ATORCH USB PD Power Meter Comes with USB type-C, type-B, and type-A Ports

Most smartphones are charged over a USB port, and many single board computers are powered by a micro USB or USB type-C port, and USB power meters such as USB Charger Doctor can be useful to evaluate phone chargers, as well as measure power consumption of SBCs.

With the launch of the USB type-C connector and features such as USB PD (Power Delivery), old USB power meters are not adapted to the new standard since the connector and most importantly voltages are different, so we need USB PD compatible meters like Satechi USB Type-C power meter. Today, I decided to look for more options on Aliexpress, and you’ll find many USB-C power meters with the cheapest models going for under $5 shipped. However,  ATORCH J7-c model caught my attention since it supports both USB type-C, micro USB type-B, and USB type-A power sources, so you can keep using the same meter for all your USB testing needs.

USB PD Power Meter USB Type-C USB type-A

ATORCH J7-c USB-PD power meter specifications:

  • Display – 128×64 Dot matrix display with backlight
  • USB Ports
    • USB type-C input and output ports
    • USB type-A input and output ports
    • Micro USB input
  • Fast Charging Standards – USB PD, Qualcomm QC 2.0 & QC 3.0, Android BC1.2, MTK-PE (5V / 7V / 9V / 12V), etc…
  • Voltage Measurement Range – 3.6V to 32V
  • USB D+/D- Voltage Range – 0 to 2.9V
  • Current Measurement Range – 0 to 5.1A
  • Energy Accumulation Range – 0 to 999,999 mAh
  • Power Consumption Range – 0 to 999,999 mAh
  • Time Range – 0 to 999 hours 59 minutes 59 seconds
  • Dimensions – 6 x 6 cm

ATORCH J7-c

The display supports different display modes, as well as English and Chinese languages. If you are interested in ATORCH J7-c power meter, it’s currently sold for $7.22 including shipping.

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17 Comments
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tkaiser
tkaiser
1 year ago

Unfortunately not really suitable for Micro USB measurements.

Vincent B
Vincent B
1 year ago

I guess it could work with micro usb to usb cable …

tkaiser
tkaiser
1 year ago

Unfortunately not since you can only measure at the wrong end of the cable. The ‘powered by Micro USB’ sh*t show is mostly related to a) the voltage drop happening in average (AKA crappy) Micro USB cables and b) normal users only looking at amperage ratings and being not familiar with such phenomenons like cable/contact resistance and Ohm’s law… Take an average (crappy) Micro USB cable of 2m length and power something that needs 5W. On the irrelevant end of the cable the powermeter would show ‘5V @ 1A’ but on the only important other end of the cable it… Read more »

tkaiser
tkaiser
1 year ago

Hmm… with such an adapter you might measure something but at least not the Micro USB cable in question (which is often the root cause of SBC instabilities). That’s IMO one of the most annoying ‘support troubles’ with SBC that can’t be powered reliably: that average users don’t get what’s happening between PSU and board and instead waste their own and other’s time investigating/blaming software issues instead of fixing their voltage drop problem they’re not even aware of. Not only relevant for Micro USB powered devices but also those using USB-C in ‘dumb mode’ like NanoPi M4 and NEO4 (USB-C… Read more »

blu
blu
1 year ago

Why are the M4 and Neo not capable of PD? Usb hubs or something else?

tkaiser
tkaiser
1 year ago

> Why are the M4 and Neo not capable of PD?

No idea. I would assume since both USB PD capable DC-DC circuitry adds a bit to BOM costs and good USB-C chargers that implement PD correctly are rather expensive?

Anyway: direct result of this is users complaining Armbian would be unstable compared to FriendlyELEC’s OS images due to Armbian allowing RK3399 to clock up to 2.0/1.5 GHz while FE is relying on RK3399 BSP defaults (1.8/1.4GHz). Those high DVFS operating points result in a lot more consumption for just a slight performance increase so… https://github.com/armbian/build/commit/abce2efea13e7845b53bc9336e85373bcc2ea746

willy
willy
1 year ago

You should set them as turbo frequencies only so that users can enable them manually but they are not used by default.

tkaiser
tkaiser
1 year ago

This looks like a more sane approach, thanks. Just to ensure I search in the right places… We would need

* operating-points-v2 compatbile entries
* mark the respective OPP as ‘turbo-mode’
* set /sys/devices/system/cpu/cpufreq/boost to 0 but enable users to set it to 1

What am I’m missing?

theyguyuk
theyguyuk
1 year ago

For understanding cables and voltage drop for sbc , I recommend Andreas Spiess #177 Avoiding suprises YouTube video from 6th Jan 2018.

FransM
FransM
1 year ago

If I click on the link I get a price of $ 8.35

tkaiser
tkaiser
1 year ago

> aliexpress.com/store/product/RD-TC64-Type-C-color-LCD-USB-Voltmeter-ammeter-voltage-current-meter-multimeter-battery-PD-charge/923042_32911231718.html

This one can only measure at the wrong end of the cable (no way to measure the influence of cable resistance)

> aliexpress.com/item/POWER-Z-USB-PD-Tester-PD-Quick-Charger-Voltage-Current-Ripple-Dual-Type-C-KM001-Meter

404 — dead link but searching for ‘POWER-Z USB PD Tester KM001 Professional’ is sufficient.

Adam
Adam
1 year ago

Oops, thanks

DurandA
1 year ago

I’m not sure what USB-PD compatibility means for such a device. I believe it only measures the voltage between VCC and GND and the Quick Charge/USB-PD negotiation is up to the connected device and the USB supply.

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