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A printer cable creates a link between a computer and a printing device, transmitting the data needed to output a hard copy of digital reports, images, or other documents. Cables have a variety of plugs and a flexible sheath that protects wires from damage. Staples® carries a broad selection of printer cables, including brands such as Belkin®, MONOPRICE®, and TRIPP LITE®.
A Printer Cable to Hook Up Almost Any Device While many computers and printers have USB ports, some have other types of connectors. These specific cords link devices with the same type of connectors or convert between USB and parallel ports. Printer switches are a convenient way to share one or more devices with several computers. Each switch has several input ports and one or more output ports that provide the physical connection between devices. Switches come with application software that manages the connections and schedules print jobs. Wireless adapters eliminate physical plugs entirely, adding Wi-Fi capabilities to printers with Ethernet ports.
A Printer Cable Is a Reliable Data Connection Most cables have a flexible sheath that protects the encased wires from physical damage. It also helps eliminate interference from sources such as power adapters or electrical cords, ensuring error-free data delivery. Cable connectors have a hard shell that keeps its delicate components from harm. Some have tiny screws or metal clips that physically secure the plugs to the devices. Cablesalso come in a broad range of lengths. Longer versions provide placement flexibility for computers and printers. Routing cords behind desks or along walls eliminate potential trip hazards and reduce the risk of cable damage.
Which Printer Cable Connectors Should You Choose? A typical cable has two connectors, one for the computer and one for the printer. When making a choice, be sure you know the type and gender of the plugs on both devices. In the case of USB cables, almost all printing devices have female connectors but use plugs with different shapes: a flat Type A plug on the computer and a square Type B plug on the printer. Most parallel versions have a DB25 plug: a male connector with 25 pins and a Centronics connector with a micro ribbon plug. The DB25 plug fits the computer and the Centronics connector fits the printer. USB-to-parallel adapter cables link a computer's USB port to a parallel printer. Cables with the correct plugs create a reliable physical and electrical connection.
Does a Printer Cable Have a Length Limit? Cables transmit data by sending electrical signals along one or more wires. The wire's resistance reduces the signal's strength and limits the cord's maximum length. USB 2.0 cables have a maximum length of about 16 feet, while USB 3.0 versions, which are faster, have a maximum recommended length of about 9 feet. Most parallel types conform to the IEEE® 1284 standard, which specifies a maximum length of about 32 feet. Choosing one that falls within these length limits ensures accurate data transmission between devices.
Cables for printing machines create a reliable connection between computers and printers. They include simple versions that create one-to-one links, switch boxes that join multiple devices to one or more printers, and wireless adapters that eliminate physical connections. Explore the selection of these computer accessories to find a connection solution for your home or office.