USB cables, are they the same?

  [email protected] 13:21 10 Sep 2003

Sorry if this is a silly question but are all USB connecting cables the same? I am still trying to get my Scanner to work properly with XP and just wondered if by accident I exchanged the USB cables of my printer and scanner when connecting everything up. Some may remember my thread of some time ago with regard to my HP Scanjet 4470c working correctly after installing the software and driver updates but not after the PC had been restarted. Still with USB cables. I am toying with the idea of setting up my webcam to watch my bird-box, but its a long way from the PC! Can anyone recommend a remote controlled camera or alternatively, what is the maximum length of cable which can be used without signal loss.

  Jester2K II 13:23 10 Sep 2003

USB FAQ - click here

Q3: Why can't I use a cable longer than 3 or 5m?
A3: USB's electrical design doesn't allow it. When USB was designed, a decision was made to handle the propagation of electromagnetic fields on USB data lines in a way that limited the maximum length of a USB cable to something in the range of 4m. This method has a number of advantages and, since USB is intended for a desktop environment, the range limitations were deemed acceptable. If you're familiar with transmission line theory and want more detail on this topic, take a look at the USB signals section of the developers FAQ

Q4: How far away from a PC can I put a USB device?
A4: With the maximum of 5 hubs connected with 5m cables and a 5m cable going to your full speed device, this will give you 30m of cable (see section 7.1.19 for details). With a low speed device, you will be able to get a range up to 27m, depending on how long the device's cable is. With a straightforward cable route, you will probably be able to reach out 25m or so from the PC.

Q5: I need to put a USB device X distance from my PC. What do I do?
A5: If X is less than 25m or so (see previous question), buy a bunch of hubs and connect them serially with 5m cables. If you need to go farther than that, put another PC, or maybe a laptop, out where you need the device to be and network it with the first PC using something that's intended to be a long-range connection, such as Ethernet or RS-485. If you need to use nothing but USB, consider using USB based Ethernet adapters to hook the PCs together.

  [email protected] 13:28 10 Sep 2003

that should just about cover it. Chrs

  dagbladet 13:29 10 Sep 2003

Q1 Why don't they supply printer cables with printers.
Q2 Is the £1.99 A to B cable from 7day shop as good as the £15.99 one from PCW.

  Jester2K II 13:30 10 Sep 2003

Q1 Why don't they supply printer cables with printers

Apparently certain companies refused to stock printers with cables as they could make big mark up on selling the cable as an extra.

Q2 Is the £1.99 A to B cable from 7day shop as good as the £15.99 one from PCW.

Probably never noticed a difference myself..

  [email protected] 13:38 10 Sep 2003

cable a standard item or dedicated to the input device on the end of it? and recently I saw packets of printer paper witha USB cable bundled with it! Sales gimmick or what?

  Jester2K II 13:52 10 Sep 2003

Standard Item

Should also be noted that cables with "filters" (film canister sized blocks at either end just before the plug) offer a "cleaner" connection.

However i only use one of those with my scanner because thats what it came with.

Not sure if it matters if i use it or not...

  [email protected] 14:09 10 Sep 2003

I suppose cables can and do go u/s so I will try another one to see if it sorts the problem. Meanwhile, I just checked a QuickCam Cordless which may suit the "remoting" so with Christmas not far away....
Thnks for your advice.

  Stuartli 14:34 10 Sep 2003

There are various types of USB cables - for instance, my scanner cable is the standard form and the one for a digital camera has a much smaller plug than the scanner's equivalent.

As regards buying various forms of cables, try a computer fair or click here (Combined Precision Components of Preston); Scart cables, for example, are from less than £2 upwards depending on type and the same applies to other cable types.

Cables form a very healthy profit maker for many retail outlets, who pay peanuts for them wholesale and mark prices up dramatically to customers...:-)

Have you noticed that The Computer Shop (i.e. Time and Tiny) usually stipulates that you have to buy a cable or similar related product when purchasing one of its special offers?

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