What the hell is with USB cables?

What idiot’s bright idea was it to have a million different kinds of USB plugs? I have to keep a grocery bag full of different USB cables next to my computer desk. Every time I plug in a different device, I have to search for the right one and untangle the cord. Why? Why couldn’t they just have one large plug and one small one?

I have a cellphone, GPS and camera, and they each use a different small USB plug. (And my Ipod uses a USB-to-proprietary-plug cable.)

And who decided it would be a good idea to make the most common plug be symmetrical so you have to randomly try to plug it in, and then flip it over if it doesn’t work?

Oh, sorry, my bad. I was feeling passive aggressive that week.

I just hate the fact that I need to go around replacing all my outlets to include a USB plug, and for some reason “USB” involvement means it’s some how worth a fortune. I can get a 12 outlet powerbar for $1, but a single fucking USB outlet is $10!

(I’m exaggerating to make a point, I realize there are cheaper versions, we call this hyperbole).

They should have designed it so it would work when plugged in either way. But, there is kind of a work-around: almost all USB plugs go in with the “trident” logo facing upwards.

I have an USB cable that came with adapters for the various style of plugs.

Let’s all go back to SCSI cables, Parallel ports & cables, RS232 ports and all those other fun things!

And don’t forget to not include the cable with any printer you sell!

USB 3 is starting to pick up in the marketplace.

It’s only going to get worse.

Much, much worse.

Though the thing that pisses me off the most is devices that use USB cables to charge their batteries but will only charge off of proprietary transformers. Apple started it, and they’re pigfuckers for simply coming up with the idea, but now Logitech and others are getting into that stupidity too. It makes me stabby.

At least with SCSI you knew that, no matter how many cables you had, you didn’t have the right one. Then you’d have to go hunt through the CDW catalog for a 25 pin left-handed double pin Splendronix to 43 pin double inverted half-rectangular SCSI XXIV-turbo-doublewide.

In many cases there’s a good reason for that. USB ports by specification can only deliver a maximum of 500 mA of current* if requested by the device. Things with large batteries (e.g. iPad) can’t source enough current from the port to actually charge the cells.

  • some/many systems violate this specification with the ports integrated onto the system mainboard, and tie the +5 Vcc pins directly to the +5 VDC power plane, but the USB device cannot count on that being the case. Also, I think USB 3.0 ups the maximum current to 900 mA, but I’m not sure if USB 2.0 devices can take advantage of that.

You’re so fucking right about that. Almost. Even if you knew you didn’t have one, you still spent the time digging through your cables to find 3 three-quarter ones, 2 right handed ones, and one that was almost perfect except that it wasn’t turbo. Grrrr!

And if you needed an LVD cable, plan on shelling out a lot of money.

Interestingly enough, there’s a solution to this.

I don’t know the brand, because it’s a couple of years old now, but I have a USB adaptor. One end is a standard USB connector, for going into the computer, the other end branches out like a vinyl-clad octopus, into about 8-10 different types of USB connectors. It’s got one that fits my iPod, a standard USB, mini-USB, a Nintendo DS connector, one that fits my Logitech harmony remote and a whole bunch of others I can’t even remember what they do. One I think fits my ex’s Sony Ericsson mobile phone. About the only thing I haven’t been able to connect using it has been my LG mobile phone, and they’ve always been pricks to get off-brand connectors for.

It cost <$30 and works like a charm. The only USB thing that I use on my laptop that’s not connected through it is my mouse, and that’s because it’s a wireless mouse so the dongle needs to be connected directly.

You mean this thing?

Similar, yes, but a completely different brand.

:mad::mad::mad: Time to boycott Logitech.

Exactly! Back then, interfaces were interfaces.

So they’re female? Cuz the problem with USB cables in general is that everything’s male.

Aside from size, what’s the technical difference between connectors? Can the mini/micro not deliver the same power as a full sized connector? Are there fewer pins/connectors in the smaller ones? Or is it just smaller size for smaller devices?

Huh-huh…huh-huh…you said “dongle”.

Nope. It’s male at the USB end and male at the other ends. It’s a series of proprietary USB cables that have been spliced together into a single connection at the other end, so you can switch out between them without having to constantly change the whole cable.

Or, you know, you could look at the link Silenus provided that I said “Yes, that’s the one” to and see for yourself.

It does seem to be getting better…most devices are migrating towards using micro-USB. All Android phones now require it, and I think all Blackberry phones have had it for a while. My Nook and digital camera (all purchased less than a year ago) use micro-USB, too.

But some companies (cough Apple cough) will never use a universal connector.

The EU might have something to say about that. I seem to recall hearing about EU regs that prohibit proprietary plugs.

The EU’s a toothless tiger outside their own borders. They can force apple EU to use non-proprietary plugs, but Apple in the rest of the world will just go “Lulz, losers” and carry on carrying on.