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Data communications via limited length audio jack




Data communications via limited length audio jack


Methods, systems, and apparatus for selectively communicating data and audio over a limited-size audio plug. A host device determines whether an audio accessory or a data communicating accessory is plugged therein via a signal, or lack thereof, communicated to the host device via the audio plug of the accessory. The host device then either communicates audio or data over the audio plug contacts that are typically used only for audio communication based on whether its...



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USPTO Applicaton #: #20170054257
Inventors: Cesar Lozano Villarreal, Ruenjou Lu, Mahmoud R. Amini, Jonathan M. Zweig, David C. Breece, Iii


The Patent Description & Claims data below is from USPTO Patent Application 20170054257, Data communications via limited length audio jack.


CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This Continuation application claims the benefit of U.S. Non-Provisional application Ser. No. 13/841,628 filed Mar. 15, 2015, entitled, “DATA COMMUNICATIONS VIA LIMITED LENGTH AUDIO JACK”, which is hereby incorporated by reference in its entirety for all purposes

BACKGROUND

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Many electronic devices such as cellular phones, tablet computers, and the like have numerous input/output (I/O) interfaces that allow connectivity with other devices using one or more structural and communication protocol standards or, in some cases, proprietary standards. Such I/O interfaces make debugging the electronic devices by software engineers a fairly seameless task as the debugging tool can interface with the electronic devices using one or more of these common I/O interfaces, such RS-232, USB, etc.

Some electronic devices, however, have a limited number and type of I/O interfaces. A good example is portable audio players in which only an audio receptacle for receiving an audio plug (also known as an audio jack, stereo plug, mini-stereo headphone jack, microphone jack, etc.) may be provided. In these types of electronic devices debugging becomes much more challenging as the audio receptacle is typically designed to only carry audio signals (audio output from the device and, in some cases, microphone input). Debugging using a wireless communication technique is possible but also fraught with difficulties, including challenges arising from when the problems with the electronic devices arise from or interfere with the devices wireless communication circuitry, and challenges arising from wirelessly communicating with many devices arranged in close proximity to one another on an assembly line.

Some techniques for communicating data over an audio plug are known. These techniques typically call for data to be communicated from the electronic device via the audio output channels of the audio receptacle, and for data to be communicated to the electronic device via the microphone channel of the audio receptacle. That is, audio plugs include TS (tip-sleeve) connectors, TRS (tip-ring-sleeve) connectors, and TRRS (tip-ring-ring-sleeve) connectors, where ‘tip’ refers to an electrical contact being arranged at the tip of the audio plug, ‘ring’ refers to a ring contact being arranged next to the tip contact, and ‘sleeve’ refers to a contact being arranged at an end of the connector opposite the tip. For stereo audio, at least a TRS is generally required, as the tip and ring contacts are used for the left and right audio channels, respectively, and the sleeve contact is used as ground. To add a microphone channel, a TRRS connector is generally required, where the second ring contact is used for the microphone channel.

Accordingly, TRRS audio plugs may generally be used to communicate data via the microphone channel and one of the audio channels. However, there are continuing efforts to reduce the size of electronic devices, especially devices intended to be ‘portable’, and thus continuing efforts to reduce the size of the I/O interfaces included therewith. Since industry standards have evolved that effectively define the minimum lengths/spacing of tip, ring, and sleeve contacts of an audio plug, it may be extremely difficult and/or costly to incorporate a receptacle sized to receive a TRRS audio plug where the receptacle is both (a) compatible with the industry standards defined for the TRRS audio plug and (b) small enough to be effectively integrated into reduced size electronic devices. Thus, challenges arise when attempting to communicate data to and from an electronic device having a reduced-size audio plug receptacle as there is often insufficient space for the microphone contact that enables data to be communicated to the electronic device.

SUMMARY

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Embodiments of the present invention are generally directed to host devices, accessories, and audio plugs. Some particular embodiments are directed to selectively communicating audio and data over a plug connector, communicating audio and/or data over a connector having a split-ring contact, and audio plugs including split-ring contacts.

In accordance with some of the methods described herein, an electronic device may be operable to selectively communicate audio and data over a plug connector to an accessory. This may be done by the electronic device detecting, at a receptacle connector of the electronic device including a plurality of receptacle contacts, insertion of a plug connector into the receptacle connector. The plug connector includes an insertion element coupled to a base, and the insertion element includes a plurality of plug contacts arranged linearly between the base and a tip of the insertion element. The plurality of plug contacts include a tip contact arranged at the tip of the insertion element, and a ring contact arranged between the tip contact and the base. The electronic device may then determine whether a signal is communicated to the electronic device via one or more of a first contact of the plurality of receptacle contacts and a second contact of the plurality of receptacle contacts. The first contact is arranged to electrically contact the tip contact of the plug connector upon insertion of the plug connector into the receptacle connector, and the second contact is arranged to electrically contact the ring contact upon insertion of the plug connector into the receptacle connector. The electronic device may then selectively communicate one of an audio signal or a data signal via at least one of the first contact or the second contact based on whether it is determined that a signal is communicated to the electronic device via one or more of the first contact and the second contact,

In accordance with other methods described herein, an electronic device may be operable to selectively communicate audio and data over a plug connector having a split-ring contact. This may be done by the electronic device detecting, at a receptacle connector of the electronic device including a plurality of receptacle contacts, insertion of a plug connector into the receptacle connector. The plug connector includes an insertion element coupled to a base, and the insertion element includes a plurality of plug contacts arranged linearly between the base and a tip of the insertion element. The plurality of plug contacts include a split-ring contact, where the split ring contact includes a plurality of contacts that partially circumscribe an axis extending linearly from the base to the tip of the insertion element. The contacts of the split ring are electrically insulated from one another. The electronic device then determines whether a signal is communicated to the electronic device via one or more of the plurality of receptacle contacts, and then selectively communicates one of an audio signal and a data signal via at least one of the plurality of receptacle contacts. Communicating the data signal includes communicating the data signal to at least one of the receptacle contacts that electrically contacts at least one of the plurality of contacts forming the split ring contact when the plug connector is fully inserted into the receptacle connector.

In addition to the methods of operating electronic devices described herein, embodiments are also directed to electronic devices An electronic device according to one embodiment may include a plug connector including a base and an insertion element. The insertion element is coupled to and extends linearly from the base, and includes a plurality of plug contacts arranged linearly between the base and a tip of the insertion element. The plurality of plug contacts include a tip contact arranged at the tip of the insertion element, and a ring contact arranged between the tip contact and the base. The electronic device may also include communication circuitry coupled to the plug connector and operable to perform a variety of operations. For example, the communication circuitry may be operable to output a signal over at least one of the tip contact and the ring contact, determine whether a response to the signal is received over at least one of the tip contact and the ring contact, and establish data communication over the tip contact and the ring contact when it is determined that a response to the signal is received over at least one of the tip contact and the ring contact.

An electronic device according to another embodiment may include a plug connector including a base and an insertion element. The insertion element is coupled to and extends linearly from the base, and includes a plurality of plug contacts arranged linearly between the base and a tip of the insertion element. The plurality of plug contacts includes a split-ring contact. The split ring contact includes a plurality of contacts that partially circumscribe an axis extending linearly from the base to the tip of the insertion element, where the contacts of the split ring are electrically insulated from one another. The electronic device may also include communication circuitry coupled to the plug connector. The communication circuitry may be operable to perform a variety of operations. For example, the communication circuitry may be operable to output a signal over at least one of the plug contacts, determine whether a response to the signal is received, and establish data communication over at least one of the contacts forming the split ring contact when it is determined that a response to the signal is received over at least one of the tip contact and the ring contact.

In addition to the electronic devices and methods of operating electronic devices described herein, embodiments are also directed to audio plug connectors having one or more split-ring contacts. Specifically, at least one embodiment is directed to a plug connector including a base operable to support the plug connector for insertion into and removal from a receptacle connector. The plug connector may also include an insertion element extending linearly from the base. The insertion element includes a plurality of electrical contacts each extending linearly from the base. At least two of the electrical contacts have portions that are located at identical distances from the base, where the at least two electrical contacts are electrically isolated from one another. The plug connector may further include a plurality of conductive elements disposed within the insertion element. The conductive elements are electrically coupled to at least some of the electrical contacts of the insertion element so as to communicate signals between the electrical contacts and one or more electronic devices coupled to the plug connector.

For a fuller understanding of the nature and advantages of embodiments of the present invention, reference should be made to the ensuing detailed description and accompanying drawings. Other aspects, objects and advantages of the invention will be apparent from the drawings and detailed description that follows. However, the scope of the invention will be fully apparent from the recitations of the claims.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

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FIG. 1 illustrates a system for selectively establishing data communication or audio communication over an audio plug according to an embodiment.

FIG. 2A is a schematic diagram of plug detection circuitry according to an embodiment.

FIG. 2B is a schematic diagram of audio output circuitry according to an embodiment.

FIG. 2C is a schematic diagram of data communication circuitry according to an embodiment.

FIG. 3 illustrates a process of a host device for selectively establishing data communication or audio communication over an audio plug according to an embodiment.

FIG. 4 illustrates a process of an accessory for establishing data communication over an audio plug according to an embodiment.

FIG. 5A illustrates a simplified split-ring plug connector according to a first embodiment.

FIG. 5B illustrates a cross-sectional view of the split ring connector of FIG. 5A through plane A-A.

FIG. 6A illustrates a simplified split-ring plug connector according to a second embodiment.

FIG. 6B illustrates a cross-sectional view of the split ring connector of FIG. 6A through plane B-B.

FIG. 7A illustrates a simplified split-ring plug connector according to a third embodiment.

FIG. 7B illustrates a cross-sectional view of the split ring connector of FIG. 7A through plane C-C.

FIG. 8A illustrates an isometric view a split-ring plug connector according to an embodiment.

FIG. 8B illustrates a cross-sectional view of the split-ring plug connector of FIG. 8A through a plane extending along the length of and through the center of the plug connector.

FIG. 8C illustrates a cross-sectional view of the split-ring plug connector of FIG. 8A through a plane extending perpendicular to the length of connector (i.e., through line E-E).

FIG. 9 illustrates a system for establishing data communication and/or audio communication over a split-ring audio plug according to an embodiment.

FIG. 10 illustrates a process of a host device for selectively establishing data communication or audio communication over an audio plug having a split-ring contact according to an embodiment.




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stats Patent Info
Application #
US 20170054257 A1
Publish Date
02/23/2017
Document #
15253649
File Date
08/31/2016
USPTO Class
Other USPTO Classes
International Class
/
Drawings
15


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20170223|20170054257|data communications via limited length audio jack|Methods, systems, and apparatus for selectively communicating data and audio over a limited-size audio plug. A host device determines whether an audio accessory or a data communicating accessory is plugged therein via a signal, or lack thereof, communicated to the host device via the audio plug of the accessory. The |Apple-Inc
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