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New USB Specification Promises 100W of Power

CmdrTaco posted more than 3 years ago | from the now-you're-playing-with-power dept.

Power 287

Blacklaw writes "The group behind the USB 3.0 specification has announced a tweak which could lead to impressive new devices, including large-format displays, printers, and even laptops that are powered entirely from a USB port."

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Finally (5, Funny)

Nerdfest (867930) | more than 3 years ago | (#37042908)

Awesome. I'll finally be able to implement those high powered "negative reinforcement" keyboards I keep dreaming about.

Re:Finally (1)

dintech (998802) | more than 3 years ago | (#37043058)

Funny you say that, but in the past I had a small electric shock from a broken USB port. I suppose because the voltage is 5V, this could never be serious but the electricians can tell us about that.

Re:Finally (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37043108)

Funny you say that, but in the past I had a small electric shock from a broken USB port. I suppose because the voltage is 5V, this could never be serious but the electricians can tell us about that.

That problem will be solved by the new specification as well, since the voltage will go higher.

Re:Finally (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37043148)

Just because it's 5V doesn't mean you don't have a way to run an oscillator to convert to AC, a transformer to boost the voltage, and capacitors to store the jolt. 20A @5V (proposed 100watts) could just as easily be upped to 400VAC at 0.2A (80% conversion efficiency). It may take a minute or two to charge the capacitors, but it could have a kick.

Re:Finally (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37043238)

If you got a shock from your USB port it most likely means you have a broken/disconnected ground lead on your power supply.

Re:Finally (2)

inasity_rules (1110095) | more than 3 years ago | (#37043372)

Mod parent up.

I have had this problem as well and traced it to missing ground connections on my screen (poorly designed 2 pin switching power supply) so when the laptop charger is not in and my external screen is connected, any groundplane on the laptop gives me a shock. If you look between "ground" on your port and ground on your mains supply with a CRO, you will probably see a fairly big signal...

Re:Finally (0)

SirDice (1548907) | more than 3 years ago | (#37043304)

It's not the voltage that kills. It's the amount of current across the body. You can feel 1mA and 60mA AC across the heart is usually fatal. But because the human body does have quite a bit of resistance you'd still need a sufficient voltage to have an effect. Current = Voltage / Resistance (Ohm's Law).

Re:Finally (1)

Tanktalus (794810) | more than 3 years ago | (#37043350)

That's only part of the story. What you say is true, but to add to it, as I recall from my EE books back in university, 1A is too much current to kill. It apparently has something to do with the fact that the electrons repel each other, and they will then travel across your skin instead of penetrating to your heart. Of course, that current will likely leave burns and hurt like hell, but this likely is related to why so many people survive lightning strikes.

Re:Finally (2)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#37043434)

The mess doesn't end there: distribution of current flow within the conductor depends on frequency(Hence Litz wire [wikipedia.org] for comparatively high-frequency power applications). Humans don't even pretend to be ideal, cylindrical, uniformly conductive objects; so I don't have a clue exactly how the skin effect effects high-frequency flow in the human body; but the very fast current spike you get with a lightning strike might well affect the cooking pattern in some agonizing-but-survival-friendly way...

Re:Finally (2)

Lisandro (799651) | more than 3 years ago | (#37043516)

What you're refering to is called skin effect [wikipedia.org] , but it is commonly seen at high frequencies. With 1A at either 50 or 60Hz you're pretty much dead if that much current crosses your heart.

Re:Finally (3, Informative)

tibit (1762298) | more than 3 years ago | (#37043530)

It had nothing to do with 5V, nor with the port being broken. It was an issue with electrical wiring (lack of proper PE - Protective Earth a.k.a. "ground"), most likely. Alternatively, there was no PE connection at all, and you were shunting power supply's leakage current to ground. Most PC power supplies have filtering capacitors between the case and the Live and Neutral conductors. Those capacitors form a voltage divider that puts the case at 50% of live voltage in absence of PE connection, that's the source of the leakage current.

Re:Finally (3, Insightful)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 3 years ago | (#37043572)

Funny you say that, but in the past I had a small electric shock from a broken USB port

That's nothing. You should see what it feels like when you dip a plugged-in USB cable into conductive gel and stick it about 4 inches up your ass.

I mean. Not that I would do such a thing.

Not 4 inches at least...

Re:Finally (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37043624)

yeah, don't type with wet hands.

Re:Finally (2)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 3 years ago | (#37043066)

you could cover the keyboard in fire ants, crushed glass, or hot coals

that would result in negative reinforcement

Re:Finally (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37043424)

You could make a movie about fire ants, crushed glass, hot coals, and zombies. That would be cool.

Re:Finally (3, Funny)

hedleyroos (817147) | more than 3 years ago | (#37043170)

I for one won't be happy until I can weld from my netbook.

usb is a poor bus for a display to much cpu load (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | more than 3 years ago | (#37042928)

and display port is better and put's the load on the video chips / gpu. Maybe use usb for power and not data.

Re:usb is a poor bus for a display to much cpu loa (2)

RenHoek (101570) | more than 3 years ago | (#37043012)

USB 3.0 should be less CPU intensive, because IIRC they switched from a polling protocol to an interrupt based protocol.

Re:usb is a poor bus for a display to much cpu loa (2)

TheLink (130905) | more than 3 years ago | (#37043394)

At higher speeds the OS stuff starts going back to polling to be less CPU intensive :).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_API [wikipedia.org]

Re:usb is a poor bus for a display to much cpu loa (1)

tibit (1762298) | more than 3 years ago | (#37043550)

USB is not really CPU-intensive. The host chip does most of the hard work.

Re:usb is a poor bus for a display to much cpu loa (2)

localman57 (1340533) | more than 3 years ago | (#37043052)

Who cares? If they get to the point that they can show HD video over USB 3.0 without sending all the CPU cores to 100%, then that's a win. I use a USB 2.0 / VGA adapter to increase my Work Notebook from 2 screens to 3. The USB one is usually just showing a datasheet PDF, schematic, or some other static display. Fantastic increase in capability for $50. The USB adapters have have their place, just like mobo-integrated graphics and $300 discrete cards have their place. The exciting thing is the possiblity of integrating this directly into a monitor. Have a sudden need for 6 monitors to display different power point displays at a convention? Just plug all 6 into a USB 3.0 hub attached to your notebook. That's awesome stuff. It won't replace HDMI or display port, but again, great additional functionality.

In related news ... (4, Funny)

6031769 (829845) | more than 3 years ago | (#37042940)

Netbook battery life drops to an average of 12 minutes.

Re:In related news ... (5, Funny)

somersault (912633) | more than 3 years ago | (#37042968)

But the beauty of this is that you can power the netbook from its USB port, too!

Re:In related news ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37043124)

I can plug the netbook into another netbook!

Re:In related news ... (1)

Kagetsuki (1620613) | more than 3 years ago | (#37043174)

Just plug them in to each-other and they'll just pass the energy in a loop. Trust me, this is totally how electricity works.

Re:In related news ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37043204)

OH MY GOD! You just solved the enigma of energy by perpetual motion!

Re:In related news ... (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#37043468)

Incidentally, if you ever come by a quantity of UPSes that you don't love very much, do as follows:

Turn them all off.
Connecting in a ring, each one powering the one next to it, and powered by the one behind.
Turn them on.
Observe the frantic beeping and relay clicking.

Re:In related news ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37043140)

This is not the most serious problem. This can be a fire hazard for most office and home environs. Did they read IEC/UL 60950-1 or UL1310 or article 725 of the NEC?

The manufacturers will have much difficulty getting this construction certified by an NRTL. Will probably increase unit price significantly.

In any case, one more thing that will not pass the new CEC energy consumption limits.

stop your whinin' (1)

decora (1710862) | more than 3 years ago | (#37043284)

you liberals and your fancy pants words and regulations.

we need 1000 watt USB ports, then we can run a BBQ grill and piss off the vegetarians

Re:stop your whinin' (1)

nojayuk (567177) | more than 3 years ago | (#37043506)

I think someone is already selling a USB-powered BBQ. It takes six 5-port powered USB hubs to run it if I remember the advertising blurb correctly and it probably can't cook half a hog in thirty-five seconds from cold like a Real Man's turbo-LOX BBQ can.

What I'd like is a USB-to-mains charger, an small electronic brick that plugs into a USB port and can provide 100V (DC will do fine but 50/60Hz AC should be achievable) for things like camera battery chargers and other low-current electronics where the manufacturer for some reason or other doesn't offer a direct-USB charging or operating mode. Saying that many devices (cellphones etc.) are converging on a USB charging port as a common feature.

Re:In related news ... (1)

Relayman (1068986) | more than 3 years ago | (#37043524)

So this will give Apple a good reason not to include any USB 3.0 ports...

Powered USB (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37042942)

Sounds like Powered USB

http://www.poweredusb.org/

Re:Powered USB (1)

petermgreen (876956) | more than 3 years ago | (#37043282)

Powered USB is essentially a USB connector stacked with a seperate power connector. This makes the port more than twice as tall which afaict prevents it being placed on a standard expansion slot backplate and considerablly reduces the number of ports you can put on say an ATX backplate. Worse there are three voltage variants which are all incompatible with each other.

The result of these defeciancies is that it has only found niche appeal.

Re:Powered USB (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#37043502)

The IBM patent(Umm, a patent for putting a USB jack and 2 DC pins in the same connector?) probably doesn't help...

From the beginning that sucker was basically just a nominally-not-quite-proprietary connector for IBM and partner POS system peripherals. Now that you need an IBM patent license...

At last (1)

maxrate (886773) | more than 3 years ago | (#37042954)

Taking bets on how long before a USB powered vacuum cleaner comes out of Asia!

Re:At last (1)

xaxa (988988) | more than 3 years ago | (#37043106)

Taking bets on how long before a USB powered vacuum cleaner comes out of Asia!

Like this [firebox.com] ?

Re:At last (1)

jeffmeden (135043) | more than 3 years ago | (#37043152)

Taking bets on how long before a USB powered vacuum cleaner comes out of Asia!

Like this [firebox.com] ?

Please Note:

        This is not a USB device

Yes, like this, only USB powered... like he said...

Re:At last (1)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 3 years ago | (#37043532)

You mean like this [amazon.com] .

Re:At last (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37043598)

Like this then...
http://www.firebox.com/product/2771/USB-Mini-Vacuum-Cleaner

Re:At last (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37043382)

I want a USB powered coffee machine that operates with the hypertext coffee pot control protocol.

Troll science now possible (2)

Marneus68 (2329096) | more than 3 years ago | (#37042958)

> laptops that are powered entirely from a USB port Finally I get to plug 2 laptops together whir their USB ports. Free perpetual energy. Problem science ?

laptops powered by USB? (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | more than 3 years ago | (#37042960)

So where is the power coming from a AC to usb power only box?

Why not just keep what they have now? works in more places. Also some kind of standard car power jack in put will be nice to for laptops.

Re:laptops powered by USB? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37043102)

I would think it's primarily designed for wall warts and docking stations. Why add an extra port to charge the device, and why limit USB to 1W which would only power very small devices.

I don't think they meant this to be a port coming off a laptop.. and only *some* PC's.

Re:laptops powered by USB? (1)

LordLimecat (1103839) | more than 3 years ago | (#37043228)

Why add an extra port to charge the device, and why limit USB to 1W which would only power very small devices.

That is an error in the article, where they indicated current USB has a 900mA, 5v limit, and then stating that that is equal to .9W.

Wattage is amps * volts, so USB3 has a 4.5W limit. This would not be a 100x increase, but a 22x increase.

How about a fool-proof connector?!? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37042972)

Hmm: rectangular connector which may be inserted only in one orientation. No one will ever be irritated by this at all. BRILLIANT!!!

Re:How about a fool-proof connector?!? (1)

smash (1351) | more than 3 years ago | (#37043526)

My major pet hate with USB. Other than the shitty nature of being entirely CPU driven.

This is exactly what we need! (3, Interesting)

erroneus (253617) | more than 3 years ago | (#37042976)

So now, I can hook my computer to my car to jump-start it!

You know? Long ago, Apple made a display that was powered through the display cable. It worked but it was not popular in the end as they stopped doing it. So they are talking about bringing it back again?

I can see power enough to power some devices, but 100W?

You know, whatever USB standards come out, it should work equally well on a battery powered laptop and a desktop as well. People will get confused and frustrated when they buy a fancy new USB 3.0 display unit only to find they can't take it with them on the road because it doesn't work well with their laptop and the tiny travel power adapter they use while on the road.

Re:This is exactly what we need! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37043220)

So now, I can hook my computer to my car to jump-start it!

100 W is 20 A at 5 V. Cars need something like 400 A at 12 V. There's a ways to go there.

You know? Long ago, Apple made a display that was powered through the display cable. It worked but it was not popular in the end as they stopped doing it. So they are talking about bringing it back again?

Apple's promoting Thunderbolt instead of USB 3.0, so I doubt they're involved. I'd be surprised if you could send 100 W over Thunderbolt without using 48 V or so as the rail, same as PoE (Power over Ethernet).

You know, whatever USB standards come out, it should work equally well on a battery powered laptop and a desktop as well. People will get confused and frustrated when they buy a fancy new USB 3.0 display unit only to find they can't take it with them on the road because it doesn't work well with their laptop and the tiny travel power adapter they use while on the road.

This. I already have a hard enough time explaining to people why the iPad won't charge from most USB ports, since the iPad requires 1 A and most USB ports top out at 0.5 A.

Re:This is exactly what we need! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37043280)

It will charge (slowly) if the screen is off. You'd think they'd make that obvious, but instead they choose to tell you it's not charging when you try to look at the status. It was very confusing to me until I read about it.

Re:This is exactly what we need! (1)

ripdajacker (1167101) | more than 3 years ago | (#37043348)

You could recharge the car battery and then start the car.

This isn't an all-bad idea, but the good thing about USB is that it is UNIVERSAL. Apple products have a tendency to be picky with that ports you use, but I am sure other manufacturers have done similar.

Bringing 100W to the spec would certainly allow for some cool one-cable-only devices, but it would also cripple the upcoming notebooks. I have a fairly expensive ThinkPad and the power supply generates 90W I think, and thats max. To provide that kind of power would require ~250W just to be safe.

Given that most laptops would increase significantly in price should they include a powerbrick that huge (the Xbox 360 brick only delivers ~200W, check the size on that), not to mention the loss in portability when one has to carry one of those. It is not a bad idea in itself, but given the limitations I don't think it will become widespread.

Re:This is exactly what we need! (1)

inasity_rules (1110095) | more than 3 years ago | (#37043478)

They're talking about increasing the power by increasing the voltage as well as the current. I doubt anyone is stupid enough to push 20A through a USB port without a serious design change in the connectors. More than likely we'll be seeing less than 5A at 20V or less. Even that is pushing it a little...

Re:This is exactly what we need! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37043482)

You know, whatever USB standards come out, it should work equally well on a battery powered laptop and a desktop as well. People will get confused and frustrated when they buy a fancy new USB 3.0 display unit only to find they can't take it with them on the road because it doesn't work well with their laptop and the tiny travel power adapter they use while on the road.

The USB 2.0 specification already includes power negotiation (section 7.2.1.4 High-power Bus-powered Functions). When you attach a device it may draw no more than 100mA. If it needs more (up to 500mA) then it needs to ask the host for this at bus enumeration time and the request may be denied. This is not a new thing in USB 3.0.

Re:This is exactly what we need! (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#37043562)

So now, I can hook my computer to my car to jump-start it!

You can't jump a car without some serious amps; but virtually anything that can put out 12-14volts for a while without keeling over dead will allow you to trickle-charge your car's own starter battery and then start normally. Doing the math for how long a trickle charge will take to shove enough amp-hours into an automotive lead-acid for it to start your engine(particularly on the bitter, freezing, late evening in the sleet when this is inevitably occurring) will tell you that this isn't a method for the impatient; but any 12v wall-wart classy enough to run at rated amperage without dying, or a DC-DC step-up converter feeding on your USB port can work, if given time... If jumping is an option, it is usually the better one; but if you have a 12v supply, a dead car, and a night in the garage, it can be handy.

Re:This is exactly what we need! (1)

LordLimecat (1103839) | more than 3 years ago | (#37043584)

Youre not seeing the big picture. Think of this scenario:

You have a monitor, mouse, keyboard, and printer at work. All the peripherals are plugged into the monitor's USB hub. When you bring your laptop into work, you plug a single USB3 cable from the monitor into the laptop; this delivers 90W of power (for charging), and also hooks in all of the peripherals.

THATS what theyre shooting for.

PoE replacement (2)

RenHoek (101570) | more than 3 years ago | (#37042994)

I was hoping Power over Ethernet (PoE) was going to be successful since it would mean a LOT less cables, but this seems like a good alternative. I just hope it becomes a standard because PoE was nowhere to be found.

Re:PoE replacement (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37043040)

I guess that EoP it's more possible

Re:PoE replacement (3, Insightful)

vlm (69642) | more than 3 years ago | (#37043062)

I just hope it becomes a standard because PoE was nowhere to be found.

The mark up for PoE switches was/is spectacular, because the marketing guys told them to price that feature at "just below the cost of hiring a union electrician to run a dedicated AC line next to the wall plug". Which, it turns out, is a heck of a lot of money.

The marketing people forgot about extension cords. So, most of the real world uses extension cords instead. Whoops. PoE was a cool idea, but too sabotaged to ever make it.

Re:PoE replacement (1)

Amouth (879122) | more than 3 years ago | (#37043480)

yeap - still tempted to build a charge box powered off PoE so i can charge my laptop over it in meetings.

never understood why no laptop manufacture has done this.. it just seems like an obvious one to me.

Re:PoE replacement (1)

Relayman (1068986) | more than 3 years ago | (#37043556)

Ahh, because we use wireless in meetings?

Re:PoE replacement (1)

ledow (319597) | more than 3 years ago | (#37043628)

Because PoE gives you about 25W (up to 50W if you don't care about specs, standards and safety) at, usually, 47V. Converting that down to 19V probably takes quite a bit of efficiency so you'll be lucky to get 10W.

Which *ISN'T* enough to power most modern laptops even just to run, let alone run while charging the battery. So, yeah, you could probably charge a laptop from a PoE port, which requires expensive switches, expensive efficient convertors, specialised circuity for the niche case you specify (i.e. a PoE negotiation and conversion down to 19V DC), if you had the laptop switched off (turning it on probably = blown/fused PoE port) and were prepared to wait 5 times as long as normal... (or you'd need to find 5 PoE ports that were nearby and cable them together with some kind of power-matching, PoE negotiating device).

or you could just plug it into the wallsocket like normal.

PoE is fabulous for low-power stuff, but primarily to save on (electrical) cabling. There's not a lot of "power" in it, and it's at telecoms levels (47V), not some nice IT standard. I've deployed PoE VOIP phones and wireless points and it's very nice to just be able to change the patch cable at one end (onto the PoE-capable switch) and then just plug in a device that's self-powered at the other. But in terms of powering general-purpose, moving, changing hardware that needs lots of power, it's just a complete waste of money and/or impossible. Even the home-brew PoE where you basically DC-bias all the pins of an Ethernet cable can't do much better in terms of (safe) power.

Hell, we only bought into PoE because the price of the adaptors for the Samsung VoIP phones we used was ludicrous and we could buy one PoE switch to handle 24 phones for the price of two "official" wall-power adaptors. We've not even bothered to extend it to all our cabinets because it's cheaper to just use 2 or 4-port PoE switches for just the ports that need it rather than change all our switches over to PoE.

And PoE is still quite "exotic" and bloody expensive. Try finding a cheap PoE tester, for instance. I managed but it really is the most simple device imaginable and I could only find one supplier in the UK. Anything that's PoE capable can be literally double the price of it's non-PoE equivalent.

Re:PoE replacement (3, Informative)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#37043078)

PoE, for whatever reason, is absolutely dead in the consumer space; but it is alive and kicking in corporate gear. Not quite 100%, of course, because a PoE switch necessarily costs more than a non-PoE one, and wasting PoE ports on desktops and docking stations doesn't make any sense; but some gigantic portion of the corporate world's APs, IP cameras, access control devices, and similar low-power-and-networked junk are PoE powered...

Re:PoE replacement (1)

delinear (991444) | more than 3 years ago | (#37043328)

For me EoP works much better in my home environment. It would be a huge pain/cost to wire up most UK houses for ethernet, and likewise WiFi is not feasible in many situations (either the walls are too thick for a signal to go more than a couple of rooms meaning you're back to ethernet to extend the network or your signal is drenched in the 500 other signals competing for the same bit of spectrum). With EoP I just plug in a little box in each room I need it and wire/wireless off that. Cheap, incredibly easy to set up, incredibly easy to take with me when I move.

Re:PoE replacement (1)

nschubach (922175) | more than 3 years ago | (#37043412)

The place I work bought PoE "injectors." They are rack mounted equipment that just feeds power to the device. No new switch needed. Just run the Ethernet patch out of the switch, into the PoE device then from there to the patch panel.

It looked something like this:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16833996101 [newegg.com]

But it wasn't "smart" so I can't imagine they paid anywhere near that price.

Re:PoE replacement (1)

smash (1351) | more than 3 years ago | (#37043544)

POE works in a corp environment if everyone has an IP phone with a piggyback port for their PC. Cisco gear does this; the price of cheap 2960 POE switches has come down sufficiently now that it is cheaper and WAY less hassle than running power boards and power bricks into the phones.

Re:PoE replacement (1)

CynicTheHedgehog (261139) | more than 3 years ago | (#37043244)

My previous company provided managed/hosted communications services and we used PoE quite a bit. When deploying 100 or so phones it ends up being cheaper to put in a PoE switch than it is to buy power bricks at $5/pop. In the consumer space you only have, what, maybe 3 devices on a switch? At home I have an Ooma, LinkStation NAS, and my computer. PoE only provides enough power (~25W) for the Ooma (maybe), so as much as I'd like to get rid of three power cords it just isn't possible or cost-effective.

100W USB might work for the NAS and the linkstation, but to eliminate the extra cord it would require support for IP over USB and an upstream USB NAT or bridge device. (It would be neat if the standard evolved to the point where every device could request an IP address from the host and be treated like a network device.)

So this technology might work for:

1. Charging larger devices (netbook, tablet) from a PC / standardizing charger form factor
2. Powering and driving external displays
3. Some kind of smart power standards ... being able to put a powered device into sleep mode from the host or vice versa using signals, and adjusting the power supply/draw accordingly.

Re:PoE replacement (1)

w_dragon (1802458) | more than 3 years ago | (#37043310)

I would take it just for the first point there. Get rid of a bunch of power bricks and give me one standard where the device and brick can negotiate how much power to send. Even if I have to have 4 bricks for USB A/B/mini/micro it's far better than the current mess of not knowing which brick goes with which device.

Re:PoE replacement (1)

pz (113803) | more than 3 years ago | (#37043380)

PoE doesn't help much when you're connecting wirelessly to the net. That dramatically reduces the number of devices -- in terms of what consumers own and use -- for which PoE would be potentially useful.

in my pants (1)

slashpot (11017) | more than 3 years ago | (#37043032)

I have a new USB Spec promissing 100w IN MY PANTS!

Sex Toys (1)

NicknamesAreStupid (1040118) | more than 3 years ago | (#37043074)

What else has driven technology so hard? Pun intended.

Re:Sex Toys (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37043274)

You joke but I've actually been involved in designing a sex toy that operates off of 5V@100mA. I used an ATTiny13 and some capacitors and transistors, let the capacitors charge and then opened them up against one of two small motors - alternating in patterns which you could change by turning on and off the device. In the end it worked, but it was weak. I doubt you'd find the device on the market now.

Posting AC for obvious reasons.

Laptops that are powered entirely from a USB port (0)

turkeyfeathers (843622) | more than 3 years ago | (#37043084)

So I can plug my laptop into its own USB port and run it forever? Sounds like bad news for battery manufacturers.

Great but... average PSU quality is... (1)

madhatter256 (443326) | more than 3 years ago | (#37043088)

... well, shit. Designing a motherboard to handle such power is relatively easy and can be done cheap, but there are ton of PSUs out there, even in OEM PCs, such as HP, Dell, Emachine, etc. that are average at best in terms of quality and cannot output their designated wattage and they are usually 300-400watt maximum output.
The big PC manufacturers will have to be able to have PSUs, even in the low-end models, to handle that extra wattage capability. I've seen a ton of OEM PSUs go bad after regular use.

you challenge the communist party? (1)

decora (1710862) | more than 3 years ago | (#37043312)

all chinese power supplies are 100% best quality. it says so right on the big box they ship it over in.

why would they lie? the people's interest are automatically represented by the party representatives. why would the government ever allow a shoddy product to be shipped overseas?

it just doesnt make logical sense.

wasn't there some article recently here (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 3 years ago | (#37043092)

about using the heat form the pc to heat rooms?

are we approaching a world where we can replace our electric outlets and our heating ducts with our pcs?

when can i replace the sump pump and hot water tank in my basement with my pc?

Re:wasn't there some article recently here (1)

nschubach (922175) | more than 3 years ago | (#37043452)

about using the heat form the pc to heat rooms?

when can i replace the sump pump...

Does your "sump pump" boil the water till it evaporates? Mine just pumps the water to the weeping tile outside.

Does this mean that USB3 cannot be implemented on (2)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 3 years ago | (#37043120)

Does this mean that USB3 cannot be implemented on tablets, netbooks and other low power portables?

Re:Does this mean that USB3 cannot be implemented (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37043210)

USB2.0 already negotiates power usage.
The device informs the host of how much power it needs and the host will inform the device if it can deliver. If the device ttries to use more that it is allowed to then the host will disable the device.

Thanks - very informative (1)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 3 years ago | (#37043296)

Thanks - very informative. I thought there has to be something like that now USB is so widely used.

oh thank god, software is so reliable (1)

decora (1710862) | more than 3 years ago | (#37043324)

and never hacked.

it reminds me of the PC days of the 80s, when a DOS virus could overdrive the monitor controls and shower the user with Xrays.

Re:Does this mean that USB3 cannot be implemented (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37043538)

The article said that higher power, and variable voltage was a negotiation. That would mean a host device could simply say no when asked for more power.

Re:Does this mean that USB3 cannot be implemented (1)

LordLimecat (1103839) | more than 3 years ago | (#37043604)

USB negotiates power requirements. It could refuse to deliver such a high power output. Additionally, it could accept power over usb from a powered hub or whatnot.

Next step (1)

should_be_linear (779431) | more than 3 years ago | (#37043128)

Good news in my book. Now they need to provide USB mode for transferring data over hundreds of meters long cables, as last remaining (Ethernet) obstacle towards unification.

Mistake in Article (2)

The Raven (30575) | more than 3 years ago | (#37043180)

The current spec allows for about 4.5W (900mA at 5V). One of the last sentences in the article mentions 0.9 Watts.

Now, I could totally understand this kind of mistake in the past. But don't these people understand the wonder that is Google? Before I made this post, I wanted to make sure that I wasn't the dufus, and typed 900mA * 5V into Google. It's not that hard to fact check, is it?

Re:Mistake in Article (1)

MindCrusher (1249502) | more than 3 years ago | (#37043318)

They mention variable voltage in the next sentence so I think they assumed 900 mA at a voltage of up to 110 V (US version) and that gives 99W. I don't know it the 110 V is derived from the actual specification or it was assumed by the american author. I presum the later as a normal PC power supply provides DC current and the maximum drob between the most negative rail (-12V) and the most positive (+12V) is 24 V. You also have to take into consideration that the maximum current at -12V is in the hundreds of mA so it is safe to assume the new standard will allow voltage negotiation between 5 and 12 V. At 900 mA the maximum power is just below 11W. Which is more than 4 times larger than USB 2.0 spec.

Does any one remember Georg Simon Ohm? (1)

Advocadus Diaboli (323784) | more than 3 years ago | (#37043208)

The founder of the Ohm's Law that says P = U x I (Power equals voltage times current)?

Imagine a voltage of 5 V, to draw 100 Watts from that you need a current of 20 Amperes. The german DIN 57100 requires a cable of 4mm to provides such a current.
Voltages inside a PC are usally 5V and 12 V. For 12 V you still need sort of 8,333 Amperes, that means 1mm for the cables. The other problem will be the plugs and sockets. 20 A is enough to sort of solder the contacts together or start a small fire if there is too little contact between them. Ok, lets imagine a device that can negotiate 100 Volts, then you just need 1 Amperes for 100 Watts. Fine, but that means that the USB connection now needs to be treated like a healt hazard because its over 65 Volts and can proivde more then 50 mA.

I'm really curious to see how they will jump over that physical obstacle. :-)

tea party will solve that (0)

decora (1710862) | more than 3 years ago | (#37043334)

regulation bad! freedom good!

Re:Does any one remember Georg Simon Ohm? (1)

inasity_rules (1110095) | more than 3 years ago | (#37043540)

Probably compromise. And a change in connectors. I doubt they'll exceed a couple of amps. But the voltage could conceivably reach 48V, which is a very useful voltage. Still, 2A through a standard USB connector...? I dunno. That could still be a fire hazard..

It is all a bit silly, because to get more than 12V out of a PC, you'd need an inefficient step up converter. Or a redesigned power supply, which may be what they're looking at.

Does this mean bigger power adapters? (1)

mehrotra.akash (1539473) | more than 3 years ago | (#37043254)

My laptop has a 65W power adapter.

If the USB ports are rated for 100W, I would need a 365W power adapter(3 USB ports), and a battery capable of discharging at the higher rates.

So, would only people who can easily carry 10+ kg with them all the time have laptops?

Re:Does this mean bigger power adapters? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37043490)

Have a normal power adapter for when you're travelling. Drawing 100W over USB would necessarily drain the battery, even when you're on mains power. Don't like it? Don't power a hotel room disco from your laptop.

Then you have another power adapter for when you're not travelling.

Re:Does this mean bigger power adapters? (1)

smash (1351) | more than 3 years ago | (#37043566)

If you're on mains power, why not have a mains power cord for the 100 watt USB device? This is a solution looking for a problem...

Umm (1)

kilodelta (843627) | more than 3 years ago | (#37043256)

900ma at 5V, using a standard power(W) = Current(I) time Voltage (V) w=iv. 900ma = .9A *5V = 4.5W

August Fools? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37043258)

Surely this is a late April Fools joke...

Thunderbolt vs. USB3 (1)

ygslash (893445) | more than 3 years ago | (#37043300)

Once again, USB starts out way behind the game. Last time it still overtook Firewire and buried it. But I have a feeling that this time, with Apple in a completely different market position, it's not going to be so simple to catch up with Thunderbolt.

This seems like a mess in the making... (5, Informative)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#37043340)

Even with USB2, there was the persistent problem that certain applications(notably 2.5 inch external drives) were right on the edge of what the spec allowed. Some machines played fast and loose, and everything worked fine, some played to spec, and the device wouldn't spin up, or the bus would freak out, or whatever. Despite USB's formalized, standardized, power-request mechanism(100ma on connect, negotiate in units of 100ma for up to 400 more...), the, er... 'inventive'... nature of the peripheral ecosystem always created some uncertainty: Some devices just requested 500ma at all times, to avoid possible brownouts, leading to more spec-compliant busses freaking out about lack of power even when actual draw was well within safe limits, some devices (fans, LED goosenecks, humping dogs) just grabbed the +5 and ground rails and hoped for the best, without any negotiations. Some hubs report themselves as self-powered(and thus good for 500ma per-port) even when they were bus powered(and thus only good for 400ma across however many ports they had). Some others were self-powered; but with wall-warts that could only deliver 500ma to a number of ports smaller than the number available(7-port hubs with 1amp adapters, I'm looking at you...)

This new standard seems like it would simply be a polite codification of this confusion. Particularly at low voltage, 100watts is nontrivial current(and nontrivial power generally, most non-DTR laptop bricks are less than that...) Many PCB layouts would burn a trace trying to deliver that, and you can bet that your garden-variety 10-USB-ports boring desktop isn't going to ship with 1000watts of PSU headroom...

This will mean that, in effect, devices will be able to demand up to 100 watts in a 'compliant' way; but the capabilities of USB ports on the market will vary enormously by device. A laptop with an 85 watt power brick is hardly going to be good for 100watts out of a port. Worse, it might be good for 50 when lightly loaded and fully charged; but only 5 when charging its battery and flogging its CPU... Having a device that only intermittently functions is near worthless, even if it is all entirely standard... A desktop might ship with the ability to push a single port to 100; but then it will either have to beef up its traces significantly, or have the always-confusing-to-dumb-users-and-people-fumbling-behind-desks '1 special blessed "high power" port, and 9 identical-feeling-but-low-power ones' configuration. Fan-fucking-tastic...

While a bit more power on the bus certainly would expand the number of viable, bus-powered use cases, I'm just not sure that such a high 'standard' number can ever be usefully 'standard'. Hooray, it is now officially standard for specialized devices to shove 100watts across a USB bus. Doesn't change the fact that it won't work in 90+% of ports, and will probably burn a fair percentage of cheaper cables. Unless they come up with some sensible set of "tiers", so that people actually know what works with what, this seems like it is going to end in a mess of nominally-USB powered docking stations with wall warts and mini-B connectors, at best.

While its comparative obscurity, and the general lack of bus-powered devices made it less of an issue, Firewire flirted with this problem in its early days: Both available power and available voltage on a given 6-pin port were widely variable: A desktop could, if it so chose, be pumping out 24 volts and reasonably credible wattage. One of the(almost exclusively Apple) laptops with a 6-pin port might be limited to a handful of watts at whatever voltage its battery was set to provide. In practice, much firewire gear just skipped bus power entirely(despite the fact that charging over firewire would have been a very popular consumer camcorder feature, if today's flip-likes are anything to go by), the mixture of widely variable power availability, and the 'i.link' or just 'IEEE1394' connectors entirely without bus power pretty much doomed the widespread availability of bus-powered peripherals. USB's pitiful 2.5watts was rather limiting; but at least you could reasonably assume that it would be there...

Hot new idea (2)

Megane (129182) | more than 3 years ago | (#37043376)

I'm looking forward to the USB-powered space heaters that office secretaries will put under their desks. They were forbidden from doing that before because it takes too much power from the wall plugs, but this comes from the COMPUTER so it must be okay!

Finally... (1)

kenh (9056) | more than 3 years ago | (#37043400)

Finally I see a purpose for the 1.2Kilowatt PC power supplies.

One hundred watts per port? That's insane! I could run a nicely-equipped Atom ITX MB, HD, DVD drive, and ION graphics adapter off such a port!

I see USB hubs getting much more expensive if this standard gains traction...

Re:Finally... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37043630)

Nah, you've got it backward. It goes up to 100W so that they can make AC adapters that plug into the USB port. Not only could you run it off such a port, you will...

100 w / 5 v = 20 amps (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37043454)

Pretty awsome and pretty unrealistic.

Secret plot to capture federal funds? (1)

kenh (9056) | more than 3 years ago | (#37043460)

I wonder if they are hoping to get these new super-power USB ports classified as Electric Vehicle charging stations, thus eligible for several thousand dollars in federal subsidies and grants [hybridcars.com] ? Imagine charging your Chevy Volt from your laptop USB port!

Interesting (1)

wisnoskij (1206448) | more than 3 years ago | (#37043534)

I don't know how this would ever work on a laptop, or what this will mean for power supplies (probably have to double in size to realistically even use just a small percentage of your USB ports) but the ability to not plug in printers/other high power peripherals to the wall would be nice.

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