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Paddle card connected with cameras, etc., easily enables longer distance transmission of such high speed interfaces as USB
Peripheral interfaces are rapidly achieving increases in transfer speed with no apparent boundaries. With the latest USB 3.1 Gen2 standards, a data-transmission rate of 10 Gbits/sec. has been achieved. A higher data-transmission rate enables a larger amount of data to be transmitted, thereby improving user convenience. On the other hand, a higher data-transmission rate has one disadvantage: the faster the transfer speed, the shorter the transfer distance. This may lead to a significant limit on use, depending on each case of use. In the second round of this technical report series that was published last time, we introduced the THCX222 Repeater IC in detail. Inserting this repeater IC into both ends of a cable can significantly extend the transfer distance. In this third (last) article of the series, we introduce system modules with the THCX222 Repeater IC installed. By using these modules, the time and cost spent on evaluating the repeater IC can be reduced, and the development of active cables and accessories for a PC can be considerably simplified.
Evaluation can quickly be made after purchase
THine Electronics offers system modules with the THCX222 installed, as well as a standalone repeater IC. In addition to the THCX222, the peripherals needed to operate it are incorporated in the system modules. By purchasing the system modules, users can immediately evaluate the functions and performance of the THCX222 Repeater IC, and then use it.
THine Electronics is working on these system modules in consideration of the situations regarding development by users. Many potential users of the THCX222 are the manufacturers of active cables and accessories for PCs. Although such manufacturers employ many experts in mechanism design, they also tend to have less resources for electric circuit design. To introduce a standalone repeater IC, the manufacturer must design the electric circuits around it, prepare a layout for a printed circuit board, and then manufacture the paddle card modules. Moreover, high-speed transmission requires special consideration from the design stage, even though many user companies lack sufficient know-how about such design work.
And even if manufacturers can handle both the design work and manufacturing, they often spend a considerable amount of time before actually starting to evaluate the repeater IC. The manufacturers of cables and accessories would like to evaluate the characteristics and performance of the repeater IC as soon as possible. For these reasons, THine Electronics determined that such manufacturers cannot meet the needs of user companies by simply offering a standalone repeater IC.
Two types of system modules are offered
Paddle cards have a USB plug connector attached on one end, and a metal electrode installed on the other end (Fig. 2). Cables are soldered on the metal electrode
As the paddle card is built into the mold of the connector part on both ends of the cable, with power being supplied by the bus, the active cable with a built-in paddle card can be used in the same way as an ordinary USB cable (Fig. 3)
Then, by making adjustments with the DC gain and AC gain adjustment function of the repeater IC mounted on the card according to the cable’s attenuation characteristics, the waveforms of USB signals output from a PC or peripheral device can be shaped. Through this process, it is possible to drastically extend the transfer distance of USB signals.
The corresponding USB connectors support Type-A, Micro-B, and Type-C. Signals supported by USB 3.0 and USB 3.1 can be transferred over a distance of five meters. The module has dimensions of 13 mm × 26 mm (THSB-ACC-563G1).
The other type of system module is the active plug with a USB receptacle connector mounted on one end, so that it can be attached to both ends of an ordinary USB passive cable (Fig. 4)
Similar to the paddle card, the active plug is used to receive USB signals sent through cables/connectors, shape the USB waveforms by adjusting the DC and AC gain, and then resend the signals to the cables/connectors. Thus, the transfer distance can be significantly extended.
In addition to their use in improving the waveforms of USB cables, active plugs can be used for a preliminary evaluation of active cables. Connect active plugs to both ends of the USB cable to be evaluated and then change the equalizer setting values of the repeater IC on the board, while checking the connection between a PC and a peripheral device, and verifying the eye patterns and attenuation characteristics of signal waveforms. Through these processes, appropriate adjustments can be made for the cable to be evaluated. The preliminary evaluation necessary for implementing active cables can be easily conducted by simply preparing long cables. USB connectors on both ends support Type-A, Micro-B, and Type-C.
Reduce the time and cost for development
First, they significantly accelerate development. As the characteristics of the repeater IC can be immediately evaluated, active cables and accessories for a PC can be commercialized for sale in a short time. Secondly, no knowledge or know-how about electric circuit design is required. Even cable manufacturers well-versed in mechanism design do not need to newly hire electric circuit design engineers. Consequently, the design work need not be outsourced to external companies. Thirdly, development costs can be reduced. Hiring new electric design engineers or outsourcing the design work to external companies obviously entails a high cost. However, such additional cost can be eliminated by adopting paddle cards or active plugs.
THine Electronics intends to focus on sales of the THCX222 Repeater IC and two system modules—the paddle card and active plug. This is because the forms of required products depend on the circumstances of user companies. Thus, THine will continue work toward offering better solutions "to contribute to the reduction of time and cost for user companies."
- System ModulesNEW
- System module products using our development products such as LVDS and V-by-One® HS
- Repeater (Redriver/Retimer)NEW
- THCX series
- Repeater THCX222R05NEW
- Repeater THCX222R10NEW
- Repeater THCX423R10NEW
- AI&IoT Solution THSB-ACC-563 SeriesNEW
- AI&IoT Solution THSB-ACC-562 SeriesNEW