FAQ

General – Expand AllCollapse All

Q: What is PortPilot?
A: PortPilot is an advanced USB power analyzer. PortPilot plugs in-line between a USB host (computer, charger, etc) and USB device (phone, USB drive, other USB peripheral) and measures the power consumption of the device. PortPilot can identify different host types and display the maximum current provided.

Q: What can I do with PortPilot?
A: PortPilot has many uses, from troubleshooting problems with phone/charger compatibility to making sure you can charge your device safely. For developers, PortPilot is a great tool for measuring the current draw of USB devices.

Q: What does PortPilot measure?
A: PortPilot measures the voltage on the USB port and the current flowing to the USB device. PortPilot’s display shows these values as well as the power (mW) and total energy (mWh) going into the device.

Q: How does PortPilot work?
A: PortPilot connects between your device and a charger or other USB port. PortPilot analyzes the type of USB port and displays information that can help troubleshoot charging problems. If a device is connected to PortPilot’s output port, the display indicates how much power is flowing into the device.

Q: What about data transfer?
A: Pressing the button on the front of PortPilot will toggle between allowing and blocking data transfer to or from your device. Data blocked mode is useful for safely charging your phone at public charging stations. PortPilot remembers which mode you have selected, so there’s no need to press the button each time you use PortPilot unless you’re changing modes. You can tell when PortPilot is blocking data from the bottom line of the display.

Q: Can I dim the backlight on PortPilot's display?
A: Yes. To dim the display, press and hold the button on PortPilot for 4 seconds. Release when the display becomes dim. To return the screen to full brightness, press and hold the button until the screen becomes bright.
Q: What is the difference between PortPilot and PortPilot Pro?
A: They are the same — PortPilot, formerly known as PortPilot Pro, is an advanced USB power analyzer with an LCD display, auxiliary data port, charger identification capabilities. In our original Indiegogo campaign two version of PortPilot were offered, but we are currently focused on the more sophisticated model.

 

Technical – Expand AllCollapse All

Q: What are the measurement specs for PortPilot?
A: PortPilot measures current with a resolution of 1mA and voltage with a resolution of 1mV. Display resolution depends on range (e.g. display will read with format “255mA” below 1A and 1.03A above 1A) but full resolution data can be downloaded via the auxiliary data port.

Q: What is the maximum current that PortPilot can measure?
A: PortPilot’s current measurement range extends to 3.0A.

Q: How does PortPilot sense current? Does it use high or low side sensing?
A: PortPilot senses current with a precision 25milliohm sense resistor located on the VBus line (high side sensing). As a result, PortPilot will not introduce shifts in the USB ground line that would complicate development and interoperation with other test equipment.

Troubleshooting – Expand AllCollapse All

Q: What is this red sticker on PortPilot's display?
A: PortPilot units are shipped with a protective film covering the LCD display. To remove, pull on the red tab (in some cases tweezers or other small tool may be required) and the plastic film should come right off.ScreenProtectorFilm_s

Q: What is the maximum current that PortPilot can measure?
A: PortPilot’s current measurement range extends to 3.0A.

Q: How can I tell what version of firmware my PortPilot is running?
A: When first plugged in to a host (charger, PC, etc.) PortPilot will display the firmware version on the bottom line of the display for several seconds.VersionScreen_s