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Contemporary connections: Type-C USB

In the world of technology, change is constant as manufacturers continually search to incorporate the latest innovation into their products to improve performance and enrich their customers’ experience. A good example is the recent development of the Type-C USB, which is likely in time to relegate most other cables and sockets to the bin.

The Universal Serial Bus (USB) is an industry standard that defines cables, connectors and communication protocols to facilitate both data transfer and power supply between computer equipment and electronic equipment. The most familiar of these is the Type-A connector, although this has now been supplemented by the Type-B, the Mini-A, Mini-B, Micro-A and Micro-B alternatives.

In a bid to both simplify and enhance connectivity between devices, the electronics industry has now developed the Type-C USB, which is predicted to eventually replace all other USB cable variants and even supersede entertainment systems connectors such as BNC and HMDI. In the future, a single cable — the Type-C USB — may meet all our interconnectivity needs between computers, computer peripherals, smartphones, gadgets, TVs and TV ancillaries.

Type-C USB has a number of advantages over its predecessors: it can transfer data more quickly, even delivering HD video and audio over a single cable; it can carry more power and is therefore able to charge devices more quickly; and its plugs are reversible, meaning they are easier to use and less prone to damage.

Type-C connectors are already incorporated into the latest Samsung, LG and Google smartphones, as well as Samsung, Asus and Apple laptops/tablets, and this trend will spread further as other manufacturers launch their latest products. Initially, Type-C USB cables and sockets will be limited to a charging power of 10W, which is comparable with existing USBs and suitable for most small devices. In time, however, charging power will be increased to 20W and ultimately to more than 40W, by which time Type-C USB will be capable of connecting any equipment provided with the new socket.

Recognising the impact that this will have on the electrical market, and anticipating the growing need for Type-C USB charging of all kinds of devices, Legrand has launched a number of solutions incorporating Type-C USB sockets. These include the 10A Double PowerPoint with Dual (Type-A and -C) USB Charger in both its Excel Life and Arteor ranges, as well as the Dual (Type-A and -C) USB Charger Mechanism for its Excel Life, Arteor, Linea and Excel ranges of sockets.

Director of A Reid Industry Management, Adam Reid, has been using Legrand products for the last four years, has regularly recommended the company’s USB chargers to his clients, and even acted as a spokesperson for Legrand during a recent video commercial campaign. He fully expects the new Type-C USB charging products to be well received by his customers.

“We’ve been getting good feedback to date from end users who have selected the existing Legrand Type-A USB chargers, with regard to its good looks, the power output and overall reliability of the products,” he says. “Now the scalability of having two different USB options within the same wall plate means our customers will be able to support a wider range of devices.”

Another long-term advocate of Legrand products, Director of BREC, Ben Russell, wholeheartedly concurs, having recently started using the Legrand Double PowerPoint with Dual (Type-A and -C) USB Chargers. “The Type-C connector is a perfect addition for ultimate convenience at a time when many manufacturers are looking to upgrade from traditional Type-A USBs,” he says. “This is a great way to future-proof your home or office, with the double USB sockets providing the quickest way to charge phones and tablets.”

Output current for the USB sockets will be a maximum of 2.4A on the Type-A and 3A on the Type-C socket. Each wall plate will be capable of charging two tablets or smartphones simultaneously using a total current of 4.8A.

In Adam’s opinion, Legrand’s solutions have a number of inherent standout design features. “From a practical standpoint, Legrand’s wall plates have well-designed terminals that incorporate zinc-coated grub screws and brass terminals,” he says. “This makes life much easier for the electricians as these products are faster and easier to install.”

Excel Life is one of the best designed product series on the market,” Ben agrees. “Its plates are easy to install, with small cut-out sizes, large mounting holes, angled screws and large cable terminals.”

Adam further believes that this level of practicality is complimented by both the style and the functionality of Legrand’s solutions. “This is why these are the only electrical products I will recommend to clients at the present time,” he says.

As a large proportion of Ben’s customers are architects and designers, he considers the Excel Life range is the perfect go-to product. “We are finding the black version is especially popular,” he says, “for its contrasting properties and slim appearance.”

Adam voices similar sentiments. “For the commercial and residential developments we are involved in, aesthetic considerations have never been more important,” he explains. “These Legrand USB chargers benefit from a great choice of stylish designs coupled with a charging performance that is second to none.”

Suitable for all commercial and residential applications, the Excel Life Double PowerPoint with Dual (Type-A and -C) USB Charger is available in a choice of White, Urban Grey or Black, and the Arteor in 17 luxurious finishes. Legrand aims to lead the way in wall-mounted USB chargers, and its current Excel Life, Arteor, Linea and Excel line-up already demonstrates that customers do not have to trade form for function. But matching great design with unprecedented practicality is not the whole story.

“Each Legrand product has a PEP eco-passport which means we can monitor exactly what each product contains to help us lower our carbon footprint,” says Ben. “At BREC, we see sustainability as an essential and integral element of good business and every bit as important as style and performance in the products we purchase. Here, Legrand ticks all our boxes; its products are elegant, ergonomic, efficient and eco-friendly.”

Tags: Double Powerpoint, Electricians, Excel Life, Type A, Type C, USB, USB charger, Wall plate, Wall-mounted