Good to see that the MAX 16984 chip can survive +/-8 KV ESD (direct contact)...but what is the point here since the phone circuit might not be capable of handling the same level of disturbances? I believe the phone circuits are not designed to automotive standards. So what makes a difference here?
The existing cigarrette lighter format is not bad, for high current and 12V needs. It's got a lot of good surface area, compoared with USB, plus it's also sturdy. Even though a more purpose-designed 12V connector might be more compact, if it didn't have this cigarrette lighting mission in life.
Also, this USB power standard keeps changing, and it looks like they want to change some more in the near future. So I don't think it's such a great idea to embed the standard in cars, unless the USB power smarts can easily be upgraded.
This reminds me a bit of the OnStar and similar telematics schemes. When analog cellular went off the air in 2008, in the US, a lot of cars were left without this feature. The basic message from the auto companies was, if you want to retain that feature, feel free to visit one of our showrooms and buy a new car. Even though in principle, since these systems were all quite modular in design, a new cellular standard COULD have been accommodated with a mere module swap. At least, accommodated for the same set of features offered in the analog cellular days, if not supporting all the latest bells and whistles.
When there's a will, there's a way. The problem is, there isn't a will all too often.
I agree. They need a USB adapter-adapter. Today, we have that in the 12v outlet to USB adapters, with all the electronics built in.
Others raised the question, but I'll repeat it here. Is that model really broken?
If you are going to bury the smart USB charging into the car, you better have a module that just provides the electrical interface and can be replaced without disassembling the dash board, because the USB ports are going to fail over time.
I have only had one USB port failure on a laptop, and it saw far gentler use in life than a typical USB 'outlet' is going to see inside a car.
Most of the new models today usually come with 1 USB port in addition to how many 12V cigarette lighters the car has equipped (1 or 2). The cigarette lighter has been around for too long that there are quite a number of gadgets is powered by it. To me, it would make no sense to remove it.
USB port is a nice to have in my opinion. There are quite a number of cigarette lighter to USB gadget. I believe they are already doing their job properly. Adding a USB charging port sounds a good idea but it is not necessary. I would rather have 2 cigarette lighters, 1 in the front while 1 in the back.
USB has power budget negiotiation. A 5 years old in car USB power adaptor probably won't charge today's smartphone. Maxim is on the right direction. Yet, I don't quite understand challenges of in car USB charging. Maybe, there are more challenges in an electric car than in a gasoline car that is draining battery power from a lead-acid battery. :-?
An additional consideration is that USB connectors are not particularly robust after multiple insertions, especially considering that in-car use often results in wires being pulled around and snagged. I would be concerned to see USB ports integrated into dashboards without any simple way to replace them once they are damaged/worn out...
The Iphone charging issue referred to is (I believe) due to the conventional USB charging current being limited to 0.5A. Most smartphones (Iphone and HTC, Samsung etc) require something nearer to 1A to provide both device operating power and battery charging power simultaneously, especially when running apps in the car like navigation.
Some devices can be pursuaded to draw more than the maximum 0.5A by connecting the D+/D- lines together in the USB charging lead. This works on my HTC smartphone and enables me to use navigation apps on long journeys whilst charging the phone battery to 100%.. You do need to check that the car charger/USB adapter can supply the current needed first tho! Many of them are marked as rated up to 1A but will run very hot at this type of current level...
Well... I'dd really like USB charging ports to be integrated on the dashboard, at least two USB ports, but I would not give up the ciggarete lighter plug...
I use it for my mini air compressor, in case the pressure in my tires needs adjusting, and for small cool box I sometimes take with me to picknicks or trips...
There are a lot of other devices that need 12V, and up to now I haven't seen any other conector in car to supply it (and with 10 or so amps).
But I would do one thing... I would replace it with someting more compact. Actualy none of my friends that smoke, use the cigarette lighter in the car.... they use the connector for chargers, SAT-nav and other gadgets...
One advantage of the USB is it's smaller, taking up less dashboard space. But, you really need two or more, thereby killing any space savings. USB might cost more because it needs a DC/DC converter to get down to 5V. The cig lighter socket is just the 12V from the vehicle's electrical system and is thus more universal.