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Mysteries of USB C

Updated: Sep 18, 2022

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While searching for a portable monitor on amazon.com, I came across one with a USB C Connector. USB C is a relatively new connection option which is said it could accommodate both powering the unit and transmitting video at the same time. I was curious to investigate USB C to determine it's viability.

an image of a 1080p, 15.6" monitor

My PC at work has a USB C connector that would power the monitor but not show video, and my laptop at home would allow both, only one of my USB C cables was able to accomplish this. I was starting to discredit the USB C architecture until I did a little research.

I found out that USB C only references the connector type, nothing about functionality. The USB Standard written for the particular port (i.e. Version 2.0, 3.0, 3.1) determines what the connector can do. USB C will only transfer data as fast as the port will allow. This concept applies to the cable as well making USB C essentially backward compatible. Bottom line is USB C connectors are standard in shape but not functionality.

As we always suggest, do a little research ahead of time and know what your specific show or project application is going to be. Standardized connections and cables are not always universal in their application. Find out before you arrive on your job site if there are limitation to your chosen connection type.

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