Adapters and Converters – CompTIA A+ 220-1101 – 3.1

We don’t always have the right cable for the job. In this video, you’ll learn how adapters and converters can be used to switch between video and data connections on our desktop and mobile devices.

It happens to all of us. We’re ready to connect some devices together. We pull out our cables, and we realize we don’t have the right cables for this particular interface. But there are ways to convert interfaces from one format to another. And to be able to do that, we’ll need an adapter or a converter. Usually we’re making these conversions between systems that are electrically compatible.

This makes it very easy to have one interface on one end of a cable, a different type of interface on the other end of the cable, and plug both of them together and still have everything work properly. Or there may be times that instead of adapting one interface to another, we need to convert those signals from one format to another. A good example is if we had an adapter that allowed us to convert from USB to something like an ethernet connection. Sometimes these can be temporary fixes or they might be a permanent workaround for a lack of interfaces on a system.

Here’s an example for an adapter that is converting between electrically compatible systems. DVI-D, which is the digital version of DVI, is electrically compatible with HDMI, which of course, is a digital medium. These can be in a single adapter that we see here or it might be a cable that has the DVI-D connector on one side and the HDMI connector on the other. You don’t have to have any type of converter in the middle. There’s nothing that needs to be powered. You simply connect these together and they’ll be able to transfer the data between systems. Here’s a better look at the DVI to HDMI adapter. You can see it is a very basic adapter with the DVI-D connector on one end and the HDMI connector on the other.

There’s also a similar compatibility on the analog video side with a DVI-A for analog connecting to a VGA connection, which is also analog. Although there is compatibility between these two formats, the only supported resolution is 640 by 480. You may only need a single adapter to make this work. You can see an example of one of these here where VGA is on one side and the DVI analog is on the other.

If you need to connect VGA, which is an analog signal, to a DVI-D, which is a digital signal, then you’ll need something in the middle that will convert that signal from analog to digital so you’ll have the compatibility between those two systems. But if all you need is simple connectivity of analog signals, then you need an adapter that has DVI-A for analog on one side and the VGA connector on the other.

If you have a relatively new laptop, you may find that there is no RJ45 five or wired ethernet connection on that laptop. It is designed to be used over wireless ethernet. But there may be times when you need that wired connection. To be able to use that wired ethernet connection on your laptop, you might want to use a converter like this one that converts between a USB connection and provides you with an ethernet connection on the other side.

This can get even more complicated if you have a newer laptop that has USB-C but it does not have a USB-A connection. In those cases, you might need an adapter that can convert between USB-C to USB-C. And from there you might have a separate adapter that has a USB-A to ethernet connection. So using multiple adapters or converters may eventually provide you with the interface you need.

And if you’re often in a situation where you’re never quite sure exactly which type of interface you need, you might want to use a USB hub like this one. It plugs into your system with a USB connection, in this case USB-C, and then you have multiple types of interfaces on this hub. This hub appears to support HDMI, ethernet, a number of USB connections, and it even has slots for flash memory.