Why Is The New Generation of Charger PD 3.1 Protocol Important?

Why Is PD 3.1 Protocol Important?


There are many devices that require more power than the older version of the USB PD protocol offers (100-watts). While a 100-watt power supply is way more than any smartphone would need, the 100-watt limit is not enough for the latest gaming laptops, displays, docking stations, mobile workstations, and so on.

USB Type-C can even be used to charge and power e-bikes, power garden tools, and laser printers, but that 100-watt capability again isn’t enough for these purposes.

But now the USB-C with 240-watt power upgrade will allow you to plug in these high-power demanding devices including 4K monitors and LED TVs. You might also be able to go back to your junk drawer to toll plenty of proprietary cables and chargers.

Which Devices Support PD 3.1 Protocol with EPR?

Interestingly, the PD 3.1 Protocol is already available on some devices including MacBook Pro 14 and 16. It also means that the new charging brick of Apple MacBook Pro laptops will be cross-compatible with all the other devices that support PD 3.1 Protocol.

It’s important to note that USB Implementers Forum also stated that all the new cables and chargers with PD 3.1 capability must also bear specific icons for the convenience of end-users. It’ll allow customers to visually confirm that they’re buying cables with 240-watt support.


This upgrade is good news for countless end-users as it can eliminate the hassle of finding the right charging tip for different devices. After all, having one universal standard to charge and power all your devices is a lot easier than managing a bunch of cables and chargers.

PD 3.1 Protocol Features

As mentioned, the new USB PD 3.1 protocol offers increased power levels up to 240-watt. Other than that, it also flaunts the following features:

  • The new 48-volt, 36-volt, and 28-volt fixed values enable 240-watt, 180-watt, and 140-watt power levels respectively.
  • The new specification allows new cables and chargers to have adjustable voltage supply mode. Resultantly, you can enjoy intermediate voltages from 15-volts to 48-volts.
  • The power direction will no longer be fixed to allow products (peripheral or host) to provide power.
  • The new specification also optimizes the power management on different peripherals. It means that every device can take the power it actually needs.
  • It enables flexible and intelligent power management at the system level through optional hub communication with computers.

It allows low-power devices such as headsets to get the power they actually need.

Applications of PD 3.1 Protocol

  • All the devices that require 240-watt or lower power will benefit from the PD 3.1 protocol. These devices include large displays, docking stations, workstations, desktops, gaming PCs, larger notebooks, cameras, and even e-scooters.
  • It’ll eliminate the need for extra power bricks for high-power use-cases including printers and USB-powered HDDs (Hard Disk Drives).
  • A monitor that usually needs power from a wall outlet will be able to run on USB Type-C cables with 3.1 PD while the laptop display still runs.
  • USB chargers or power brinks will be able to run on USB ports with 3.1 PD installed on laptops.
  • Power bricks and laptop USB ports will deliver high power to devices that run on a battery.
  • The charging rate will increase for all battery-powered devices.

It’s important to note that PD 3.1 is specially designed to work with the current standard. It means that all the products with new specifications will offer backward compatibility. You will be able to run older cables with new 3.1 PD ports on lower power levels and vice versa.

Future of PD 3.1 Protocol

The USB IF plans to eliminate the 5A/20V cables eventually.

The new specification aims to move the industry to have ERP-capable products.

All the new products with PD 3.1 protocol specifications will be visually identifiable to allow users to buy 240-watt cables and chargers conveniently.

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