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I am designing a machine and trying to make it look aesthetically pleasing.

Could I use off the shelf USB Type-C to Type-C cables to handle both power deliver and encoder data to/from a motor?

The DC motor is about 80W (@24 V) and uses 2 leads for power and 8 for the encoder. Could I technically use just one USB type cable to achieve this? I would not use the type-c connector, just the cable. The encoder has differential wires so hoping interference would not be an issue.

I understand that passive type-c cables are rated for only 3A but is that limitation due to the cable or the connectors and electronics in them?

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Can all USB Type-C to Type-C cables themselves handle 100 W?

That's really not the right question since the power (hopefully) isn't consumed in the cable. When choosing a cable you need to be mindful of:

  • Current carrying capacity. This is affected by wire material (Al, Cu, etc.), cross-sectional area and its ability to dissipate heat in the working environment (free-air, conduit, etc.) without melting the insulation.
  • Voltage rating. How many volts can the insulation withstand between cores and between cores and ground.
  • High frequency requirements. This is beyond the scope of this answer but includes EMI, cross-talk, shielding, etc.
  • Acceptable voltage drop. Voltage drop will be proportional to the product of length and current. To meet the maximum allowed voltage drop requirements the cross-section area of the wire may have to be increased.

So a better question would be:

Can all USB Type-C to Type-C cables handle 3.5 A at 24 V.


enter image description here

Figure 1. Hybrid power and data cables for servo applications. Source: MacRAE'S BLUE BOOK.

Depending on the size of your project it may be worth searching out suitable quantities of hybrid servo cable. Lapp, for example, do a wide variety but you may have difficulty buying in small quantities.

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Don't do this.

Always think about the user. The user sees a USB port and WILL connect it to another USB port of his PC.

Instead, go for exemple with some kind of M8/M12 connector. Those can be nicely integrated into your housing, you get it with all kinds of connector configurations and the user is unlikely to plug it into a USB port.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Not planning on using the usb connectors, just the cables \$\endgroup\$ Aug 27, 2016 at 5:56
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If you are using them for none usb spec applications, then all you are really interested is in the gauge of the power wires. Keep in mind that usb C is not rated for 3.5+ Amp at 24V, and even at spec rates, not all manufacturers of Usb C cables will meet spec. Many Usb 2.0 cables won't even meet Usb Dedicated Charging Port specs. Some barely meet Usb 2.0 data specs of 2.5W (5V +- 0.25V [2.5%] @ 0.5A). You pay for what you get.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Thanks! I tried to find this but failed. Do type-c cables not have a gauge standard? If full fledged PD cables can handle 5A at 20V, why wouldn't they handle 24 V at slightly lower amps? \$\endgroup\$ Aug 27, 2016 at 5:19

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