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A question about USB cables


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#1 clayto

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Posted 18 November 2016 - 01:25 PM

I understand the quality of USB cables can have a significant effect on their performance, including their effectiveness in transmitting current to charge batteries in tablets and laptops. It has been suggested that the cable supplied with my Cube 2-in-1 tablet, for charging via USB 2 micro C may not be as high as it could be. How can I tell? It looks OK to me ie. it is quite substantial, the heaviest gauge I have (and had).

 

It has made me wonder about some other cables I use which are very lightweight / thin, because they are the sort used in small retractable cassettes. I use them (a) because I have them and (B) mainly because they help to reduce cable clutter. They are not used for charging but mainly for USB flash drives, and can work OK with an unpowered  7 drive USB Hub with all drives in use (in practice I dont  use them that way). I have not used them for charging, but sometime I will try it out of curiosity. I have been surprised to discover how effective they are.

 

In contrast I have problems with an external USB HDD with two substantial USB cables for both power and data. Most of the time it does not work and to get it working I have to keep plugging / unplugging until the drive comes to life.

 

A final point, how good are the fairly new flat cables? I have one which seems OK for charging. In general are they better or worse than traditional cables?


Edited by clayto, 18 November 2016 - 01:48 PM.


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#2 britechguy

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Posted 18 November 2016 - 01:47 PM

I have noticed little to no practical difference between USB cables of any quality when it comes to connecting and charging things such as smartphones, digital cameras.  They all have worked for me from the dollar store variety through the expensive ones and with no real noticeable differences in behavior.

 

As to your USB HDD, it may be the HDD itself.  I have now had 3 external backup drives of the desktop sized, externally powered variety either get wonky or die entirely well before what I ever would have thought was "their time" (read: in under 2 years).  By contrast, every "pocket-sized" external hard drive I use that was originally intended as a laptop backup device, with no external power source, has worn like iron and just keeps going and going and going.  I advise all my clients now to avoid desktop units and buy the small, USB powered ones.


Brian  AKA  Bri the Tech Guy (website in my user profile) - Windows 10 Home, 64-Bit, Version 1803, Build 17134 

      Memory is a crazy woman that hoards rags and throws away food.

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#3 clayto

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Posted 18 November 2016 - 01:50 PM

Why do I keep getting a smily, which is supposed to be ( B)


Edited by clayto, 18 November 2016 - 01:51 PM.


#4 Animal

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Posted 18 November 2016 - 02:49 PM

"Why do I keep getting a smily,"<snip>

Because any time you type either of the examples below without first using the 'list' BBCode option. The forum BBCode trigger will resolve to that particular sunglasses smiley
 
b) or  B)
Regardless of the preceding ( being typed or not

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#5 clayto

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Posted 20 November 2016 - 10:46 AM

(B) (B) ?



#6 FreeBooter

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Posted 20 November 2016 - 10:57 AM

Hi Clayto,

 

Are you asking information about USB type C connector if so visit my tutorial link is below.

USB Type-C Connector

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#7 clayto

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Posted 20 November 2016 - 12:22 PM

I have read your tutorial. My new computer has just one type © -- it is for charging. I understand it only transmits data at USB 2 speed, but I doubt I will use it for that as I have 3 other USB 2 ports. Quite good for a 2-in-1 10.1 'tablet'  --- 2 are in the optional keyboard --- a good feature I think. It also has micro HDMI for which I would like to find a use for sometime. I guess there will never be a way to connect upwards from USB 2 to USB 3. I stream to TV satisfactorily via GoogleCast. 



#8 FreeBooter

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Posted 20 November 2016 - 07:04 PM

What you mean by connecting upwards from USB 2 to USB 3?

 

Micro HDMI to HDMI Cable


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#9 clayto

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Posted 22 November 2016 - 02:56 PM

You can connect downwards ie. you can connect a USB 2 flash drive or other device via a USB 3 port and it will work OK but you cannot connect via a USB 2 port to a USB 3 device and have it work, can you? Will there eventually be an adapter to make this possible, or is it just never going to be technologically possible. If one could have 'universal compatibility' it could affect buying decisions. For example there is a USB 3 hub I am interested in but have not bought as I do not know if it would work at USB 3 speed if plugged into a USB 2 socket. If it does not there would be no point. The spread of USB 3 is presumably inhibited by this lack of 'upwards compatibility', I guess? 



#10 FreeBooter

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Posted 22 November 2016 - 05:20 PM

The biggest difference between the two types of technology is speed. USB 2.0 offers transfer rates up to 480 Mb/s, which was a significant boost over its predecessor. However, USB 3.0 is 10 times faster, offering transfer rates up to 5 Gb/s.
You can connect USB 3.0 device to USB 2.0 port but speed will be reduce to USB 2.0 standard speed which is 480 megabits per second (mbps), or 60 megabytes per second (MBps).  You cannot purchase converter to increase the speed of USB 3.0 devices connected to USB 2.0 port.

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#11 Bulgaristan

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Posted 23 November 2016 - 05:54 AM

You can connect downwards ie. you can connect a USB 2 flash drive or other device via a USB 3 port and it will work OK but you cannot connect via a USB 2 port to a USB 3 device and have it work, can you? Will there eventually be an adapter to make this possible, or is it just never going to be technologically possible. If one could have 'universal compatibility' it could affect buying decisions. For example there is a USB 3 hub I am interested in but have not bought as I do not know if it would work at USB 3 speed if plugged into a USB 2 socket. If it does not there would be no point. The spread of USB 3 is presumably inhibited by this lack of 'upwards compatibility', I guess? 

Happen to me as well, sometimes you just need to add some manual motherboard drivers for full compatibility between USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 devices.
Can you please post the model of the computer or the motherboard I know this is windows 10 and everything should happen automatically but still some issues like this occur. 



#12 britechguy

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Posted 23 November 2016 - 12:24 PM

You can connect downwards ie. you can connect a USB 2 flash drive or other device via a USB 3 port and it will work OK but you cannot connect via a USB 2 port to a USB 3 device and have it work, can you? 

 

Yes, you can, but it will work at USB 2.0 speed.  All versions of USB are backward compatible, meaning that you can hook a USB 3.0 device to either a USB 2.0 or USB 1.0 port and it will function, but it will  function at the maximum speed supported by the connection.  I have a USB 3.0 backup drive that I use on several machines, some of which have no USB 3.0 ports.  It's even set up such that its activity light glows blue when it is hooked up at USB 3.0 speeds and white if it is currently connected to a USB port of an earlier specification.

 

You can, of course, connect a USB 2.0 or USB 1.0 device to a USB 3.0 port as well, but it will act precisely as it would were it to have been connected to a USB port that matched its own spec.

 

As has already been noted, there is no way to "up spec" an existing USB port to behave as a later, faster spec behaves.  You have to replace them (where that's possible, and on many laptops it is not).


Edited by britechguy, 23 November 2016 - 12:26 PM.

Brian  AKA  Bri the Tech Guy (website in my user profile) - Windows 10 Home, 64-Bit, Version 1803, Build 17134 

      Memory is a crazy woman that hoards rags and throws away food.

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