STMicroelectronics has recently unveiled a certified embedded software solution based on its STM32 ARM Cortex-M based MCUs in order to cash in on USB Type-C and Power Delivery (PD) technology. The free STM32 USB-C and PD Middleware Stack is compliant with USB Type-C 1.2 and USB Power Delivery 2.0 specifications, which allows customers to quickly deploy this technology in their end-products.

The firmware stack, X-CUBE-USB-PD, initially based on the STM32F0 entry level Cortex-M0 processor, allows designers to upgrade their USB legacy devices to provide significant benefits to their end users, stated the company. USB-C together with Power Delivery technology provides a reversible connector, the ability to carry all necessary data (including video or proprietary protocols), and up to 100W of power to supply or charge equipment connected to the USB port.

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An important benefit in terms of cost and PCB footprint is that solutions using the STM32 with the stack require only a very simple analog front end comprising a few passive components, because it fully exploits STM32 embedded features such as comparators, ADCs, timers and Direct Memory Access.

Other key technical features and benefits of ST’s solution include: support for up to two USB-C ports (provider, consumer, or dual role); cable-insertion detection, plug orientation; identification of the role of the port partner attached and its current capability; and maximum flexibility and adaptability versus evolving specification changes, as firmware upgrades are possible during the application lifetime.

In addition, the processing bandwidth and available resources allow the MCU to perform other application-specific tasks, such as power-management control, USB2.0 communication, and/or voltage and current monitoring, on top of its USB-C functionality. Software library provided in the X-CUBE-USB-PD software expansion is fully in line with STM32Cube APIs (HAL - Hardware Abstraction Layer), ensuring easy switch across different STM32 series.

ST supports the USB-C technology with an STM32 Nucleo Pack as a discovery and development tool to minimize design effort. The pack includes a NUCLEO-F072RB board, a USB-C and PD expansion board, and a full-featured USB Type-C cable. The expansion board features two Dual-Role Power USB Type-C ports with a discrete analog front end.

The STM32F0 USB-C and PD Nucleo Pack (P-NUCLEO-USB001) is available at a unit price of $49.90.