gen2 10Gbps USB Hub Available TODAY!


A cutting-edge USB 3.1 Gen2 USB hub from Coolgear Inc. that combines both USB-C and legacy USB-A ports, fully supports SuperSpeed+ data transmission (10Gbps), and provides quick battery charging.


Coolgear Labs, the engineering and development division of Coolgear Inc., brings to the market a fully compliant USB 3.1 Gen2 hub. The hub’s unique design offers both DC barrel and 2-wire Phoenix connections, plus type-C and type-A USB ports to cover a broad spectrum of power and speed. Designed with versatility in mind, it can be wall, surface or DIN rail mounted.

Using the latest iteration of USB 3.1, Coolgear Labs produced a hub that complies with both Gen2 and legacy specifications. The hub features one upstream port on the back panel and four downstream facing ports in front. Each port can support SuperSpeed+ USB 10Gbps devices.

Variable Input Voltage

One notable feature of the hub is the Variable Input Voltage with a two-wire Phoenix Contact (included) that allows the hub to be configured for voltages between +7 and 24V DC, depending on the application.

Current Design Features

  •     Compliant with USB 3.1 Gen2 Specifications
  •     Supports 10Gbps (SuperSpeed+); backward compatible to 5Gbps (SuperSpeed), 480Mbps(High-Speed), 12Mbps(Full-Speed), and 1.5Mbps(Low-Speed) data rates
  •     Provides 4 (two USB-C and two USB-A) Downstream facing USB 3.1 Ports (DFP)
  •     Provides 1 USB Type C Upstream Facing Port (UFP)
  •     Multi Transaction Translators (TT) per Hub
  •     Optional Variable input power: +7 – 24V DC through 2-wire terminal plug connection
  •     USB-A 3.1 provides 900mA normal charging for USB devices
  •     Rigid plastic Wall and DIN Rail Mounting Case
  •     Green LED indicators
  •     Support USB Battery Charging: SDP, CDP and DCP modes
  •     Wall and DIN Rail mounting hardware included
  •     USB Type C to C Gen 2 cable included
  •     12V DC Power adapter included
  •     Item Dimensions: 152.04mm(L) x 62.45mm(W) x 30mm(H) – 152.04mm(L) x 67.67mm(W) with 2-pin connector x 34.25(H) with mounting plate

Looking ahead to Q4

Power Delivery (PD) and 7-port versions of the hub are in the final stages of development and expected to be released in the 4th quarter of this year.

Current projects from Coolgear Labs include:

  •     USB PD over POE+ (60watts)
  •     USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type C Active Optical Cable (AOC)
  •     USB 4 Port Power Delivery(PD) hub w/IPD (intelligent power distribution)

Order Details

The USB 3.1 Gen2 hub (part # CG-4P31CHUB) is available now at and shipping in quantity. For information on pricing, please contact your Coolgear Sales representative or send an email to:

USBgear 7 Port USB 3.0 Hub in Driver’s Station for Robotics Competition

CoolGear Inc. has been developing, manufacturing, and providing premier computer peripherals since 1997. We’re continuing to develop advanced technology and manufacture quality products for various industries.

In addition to our list of industries, we can add competitive educational robotics environments!

Coolgear answered a call received from Team BJORG. Team BJOG (Bloomington Jefferson Outstanding Robotics Group) consists of a group of robotics students from Jefferson High School.

Team BJORG approached Coolgear in the hopes of acquiring two USB 3.0 hub to

USBG-BREC307 USB 3.0 7 Port Hub
USBG-BREC307 USB 3.0 7 Port Hub

accommodate the USB connections in their design of the driver’s station. Coolgear was glad to help the team out; they used the both USB 3.0 hub 7 ports (USBG-BREC307) to connect the 3 touch screen displays, 3 joysticks, 20 buttons and switches.

Team BJORG, a participant in FIRST robotics competition designed and built a Driver’s Station or control panel for the control center of their robotics entry. (“FIRST” is an organization inspiring young people to embrace creativity and engineering ingenuity.) The Driver’s Station is a uniquely designed wood console engineered to accommodate the on-board electronics it uses in the competition.

The USB 3.0 7 Port Hub Features are:

  • Includes a charging function to power each port up to 900mA, enough for normal charging.
  • Adds 7 USB 3.0 ports via its included Type-A to Type-B Cable
  • Bus-Powered with Limit current protection.
  • Backward compatible with USB 2.0/1.1
    USBgear's USB 3.0 7 Port Hub installed
    USBgear’s USB 3.0 7 Port Hub installed
  • Supports Super-Speed USB 3.0 over each port with transfer rates up to 5Gbps.
  • Includes a charging function to power each port up to 900mA, enough for normal charging.
  • Compliant with Fast Charging for international battery charging 1.2 Standard Protocol and Smart Control.
  • Support included for Plug-and-Play and hot swapping. No driver installation needed.
  • Compatible with all operating systems
  • Dimensions in Inches: 4.625in (L) x 1.691in(W) x .974in(H) with ears 5.241in(L)
  • Dimensions in MM: 117.47mm (L) x 42.95mm(W) x 24.73mm(H) with ears 133.12mm

Find more about the BJORG robotics team on their website’s BJORG Legacy page.

As a result of using the 7 port hubs, the team of engineers used up to 15 USB port connections to handle their incorporated electronics. They were able to mount the hubs to the inside top their console easily for operation and control of the robot.

Team BJORG Driver's Station
Team BJORG Driver’s Station

The team finished enough of the driver’s station to compete in two 2018 competitions. The USBG-BREC307, USBgear’s USB 3.0 hub, powered the LattePanda single board mini PC while in action!

The source pictures included in this post are from the team’s website at the Medtronic Regional competition where they competed with a record of 6-3 finishing 10th out of 60. Great Job Team BJORG!

Coolgear Will Attend InfoComm in Las Vegas – Booth N3425 June 6-8 2018

Bookmark this page! We will be adding our Newest products for USB Type-C Power Delivery and more here, Check Back Often.

On June 6-8, 2018 Coolgear will be attending InfoComm

From the InfoComm website: “InfoComm is the largest, most exciting event in North America focused on the pro-AV industry, with 1,000 exhibitors, thousands of products, and 44,000 attendees from 110 countries.”

Come visit us at booth #N3425