USB FireWire Cable

There are many accessory cables on the market today but none causes as much confusion as the USB FireWire cable. The first assumption people make is that it allows data to be sent between FireWire and USB ports. While this type of cable would be very handy to have, it is not possible without some form of electronic adapter between the different ports. A USB FireWire cable is actually a type of charging cable that has both USB and FireWire plugs. There is also a version for the Apple iPod that allows it to be charged while synchronized with a computer.

The Universal Serial Bus (USB) is one type of high-speed serial data interface. The original version was very slow but the more recent versions are much faster. For example, the common USB 2.0 version has a peak transfer rate of sixty megabytes per second. Practically all desktop and notebook computers have several USB ports which are used to connect keyboards, mice, printers, and other peripheral devices. Most computer users would be familiar with the rectangular USB-A connector but there are several other connectors that are less common. All USB cables and devices have a trident logo on them which makes identification fairly straight forward, regardless of the type.

FireWire is a brand name that Apple uses for the IEEE 1394 serial data interface. Other companies have used other brand names over the years but none have become as widely known as FireWire. Just like USB, there are several different versions and connectors in use today. The latest version, called FireWire 800, is much faster than any other version of USB. But despite its advantages, FireWire is not as widely used as USB because it apparently costs more to implement. Apart from camcorders and some Apple and Sony computers, there are not many digital devices that have it. FireWire is an ideal interface for digital video because it can quickly transfer large video files, but USB is more than adequate when the amount of data is small.

The first type of USB FireWire cable is the multi-charge cable. It is used to charge all sorts of digital devices, including mobile phones, camcorders, and hand-held gaming consoles. A typically multi-charge cable has a standard USB connector at one end and many different connectors at the other end. Extra connectors are often included for mobile phones that have unique ports. The FireWire and proprietary connectors are only used for charging, but the USB connectors can also be used to transfer data. A USB port does not supply a lot of power so charging more than one device at a time is not recommended. The multi-charge cable is cheaper and more convenient than many separate cables.

The other type of USB FireWire cable is used exclusively with Apple iPods. It is often called a Y-cable because it has USB and FireWire cables at one end and a docking cable at the other end. It allows an iPod to be charged while it is synchronized with a computer. A USB port does not provide enough power to run the iPod so the FireWire cable supplies power and stop the battery from running flat. Buyers need to be aware that this type of USB FireWire cable only works for certain iPod models and does not work with the iTouch or iPhone. Some cables have retractable spools that prevent the cables from becoming tangled together when packed away.

Anyone looking to buy a USB FireWire cable needs to be aware of its limitations. There is currently no such thing as a cable that directly connects a USB port with a FireWire port. Such a cable would require complex circuitry to handle the different data speeds and protocols. A simple rearrangement of the wires inside the cable does not work like it does for other interfaces. Occasionally, online sellers appear who claim to have these cables, but the fact is that none of the established and reputable sellers stock them. It is up to the consumer who they are willing to trust, but they should not be surprised if they get no response to complaints that the cable does not work.

This USB FireWire Cable Review is Written/Updated on Nov 7th, 2009 and filed under Computer Hardware. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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