USB to PCMCIA Converter

The Universal Serial Bus (USB) is the standard connector for most of the computer peripherals that we use. A USB cable is attached to just about every modern keyboard, mouse, printer, modem, and scanner out there. One of the most common problems that notebook users face is not having enough USB ports for their peripherals. To get around this, a USB to PCMCIA converter can be plugged into a notebook to add a few extra ports. However, another problem arises when the PCMCIA slot needs to be used for a Wi-Fi adapter or something other card.

The limitations of notebooks often make it necessary to use several USB peripherals at the same time. For example, many notebook users like to have a mouse, webcam, headset, and external speakers when they video chat with their friends and family. When there are not enough USB ports for all of these peripherals, a USB to PCMCIA Converter can be added to support more of them. A four-port model allows four extra USB ports to be added but at the loss of the PCMCIA slot. While most notebooks have a PCMCIA slot, many netbooks do not have one because there is simply not enough room.

It is a safe bet that every computer user knows what a USB port looks like, but many would have trouble finding a PCMCIA slot. That is not surprising because desktop computers normally do not have one of these slots. A PCMCIA adapter is slightly larger than a credit card and about three times as thick. Its most visible features are a metallic casing and a long row of contacts on one of the shorter sides. To use a PCMCIA adapter with a desktop computer, you need to plug an external reader into a spare USB port, or you need to install an internal reader in one of the drive bays.

A USB to PCMCIA converter looks similar to other PCMCIA adapters but it has one major difference. On the side opposite the contacts, there is a thick plastic section that contains up to four USB ports and also a 3.5mm DC power jack on some models. It is too thick to fit inside the slot and makes the converter stick out from the side of a notebook, but not nearly as far as a USB flash drive sticks out. A USB to PCMCIA converter is not the only adapter with a thick plastic section on the end. A PCMCIA sound card has one for its audio ports, and a PCMCIA TV tuner card also has one for its aerial.

There are a couple of features that you should check before buying a USB to PCMCIA converter. Find out how many ports it has and check that they are all USB 2.0 ports. This type transfers data much faster than the original version of USB. Speed is not important for basic peripherals, like a mouse or headset, but it really matters when large amounts of data have to be transferred quickly. Just about every model comes with a USB cable and an installation disc, but you may not even find these with some of the cheaper models.

A big problem with USB peripherals is that software drivers often need to be installed before they can be used. Fortunately, the drivers only have to be installed once on each computer but it is still an annoying waste of time. Reading manuals and installing software would have to be last on the list of things that computer users like to do, so they often ignore these steps and wonder why their brand new peripherals do not work. So long as the installation is done properly, a USB peripheral should work perfectly each and every time.

This USB to PCMCIA Converter Review is Written/Updated on Apr 17th, 2011 and filed under Computer Hardware. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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