The Cable Guide
The following information may be useful if you are looking for a specific type of cable and connector. It’s not the complete list, but it is does include the most common types. The connector is the most readily identifiable part of a cable, so we will focus mainly on that part of the cable’s anatomy.
The part that goes in is commonly referred to as male, whereas the port (or hole) it goes into is referred to as female. To continue the analogy, the process of plugging it in is politely called mating.
Now you will see recharging your phone in an entirely different light.
USB-A is most commonly used with computers or power outlets. When charging, you will connect the USB-A side into the USB-plug or into a laptop or computer.
USB-A cables will only go into the port one way. You can usually tell which way up they should be by the USB symbol printed on the top. Make sure that the cable is inserted the correct way so as not to damage the cable or device… true.
USB-B ports are mostly used to connect printers or external hard drives with computers. They are not as common as the other types of USB cables.
The USB-Mini was used for connecting mobile devices including MP3 players and cameras, and is a much smaller connection, thus allowing smaller devices to connect.
Micro-USB used to be the most common USB port and is still found on many older models. This type of connection allows data to be read without needing a computer. For example, you can connect Flash Drives, or Memory Sticks, directly to your mobile device.
Like USB-A cables, Micro-USB will only go into a port if it’s the correct way round. Be careful to match the shape of the port with the Micro-USB cable to avoid causing any damage.
USB-C (TYPE C)
USB-C is the most recent USB development and most new devices come with USB-C ports. USB-C cables allow high speed data transfers and a higher power flow, allowing your phone to charge more quickly. USB-C cables are also reversible and can be plugged in either way round.
USB 3 was designed to be able to be backwards compatible with earlier versions of USB cables and ports. The USB 3 has different shaped connector pins so it can withstand more frequent use. The USB 3-A and USB 3-B cables are identical to the USB-A and USB-B cables at the top of this article, except they are coloured blue inside to distinguish them. The USB 3 micro cable has extra pins to enable the transference of more data.
HDMI cables are one of the most commonly used and well-known cables for connecting computers, televisions, game systems, and other electronic devices. They were released in 2004 as a replacement for VGA cables because HDMI could carry and transmit both sound and video in high definition, while VGA cables needed multiple ports to connect sound and video.
3.5 mm Audio Cable (AUX)
Used as one of the most common audio cables for more than a decade, 3.5-millimeter audio cables can also be known as auxiliary or aux cables. They are best recognized when you want to listen to music to drown out the neighbors, get some studying done, or pay attention to an important video call. Just grab your headphones and use the 3.5-mm aux cable to connect them to the headphone port on your device.
Despite being invented more than 40 years ago, ethernet cables have never been in high demand by residential consumers when compared to USB, HDMI, or even old VGA cables. The reason for this is that ethernet cables are used specifically for connecting several devices on a local area network (LAN) or wide area network (WAN).
These networks are commonly seen in workplaces, but at home, ethernet cables are really only used to connect the computer directly to the modem or router. Ethernet cables can also be used for connecting security camera networks, allowing the user to control the cameras from one device, instead of each camera working on its own independent network.
More than 20 years ago these were primarily used to connect home satellites and local cable networks to the home in order to enjoy television with the family. At the time, internet access was only available with a dial-up modem through the local phone network. When cable internet was first introduced, coaxial cables quickly became a necessity for many residential homes.
Currently, coaxial cables are still used to connect home modems and routers to the incoming cable system. They are also useful for home satellite connections and are very easy to recognize due to the perfectly circular connector with a thin wire protruding from the center of the cable.
Lightning cable (and then there’s Apple…)
Apple devices uniquely and typically use a USB-C to lightning cable. Lightning cables are only meant to work with Apple devices, whereas USB-C connectors have a universal utility.
Since the introduction of iPhone 13, Apple no longer includes a wall adaptor when you buy the phone. There’s a cable (USB-C with lightning connector) in the box but no wall adaptor. Apple has assumed that loyal users already have a wall adaptor and so, in a bid to limit electronic waste (and cut costs), it did away with it as part of its new device offering. The good news is there are very good and affordable aftermarket wall adaptors available through Cool Stuf.
Cool Stuf has a wide range of cables and wall adaptors available at our retail shops:
POM: Vision City, Waterfront Foodworld, Rangeview Plaza; LAE: Andersons Foodland, Morobe Pharmacy; Madang: Andersons Foodland; Mt Hagen: Post PNG… or email us at coolstuf.com.pg
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