Types Of USB Connectors

What are the types of USB connectors? Since their introduction of different types of USB connectors about two decades ago, the USB (Universal Serial Bus) has become ubiquitous in computing devices. This presence has extended from traditional computing devices, the computers, to devices with progressively greater computing capabilities, such as smartphones and PDAs.

While there was the possibility of the existence of several incompatible types of USB connectors, in much the same way that the programming language C morphed into different incompatible subtypes, it is fortunate that the initial and even subsequent development of the USB standard was the result of a collaborative effort among major stakeholders in the computer industry.

There have so far been three major types of USB connector specifications, 1.0, 2.0 and 3.0; the greater the specification number, the more recent the specification is. Currently, most devices have USB 2.0 but USB 3.0 is steadily increasing in prevalence. This specifications are basically guidelines on matters such as the USB outlet power, data transmission rates etc. These specs have an influence on certain aspects of the USB connector.

There are four main types of USB connectors available: type A, type B, their mini version, their micro version and their 3.0 version. Furthermore, there are many other non-standard types of USB connectors in the market.

The A type of USB connectors

This is a USB 2.0 standard. It is flat and rectangular in shape, and has four pins in it; two pins provide power (+5VDC) and two cables are for data transmission. It is found in hubs and host controllers within computers; it is located in devices that can supply power to it.

Type B USB

It is also a USB 2.0 standard and often used on peripherals. It is squarish with two beveled edges. It has four pins in it; two for transmitting power into the peripheral and two for data.

Mini USB A and Mini USB B

These were relatively scaled downed versions of the original types of USB connectors, a move that came about because of the increased use of USB ports in electronic devices. In these, an extra unconnected pin was added, making them have 5 pins. The difference between them is best illustrated by the pic below: The mini type of USB connectors A is on the left and the mini USB B on the right.

These connectors have been officially deprecated with the introduction of the micro types of USB connectors. However, they are still to be found with a lot of old digital cameras and PDAs, most of them currently unrecognized because of the aforementioned deprecation.

Micro USB A and Micro USB B

They are greatly miniaturized, thus allowing their use on modern electronics such as smartphones, digicams, GPS devices etc. They also feature latches that properly secure the connection. They have five pins and enhanced data speeds of about 480Mbps. The Micro USB B is very prevalent among recent smartphones, due to a deal between the major phone manufacturers to settle on it as the global charging/ data connector

The Micro types of USB connectors (type A’s) receptacle is white while the Micro USB B’s receptacle is black.

USB 3.0 A

Were it not for its blue color, it would be hard to distinguish the USB 2.0 Type A from USB 3.0 Type B. Other than having five pins more than its predecessor, it is the same in other physical dimensions. It is also backwards compatible with USB 2.0.

USB 3.0 B

They are also distinguished from their predecessor by their blue color and the extra number of pins. They are also backwards compatible with USB 2.0

USB 3.0 Micro B

These types of USB connectors connector is not backwards compatible because its design is off the beaten path; it sports 10 pins, divided into two separate casings which are however fused together as illustrated by the diagram below.