The idea is simple: connect the (internal) USB-C to the USB-C on the outside and also the USB-A.
Now, granted, you can only plug in one thing at a time. But what if you run out of USB-A ports or USB-C ports?
This one let you connect either of them.
Yes I can imagine such a mistake, especially by a third party. I suppose in such a situation it would be best to remove the card whilst not in attendance or better maybe not have such a card to begin with.
It would seem that in a stationary position, like at home, a hub would better serve and whilst travelling I’m pretty sure four swappable cards will suffice.
Apart from the fact that it would be obviously very dangerous if you were to connect two things at one (especially a power supply and a 5V device), I don’t think this would really work anyway, as T junctions inside USB super speed lines probably degrade the signal way too much.
That’s one valid option, but I don’t think there’s enough room on the PCB.
Even though from the outside, it looks like such a thing could be possible, even a single USB-A receptacle takes up almost all of the internal volume of an Expansion Card. You can check this by opening up one of your USB-A Expansion Cards. There is just barely enough space for two USB-C receptacles to fit side by side, but not enough to then also add the circuitry needed to make both functional.
So, fun fact about USB: the way they handled backwards compatibility in USB 3.x was to… not be backwards compatible, and instead just have separate pins for 3.x and older devices. And the 2.0/3.x split was even carried over into Type-C, which still has dedicated low-speed pins.
What this means that you can effectively shove two devices into one port without a hub or mux, by…
Wiring up the 2.0 pins of the expansion connector straight into the D+/D- pins of the USB-A port (which will be 2.0 only)
Wiring up the high-speed lanes to the USB-C port
Connecting power and ground to both ports with appropriate diodes to prevent backpowering the connectors
Wiring up the CC pins on the expansion connector and Type-C port to make the card look like a single legacy adapter
There’s two deal breakers with this setup:
For safety reasons, we lose dual-role power, so you can’t charge the laptop with the Type-C port.
We also lose 2.0 pins on the Type-C port.
I don’t know of a solution for the first dealbreaker, but the second one is actually fixable! Turns out there’s silicon specifically for adding 2.0 pins to a 3.x-only port (and apparently those exist). It’s called the VL670/VL671. Since the expansion card only goes in one way, and we’re probably already breaking spec 10 ways to Sunday, we probably could also omit the 3.x lane mux on the expansion connector and get away with a really janky two-chip “”“hub”"".
Note that I have not validated or even tried wiring up anything this way. But it at least makes more sense than putting two ports in parallel with one another.
I wonder if the either/or function could be done mechanically, either with a little either/or door you slide, or perhaps a rocker that would block the port on one side when something is plugged in the other.
Would it be possible to charge the laptop on a port while a usb device is connected at the same time ? Since it’s a parallel connection I don’t think there might be a problem (other than device detection maybe ?)
Short answer: no.
Maybe, but no. Because while USB PD do not use data pins, they use two special pins on the connector for communication. How a single port handles those, in addition to the USB data pins, I am not sure.
Furthermore, you have to make sure that the peripheral is good with the current power on the rail (ranging from 5V to 20V) or else you will have to supply 5V from the onboard regulator.
The only reason I proposed such a thing is because how the device do not have a dedicated power port, meaning you will lose one thunderbolt just to power. While thunderbolt/USB hubs with power pass-through exist, they are, frankly, not the best solution. However, seeing how the Framework is not the “worker’s brick” of yesteryear I think this is not a huge issue. 3 ports are still quite good.
That’s what many docking stations and USB-C screens do. But the data device has to be ready to accept (or deliver) a higher voltage than 5V, so a dumb adapter wouldn’t work, the device has to be prepared for that, or at least you’d need an active adapter that converts the voltage appropriately.
As some said quote “juste use a hub” i do exactly that but im thinking about designing a terminal that would fit an expansion card slot and stick out, instead of an indépendant unit to get something with less cables sticking out.
Even thought of a dual expansion card terminal to allow to connect an egpu but I dont have thé Time to spend right now
I’m pretty sure USB PD (at least when done right) is a per-port thing. so you need to be able to provide the USB-A with 5V even though the card (and the laptop) is getting 20V. Voltage regulator (some small high-frequency buck-boost will likely do the trick).
Being able to do that would be nice. But, since now I have the option of the Framework 16, people who really need ports wouldn’t need to have janky (and frankly expensive and inconvenient) solutions like this.
If this is technically solved, this would be the best expansion card! It would be ideal if the A port was USB3 speeds, but even if the A port is USB2 speeds only, it’s still so much better than what is currently available.