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USB FAQ - Frequently asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions about USB Products

How can I find the USB cable for my camera on your website?

There are at least three different Mini USB standards used on Digital Cameras. There is the MiniB-5 and at least two different MiniB-4 types that I am aware of, and no effective cross reference as to which ones individual Manufacturers use on any given Model of Camera that they make. The Digital Camera Manufacturers compound the problem by giving very little information regarding the cables, limiting it mostly to just indicating that it uses a USB interface. This lack of information reduces the process down to having to compare your interface to the different cables available to hopefully match them up.

L-com currently carries the MiniB-5 and one of the MiniB-4’s.

How do I connect a IEEE-1394 (Firewire) device to the USB port on my computer or laptop?

USB is a Host/Peripheral protocol while IEEE-1394 (FireWire/iLink) is a Peer/Peer protocol, as such they are incompatible with each other. The simplest solution would be to add an IEEE-1394 card to your computer.

How fast is USB?

High speed USB products have a design data rate of 480 Mb/s. Full speed USB devices signal at 12Mb/s, while low speed devices use a 1.5Mb/s sub channel. The new USB 3.0 specification offers 4.8 Gbps!

What is a USB cable?

The term USB stands for "Universal Serial Bus". USB cable assemblies are some of the most popular cable types available, used mostly to connect computers to peripheral devices such as cameras, camcorders, printers, scanners, and more. Devices manufactured to the current USB Revision 3.0 specification are backward compatible with version 1.1.

Detail of USB Cable Construction

The USB cable standard allows for these advantages over serial cable types:

  • USB cables are "Hot Pluggable", in other words you can connect and disconnect the cables while the computer is running without fear of freezing the computer
  • USB cables are fast, transferring up to 480Mbps. Compare that to serial communication which transfers data at about 20Kbps USB cables carry power as well as signals. This allows for "USB powered" gadgets as well as recharging batteries in cameras and other USB peripherals
  • USB cables are designed with several distinct connector types, making it easy to identify which plug goes into the computer and which plug goes into the peripheral device
  • USB cables are a universal standard and are fairly easy to find and to afford
What kinds of USB peripherals can I connect to my PC?

USB 1.1 carries data at the rate of 12 megabits per second, which is sufficient for "medium to low-speed peripherals". This broad category includes some old telephones; digital cameras; modems; keyboards; mice; digital joysticks; some CD-ROM drives, tape and floppy drives; digital scanners and specialty printers. USB's data rate also accommodates MPEG-2 video-base products, data gloves and digitizers. USB 1.1 can also provide an interface for Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN) and digital PBXs. USB 1.1 is largely legacy now, operating on old versions of computer operating systems and old peripherals. Since USB 2.0 is backwards compatible, it is very unusual to find a device or software that is limited to USB 1.1.

USB 2.0 carries data at the rate of 480 megabits per second, about 40 times the rate of USB 1.1.This is sufficient for most modern high-speed devices, such as smartphones; tablets; newer digital cameras and camcorders; digital music equipment and MP3 players; digital readers such as the Kindle, Nook, and others; USB storage devices and external hard drives, CD ROM drives, and others; and a huge range of other products. USB 2.0 is backwards compatible with USB 1.1 devices, meaning you can plug in a peripheral device made for USB 1.1 to a USB 2.0 port. In addition, the power carrying capacity of USB 2.0 allows you to plug in non-signal products that just need power, such as USB fans, lights, can coolers, laptop coolers, and lots more, and you can use it to charge the rechargeable batteries in many portable devices.

USB 3.0 carries data at the rate of 4.8 gigabits per second, about 10 times the rate of USB 2.0 and 400 times the rate of USB 1.1. This is a newer standard, released in November 2008. The speed is usually not required for modern equipment, however it is very valuable in high-bandwidth and high-data load applications, like large-file storage; high-resolution photography and videography; complex music and audio file applications; and many newer computers and laptops. USB 3.0 is backwards compatible with USB 2.0, meaning you can plug devices made for USB 2.0 into a USB 3.0 port. USB 3.0 reduces power draw through more sophisticated power management, allowing more precisely powered products to use USB 3.0 for power and recharging.

How does the latching USB connector work?

What is the advantage of using the USB mountable extension cable assembly?