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Flexible port switching, role swapping come to USB

07 Jul 2015  | Bernard Cole

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Provided with the Smart Hub is the Protouch2 Configuration Tool, a software utility that can be used to program an on-chip, one-time programmable ROM that stores required register settings for an on-chip microcontroller to ensure the desired start up configuration at power on. In addition to this firmware control capability, FlexConnect can be configured through a series of external low-cost resistor bootstraps. There is also a command line tool for programming the Smart Hub's one-time programmable ROM on the production line.

USB Port Evaluation Card

The Small Format USB5734/44 USB Port Evaluation Card provides tools for configuring the FlexConnect for port switching and role swapping.

According to Gordon, the incorporation of FlexConnect into the Microchip Smart Hub opens up a number of use cases that are currently difficult to do. For example, in portable devices such as tablets and smartphones, FlexConnect provides downstream control of a dock to allow dual-role compatible tablet/smartphone configurations to act as a host as well as to recharge an on-board battery.

He said another common environment in which FlexConnect will be useful is in automobiles. Incorporating a FlexConnect-enabled Smart Hub into an automobile's Infotainment system would allow it to act as a host when someone connects a device such as a thumb drive or card reader, but also act as a device when connecting to a smartphone or tablet.

Protouch 2

The Protouch2 Configuration Tool can be used to program an on-chip, one-time programmable ROM on the USB5734/44 with register settings for features that are desired.

Beyond the port switching and role swapping capabilities, the Smart Hub also incorporates a flexible I/O bridging feature that allows any host USB device to interface to peripherals via I2C, SPI, GPIOs or a UART over USB. Smart Hubs also support custom configurations of external ports and GPIO pins.

Available now along with the USB5734/44 Smart Hub devices are the standard USB 3.0 Controller Hub Evaluation Board and a USB 3.0 Small Form Factor Controller Hub Evaluation Board. The EVB-USB5734 includes mezzanine cards that can be used as preset application configurations for easy testing and development of a USB5734 system.


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