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  1. Connector Plating and Other Metals – Conductivity in Cables

    All cables (with the exception of fiber cables) are made using metal. Looking at any cable, users can see metal in the connectors on the end. Some connectors are entirely made of metal while others are mostly plastic and contain small metal pins. Regardless of how much metal is used in making a cable, and regardless of what exactly that cable is used for, these materials are all used for the same purpose: to conduct electricity. Any user who has handled various cables over the years, as most people have, has probably noticed that different metals can be used from one cable to the next.

    Why are Certain Metals used in Cables?

    So why are different metals used? Is there a metal that is better than the rest? There are many different factors that go into selecting what metals are used in making a cable. The first of which is conductivity. The list shows the commonly used metals in cable manufacturing, from most to least conductive (rated assuming the metals are pure).

    1. Silver
    2. Copper
    3. Gold
    4. Aluminum
    5. Zinc
    6. Nickel
    7. Brass
    8. Bronze
    9. Iron
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  2. Audio & Video Cables

    Audio and video cables go hand-in-hand, often being paired together. Some cables can even transmit audio and video on just one line. Over time a lot of new audio and video cables have been introduced, so the cable you need will often depend on the age of the equipment you are using. Most TVs, computers, and other devices can use multiple types of audio and video connections, so it is good to be able to identify them and know your options.

    Audio-only cables include:

    • 3.5mm
    • 2.5mm
    • ¼”
    • Optical Toslink
    • XLR
    • SpeakOn
    • MIDI

    Video-only cables include:

    • S-Video
    • DB9
    • VGA
    • DVI

    Audio/video cables include:

    • F-type
    • BNC
    • RCA
    • Component
    • HDMI
    • DisplayPort

    Audio-only

    3.5mm

    3.5mm, also called ⅛” cables, is one of the most common audio cables. They are sometimes called “headphone jacks”, being the type of connection used for headphones. These ports are frequently found on cell phones, computers, and televisions.

    There are a few different versions of 3.5mm: TS, TRS, and TRRS. TS cables will have one ring, dividing the metal sections into two conductors and are most often used for mono connections like microphones. TRS has two rings to give it three conductors, allowing them to be used for stereo connections such as speakers. TRRS has three rings for four conductors to support stereo aud

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