|Product Performed to Expectations:||10|
|Specifications were sufficient to design with:||10|
|Demo Software was of good quality:||10|
|Product was easy to use:||10|
|Support materials were available:||10|
|The price to performance ratio was good:||10|
|TotalScore:||60 / 60|
The application proposal selected for this RoadTest was to use the Microchip PoE USB-C to provide power and data to a Raspberry Pi. A testing methodology was documented in the series of blog posts. This review highlights some of the findings. If the reader desires more detail, please consult the blog post.
When I think of Power Over Ethernet (PoE), I think of an Ethernet cable carrying power to an RJ45 connected Ethernet host. This product uses the Ethernet cable to source power but the host connection is a USB-C. The images above are a cut and paste from marketing material, the same for the short vendor summary below.
The Microchip PoE to USB-C® adapter connects IoT devices with a USB-C connector to Power over Ethernet (PoE) networks, enabling users to leverage the advantages of PoE and USB-C technologies. The PD-USB-DP60 is a PoE to USB-C adapter that provides both power and data to USB-C hosts and power to USB-C Powered Devices.
The PD-USB-DP60 adapter enables flexible installation of USB-C devices, removes the need for a close power outlet and resolves the issue of limited USB cable length. The PoE source can be up to 328 ft/100m from the location of the USB-C device. A single Ethernet cable is needed while delivering up to 60W of USB power at the output of the adapter.
The product worked as designed. The host used to test the Microchip PoE USB-C would not typically be deployed with this product for data and power support. That being said, I found nothing in my limited tested that could result in a lower ratings. I would have made a few not applicable if the choice was available.
The Microchip PoE USB-C was successfully deployed to provide data and power to a Raspberry Pi4B single board computer. Attempts to provide both data and power to PiZeroW, Pi3B & Pi3B+ were not successful. Microchip PoE to USB-C® Power and Data Adapter RoadTest Review Data Success The failure to support other Pi devices was not a function of the Microchip PoE USB-C.
The Microchip PoE USB-C showed no performance reduction when the Pi load was increased. Microchip PoE to USB-C® Power and Data Adapter RoadTest Review Power Through a series of software and hardware load tests, the power measured at the Pi was sufficient to prevent any of the normal Pi power degradation alarms from triggering. The device performed on par as with a wall wart power supply.
The Microchip PoE USB-C provided data throughput that reflected the capabilities of the Pi device interface. Microchip PoE to USB-C® Power and Data Adapter RoadTest Review Data Success For this test the Pi was configured to use On-The-Go (OTG) providing a data output at the USB-C power connector. Microchip PoE to USB-C® Power and Data Adapter RoadTest Review Data Revisited The data throughput from the USB-C interface is fairly low compared to the output at the standard Ethernet interface. The lower data throughput was not a function of the Microchip PoE USB-C but rather the Pi hardware.
My first impression of the product was very good. I liked what the manufacture did with the connector on the Microchip PoE USB-C. The set screw made it solid connection removing any fears it would become disconnected. The cable with an LED lamp to indicate power was a good, is a good engineering design consideration. Ever ask yourself the question, "I wonder if this thing is on?" Microchip PoE to USB-C® Power and Data Adapter RoadTest Review Initial Test The good first impression lasted throughout the review.
Testing the Microchip PoE USB-C with Pi hardware was a challenge. The Pi4B was the only device that sported a USB-C connector. Adapters were required to support the other Pi connectors. Not all adapters and cables are compatible. One USB to USB-C charger cable purchased for testing failed to work at all. The USB-C connector expands the capabilities of the USB interface. Making the assumption it is just wires connected to pins caused me no end of grief and aggravation. "It should work, its just a connector!" was a cry I uttered often.
I started the RoadTest with a limited understanding of the Pi USB-OTG (On-The-Go) capabilities. Insight into lan78xx driver support for Pi I have gained some knowledge about the interface but I haven't gathered enough experience to recommend the interface as a data solution. Microchip PoE to USB-C® Power and Data Adapter RoadTest Review Data
In the introduction Microchip PoE to USB-C® Power and Data Adapter RoadTest Review Introduction I promised to provide information on adapters and cables used for testing. The majority of my bag of trick connectors didn't work. The Microchip PoE USB-C would not work at all if it was connected to the USB-C data & power breakout board I purchased for testing. Providing information about stuff that doesn't work did provide any value so that offer was left by the way side.
I did use the Microchip PoE USB-C to support a Lenovo Yogi YB1-X90F laptop/tablet. The host uses a USB mini connector so an adapter was required. The host powered up and charged its battery with no issues. The host hardware and software have long exceeded their best before date, so data capabilities through the USB mini were non existent. Let me rephrase that "I couldn't find any support for that particular device or the operating system it was running that worked."
I took a look through my collection of hardware and found no devices that sported a USB-C connector. I'm not sure how extensive the connector is used in the industry, I just know I don't have any devices other than the Pi4B.
If I had need for power in a remote location that was cabled with Ethernet, the Microchip PoE USB-C is a power solution provided the device has USB-C capabilities. If the end device required data and could use the same USB-C connection, then this product is even more ideal. I would not use the Microchip PoE USB-C to power the Pi family of products as done in this RoadTest. It is not that the product is bad, it is just that there are products that are better suited to supporting the Pi that are not limiting.
I thank the E14 Community for their responses to my questions Insight into lan78xx driver support for Pi and will give marquee credit to lui_gough who's insight enabled me to get the Pi4B USB-C data connection working. My thanks to the RoadTest Review selection committee and the vendor for supporting the RoadTest review program. It is a pleasure to have the opportunity to explore the capabilities of technology, provide feedback and get free stuff in the process. Thanks folks.