USB Cables Basics
Knowing USB cables basics to connect multiple computer peripheralsUniversal Serial Bus (USB) cables came onto the scene in 1995 to enable the attachment of multiple devices to USB connectors on a host computer. USB offers the advantage that devices can be hot swapped, i.e. connected and disconnected to or from a computer while the computer is running. You don't even have to reboot the computer. USB cables have largely replaced the slower serial and parallel cables, which require a controller for each device.
USB connector size specs are relatively loose to minimize incompatibilities between USB plugs and receptacles. USB cables only have plugs (i.e. male connectors). Two-way communication with hosts is enabled via Type-A connectors and with devices via type-B connectors. USB cables are limited to 16.5 ft. in length due to a round trip timeout limit, though a maximum of 98.5 ft.t is allowable by connecting a hub between adjacent cables.
USB data cables use twisted pair for data in order to minimize cross-talk. When shopping for USB cables, consider the following:
1. Acquire A-A or B-B USB cables (standard or extension) to connect peripherals and host devices.
2. Select A-B USB printer cable.
3. Get A-mini USB camera cable for cameras, cell phones and other consumer electronic devices.
Connect USB hosts and peripherals with A-A or B-B USB cables
Purchase A-B or A-Mini B USB printer cables for connecting a printer to a computerPrinters normally require an A-B USB cable to connect to a host computer, though, in some cases, an A-Mini B cable is required. The A end connects to the computer, while the B or Mini B end connects to the printer.
Buy USB camera cables for uploading pictures to a computerIf you're looking for USB cables for use with digital cameras and camcorders, these distributors probably have what you're looking for. Cameras typically use an A-Mini B cable, but this varies.
- When scouring through available USB cables and connectors, remember that mice, keyboards and joysticks are low speed applications; thus, the associated USB cables do not require shielding. Low-speed cables operate up to 1.5 Mb/s. For higher speed applications, such as connecting hard disk drives, high-speed USB cables are available, which handle data rates of up to 12 Gb/s and are also able to withstand higher voltages, inherent in such applications. Visit the various suppliers of USB cables to identify which ones are high speed and which are low speed.
- Before connecting high-speed devices, make sure the USB connector on your host computer is rated at USB 2.0 and not USB 1.1. USB 1.1 connectors can only handle older, low-speed peripherals.
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