The K-SynC E Adapter: LAVA’s Ad-Hoc SimulCharge Solution

By: Adam Swimmer

3 Min Read

31 Oct, 2021

LAVA recently developed a custom-built Ethernet adapter, the K-SynC E, for a client who could not use our COTS SimulCharge adapter product families. LAVA SimulCharge adapters allow tablets and smartphones to simultaneously charge and access peripherals. Unfortunately, not all mobile devices are capable of supporting SimulCharge technology, as was the case with the Lenovo Tab M10 FHD Plus that the customer had previously purchased in bulk. So LAVA developed and built a new adapter that would work with the Tab M10 FHD Plus and provide an ad-hoc version of SimulCharge. This case study will examine the problem this customer faced regarding the tablets and how the K-SynC E provided a solution.

LAVA’s customer was a large communications company that operates TV demonstration booths for a membership warehouse club chain in the U.S. Staff used the Lenovo tablets to cast content onto the stores’ electronic displays. The problem this customer faced was that their tablets required power and a simultaneous data connection to receive updates and refresh the content displayed on the TV screens after regular business hours. However, their system used unreliable Wi-Fi connections to facilitate the data transfer, so downloading these updates to the tablets proved to be a challenge.

With a SimulCharge adapter, this would ordinarily be an easy fix. Many LAVA SimulCharge adapters are equipped for Ethernet and wired network connections, in addition to offering multiple USB port options for peripherals. However, SimulCharge technology is only compatible with USB-C mobile devices that implement the USB-C PD specification, which the Lenovo Tab M10 FHD Plus does not. With the tablets having already been purchased, changing models would have been costly.

To overcome this challenge, LAVA developed something new – the K-SynC E adapter, which features an Ethernet port for a wired network connection. This custom USB-C adapter is capable of receiving external input from our customer’s system, which tells the K-SynC E when to switch power mode (charging) to OTG mode, where the tablet can access data over the wired network. Thus, it provides an ad-hoc version of SimulCharge which is compatible with the Lenovo Tab M10 FHD Plus.

The PCB is hooked up to a media controller box which is used to control multiple TVs in the store. When the box sends a signal to the board, the tablet switches to OTG mode and is able to accept updates through the Ethernet port. When the signal is turned off, the tablet goes into a charge-only mode. The K-SynC E does not charge the tablet while it’s receiving updates, however, using a signal to turn OTG on and off achieves the equivalent results of a traditional SimulCharge solution on these otherwise incompatible tablets.

The K-SynC E works with any USB mobile device capable of OTG, however, it is a custom-built adapter, designed to solve the specific issue LAVA’s customer experienced charging and updating tablets, incapable of operating in Host mode while charging from an external power source. The K-SynC E provides an ad-hoc version of SimulCharge that allows the customer’s tablets to charge and receive updates over a wired network connection in intervals overnight and should not be confused with traditional SimulCharge technology.

If LAVA’s off-the-shelf products do not fit a customer’s needs, we have the ability to develop custom-made solutions, such as the K-SynC E, as the vast majority of our manufacturing and design is done in-house and we can discover new innovations in the process. For more information about the K-SynC E, check out the website.