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Background on Mini Type A Male USB Cables

Universal serial bus (otherwise known as USB) is the designation given to a cable plug designed to standardize the connections between a host and peripheral devices. USB technology was designed through a joint venture of seven major computer companies and was first released in 1996. Since that time, USB has become the industry standard for how electronic devices interact through a cable and connector, and the USB standard gone through several design upgrades in terms of both speed and physical cable design.

What types of USB cables are there?

USB cables work on a slave/master or male/female system. That means that one end of the connector for the cable plugs into the peripheral device, such as a cell phone, external hard drive, or printer, and the other end of the USB cable plugs into the host device, such as a laptop, network hub, or video game system. With the exception of type-C USB connectors, the path of control in the connection from host to peripheral through the cable is in one direction. There are three types of USB connector cables.

  • USB A: These are the rectangular shaped slots that are universal to host devices.
  • USB B: These connectors are square shaped and used for peripheral devices mostly.
  • USB C: Similar to the mini-B in design, these are increasing in usage due to the benefits they offer, such as reverse plug orientation and bi-directional power.
What is the difference in sizes of USB connectors?

USB connector types A and B come in three different sizes to accommodate the different devices available to consumers. Standard size USB pieces were the first created and the ones you will generally see on larger devices such as laptops and video game systems. The mini size is designed to work with devices like cell phones, MP3 players, and external hard drives. Many times, the USB cable will have a standard male piece on one end and a mini male piece at the other to connect devices like a phone to a computer. Micro is a fairly recent design, and in addition to being smaller, it also sports low-speed signaling for on-the-go apps that want to act as both host and peripheral.

What are the specs on a mini type-A male cable?

The mini type-A male USB is the most common connection for smaller devices such as two cell phones or an external hard drive and a phone. Cables that are USB version 2.0 have four-pin connectors and can reach transfer speeds up to 480MB/s with a power output of 2.5V, 1.8A. USB 3.0 cables have a 9-pin configuration, with 5 pins that are recessed. These can reach transfer speeds of 5GB/s with a maximum power output of 5V, 1.8A. There are also adapters available in every configuration so that a mini type-A male cable can fit into a standard type-A female port, such as those on a laptop or a standard type-B port like on some printers.

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