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Technology Tip Number 15
Common Cables & Connectors

Does it look like a bowl of spaghetti behind your computer these days?  Are you wondering what cable does what?  Well hopefully getting a little familiar with some common computer cables, wires and connectors will help you the next time a wire is loose.


USB connections:  Probably one of the biggest innovations in computers in a while, USB (Universal Serial Bus) connectors are being used for all kinds of things these days.  The kinds of things you can plug into those ports:  your mouse, your keyboard, the cable for a digital camera, even your USB drive (like the SanDisk thumb drive in the picture, on the right).


In this picture you can see an older mouse with whatís called a PS/2 connection (on the left) and a newer one with a USB connection (on the right).  You could use either style mouse with your computer if it's newer.


S-Video Cable is often used to connect DVD players and TVís.  These newer cables are supposed to offer better video quality and more distance.  If you have a scan converter (AverKey) you might be using S-Video cable to connect it to your TV.


SVGA Cable is the one that connects your monitor and computer together.  If you ever have to disconnect and reconnect one of these be real careful not to bend any of the little prongs in there.


Digital Camera to TV Adaptor Ė Most newer digital cameras come with one of these.  You could use this to display pictures on the digital camera to the TV.


Surge Protectors and Power Cables Ė Yes you should have a surge protector on your computer.  Computers are very sensitive to sudden fluctuations in power and a surge protector
can help.  Its also a much safer way to multiply the number of outlets in a room as most surge protects also have a fuse in them that will trip (shut down) if you draw too much current.  HELPFUL HINT:  If your computer suddenly stops working donít forget to check the surge protector.

Not enough information?  Looking for the proper name for some dusty old cable you just found under your desk?  Try this website for more information: 
PCCables.com - Cable Finder

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PRACTICE ACTIVITY
  Check the connections on your own computer today.  Make sure you have some idea where all the wires go incase you ever have to check them in the future.

TO KEEP ON LEARNING:  If you'd like to learn more computer cables and connectors try searching the internet for:

Common computer cables
computer acronyms

Have a nice day!

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