Importance of cables?

I post this here anly because I didn’t know where else…
So, using the twelvesouth staygo usb hub, I struggled to connect the L5 to HDMI monitor - even though I know that in the past I did succeed.

To connect the L5 to the monitor via the twelvesouth hub I used the same cable I regularly use to connect my L13v3 to the same hub and to the same monitor.
This just didn’t work.
Then I tried a shorter more bulkier looking usb c cable connected it to the L5 and to the hub and wait for it - it actually worked.

So how come a change of cable can bring about such a drastic effect??

Thicker usually means more durable.

I have had a similar experience.

I could get my external monitor to work through a shorter, but thinner hdmi cable, but not through a longer, thicker cable.

Also, when I connect the L5 to the charger with the cable it came with (short and thick) it charges quicker then through the much thinner, and much longer two-dollar cable I bought myself. (I still prefer the one I bought myself, because it gives me a lot more room to move while charging, and it makes a much better connection with the phone - the original cable comes loose every time one moves the phone.)

The one general rule is, that shorter cables give you better through-put. This is, no doubt, the reason why Purism chose an extremely short cable for an energy hungry phone. Connect the L5 via an inefficient cable, and the red light will blink.
Another general rule, is that thicker cables work better. But, it is the metal inside that needs to be thicker for a better through-put (because of less resistance). If the cable is thicker because there is more plastic around the wire, it still behaves as the thin cable it actually is.
I’ve owned cables that looked the part (thick and short), but fared a lot worse than much longer and thinner (and cheaper) counterparts.
It’s hard to tell from the outside how well a cable will do. Manufacturers have no qualms about wrapping a lot of cheap plastic around a thin metal wire to make it look and feel like a quality part.

Often, the only way to find out how well a cable works, is to put it to use. The exception would be if the manufacturer has printed the diameter or the gauge of the wire inside on the outside of the cable.

Here is an article (the first I could find in a quick search) that tells you the same thing, basically: https://www.compuclever.com/posts/how-to-choose-a-good-usb-cable/

Edit: the above goes for data as well as charge.

1 Like

It happened to me several times that one USB cable worked while another one did not, even though I thought both cables were working based on some earlier usage of those cables. With USB-C cables it also sometimes happens that things work differently depending on the orientation of the cable, even though it is symmetric so naively one would think the orientation should not matter.

What I think I have learned from such experiences is that when it comes to USB, there is no simple answer to the question “is this cable working?”, because USB devices and cables can be used in so many different ways, different modes, different oreientations, different throughput and so on.

Another way of looking at it is to say that a cable can be broken in many different ways, so the cable may seem to be “working” depending on how you use it. It would be nice to have a program for testing USB cables, that could probe a cable in different ways and could then tell the user “this cable seems to work for X and Y but not for Z”.

That explains it!!
Thank you

Many thanks for the reply