Integrated controller simplifies USB in embedded designs

August 08, 2016 // By Graham Prophet
Silicon Labs’ USBXpress controller, CP2102N, is a highly integrated, low-power bridge device, intended to provide providing a simpler, faster way to add USB connectivity to new and legacy embedded designs.

It eliminates firmware development and provides advanced functionality in QFN packages as small as 3 x 3 mm; it simplifies USB-to-UART connectivity and speeds design-in for a wide range of portable, power-sensitive and space-constrained applications such as USB dongles, point-of-sale (POS) terminals, data loggers, gaming controllers and personal medical devices. The IC is a simple, drop-in solution for adding USB to new designs and also for updating existing RS-232 designs to USB using minimal components and printed circuit board (PCB) space. Based on Silicon Labs’ architecture that eliminates the need for external crystals, resistors and other external components, the fixed-function bridge device integrates a USB 2.0 Full Speed controller and UART interface in a single-chip.


The CP2102N device is Silicon Labs’ lowest power USB connectivity solution, delivering an operating current of <10 mA and extending battery life for power-sensitive applications. Features such as a remote wake-up capability and USB battery charger detection allow the device to wake-up a suspended host and to detect the type of charger connected to the system, further reducing BOM cost.


The CP2102N bridge controller eliminates the need for USB protocol expertise or firmware and driver development, and is pin- and software-compatible with Silicon Labs’ existing CP210x USB devices.


Features include;

• Data transfer rates up to 3 Mbaud

• Energy efficiency: low active current of <10 mA

• Remote wake-up capability to wake up a suspended host device

• USB battery charger detection capability (USB BCS 1.2 specification) to detect the type of charger connected to the system

• Crystal-less operation and integrated regulator to reduce BOM cost

• Small-footprint package options: 3 x 3 mm QFN20, 4 x 4 mm QFN24 and 5 x 5 mm QFN28

• Royalty-free Virtual COM port drivers

• Advanced, easy-to-use software tools including Xpress Configurator to simplify development


Silicon Labs’ Simplicity Studio development environment includes the GUI-based Xpress Configurator tool; developers can configure and