What is a USB mini cable?

The small USB socket found on digital cameras, external hard drives, USB hubs and other equipment. Mini USB is much smaller than USB Type A and B but twice as thick as Micro USB (see illustration below). Mini USB and all other USB connectors are expected to be superseded by USB Type C. See Micro USB, USB Type C, USB 3.0 and USB.

Digital cameras typically have a Mini-B USB socket for the Mini-B/Type-A cable that plugs into the computer or hub.

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If you’ve ever wanted to transfer data or even charge a device, you’ve probably seen and used a USB cable. But — as you may have realized with utter disappointment when those bulk USB cables you bought failed to fit the gadget you wanted to use — not all USB cables are the same. The Universal Serial Bus (yes, that’s what it stands for) was first developed in the 1990s, and there have been a lot of technological developments since then. The newest USB cables may offer faster speeds and different compatibility, which means it pays to know a bit more about the differences between each type. Let’s examine them below.

USB-A

A type-A connector is one you’ve probably used a fair amount. If you’ve ever purchased these bulk USB cables, they’re what you typically plug into a computer USB port when you transfer data, use an external keyboard for typing, or utilize a mouse for a PC.

USB-B

Type-B connectors are almost square in shape. You’ve probably seen them when you plug in a printer cable or an external hard drive cable to a computer. But they aren’t as common a sight as type-A these days.

USB-C

One of the newer USB cables on the scene is the type-C. Unlike other connectors, this one is actually reversible, meaning that it can be plugged in upside down if you want. It also offers data transfers of higher speeds and is generally thought to be more powerful. It’s become the standard for many new laptops, tablets, and phones (and even by Apple).

Mini-USB

These connectors used to be the standard for mobile devices, cameras, and MP3 players. Like their name suggests, they’re smaller than a regular USB port. That’s why they’re often used for smaller devices. They aren’t used as often anymore, but you still may find some devices that have this compatibility.

Mini-USB connectors were introduced together with USB 2.0 in April 2000, for use with smaller devices such as digital cameras, smartphones, and tablet computers. The Mini-A connector and the Mini-AB receptacle connector have been deprecated since May 2007.Mini-B connectors are still supported, but are not On-The-Go-compliant; the Mini-B USB connector was standard for transferring data to and from the early smartphones and PDAs. Both Mini-A and Mini-B plugs are approximately 3 by 7 mm

Micro-USB

This is currently considered to be the standard connector for mobile devices and other gadgets — except the devices that Apple produces. The micro allows information to be read without help from a computer, meaning you can connect one device directly to a phone with help from one of these bulk USB cables.

USB 3

USB 3 cables are what’s known as “backward compatible,” meaning they actually work with older USB ports and other bulk USB cables. But these cables have different shape pins so they can be used more frequently (and are often colored blue so you can tell them apart). However, it’s important to note that all devices have to be USB 3 compatible to obtain those higher speeds. For example, if you have a USB 3.1 compliant device, you’d be able to transfer data at 10 Gbps if you use these cables. But if you have an older device, you won’t be able to achieve the same speedy data transfer rates.
Depending on the number of devices you own and the way in which you use them, you’ll probably have at least a few of these USB cables in your possession. But now, you’ll be able to identify them — and understand the lingo if you need to replace them.

USB-C

Developed at roughly the same time as the USB 3.1 specification, but distinct from it, the USB-C Specification 1.0 was finalized in August 2014 and defines a new small reversible-plug connector for USB devices.The USB-C plug connects to both hosts and devices, replacing various Type-A and Type-B connectors and cables with a standard meant to be future-proof.

The 24-pin double-sided connector provides four power-ground pairs, two differential pairs for USB 2.0 data bus (though only one pair is implemented in a USB-C cable), four pairs for SuperSpeed data bus (only two pairs are used in USB 3.1 mode), two “sideband use” pins, VCONN +5 V power for active cables, and a configuration pin for cable orientation detection and dedicated biphase mark code (BMC) configuration data channel.Type-A and Type-B adaptors and cables are required for older devices to plug into USB-C hosts. Adapters and cables with a USB-C receptacle are not allowed.

Full-featured USB-C 3.1 cables are electronically marked cables that contain a full set of wires and a chip with an ID function based on the configuration data channel and vendor-defined messages (VDMs) from the USB Power Delivery 2.0 specification. USB-C devices also support power currents of 1.5 A and 3.0 A over the 5 V power bus in addition to baseline 900 mA; devices can either negotiate increased USB current through the configuration line or they can support the full Power Delivery specification using both BMC-coded configuration line and legacy BFSK-coded VBUS line.

Alternate Mode dedicates some of the physical wires in the USB-C cable for direct device-to-host transmission of alternate data protocols.The four high-speed lanes, two sideband pins, and‍—‌for dock, detachable device and permanent cable applications only‍—‌two USB 2.0 pins and one configuration pin can be used for Alternate Mode transmission. The modes are configured using VDMs through the configuration channel

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Are all mini USB cables the same?

Is Mini USB still used?

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Post time: Feb-13-2021
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