Confirmed: Raspberry Pi 4 has a USB-C Design Problem

Raspberry Pi 4 Won't Work with Some USB Type-C Cables

Many users also complained that the Pi 4 is not working with all USB-C cables.

As noticed by Tyler Ward, the detection circuitry of the new model Raspberry Pi uses a single shared cc pull-down resistor on the USB Type-C connector which causes it to be misidentified as an audio adapter accessory instead of a device that needs to be powered.

E-marking is a technique which gives a cable a digital signature based on what the cable is going to do.

"I expect this will be fixed in a future board revision, but for now users will need to apply one of the suggested workarounds".

Upton added that he was surprised that the issue did not show up in its testing program, which he claims is "quite extensive".

While basic USB-C cables deploy a single CC line which detects the right amount of current required by the Pi to power the device, the electronically marked cables use two CC connections which make them non-compatible with Raspberry Pi 4. However, it looks like the designers made a crucial error in designing the board that limits which USB-C cables you can use. "Instead of trying to come up with some clever circuit, hardware designers should simply copy the figure from the USB-C Spec exactly", wrote Leung.

"Benson Leung, an engineer at Google and one of the Internet's foremost USB-C implementation experts, has chimed in on the Pi 4's USB-C design too, with a Medium post titled "How to design a proper USB-C™ power sink (hint, not the way Raspberry Pi 4 did it)".

The Raspberry Pi Foundation isn't the only one to have flubbed this up. Incidentally, the new iteration does not have a dedicated power supply port and has to completely depend on USB Type C port. More specifically, it doesn't work with so-called e-marked cables, such as those used on Apple Macbooks and several other laptops.

The Pi 4 is not the first high-profile device to get the USB-C spec wrong. The second mistake is that they didn't actually test their Pi 4 design with advanced cables. "I get it, the USB-C cable situation is confusing and messy, and I've covered it in detail that there are numerous different cables", he continued. However, several modern-day chargers are able to deliver far more power owing to newer Fast Charging standards.

An easy workaround is to buy a non-e-marked cable or charger.

Fortuitously, it doesn't damage the Raspberry Pi 4, and it doesn't create any fire hazard.

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