Universal Serial Bus - Power

Power

The USB 1.x and 2.0 specifications provide a 5 V supply on a single wire from which connected USB devices may draw power. The specification provides for no more than 5.25 V and no less than 4.75 V (5 V±5%) between the positive and negative bus power lines. For USB 3.0, the voltage supplied by low-powered hub ports is 4.45–5.25 V.

A unit load is defined as 100 mA in USB 2.0, and 150 mA in USB 3.0. A device may draw a maximum of 5 unit loads (500 mA) from a port in USB 2.0; 6 (900 mA) in USB 3.0. There are two types of devices: low-power and high-power. A low-power device draws at most 1 unit load, with minimum operating voltage of 4.4 V in USB 2.0, and 4 V in USB 3.0. A high-power device draws at most the maximum number of unit loads permitted by the standard. Every device functions initially as low-power but the device may request high-power and will get it if the power is available on the providing bus.

Some devices, such as high-speed external disk drives, require more than 500 mA of current and therefore may have power issues if powered from just one USB 2.0 port: erratic function, failure to function, or overloading/damaging the port. Such devices may come with an external power source or a Y-shaped cable that has two USB connectors (one for power+data, the other for power only) to be plugged into a computer. With such a cable, a device can draw power from two USB ports simultaneously.

A bus-powered hub initializes itself at 1 unit load and transitions to maximum unit loads after it completes hub configuration. Any device connected to the hub will draw 1 unit load regardless of the current draw of devices connected to other ports of the hub (i.e. one device connected on a four-port hub will draw only 1 unit load despite the fact that more unit loads are being supplied to the hub).

A self-powered hub will supply maximum supported unit loads to any device connected to it. In addition, the VBUS will present 1 unit load upstream for communication if parts of the Hub are powered down.

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