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Why aren't all USB cables the same?
Old 10-25-2006, 06:39 PM   #1
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Why aren't all USB cables the same?

Of the four USB devices on my desk, no two have the same connector.

Except for size considerations for small devices such as a watch or a very small camera, I can see no justification for different connectors on USB cables. Am I missing something?

Didn't we learn this lesson in the 1700's?

Credit for the idea of interchangeable parts generally goes to the French gunsmith Honore Le Blanc. In the mid 18th century he proposed making gun parts from standardized patterns (an idea that reappears in Java Beans!) Since all the parts would follow the same part, a broken part could be replaced by another, identical part.

LeBlanc didn't get very far with his ideas. Other gunsmiths saw this idea as a threat to their livelihood and opposed it. However, Thomas Jefferson was taken with the idea and brought it to America. Here it gained a more favourable reception and in 1796 the famous American inventor, Eli Whitney was give the contract to make 10,000 muskets using the new methodology.



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Re: Why aren't all USB cables the same?
Old 10-25-2006, 06:57 PM   #2
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Re: Why aren't all USB cables the same?

It makes the item proprietary to the manufacturer. You HAVE to get the item from them, so they make the profit. Motorola is infamous for this: every one of their mobile radio mikes is different and only fits one model of Motorola radio.
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Re: Why aren't all USB cables the same?
Old 10-25-2006, 07:20 PM   #3
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Re: Why aren't all USB cables the same?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Patrick
It makes the item proprietary to the manufacturer. You HAVE to get the item from them, so they make the profit. Motorola is infamous for this: every one of their mobile radio mikes is different and only fits one model of Motorola radio.
This is very very smart, but first you have to get a lot of your product in the field. After that, unless your customer opts to start over, they have to come to you. If you can get imbedded in "the specs", you are set for life
and can charge whatever you want MOL.

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Re: Why aren't all USB cables the same?
Old 10-25-2006, 10:12 PM   #4
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Re: Why aren't all USB cables the same?

One of the reasons I don't buy more Sony items, they have unique batteries, cables & memory chips.
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Re: Why aren't all USB cables the same?
Old 10-26-2006, 12:14 AM   #5
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Re: Why aren't all USB cables the same?

Quote:
Originally Posted by yakers
One of the reasons I don't buy more Sony items, they have unique batteries, cables & memory chips.
Agreed. Sony and Apple are notorious for this.

I try to keep things compatible. My mp3 player and camera use the same USB
cable, and both run on AA batteries, as do my bike flashers, portable alarm
clock, flashlights, and portable speakers. I keep a stable of rechargeables
to power everything. Now if only if I could find a AA-powered cellphone.
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Re: Why aren't all USB cables the same?
Old 10-26-2006, 05:50 AM   #6
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Re: Why aren't all USB cables the same?

Maybe it's because I don't deal with Sony products but I've never had a problem with USB cables, I have Macs here at work and a PC at home, all the USB and FireWire cables are interchangeable and I'm using a half a dozen or more different brands of peripherals. What I'm looking for is a good adapter that will convert some of my old devices to USB.
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Re: Why aren't all USB cables the same?
Old 10-26-2006, 07:03 AM   #7
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Re: Why aren't all USB cables the same?

You mean the connector opposite the USB connection i presume TromboneAL?

All USB connections are physically idential, though there have been different versions of USB. The current version is 2.0, but there's been 1.1 (and i presume 1.0). USB 2.0 ports are backwards compatible.

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Re: Why aren't all USB cables the same?
Old 10-26-2006, 09:02 AM   #8
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Re: Why aren't all USB cables the same?

Quote:
All USB connections are physically idential
No, there are at least 2 kinds.. a flattish one (on all my Mac stuff) and a smaller square-ish one (on a crappy Epson printer I have). Fortunately the cable that came with the printer keeps the square end for itself and has a "normal" end going out. I don't know why, though.
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Re: Why aren't all USB cables the same?
Old 10-26-2006, 10:02 AM   #9
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Re: Why aren't all USB cables the same?

Yes, i stand corrected. I found this snip at a site I googled real quick:

"There are four normal USB connector types most often used, the "A" type, the "B" type, the mini USB, and the mini USB "version 2" or USB2 connector. The smaller connectors, the mini and mini v2 are used on the newer Digital cameras, replacing the serial connectors used previously. Note: Some Digital cameras use "Proprietary" cables and connectors which don't allow you to buy them from anyone but the cameras manufacturer."
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Re: Why aren't all USB cables the same?
Old 10-26-2006, 10:59 AM   #10
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Re: Why aren't all USB cables the same?

you can buy cheap adaptors ... google usb adaptors or visit any electronics store... to convert any USB cable from one end-type to another. USB2 will work on USB1 but not vice-versa.

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Re: Why aren't all USB cables the same?
Old 10-26-2006, 03:12 PM   #11
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Re: Why aren't all USB cables the same?

Quote:
Originally Posted by TromboneAl
Of the four USB devices on my desk, no two have the same connector.
Except for size considerations for small devices such as a watch or a very small camera, I can see no justification for different connectors on USB cables. Am I missing something?
The smaller USB connector fits better inside the waterproof gasket cover of our Pentax surf camera...
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