Wednesday, October 2, 2013

USB 2.0 Micro-B - MHL - The difference in real life terms - with pictures!

I get so many questions from people asking why a regular Micro USB extension won't work on their new Samsung Galaxy S3, S4, Note 2, etc..  They have a case on their phone and it won't fit into the dock they have.  I've heard about 11 pin connectors, and 14 pin connectors, and they heard something from a friend or bought something from Hong Kong on eBay and are upset because it just doesn't work.

Well, hopefully this blog will help to answer most of the questions out there and take some of your frustrations and questions about it.

First, there is a USB 2.0 Micro-B Female (Receptacle) on most, if not all, Samsung Galaxy/Note phones.  However, look closely, there are differences.

Samsung Galaxy S2 - I personally have this phone as of today, October 2, 2013.  It has a pretty standard USB 2.0 Micro-B receptacle, and it's also MHL compatible, which means that a regular Micro-B Male will fit into it and work fine, but if I want MHL capability, I have to buy an MHL adapter that will work with it.  Think MHL 1.0  Here's one from Newegg: Product Link

Samsung Galaxy S3, S4, Note 2 - These all use a special USB 2.0 Micro-B / MHL connector - but if the last one is MHL 1.0, think of this one as MHL 2.0, since it has 11 pins in it.  The connector design is a bit different, which also means that the fit is different.

From the image below - you'll see two phones.  The top phone is a new Galaxy S4.  The bottom phone is a Galaxy S2.  The easiest way to tell the difference between the two ports is pointed out by the red arrow.  You will see the notch in the MHL 2.0, which you don't have in the MHL 1.0

While a Micro-B will plug into either one for charging, the MHL functionality is different.

MHL 1.0 could be extended with a standard USB 2.0 Micro-B, 5 wire connector, Here's one from Product Link

MHL 2.0 requires a special 11pin connector.  The MHL 2.0 (left, below) inserts almost 2mm further than a standard Micro-B (right below) connector.  It also looks just a little different - you can see the ridge that fits into the notch that we noted in the receptacle above.

See the image below

In the end, the two are somewhat compatible, but definitely not fully.  To extend MHL 1.0, you can use a standard Micro-B 5 wire extension, that we linked to above.  To extend MHL 2.0, you need one of our MHL 2.0 extensions, which will arrive mid-October 2013.  Product Link to MHL Extensions

Thursday, March 7, 2013

How to tell the difference between Micro, Mini, and regular HDMI connectors

Right Angle HDMI
Micro HDMI Extensions
HDMI Mini Left Angle Cables.

With HDMI haivng different connectors, how can you tell the difference between them?  That's the question that we began asking ourselves when we started working on our own designs for the HDMI products that we're developing.  

HDMI uses 3 main connectors:
A - Regular HDMI - Used on most computers, TV and DVD players
C - Mini HDMI - Used mainly on larger DSLR cameras and tablets.
D - MIcro HDMI - Used on smaller cameras and some smaller tablets.

See the image below to find out which port your device has

Now, we found the most confusing one to be the Micro HDMI port.  It's a bit deceptive because it's very close in size to the Micro USB 2.0 size.  If you don't have them side-by-side, and they're not labeled, it can be very easy for even a seasoned pro to get confused.

To help clear things up, I went to my local best buy to peruse the tablet section.  I found one tablet that had both of the connectors side by side, the Kindle.  Here's a picture of it so that you can see the two side by side.  It's obviously a large picture, so it's much easier to see than with the naked eye.
So, from this picture, you can see that the Micro USB is slightly wider and shorter, than the Micro HDMI.

Hopefully this will help to clear your confusion, and what port that you have... that is, until you only have a Micro USB 2 that also includes MHL functionality.  We'll talk about that in another post, though.  The difference and incompatibility of some cables with MHL, and the varieties of MHL connections is a whole story all in itself.

Good luck