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New Microchip USB2.0 4-Port Controller Hub Featuring FlexConnect Technology Connects Smartphones to Automotive Infotainment Systems

Upstream Port Selectable Between USB2.0 and HSIC, I/O Bridging to Multiple Serial Protocols and Advanced Battery Charging Address Developers’ Needs for Lower Power and Flexibility


Microchip Technology Inc., a leading provider of microcontroller, mixed-signal, analog and Flash-IP solutions, today announced the extension of its USB2 Controller Hub (UCH2) portfolio with the new automotive-grade, 4-port USB84604 IC. Featuring FlexConnect technology and an upstream port that supports both USB2.0 and High Speed Interchip (HSIC) connectivity, the new USB84604 UCH2 is ideal for automotive infotainment system designs, where USB port expansion and connectivity is needed.

Meeting the desire of consumers for a “connected vehicle,” Microchip’s FlexConnect technology allows for easy port reversals or “role swapping.” The USB84604’s downstream port 1 is able to swap with the upstream host port, thus transferring the host capability to the product connected to the UCH2, such as smartphones and tablets. This unique feature allows for the smartphone ecosystem of software and applications to be connected to the automobile infotainment system.

The IC’s HSIC connectivity, which incorporates Microchip’s Inter-Chip Connectivity™ technology, enables the USB84604 UCH2 connected on a circuit board to utilize the ubiquitous USB 2.0 protocol, dramatically decreasing power consumption. This power reduction is most obvious when actively transferring data, and has been measured to be one seventh of the power consumed by a pair of traditional USB 2.0 physical-layer transceivers.

The 4-port USB84604 UCH2 can attach to an upstream port as either a Full Speed hub or as a Full/High Speed hub. When connected to a High Speed host, the four downstream-facing ports can operate at Low Speed (1.5 Mbps), Full Speed (12 Mbps) or High Speed (480 Mbps). Additionally, the USB84604’s integrated battery-charger-detection circuitry supports both downstream battery detection and charging, providing the ability to replace external battery chargers with advanced battery-charging modes such as USB-IF Battery Charging (BC1.2) and Apple®.

To ensure optimized signal strengths and robust operation in the harsh Electromagnetic Interference (EMI) environments typical of automotive applications, Microchip’s VariSense™ and PHYBoost technologies have also been integrated into this UCH2.

The USB84604 functionality and configurations can be loaded from external Flash. Its on-chip, One-Time-Programmable (OTP) memory can be used to load permanent configurations, and its System Management Bus (SMBus) slave interface can be used to customize the functionality of the USB84604. This interface enables control of the digital and USB lines for internal testing, configuration of the hub to function with the desired options when enumerating, and the loading of custom firmware to fully unlock the features of this new UCH2.

The USB84604 UCH2 also enables applications to seamlessly communicate via multiple protocols and methods, such as I2C™, SPI, UART and general-purpose I/O. This enhanced functionality allows system designers to use the hub controller as a virtual fifth port. For example, if an authentication chip needed updating in the infotainment system design, that function could be easily moved from the HMI to the breakout box, minimizing requalification.

“USB connectivity is a high-growth segment, as automobile manufacturers are responding quickly to consumers’ increasing needs for the seamless usage of their personal devices in vehicles,” said Dan Termer, vice president of Microchip’s Automotive Information Systems Division. “The highly integrated USB84604 represents a new generation of UCH products with a rich feature set that enables designers to quickly develop innovative, leading-edge solutions.”


Development Support

The USB84604 UCH2 is the latest to be supported by Microchip’s free ProTouch hub configuration software tool, which is available today for download from ProTouch software makes it easy to generate configuration settings and program the UCH2’s internal OTP memory, or any external SPI Flash. The USB4604 Evaluation Board (part # EVB-USB4604, $399.99) is available today, enabling FlexConnect applications and allowing access to the UCH2’s digital pins used in I2C, GPIO and UART bridging. This development tool also contains onboard SPI Flash that enables different revisions of the silicon to be evaluated on the same PCB.


Pricing & Availability

The four-port USB84604 UCH2 in a 64-pin QFN package is available today for sampling and volume production, with prices starting at $5.44 each in 10,000-unit quantities. For additional information, contact any Microchip sales representative or authorized worldwide distributor, or visit Microchip’s Web site at To purchase products mentioned in this press release, go to microchipDIRECT ( or contact one of Microchip’s authorized distribution partners.


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About Microchip Technology
Microchip Technology Inc. (NASDAQ: MCHP) is a leading provider of microcontroller, mixed-signal, analog and Flash-IP solutions, providing low-risk product development, lower total system cost and faster time to market for thousands of diverse customer applications worldwide. Headquartered in Chandler, Arizona, Microchip offers outstanding technical support along with dependable delivery and quality. For more information, visit the Microchip website at


[i]Note:  The Microchip name and logo is a registered trademark of Microchip Technology Incorporated in the U.S.A. and other countries. Inter-Chip Connectivity, and VariSense are trademarks of Microchip Technology Inc. in the U.S.A. and other countries. All other trademarks mentioned herein are the property of their respective companies.[/i]

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