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Old 09-07-2008, 08:14 AM   #1
bubbas45 OP
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Mini-USB cables all the same?

Howdy, folks. AS I keep getting more cameras, GPS's, digital photoframes, etc., I get all these mini-USB cables. One of my problems with electronics gear is keeping the adapters sorted out and all the accessory cables.

I was wondering if there is any real diff between a USB-mini-USB cables.

For example, the one for my Canon S2IS (aka, The Battery Eater) and the one for my Zumo 550 each has a short cylinder in line on the cable, but the one for my Phillips photoframe has two such cylinders. I'm guessing these conceal _something_ like resistors or who knows what. I really have no clue.

Yeah, I could just start swapping cables around and see what happens, but I'm not an experimental kind of guy.

thanks, bws
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Old 09-07-2008, 08:58 AM   #2
Cam
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Should be. There are three common USB connectors. The standard USB, the mini and a micro. The USB spec calls for a 5v signal on all connection types so as long as whatever connection you provide kicks out 5v with at least 1a you should be good. In other words, most items that have a USB connector will accept the same connection from another device.

http://www.monoprice.com/products/pr...seq=1&format=2

I also like the

http://www.powerletproducts.com/prod...wer_cables.php search on PPC-015-DB for a direct wire option. It works with pretty much any USB connector.
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Old 09-07-2008, 11:38 AM   #3
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Generally speaking yes, they are all the same. You can use your zumo cable for your Canon camera and vice versa. The cylinder you are mentioning is a ferrite core (magnet) but doesn’t change the main characteristics of the connection (like voltage or data modes)

There are some devices, however, who build special features into the USB cable connection, for example the HTC cell phones use a standard USB jack for their headset, you can still charge and data-connect to the phone with a regular USB cable but you need a special one to use the headset feature. But since headset is not part of the USB port specification anyway this is not a big deal.

Regards

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Old 09-07-2008, 01:07 PM   #4
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I used to be worried about those "bulges" too, until I read about the ferrite beads and their use against radio noise.

On rides I take the shortest/smallest of my USB cables for camera and GPS connections.
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Old 09-07-2008, 02:35 PM   #5
HaChayalBoded
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you would think wouldn't you? Generally yes 95% of cell phones and cameras are the same, but there are a few cell phones and cameras that have what looks like a standard USB, and a standard USB might even fit in the slot, but of course they are proprietary and you end up with a dead cell phone 5 hundred miles from home because you thought the 12v charger from your old phone would work. Ask me how I know.

Before heading off and relying on a single charger to charge all your crap, make sure they work BEFORE you leave.

Oh yea, the mini USB cables on some garmins will not work on some cell phones, or maybe its the other way around, I forget.
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Old 09-07-2008, 03:09 PM   #6
azkiwi
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You might also note that if you ever need to buy a cable separately, the profit margin on these items is hideous. You and I know damn well the USB cable you buy for $34.95 costs a buck or so. In fact you can often buy them on Fleabay along with a software CD for around $5.

Tangentially, does anyone know where I can find a USB cable with a 12V to 5V step-down and bare wires? [Wiring my GPS direct.]
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Old 09-07-2008, 04:02 PM   #7
bubbas45 OP
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Thanks for the info, folks.

bws
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Old 09-07-2008, 06:57 PM   #8
Jonnylotto
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bubbas45
Thanks for the info, folks.

bws

The cylinders are just iron ferrite (passive filter). As for the USB cables, the mini's are not all alike; some will not be up to USB 2 spec, which means no power to the device. Some are definitely proprietary, like the charging cable for Blackberry.

Best thing to do is just take an evening and some of the cables and see which ones work for charging your devices and which ones recognize the device for information exchange. It's been my experience that most of them will work for info but only the more recent ones work for info and power.
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Old 09-07-2008, 09:14 PM   #9
Cam
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HaChayalBoded
Oh yea, the mini USB cables on some garmins will not work on some cell phones, or maybe its the other way around, I forget.
I was looking at the Garmin cable on my Nuvi and it has a 5v 5a output. I know the Nuvi can be charged from a standard USB port so not sure why the extra 4a rating, but I don't see any reason why it won't work unless the cellphone you believe don't work aren't really using a USB port. The other way could be the charger for the phone doesn't put out a full 1a and only puts out say 500ma which might not be enough juice to keep a charge in a Garmin.

Anyway long story short, you have to match the output voltage (5V for USB) and have enough amps. If you have to many amps from the power source, won't matter as the USB device simply will not use that much power and it will work fine. If you have to few amps, it is unlikely the device will recognize being plugged into a power source or the unit will do some strange electrical things such as powering on and right back off. Won't likely cause any damage though.
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Old 08-08-2009, 03:41 PM   #10
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I realize this is an old thread ... but I'm going to toss in $0.02 and see if it comes to life....

I was at the BMW Rally a few weeks back and the guys from Powerlet were there. They said that some Garmin units used a non-standard implementation of the mini-USB cable -- he did not have the model numbers of the whacko units handy.

Here is one mini-USB 12 VDC to 5 VDC adapter that is pretty compact:

http://www.powerletproducts.com/prod...ry-harness/258
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Old 08-08-2009, 04:14 PM   #11
Ducman69
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A USB cable is a USB cable for the most part. Long cables typically can't power USB harddrives (stick w/ shortest ones possible for that), and otherwise just make sure you have the right connector:

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Old 08-08-2009, 06:19 PM   #12
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I keep one cable plugged into my desktop all the time and connect everything with it. Never had any trouble. Another cable goes with the laptop and gets used the same way with no issues. The rest reside in a tangle in a drawer.
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Old 08-09-2009, 05:19 PM   #13
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Many are the same, I have used them interchangeably, but some of the cig light adapters are not. I had one that was for an iPod that would not work with my phone.
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Old 10-20-2011, 08:31 AM   #14
bikecat
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I know that it is an old thread but here's my long shot ...

Can any USB/mini-USB cable power a Garmin Zumo without getting it into data mode i..e continue navigating?
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Old 10-20-2011, 09:18 AM   #15
PoundSand
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jonnylotto View Post
Some are definitely proprietary, like the charging cable for Blackberry.
blackberry mini usb cables are not proprietary. i use my blackberry charger to charge other devices, and use other cables to charge the blackberry all the time.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bikecat View Post
I know that it is an old thread but here's my long shot ...

Can any USB/mini-USB cable power a Garmin Zumo without getting it into data mode i..e continue navigating?
yeah. some usb cables have the data pins shorted to prevent the device from going into data mode and / or triggering a faster charge.
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