While not exactly new at this point, if you want to play around with USB-C connectors, you’ll need more than the D+, D-, power, and ground of its predecessors, and simply stripping wires back is more than a little messy. For this job, Reclaimer Labs is offering the USB-C Power Delivery PHY Breakout board.
What’s interesting about this board is that it doesn’t simply provide pins that go directly to the USB-C lines, but uses an ON Semi FUSB302 port controller chip to allow for more intelligent interfacing over I2C. Functions include sensing plug orientation, determining or advertising power levels, and even negotiating alternate modes for the versatile connector.
Board design files are available here, under an MIT-style license. Interestingly, this product listing was put out in 2016, and while USB-C continues to be adopted more and more, there’s an extremely good chance you still have various other style connectors attached to your computer. Perhaps one day things will consolidate around this “new” standard. Given just how complicated/capable it is, this type of breakout should be useful well into the future!
Of course, this isn’t the only USB test/breakout device that we’ve seen here. This Micro USB device shows whether you have data connections along with charging (a lack of which can be quite frustrating). Here’s a roundup from 2017 of a few other similar devices, and another of “Exotic” breakouts, including the one seen here, that you might find interesting. I personally have one of these Limepulse USB checker devices. It’s sadly retired, but has been way more useful than I imagined!