I’m a little bit of a nerd (apparently it’s a job requirement right here), so I generally dive deeply into a subject. Not that way back, I took a really nerdy dive into USB-C and USB-PD (Energy Supply) by studying the specification doc supplied by the USB Implementers Discussion board. It was nice to learn proper earlier than going to sleep! Since then I’ve been searching for numerous gadgets for hacking on USB-PD and seeing how totally different gadgets reply. So once I noticed the Altmode Pal I used to be instantly intrigued!

Basically, this board intercepts all of the necessary USB-C alerts, and faucets into them utilizing an RP2040 and a FUSB302B USB-PD entrance finish. This provides you the flexibility to easily sniff the bus to see if a tool is compliant with the specification, actively modify what’s being despatched backwards and forwards, and even add USB-PD to one thing that doesn’t help it in any respect. The RP2040 might be linked to both USB-C port; it’s configurable simply by shifting two jumpers. There are even open-source USB-PD stacks out there, so you may get began in a short time!

The Altmode Pal proven configuring a USB-PD charger to output 12V

For many who haven’t learn the USB-PD spec, it’s a comparatively new protocol that permits USB gadgets to speak with chargers and different energy provides. They will negotiate larger voltages and present limits, permitting quicker charging or the flexibility to energy extra gadgets. My smartphone communicates with my wall charger; it begins at 5V with a 100mA present restrict for a really transient time. Then it communicates and asks for a listing of energy profiles supported by the charger; it then selects the 9V @ 3A profile and begins charging at 18W! My Nintendo Swap talks to the very same charger, however as a substitute asks for 15V @ 2A, charging at about 20W. It’s a very neat method to have the identical charger adapt to totally different gadgets, whereas nonetheless having the ability to fall again on 5V for gadgets which don’t help USB-PD.

The Altmode Pal may help you faucet into the ability of USB-PD; so if you happen to’re excited about hacking on USB, choose one up and take a look at the specification, and see what you’ll be able to give you!

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