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Some electronic words of wisdom

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posted on Jan, 12 2017 @ 11:23 PM
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Now I know this could possibly go in the "computers" section, but it is not a request for help, but rather more of a public service announcement for everyone's benefit (hence the post here in 'general').

All USB cables are not created equal! This is especially true for regular USB to mini/micro USB cables (i.e. like the kind you use to connect your phone (and even some cameras) to your computer with.

Earlier this week I was having some issues with my phone connecting to my PC (to download some pictures). For some reason the USB cables I had handy weren't doing anything but charging the phone. I was getting no recognition of the device on my PC. I tried everything, and nothing was working. I thought, surely it can't be the USB cable can it??? I tried not one, but two different cables (again, two I had handy...we all have millions right?) I was convinced there was something wrong with a driver somewhere or some other configuration issue. Again, I tried every configuration imaginable, to no avail.

Today I went to work and tried the same things on my PC at work. Hmmmmm...no problems at all, my PC recognized my phone as a peripheral device right away. WTH???

So tonight I came home and tried it again. Nothing. None of my cables would work. By my earlier test I now had a pretty good suspicion it wasn't my phone, but maybe it was my PC. So I tried some other USB devices (flash drives, etc) to verify the USB ports. All worked fine. Then I tried the phone again...nothing.

So then I went and got one of my other beefier high-end USB cables I use for some other select devices. Plugged in the phone and BOOM...worked just fine. I thought I might be imagining things so I repeated the same process with one of the other cables...nothing. Then again with the 2nd cable...nothing. I checked both cables and they work fine with some other simpler devices, but not the phone.

So, bottom line...there are some differences with USB cables. I'm thinking it must be an amperage issue as voltage should remain constant. I think some of the cheaper cables are thinner wire and can't handle the amperage needed for a more robust connection for transferring data. If a USB connected device (which is known to work) is not working properly, do try another cable before giving up...they are not all the same (despite specs which say they should be...USB being a standard and all).

Hope this helps someone.


edit on 1/12/2017 by Flyingclaydisk because: (no reason given)




posted on Jan, 13 2017 @ 11:30 AM
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Some USB cables are "Power Cables", they only have 2 of the 4 wires connected. They are designed for charging devices without data lines being connected. A regular USB cable has all 4 wires connected, 2 for power and 2 for data. Also, USB cables are rated for USB 1.0, USB 2.0, or USB 3.0 etc..these have different wire gauges "thickness of wires inside" the cable, that enable the cable to carry the amperage rated for that specification. So, you have to check the current rating of the cable when buying. Also, many cheaply constructed USB cables aren't built to the correct specifications, so they "say" they are USB 2.0, but the wire gauges are off, so they cause a higher voltage drop leading to malfunction in some applications. Then some USB cables have a Inductive choke near one end, to reduce noise on the cable. You'll see a fat circular cylindrical bump near one end, etc...USB cables are varied and different, there's a reason that the prices vary a lot. Just buying the cheapest cable usually enables one to discover all these problems.



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