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[FAQ] USB-C CC and PD controller differences

Do I need to use a CC controller or PD controller for my USB-C application?

  • Configuration channel (CC) controllers and power delivery (PD) controllers perform similar roles in a USB-C ecosystem. There are a few key differences that set these device types apart that need to be considered when choosing the right one for your application.

    The purpose of a CC controller is strictly to handle the CC negotiation on a USB-C port. Depending on which device you use, a CC controller can negotiate the following:

    • Configures the type-C port to the selected role (DFP/UFP/DRP)
    • Set the current advertisement on VBUS up to 5V at 3A (15W)
    • Control an external VBUS switch for DFP and DRP configurations
    • Enables VCONN for e-marked cables when necessary
    • Handles the standard and flip cable orientations

    In contrast, a PD controller is often more versatile in what it enables for a USB-C port. A PD controller will typically come with programmable firmware and general purpose I/O pins that control other devices based on the CC negotiation. This allows PD controllers to perform functions that a simple CC controller could not. The abilities of a PD controller will vary by device. Here are a few examples to demonstrate the benefits that a PD controller can provide:

    • Negotiate USB-C alternate modes like DisplayPort (USB video)
    • Set the VBUS advertisement up to 20V at 3A (60W)
    • Integrate a VBUS switch for DFP and DRP configurations
    • Allow controlling of other devices based on CC negotiation state
    • All the functions mentioned for CC controllers above