Why two power ports on a budget laptop??
#11
If I remember correctly, for the USB Type C connector, they reversed the spring on the contacts to put it on the cable. Thus, making the cables more expensive, (beyond what they added already).

This was to make the failure of springs easy to to replace, (buy a new cable). Instead of having a port failure on an expensive device.
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Arwen Evenstar
Princess of Rivendale
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#12
(08-03-2020, 11:41 AM)jiyong Wrote: What's the point of dismissing USB-C based on exceptions?
If it really was such a big mess, the whole world would complain about it.

The problem isn't the different voltages and current, it's about negotiating the correct voltage and current.
Remember Benson Leung? https://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2015/11/...on-amazon/
It's about implementing things properly, according to the standards.

Now that USB-C has matured, it is much simpler than a barrel port.
Try charging with a random barrel port charger, good luck with that.

Because when choice is with exceptions vs without exceptions I'd rather go with no exceptions. And there are a lot of things out there that are an unholy mess but most people don't complain because they just can't imagine anything better. Or they just don't care enough.

The problem is very much different voltages and currents, because not all chargers and devices and cables support all of them. And if device and charger can be identified relatively easily, cables - not so. Now that USB-C has matured, it is much more complex than a barrel port, even more so than when it just appeared. With USB power delivery you have multiple levels of the standard, and the device with charger have to negotiate the one that all of the charger, the device, and the cable support at the same time. Sure, there are definitely use cases where the complexity of charging over USB is justified, the main one being when the space is at premium (like in phones) and you need a connector as universal as possible. But it is a complex solution, and as almost any complex solution it is almost always has lesser reliability. On the other hand the only solution I can think of simpler than a good'ol PWM charger with a plain old barrel connector is a power supply that consists of only transformer, diode bridge, and a capacitor. I have an array of barrel connector chargers, they behave exactly as specified - the ones capable of only 1A at 5V can charge PBP extremely slowly, and every one that is specified to deliver 3A delivers it, regardless of USB cable used. There is a problem that my 4.5A charger won't charge PBP any faster, but that's not the issue with the charger.

And USB-C will never become much simpler than a barrel port - with barrel port all you need to know is size (which is very physical and obvious), polarity, voltage, and current (all three of which are usually specified on both device socket and the power supply), while with USB-C you need to know the standards supported by both the PSU and the cable.

Bottom line: don't like barrel port - either don't use it or vote with your money elsewhere, but don't try to convince people that technology with multiple standard levels and unobvious implementation compliance is somehow simpler than something much more straightforward. I, for one, much appreciate having the flexibility of both options.
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#13
(08-03-2020, 10:12 PM)moonwalkers Wrote: And USB-C will never become much simpler than a barrel port - with barrel port all you need to know is size (which is very physical and obvious), polarity, voltage, and current (all three of which are usually specified on both device socket and the power supply), while with USB-C you need to know the standards supported by both the PSU and the cable.

Bottom line: don't like barrel port - either don't use it or vote with your money elsewhere, but don't try to convince people that technology with multiple standard levels and unobvious implementation compliance is somehow simpler than something much more straightforward. I, for one, much appreciate having the flexibility of both options.

USB-C is already much simpler than a barrel port.
Worst case scenario you fall back to 5V.
Again, because there are some issues with cables, devices and chargers that are not according to the standards, should not be blamed on the standard.

The fact that the PBP doesn't accept more current, should not be blamed on USB-C.
It's simply how the PBP was built, nothing to do with USB-C.
USB-C doesn't force anything to support up to 20V 5 amps.
And even with this limitation, you can still charge the PBP.
That's a whole different situation with a barrel charger, as there are way more parameters to block the possibility of charging.

You call the barrel port much simpler, even when you need to know the size, polarity, voltage and current?
With USB-C you don't need to know the size (there is only one size), don't need to know the polarity and hardly ever you have to worry about voltage and current that would block charging.
I am not saying people should stop using a barrel port, all I am saying is that USB-C (when implemented according to the standard) is much simpler.
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#14
(08-04-2020, 04:43 AM)jiyong Wrote: USB-C is already much simpler than a barrel port.
Worst case scenario you fall back to 5V.
Again, because there are some issues with cables, devices and chargers that are not according to the standards, should not be blamed on the standard.

The fact that the PBP doesn't accept more current, should not be blamed on USB-C.
It's simply how the PBP was built, nothing to do with USB-C.
USB-C doesn't force anything to support up to 20V 5 amps.
And even with this limitation, you can still charge the PBP.
That's a whole different situation with a barrel charger, as there are way more parameters to block the possibility of charging.

You call the barrel port much simpler, even when you need to know the size, polarity, voltage and current?
With USB-C you don't need to know the size (there is only one size), don't need to know the polarity and hardly ever you have to worry about voltage and current that would block charging.
I am not saying people should stop using a barrel port, all I am saying is that USB-C (when implemented according to the standard) is much simpler.

Oh for crying out loud...

Yes, you do have different sizes, potentially (but very rarely) different polarities, different voltages and currents. The only difference with different levels of USB PD support - may potentially have wrong polarity and incompatible connector. Except! Polarity, voltage, and current are always specified on the power supply, and (except current) are also always specified on the power receptacle on the device, unlike USB where most cables have zero markings whether they are PD-aware at all and therefore can supply no more than 1.5A of current at 5V. And it's dead obvious whether the connector itself is compatible or not, there are actually standard sizes for those. If the power supply says it supplies 5V and 3A - you can be sure your PBP will be charging fine. So long as it supplies 5V it will be charging, though if it provides less than 3A it will be charging slowly but you'll know that ahead of time. There is no way to know that with an unfamiliar USB-C cable until you actually connect it, and I've ran into plenty USB cables that could not provide the full 15W of power to my PBP.

Once again, the bottom line is: if you don't like barrel port - either don't use it or just don't buy it. But please don't push certain fruity company's attitudes onto the rest of us, we like our multiple ports and multiple options.
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#15
Let me just briefly elaborate on my main point, which I think is getting missed amid discussion of which is "better"...

The Pinebook Pro is a budget laptop. And since it is a budget  laptop, why allocate that limited money to having two power ports? If you could choose between a $199 laptop with two incompatible power ports, or a laptop with only one power port but a longer battery life or upgradeable RAM or even just cheaper, which would you choose? Yes I'm sure if you ask enough people, someone would say they'd rather have three power ports, but such people are in the minority.

The point of business is finding out how to best utilize the limited resources available. Putting two power ports on one device is not a good way to utilize limited resources. And this isn't a cheap problem either... the cost of using the barrel jack is the cost of adding it to the laptop plus the cost of the proprietary power supply-- proprietary because it only works with the PB Pro. All this could be replaced with just a USB-A to USB-C cable and optional wall outlet (since USB-C is so commonplace that some people like me already have several USB-C chargers).

And since we're also now discussing the issue of barrel jacks vs. USB-C, let me just add that I have at least eight different devices with barrel jacks, and every single one is incompatible with the others. I'm not a huge fan of adding a ninth incompatible power supply to my power supply bucket. I'm still planning on buying the PB Pro just because it's so cheap and everything else about it is fantastic, but personally I'm going to throw that charger straight in the bucket as soon as I get it... And it's kind of annoying to pay for something that I will never use, especially in a budget device.
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#16
@gurk, Hmm, I just counted up my barrel jack devices in common use;
  • New desktop, (it's a small one, larger than a NUC, but still not large)
  • Broadband MODEM & router
  • Media player
  • Foot massager
  • Pinebook Pro
  • Old laptop
  • Media server
  • Remote console device for media server
  • Cheapo weather station, (cheap & cheesy, but I like it)
That's not including any device currently powered off or boxed up. Like;
  • External Blu-ray drive
  • eSATA / USB external drive bay, (the really old one I need to get rid of)
  • USB external drive bay
  • eSATA / USB3 external drive bay
  • Miniature computer, (my old media server)
Most are not compatible with each other.

One thing that can help with USB-C power adapters, is getting power only cables. Some devices won't need USB2 or USB3, or any of the other pins / functions. As much as it might be nice for my media player to have USB-C with data, I'd rather have a more flexible cable than my existing USB-C cables. (Which I bought WITH USB3 support, so extra wires.) That more or less applies to most of the above devices. Don't need data, extra wires. Just need 2 x power.

The exception I can see are, out right computers, like laptops. It would be nice for a USB-C power device to have:
  • Gigabit Ethernet or better
  • USB 3 device port(s)
  • USB 2 device port(s)
  • And of course power
So having a 6 to 8 port, USB-C power brick that can supply many of the items would be helpful. Some devices might draw too much power, (to allow other devices on the same power brick). But, hey they can have dedicated power bricks.

Gee, we can get a whole new generation of USB-C power bricks with builtin Ethernet ports, and switches. Meaning say 4 devices are powered from the USB-C power brick, and 3 are out right computer devices, (Pinebook Pro, etc...), they can see the Ethernet port. And SHARE it, like it was on a Ethernet switch. Reduce cabling! And, when my tablets or phone are plugged in to charge, they can drop WiFi and use wired networking. (Reduce the air wave congestion, which is bad in my apartment complex.)

I guess I am done with my opus :-(.
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Arwen Evenstar
Princess of Rivendale
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#17
(08-05-2020, 09:09 AM)gurk Wrote: Let me just briefly elaborate on my main point, which I think is getting missed amid discussion of which is "better"...

The Pinebook Pro is a budget laptop. And since it is a budget  laptop, why allocate that limited money to having two power ports? If you could choose between a $199 laptop with two incompatible power ports, or a laptop with only one power port but a longer battery life or upgradeable RAM or even just cheaper, which would you choose? Yes I'm sure if you ask enough people, someone would say they'd rather have three power ports, but such people are in the minority.

The point of business is finding out how to best utilize the limited resources available. Putting two power ports on one device is not a good way to utilize limited resources. And this isn't a cheap problem either... the cost of using the barrel jack is the cost of adding it to the laptop plus the cost of the proprietary power supply-- proprietary because it only works with the PB Pro. All this could be replaced with just a USB-A to USB-C cable and optional wall outlet (since USB-C is so commonplace that some people like me already have several USB-C chargers).

And since we're also now discussing the issue of barrel jacks vs. USB-C, let me just add that I have at least eight different devices with barrel jacks, and every single one is incompatible with the others. I'm not a huge fan of adding a ninth incompatible power supply to my power supply bucket. I'm still planning on buying the PB Pro just because it's so cheap and everything else about it is fantastic, but personally I'm going to throw that charger straight in the bucket as soon as I get it... And it's kind of annoying to pay for something that I will never use, especially in a budget device.

I triple dare you to extend battery life or add RAM slot or even simply reduce the price in any meaningful way at the cost of only removing something that costs less than a dollar per piece :-D You commented on my post "slightly ridiculous"? Well, at least I do my research before mouthing off and making absurd propositions. And yes, your proposition is absurd because the PBP charger is not "proprietary", I have at least five other chargers that use the same plug, all deliver the same voltage, only two of them deliver less than 3A, all of them work with PBP. New one can be bought for less than $7, much less if you buy in bulk. So unless you propose to ship PBP without any power supply at all... Which I wouldn't mind, BTW, _if_ PBP had support for faster battery charging than mere 15W that are not even always enough to sustain heavy system load.

However, what Arwen said makes perfect sense, and that is something I indeed would like to see. In fact, if there was a dock like that small enough to compete with the barrel plug AC charger (so far I haven't seen one) I'd be more open to dropping barrel plug and leaving just one USB-C port, even despite the fact that none of my other laptops will ever use USB-C for charging unless USB PD starts supporting 200W delivery (my phones don't use USB-C because they use Qi). Until then though I'm perfectly content being "narrowminded" and "judgemental" and all kinds of old-fashioned. Peace out.
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#18
@moonwalkers um???

Anyway, I addressed everything you're talking about in my previous post. 

Quote:Putting two power ports on one device is not a good way to utilize limited resources. And this isn't a cheap problem either... the cost of using the barrel jack is the cost of adding it to the laptop plus the cost of the proprietary power supply-- proprietary because it only works with the PB Pro. All this could be replaced with just a USB-A to USB-C cable and optional wall outlet (since USB-C is so commonplace that some people like me already have several USB-C chargers).
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#19
(08-06-2020, 07:27 AM)gurk Wrote: @moonwalkers um???

Anyway, I addressed everything you're talking about in my previous post. 

Quote:Putting two power ports on one device is not a good way to utilize limited resources. And this isn't a cheap problem either... the cost of using the barrel jack is the cost of adding it to the laptop plus the cost of the proprietary power supply-- proprietary because it only works with the PB Pro. All this could be replaced with just a USB-A to USB-C cable and optional wall outlet (since USB-C is so commonplace that some people like me already have several USB-C chargers).

You addressed all of nothing, you're only engaging in reputation war with addition of comments that frankly tell more about your own hubris and laziness, and your posts reek of inability to think beyond your own use case.

The point of budget devices is not just driving the price into the ground - that can easily be achieved. It's finding a point at which one can get maximum number of possible uses for a given price, where adding more use cases increases the price too much and reducing the price further compromises usability.

Removing barrel plug without replacing it with anything else will only negligibly reduce the price of the device itself (PSU can be always sold separately even with barrel plug) while reducing usability (AKA "I can no longer use USB-C devices and charge at the same time without USB-C dock or dongles/adapters"), making this ARM laptop, erm, less laptop-like and more toy-like. Replacing barrel plug with a second type C socket will preserve that use case and even add new, but AFAIK will increase the price of the main unit. Would I be willing to accept that increase? Yes, but I cannot say the same about everyone else. Would simply dropping the barrel plug work for some people, maybe even majority? Yes, I think so, but not for everyone, certainly not for me. Would not shipping power supply reduce the price? Yes, and I'm pretty sure that's where the main savings would be, not in dropping barrel plug, though they still would be maybe 2-3% of the price at most, especially factoring in shipping costs, but possibly enough to add the second type C port. The battery life on this device is likely limited the most by inefficiency of the drivers, extra RAM slot would be useless since RK3399 cannot address more than 4GiB RAM, but extra ports - that I always welcome.
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#20
It's worth pointing out that the EXACT same barrel charger is used on their SBCs (where they DO make their money.) Manu of those SBCs are not capable of utilizing USB-C. Taking that into account, it strikes me as feasible that Pine saves more money by being able to use the same barrel ports and PSUs for more than 5 devices. More than they likely would with anyone's proposed changes in this thread.

Let's also not forget: Pine is not a consumer device company, they are an embedded systems company.
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