All about Computer Cables

USB Cables and Connectors

USB cables are used to connect most new devices to your computer including flash memory sticks, portable media players, internet modems and digital cameras. Computer accessories like mice, keyboards, webcams, portable hard-drives, microphones, printers, scanners and speakers can also be connected to the computer through USB ports. Additionally, USB cables are also used for charging a variety of gadgets including mobile phones or for transferring data from one computer to another.

Audio Cables “RCA/3.5mm

This cable has a Stereo 3.5mm(1/8”) male connector and goes to two RCA male plugs. Use this cable to connect a portable CD player, iPod, media player, or computer system to your home stereo or TV.

Audio Cables “Digital Coaxial Audio

This high-performance digital coax audio cable with a premium connector provides a superior connection for your digital equipment.This quality cable construction guarantees the highest integrity of signal transfer, resulting in a dynamic, fully defined sound for the best listening experience your equipment can deliver.

Audio Cables; – “3.5 mm Headphone Jack”

The most common audio cable is the standard headphone jack, otherwise known as a TSR connector. It is available in several sizes, but the most common ones used with computers are the 3.5 mm or 1/8″ mini audio jack. Most speakers and microphones can connect to the computer with these audio cables. The microphone port on your computer is usually pink while the speaker port, where you insert the stereo audio cable, is colored green.

Some computers have additional TSR audio ports colored black, grey, and gold; these are for rear, front, and center/subwoofer output, respectively. A larger variety of the TSR connector, 1/4? TRS, is commonly used in professional audio recording equipment and it can be connected to a computer using an 1/4″ to 1/8″ converter (pictured right).

Audio Cables- “Digital Optical Audio”

For high-end audio, like when you want to connect the output of a DVD player or a set-top box to a Dolby home theater, you need the Toslink(or S/PDIF) connector. These are fiber optic cables and can therefore transmit pure digital audio through light. Some laptops and audio equipment have a mini- Toslink jack but you can use a converter to connect it to a standard Toslink (Toshiba Link) port

Video Cables

Video Cables “Micro – HDMI

In just a few years, HDMI has become the standard audio and video connection for high-definition home theater gear. Every new HDTV has at least two HDMI inputs, and gadgets such as DVRs, DVD players, Blu-ray players, game consoles, and computers feature HDMI outputs to deliver audio and video. Having a single cable handling both images and sound has the potential to make home theaters much simpler, but that’s not always the case. Faced with complex standards ( HDMI 1.2 vs. 1.3), confusing buzzwords (Deep Color), and exorbitantly priced cables (Monster), many buyers may be tempted to throw up their hands and stick with the analog cables they know.

Video Cables – “VGA”

One of the most common video connectors for computer monitors and high-definition TVs is the VGA cable. A standard VGA connector has 15-pins and other than connecting a computer to a monitor, you may also use a VGA cable to connect your laptop to a TV screen or a projector.

Converter cables are also available to let VGA monitors connect to newer computers that only output HDMI or DVI signals. A smaller variant of VGA, Mini-VGA, is available on some laptops but with the help of a converter, you can connect any standard VGA monitor to a Mini- VGA port of your laptop.

Video Cables – “DVI Monitor Port”

If you have purchased a computer in the recent past, chances are that it uses DVI instead of VGA. The new breed of “thin” laptops use the smaller variants of DVI like the Mini- DVI and Micro- DVI (first seen in MacBook Air).

A DVI cable has 29 pins, though some connectors may have less pins depending on their configuration. DVI’s video signal is compatible with HDMI, so a simple converter can allow a DVI monitor to receive input from an HDMI cable.Additionally, DVI to VGA converters are also available for connect your new graphics card to old monitor that supports only VGA mode.

Video Cables – “S – Video”

S-Video cables, otherwise known as Separate Video or Super Video cables, carry analog video signals and are commonly used for connecting DVD players, camcorders, older video consoles to the television. Standard S-Video connectors are round in shape and may have anywhere between 4-9 pins.

CAT 5e Network Cables

Both CAT-5e and CAT-5e have 100 ohm impedance and electrical characteristics supporting transmissions up to 100 MHz. The differences between CAT-5 and CAT-5e show in all aspects of performance: capacitance, frequency, resistance, attenuation, and NEXT. CAT-5e components were designed with high-speed gigabit Ethernet in mind. While CAT-5 components may function to some degree in a gigabit Ethernet, they perform below standard during high-data transfer scenarios. CAT-5e cables work with ATM and gigabit speed products. Simply, if you are using a 100Mbps switch, get CAT-5e cable instead of CAT-5 .

CAT-5e is formally called ANSI/TIA/EIA 568A-5 or simply CAT-5e (the e stands for ‘enhanced’). CAT-5e is completely backward compatible with current CAT-5 equipment. The enhanced electrical performance of CAT-5e ensures that the cable will support applications that require additional bandwidth, such as gigabit Ethernet or analog video

Data Cables

“Firewire IEEE 1394

Firewire, otherwise known as IEEE 1394, i.LINK, or Lynx, is a faster alternate to USB and is commonly used for connecting digital camcorders and external hard drives to a computer. It is also possible to ad-hoc network computers without a router over Firewire.Firewire typically has 6 pins in its connector, though a 4 pin variety is common as well.

eSATA Cables

While SATA cables are used internally for connecting the hard drive to the computer’s motherboard, eSATA cables are designed for portable hard drives, and can transfer data faster than USB or Firewire. However, the eSATA cable cannot transmit power, so unlike USB, you cannot power an external hard drive with eSATA. The eSATA cable is somewhat different from the internal SATA cable; it has more shielding, and sports a larger connector.

RG58 and Transceiver Cables

A sheath that is cylindrical in shape further surrounds the insulating spacer of the cable. The insulating jacket forms the final circle and the insulation that surrounds the RG58 holds a low impedance of about 50 to 52 ohms. It is usually utilized for producing signal connections,which are of low-power. The RG58 cable is most utilized for the Thin Ethernet if the highest length needed is about 185m. The RG58 cable frequently works as a generic carrier and holder of power signals.

Networking Cables

“Phone RJ11 Cable”

The telephone cable, otherwise known as RJ11, is still used around the world for connecting to the Internet through DSL/ADSL modems. A standard phone cable has 4 wires and the connector has four pins. The connector has a clip at the top to help maintain a tight connection.

“Ethernet Cable”

Ethernet is the standard for wired networking around the world. The Ethernet cable, otherwise known as RJ45, is based on CAT-5 twisted pair cable and is made from 8 individual wires. The Ethernet connector, likewise, has 8 pins and looks similar to a phone plug, but is actually thicker and wider. It too has a clip to help maintain a tight connection like a phone connector.

Power Cables/Cords

A power cord, line cord, or mains cable is a cable that temporarily connects an appliance to the main electricity supply via a wall socket or extension cord. The terms are generally used for cables using a power plug to connect to a single-phase alternating current power source at the local line voltage(generally 100 to 240 volts, depending on the location).