Plugable Delivers USB-C Power Delivery Debug Device Based on Google “Twinkie” platform

The new USB-C connector and USB-PD specification enable charging at up to 100W. However, the protocol for negotiation between host and charger can be complex.

As Google was building the Chromebook Pixel (the first USB-C device to hit the market), it created a tool to allow the engineers to see what was happening at the USB-PD protocol level. This device, known by the codename “twinkie” was very generously released as an open design by Google. However it was not offered for sale as a finished product to the public.

Plugable Technologies worked with Google to bring this useful device to market as the new Plugable USB 3.1 Type-C Power Delivery Sniffer (USBC-TKEY for short).

USBC-TKEY in use

USBC-TKEY in use

Placed between a Type-C host and charger, the device can capture packet traces using the open source ‘sigrok’ application which can then be viewed and decoded using the companion open source ‘pulseview’ application.

This view into the communication between both a host and power source can be invaluable during product testing and development. Plugable Technologies thanks Google, Inc. for the opportunity to bring this very useful and unique product to market. Please check out our new product page here and our user guide here for an example of the typical workflow.

If you’re an engineer working on USB-C Power Delivery, this small device is the most cost-effective tool available today to help debug your designs. We hope it’s useful to you, and welcome any questions below or just email support@plugable.com. Thank you!

Where to Buy

8 comments on “Plugable Delivers USB-C Power Delivery Debug Device Based on Google “Twinkie” platform”

  1. khaw chin huat Reply

    hi

    i am interested to obtain a twinkie but amazon us listing says it does not ship this to Singapore where i live
    any other means for me to get one?

  2. Bob Boerner Bob Boerner Reply

    Hi khaw,

    Thanks for posting! Unfortunately we only sell the USBC-TKEY via Amazon.com. Sorry we couldn’t be of any more help…

  3. mon2@yahoo.com Reply

    Total Phase also offer their version of this analyzer. They will also support using their bus analyzer tools in the future. Prices do vary for this open source tool.

  4. Bob Boerner Bob Boerner Reply

    Our product is based on the open source ‘twinkie’ design from Google, so other manufacturers like Total Phase can also produce the device from the same design under the terms of the license, but at present our USBC-TKEY is much cheaper in price than Total Phase’s offering.

    Thank you,

    Bob
    Plugable Technologies
    http://www.plugable.com/support

  5. Mon2 Reply

    Any ETA on when this will be available through Amazon.ca ? Why the restriction to amazon.com ?

  6. Tony Wu Reply

    I got one during last Christmas shopping season for development purpose. However I still had a problem.

    Is there any new Twinkie firmware to download besides the one shown in
    https://www.chromium.org/chromium-os/twinkie web page?
    I can successfully download the code but I can only use sigrok-cli scan to find a demo device with 12 channels.
    I had updated dfu-util.exe to version 0.8.

    d:\projects\dfu-util-0.8-binaries\win32-mingw32> dfu-util -a 0 -s 0x08000000 -D
    twinkie.bin
    dfu-util 0.8

    Copyright 2005-2009 Weston Schmidt, Harald Welte and OpenMoko Inc.
    Copyright 2010-2014 Tormod Volden and Stefan Schmidt
    This program is Free Software and has ABSOLUTELY NO WARRANTY
    Please report bugs to dfu-util@lists.gnumonks.org

    Invalid DFU suffix signature
    A valid DFU suffix will be required in a future dfu-util release!!!
    Opening DFU capable USB device…
    ID 0483:df11
    Run-time device DFU version 011a
    Claiming USB DFU Interface…
    Setting Alternate Setting #0 …
    Determining device status: state = dfuIDLE, status = 0
    dfuIDLE, continuing
    DFU mode device DFU version 011a
    Device returned transfer size 2048
    DfuSe interface name: “Internal Flash ”
    Downloading to address = 0x08000000, size = 131072
    Download [=========================] 100% 131072 bytes
    Download done.
    File downloaded successfully

    C:\Program Files (x86)\sigrok\sigrok-cli>sigrok-cli –scan
    The following devices were found:
    demo – Demo device with 12 channels: D0 D1 D2 D3 D4 D5 D6 D7 A0 A1 A2 A3

    Thanks!

    • Bob Boerner Bob Boerner Reply

      From the transcript of your session it appears you are using a Windows system. We don’t support using the device in Windows and do our best to call this out in our product page and Amazon listing. The support for the unit within sigrok-cli is in a separate code branch of the application for Linux maintained by Google. Google calls this out on the Twinkie page you mention, and we also reference the need for installing from the Google repository in Ubuntu Linux 14.04 in our manual -> http://plugable.com/products/usbc-tkey/plugable-usb-3-1-type-c-power-delivery-sniffer-user-guide

      I would suggest downloading and installing our recommend distribution of Ubuntu Linux 14.04 (it is free to download) on a spare system to use the device as it has modest system requirements.

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