Author Topic: Where to buy high quality USB DIY connectors?  (Read 4670 times)

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Offline dman777

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Where to buy high quality USB DIY connectors?
« on: Thu, 23 April 2020, 20:26:33 »
I am going to make my own mech cable. Can anyone tell me, please, where I can buy high quality(maybe gold?)
1) DIY 24pin USB 3.1 Type C USB-C Male Plug Connector SMT Type with Black Housing Cover
2) Soldering USB Type A Male Connector w Metal Shell for DIY? I think I would need a black housing cover also, correct?

I can find cheap made ones but I was looking for some a++ quality ones.


Offline Maledicted

  • Posts: 2097
  • Location: Wisconsin, United States
Re: Where to buy high quality USB DIY connectors?
« Reply #1 on: Thu, 23 April 2020, 20:53:35 »
I am going to make my own mech cable. Can anyone tell me, please, where I can buy high quality(maybe gold?)
1) DIY 24pin USB 3.1 Type C USB-C Male Plug Connector SMT Type with Black Housing Cover
2) Soldering USB Type A Male Connector w Metal Shell for DIY? I think I would need a black housing cover also, correct?

I can find cheap made ones but I was looking for some a++ quality ones.

I wish I knew myself. All I have ever found is cheap crap, everywhere. The closest thing to an exception is those full metal type A connectors on Amazon. I pump them full of hot glue, crimp everything tight, then solder the seams and crimp shut. When I didn't, the weight of the cable was opening the connector back up, but that was with some really thick rubber hose, not just paracord, etc.

Offline Hadi

  • Formerly eqtri
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Re: Where to buy high quality USB DIY connectors?
« Reply #2 on: Wed, 29 April 2020, 12:24:22 »
I am going to make my own mech cable. Can anyone tell me, please, where I can buy high quality(maybe gold?)
1) DIY 24pin USB 3.1 Type C USB-C Male Plug Connector SMT Type with Black Housing Cover
2) Soldering USB Type A Male Connector w Metal Shell for DIY? I think I would need a black housing cover also, correct?

I can find cheap made ones but I was looking for some a++ quality ones.

I think you're going to drive yourself a little mad with any search criteria like "DIY 24pin USB 3.1". For keyboards without built-in hubs, you really only need the power, ground, and two data pins if your PCB is grounded properly. Zapcables (zapcables.com) has gold-plated connectors for both Type C (https://zapcables.com/usb-c-2-0-gold-connector) as well as Type A (https://zapcables.com/usb-type-a-gold-connector). Regarding your request for a robust connector with a black housing, you could either paint the crimp housing or encase it in a few layers of black heat shrink.

Offline Leslieann

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Re: Where to buy high quality USB DIY connectors?
« Reply #3 on: Wed, 29 April 2020, 21:06:42 »
You probably won't find nice looking DIY connectors (particularly with USB type C or micro), it's too small and they use a molded cover to help secure the wires inside. Without that cover to protect the wires you need a bulkier connector which will not look as good.

I think this explains some of the popularity of the aircraft connectors...
It's easy to find a cable with one nice connector, so you buy two you like, then use a fancy middle connector to replace the ugly ends then cover the cable how you like. Beware, if the end has an LED, these tend to be directional so you cannot butt one against another with a connector between.

Beware some type C cables as well, some are actually only usb 2.0 internally which is all you need, however some carry power and data when oriented one way and when flipped carry only power. Be sure to check comments before you buy any Type C, the USB specs are pretty liberal and companies took liberties on that as well as some other shady tricks. Not sure if USB is a spec so much as a suggestion at this point.
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Offline Maledicted

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Re: Where to buy high quality USB DIY connectors?
« Reply #4 on: Wed, 29 April 2020, 21:23:19 »
Beware some type C cables as well, some are actually only usb 2.0 internally which is all you need, however some carry power and data when oriented one way and when flipped carry only power. Be sure to check comments before you buy any Type C, the USB specs are pretty liberal and companies took liberties on that as well as some other shady tricks. Not sure if USB is a spec so much as a suggestion at this point.

Type C should have never happened. It is one big cluster, and the connector isn't even robust to begin with. Better (maybe) than micro in that regard, but micro was a joke. I wish the world could go back to the tanky mini usb.

I have thought about mounting a 5-pin din socket on my desk and/or computer case specifically for retro boards, maybe with a pro micro/teensy wired up. I'm tired of all of these tiny fragile connectors.

Offline Leslieann

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Re: Where to buy high quality USB DIY connectors?
« Reply #5 on: Thu, 30 April 2020, 01:17:34 »
Mini B was okay, micro was bad at first, the newer more durable ones were better and closer to mini in terms of strength.
Type C is actually stronger than most give it credit for, particularly in terms of pcb mounting since it solders on both sides and it wins on insertion count.

I don't think C shouldn't exist, it's a good connector, I just think that is what they should have done from the start. The USB standards body also should have been more strict on how things could be used. They are working on fixing it, that is the whole point of 3.2. And while that fixes the ports, it does NOTHING for the cables since they can just easily say it works with 3.2 even though it's a 2.0 internal cable.

My problem is USB was meant to standardize things, now we have A (old and New), B (old and new), mini B, Micro B, and now Type C, that's 7 connectors plus adapters and Apple variants and compatibility (don't even get me started on that one).  It's a complete clusterf*ck now and the dumbest part is Intel is in charge of some of the competing standards. An idea intended to simplify has now become worse than the problem it was meant to fix.

Also now that the cable is the same at both ends and usable for data in and out, why do we STILL not have an easy way to to use them for data sharing? Maybe not network but shared storage or just system to system one on one sharing.
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Offline Maledicted

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Re: Where to buy high quality USB DIY connectors?
« Reply #6 on: Thu, 30 April 2020, 10:34:03 »
Mini B was okay, micro was bad at first, the newer more durable ones were better and closer to mini in terms of strength.
Type C is actually stronger than most give it credit for, particularly in terms of pcb mounting since it solders on both sides and it wins on insertion count.

I don't think C shouldn't exist, it's a good connector, I just think that is what they should have done from the start. The USB standards body also should have been more strict on how things could be used. They are working on fixing it, that is the whole point of 3.2. And while that fixes the ports, it does NOTHING for the cables since they can just easily say it works with 3.2 even though it's a 2.0 internal cable.

My problem is USB was meant to standardize things, now we have A (old and New), B (old and new), mini B, Micro B, and now Type C, that's 7 connectors plus adapters and Apple variants and compatibility (don't even get me started on that one).  It's a complete clusterf*ck now and the dumbest part is Intel is in charge of some of the competing standards. An idea intended to simplify has now become worse than the problem it was meant to fix.

Also now that the cable is the same at both ends and usable for data in and out, why do we STILL not have an easy way to to use them for data sharing? Maybe not network but shared storage or just system to system one on one sharing.

I have seen good and bad micro sockets, I have never seen one that looks as durable as the average mini socket. Mini was a lot easier to insert the right way around right away, and it actually always stayed firmly in place instead of just wiggling around and slipping right out. The metal used both on the socket and connector was much thicker, the plastic used both on the socket and connector was much thicker.

You're probably right about pcb mounting, I haven't seen it fail in that regard, and our Chromebooks actually have steel bracing mounted to the chassis to help support the type c connector in addition to this. I have, however, seen all of the pins and the extremely thin plastic part inside that they rest against completely destroyed. I have also seen one that cosmetically looks perfect, at least with as well as you can even see the tiny little contacts in there, and still not function as designed after only a few months of use (no video output). We've only had this interface in heavy use for both charging (mostly the student Chromebooks) and for "docks" (port replicators for the teacher laptops) for one school year. These are Dell systems, with particularly cheap manufacturing standards, so maybe that's also a factor, but my impressions are not good.

It wins on insertion count vs what other interfaces? I would say that beating micro usb would probably be a give-in.

I like the concept, I don't like the design implemented. It should have been larger, more robust. I don't like that we're sacrificing durability for size.

I agree with the rest, which is part of what I was originally getting at.

Weren't there type A to type A cables designed specifically for file transfer between two computers? I have seen them, and read cursorily into them. Why anyone would ever want to transfer between two computers through USB 1-2 when you could just use ethernet is beyond me, but I suppose home routers/switches may not have been as common then either.

Offline Leslieann

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Re: Where to buy high quality USB DIY connectors?
« Reply #7 on: Thu, 30 April 2020, 23:21:03 »
I have seen good and bad micro sockets, I have never seen one that looks as durable as the average mini socket.
It was a strap put across the top to keep them from ripping off the pcb. It's been in Samsung phones since the S3 I think, others also used it. It doesn't stick out when you look at it.

Mini was a lot easier to insert the right way around right away, and it actually always stayed firmly in place instead of just wiggling around and slipping right out.
I agree with orientation, it's a hassle.

Regarding durability and retention, honestly, some of this is due to age and USB at the time. Mini was out before micro, early USB had better connectors since they hadn't figured out how to cheapen them as much. More important, when Mini B was popular there was a $5 charge to use it so the companies that tend to cheapen the heck out of connectors hadn't gotten really wrapped their grubby hands on it yet. It was low volume and too expensive. By the time the fee was lifted and micro came out there was a sudden influx of money to make a cheap connector, primarily from cell manufacturers.

I've got mini and micros with bad sockets, however the micros led a much more difficult life, more insertions and just general abuse. My most common use for Mini B was usually on an external drive where I was concerned about damaging the drive so it was handled with much more care.  The micro however was used on a phone on a regular basis and people just got more complacent.

Rated life span (insertions) per USB spec.
A - 1500
Mini B - 5000
Micro B - originally 5000, never reinforced versions 10,000
C - I can't find documentation but I believe it's 10k or more


Weren't there type A to type A cables designed specifically for file transfer between two computers? I have seen them, and read cursorily into them. Why anyone would ever want to transfer between two computers through USB 1-2 when you could just use ethernet is beyond me, but I suppose home routers/switches may not have been as common then either.
They used a box in the middle to facilitate it and it wasn't cheap. You have to  isolate the system power supplies from each other and there's some other data conversion going on in there somewhere.

The ones I saw were USB 1.1 or 2.0, while 2.0, the only benefit I can see was it didn't require networking (home networking was still somewhat rare), you still needed some computer knowledge to use which made them an oddity, at least to me and like you said, for the price, it wasn't worth it.

What is surprising is that they're still making them.
I just went to look them up and they are still being made and sold, with USB 3.0 even. Who has a computer these days without wifi, much less two computers?  It would be awesome if the speeds were good but the one I looked at was able to act as an internet connection to the second computer which leads me to think all of these have always just been two nics tied together with a network auto config script. That would explain the price of them and the fact that no brand names bothered.
« Last Edit: Thu, 30 April 2020, 23:24:08 by Leslieann »
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Offline Maledicted

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Re: Where to buy high quality USB DIY connectors?
« Reply #8 on: Fri, 01 May 2020, 00:03:09 »
I have seen good and bad micro sockets, I have never seen one that looks as durable as the average mini socket.
It was a strap put across the top to keep them from ripping off the pcb. It's been in Samsung phones since the S3 I think, others also used it. It doesn't stick out when you look at it.

I still use an S5. I worry I'm going to somehow break that thing every time I use it, and that has the weird additional micro usb 3.0 tumor. I'm less worried about ripping the pads off of the pcb than I am the paper thin plastic all of the pins rest on, and the paper thin metal walls of the connector itself.

Amazon must not have gotten the memo since my brother won some Kindle at work a year or two back and the micro connector was ripped off of the pcb ... in the box. I stitched that one up though. I don't think many, if any of the pads actually ripped straight off. Might have been just the thin solder that failed.

Mini was a lot easier to insert the right way around right away, and it actually always stayed firmly in place instead of just wiggling around and slipping right out.
I agree with orientation, it's a hassle.

Regarding durability and retention, honestly, some of this is due to age and USB at the time. Mini was out before micro, early USB had better connectors since they hadn't figured out how to cheapen them as much. More important, when Mini B was popular there was a $5 charge to use it so the companies that tend to cheapen the heck out of connectors hadn't gotten really wrapped their grubby hands on it yet. It was low volume and too expensive. By the time the fee was lifted and micro came out there was a sudden influx of money to make a cheap connector, primarily from cell manufacturers.

I've got mini and micros with bad sockets, however the micros led a much more difficult life, more insertions and just general abuse. My most common use for Mini B was usually on an external drive where I was concerned about damaging the drive so it was handled with much more care.  The micro however was used on a phone on a regular basis and people just got more complacent.

Rated life span (insertions) per USB spec.
A - 1500
Mini B - 5000
Micro B - originally 5000, never reinforced versions 10,000
C - I can't find documentation but I believe it's 10k or more

Type A is rated significantly lower than the rest? All I have ever seen go wrong with type A is damage from crazy levels of manhandling, pins bent just too much to make contact from manhandling, and oxidation. I'm surprised to see mini and micro rated the same. I have never seen a mini usb connector that didn't work, ever. Random old stuff I pick up at Goodwill, socket is still tight and perfectly functional.

I had a Creative Zen Vision M growing up, since iPods were worse in every way ... and more expensive to boot. That thing has a mini USB adapter going to Creative's proprietary 30-ish pin interface. I can't fathom how many times that went in and out. It works perfectly to this day.

To be fair, I have never had problems with a single USB interface of my own (besides oxidation, and shorts in cheap cables), because I take care of my things. It is when I see students, and others, who don't care about their own, or the school's, property that the differences bother me most.

Weren't there type A to type A cables designed specifically for file transfer between two computers? I have seen them, and read cursorily into them. Why anyone would ever want to transfer between two computers through USB 1-2 when you could just use ethernet is beyond me, but I suppose home routers/switches may not have been as common then either.
They used a box in the middle to facilitate it and it wasn't cheap. You have to  isolate the system power supplies from each other and there's some other data conversion going on in there somewhere.

The ones I saw were USB 1.1 or 2.0, while 2.0, the only benefit I can see was it didn't require networking (home networking was still somewhat rare), you still needed some computer knowledge to use which made them an oddity, at least to me and like you said, for the price, it wasn't worth it.

What is surprising is that they're still making them.
I just went to look them up and they are still being made and sold, with USB 3.0 even. Who has a computer these days without wifi, much less two computers?  It would be awesome if the speeds were good but the one I looked at was able to act as an internet connection to the second computer which leads me to think all of these have always just been two nics tied together with a network auto config script. That would explain the price of them and the fact that no brand names bothered.

I could have sworn I have literally seen straight up type A to type A cables with no inline boxes, etc, new in the packaging at Goodwill. Marketed as meant for file transfers between two computers. Maybe they jammed some extra circuitry into the connectors though? Some of them looked pretty slim/cheap. I may have even bought one or two to hack up for my random modifications over the years.

Offline Leslieann

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Re: Where to buy high quality USB DIY connectors?
« Reply #9 on: Fri, 01 May 2020, 07:45:42 »
I still use an S5. I worry I'm going to somehow break that thing every time I use it, and that has the weird additional micro usb 3.0 tumor. I'm less worried about ripping the pads off of the pcb than I am the paper thin plastic all of the pins rest on, and the paper thin metal walls of the connector itself.
The S5 port is on a daughter board that you can buy online for like $6 and replace it yourself without taking off the screen and the port also has an extra strap over the top which is bolted into the frame. It's one of the more robust usb ports I've ever seen, Samsung really wanted to stop the port failures they saw on the S4.

I wouldn't worry about the port but I would recommend a wireless charger, wireless charging is just fantastic, just drop the phone onto the charger and walk away. Just don't install one of the cheap aftermarket wireless chargers (the $5 ones), it tugs on the frame sides and eventually the frame separates from the screen (ask how I know). Samsung makes one specifically for it that replaces the entire back cover, the only bad part is cost and finding one. A few tweaks and mods and that phone will last a loooong time, it was well made with few flaws and yet new enough to not fall behind too quickly, had I not found such a killer deal on my S9 I would have just fixed mine.

Amazon must not have gotten the memo since my brother won some Kindle at work a year or two back and the micro connector was ripped off of the pcb ... in the box. I stitched that one up though. I don't think many, if any of the pads actually ripped straight off. Might have been just the thin solder that failed.
I don't have a lot of experience with Amazon tablets but my impression has been that they spent more time on keeping Google and modders off it than they spent on making a good tablet.


Type A is rated significantly lower than the rest? All I have ever seen go wrong with type A is damage from crazy levels of manhandling, pins bent just too much to make contact from manhandling, and oxidation. I'm surprised to see mini and micro rated the same. I have never seen a mini usb connector that didn't work, ever. Random old stuff I pick up at Goodwill, socket is still tight and perfectly functional.
Most people just don't use Type A as often, that sounds odd until you think about it.
Your phone jack gets used probably daily, sometimes several times depending on phone and use (wireless FTW), the port is also subject to a lot of abuse, meanwhile on the computer (type A) you might plug something in every couple days.  Micro was actually engineered to be cable sacrificial, the idea being it wears or breaks rather than the port, mini B will rip the port off before the cable gives.

I lost faith in type A when 3.0 came out. I have an external with Type A on both ends, it's a complete and utter p.o.s., from day one it just could not get the 3.0 pins to stay connected on one end or the other. I also have a 3.0 thumbdrive with the same issue (though I think it was overheated at one point), quite often I can only use them in 2.0 mode by pulling it out to just not use the 3.0 pins.


I could have sworn I have literally seen straight up type A to type A cables with no inline boxes, etc, new in the packaging at Goodwill. Marketed as meant for file transfers between two computers. Maybe they jammed some extra circuitry into the connectors though? Some of them looked pretty slim/cheap. I may have even bought one or two to hack up for my random modifications over the years.
The "brain" may just not have been visible or they managed to sneak it into an end but there is definitely some electronics in there, connecting a Type A on one computer to another has BAD consequences (the fire and melty kind). There are straight Type A though, that's what that one external drive I have uses so they do exist.
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Offline Maledicted

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Re: Where to buy high quality USB DIY connectors?
« Reply #10 on: Fri, 01 May 2020, 09:36:21 »
I still use an S5. I worry I'm going to somehow break that thing every time I use it, and that has the weird additional micro usb 3.0 tumor. I'm less worried about ripping the pads off of the pcb than I am the paper thin plastic all of the pins rest on, and the paper thin metal walls of the connector itself.
The S5 port is on a daughter board that you can buy online for like $6 and replace it yourself without taking off the screen and the port also has an extra strap over the top which is bolted into the frame. It's one of the more robust usb ports I've ever seen, Samsung really wanted to stop the port failures they saw on the S4.

I wouldn't worry about the port but I would recommend a wireless charger, wireless charging is just fantastic, just drop the phone onto the charger and walk away. Just don't install one of the cheap aftermarket wireless chargers (the $5 ones), it tugs on the frame sides and eventually the frame separates from the screen (ask how I know). Samsung makes one specifically for it that replaces the entire back cover, the only bad part is cost and finding one. A few tweaks and mods and that phone will last a loooong time, it was well made with few flaws and yet new enough to not fall behind too quickly, had I not found such a killer deal on my S9 I would have just fixed mine.

That's certainly reassuring. I have never cracked one open, didn't know that.

I don't use the usb connector on my S5 so much for charging. It has removable batteries, so I keep a stack of the things pre-charged and just swap them when the one in the phone gets low. I do transfer a lot of files to and from the phone though, so I actually have one of the Samsung USB 3.0 micro cables right next to me.

Type A is rated significantly lower than the rest? All I have ever seen go wrong with type A is damage from crazy levels of manhandling, pins bent just too much to make contact from manhandling, and oxidation. I'm surprised to see mini and micro rated the same. I have never seen a mini usb connector that didn't work, ever. Random old stuff I pick up at Goodwill, socket is still tight and perfectly functional.
Most people just don't use Type A as often, that sounds odd until you think about it.
Your phone jack gets used probably daily, sometimes several times depending on phone and use (wireless FTW), the port is also subject to a lot of abuse, meanwhile on the computer (type A) you might plug something in every couple days.  Micro was actually engineered to be cable sacrificial, the idea being it wears or breaks rather than the port, mini B will rip the port off before the cable gives.

I lost faith in type A when 3.0 came out. I have an external with Type A on both ends, it's a complete and utter p.o.s., from day one it just could not get the 3.0 pins to stay connected on one end or the other. I also have a 3.0 thumbdrive with the same issue (though I think it was overheated at one point), quite often I can only use them in 2.0 mode by pulling it out to just not use the 3.0 pins.

That does make sense, in most people's use cases. I use them a LOT though. I imagine you're the same. Flash drives, adapters, swapping keyboards ... swapping computers, etc. Although I haven't really had any problems with 3.0 connectors, I understand the concern. The design doesn't look great.

I could have sworn I have literally seen straight up type A to type A cables with no inline boxes, etc, new in the packaging at Goodwill. Marketed as meant for file transfers between two computers. Maybe they jammed some extra circuitry into the connectors though? Some of them looked pretty slim/cheap. I may have even bought one or two to hack up for my random modifications over the years.
The "brain" may just not have been visible or they managed to sneak it into an end but there is definitely some electronics in there, connecting a Type A on one computer to another has BAD consequences (the fire and melty kind). There are straight Type A though, that's what that one external drive I have uses so they do exist.
[/quote]

You're probably right, or they never worked to begin with.

Offline Leslieann

  • * Elevated Elder
  • Posts: 4334
Re: Where to buy high quality USB DIY connectors?
« Reply #11 on: Fri, 01 May 2020, 23:24:13 »
I do transfer a lot of files to and from the phone though, so I actually have one of the Samsung USB 3.0 micro cables right next to me.
I setup a shared folder and use Solid Explorer (Esfile also works) to transfer files. It can be a bit tricky to setup at first but once done it's easy.

There is also programs that can turn your phone into an FTP file server where you can access from a browser, this is a bit easier to setup. You could even use Google Drive but while easy, it's not as fast or as versatile.

Data transfer is often not quite as fast as a cable but it's pretty close, anything big transfer I always just pulled the SDcard.


Regarding A ports,
I do use LOTS of sticks but I almost always use a hub or extension cable to keep down wear and be more convenient. I've killed several extensions, most tend to be cheaply made though I do know of some good ones that last pretty well.
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Offline Maledicted

  • Posts: 2097
  • Location: Wisconsin, United States
Re: Where to buy high quality USB DIY connectors?
« Reply #12 on: Sat, 02 May 2020, 00:15:13 »
I do transfer a lot of files to and from the phone though, so I actually have one of the Samsung USB 3.0 micro cables right next to me.
I setup a shared folder and use Solid Explorer (Esfile also works) to transfer files. It can be a bit tricky to setup at first but once done it's easy.

There is also programs that can turn your phone into an FTP file server where you can access from a browser, this is a bit easier to setup. You could even use Google Drive but while easy, it's not as fast or as versatile.

Data transfer is often not quite as fast as a cable but it's pretty close, anything big transfer I always just pulled the SDcard.


Regarding A ports,
I do use LOTS of sticks but I almost always use a hub or extension cable to keep down wear and be more convenient. I've killed several extensions, most tend to be cheaply made though I do know of some good ones that last pretty well.

I hadn't heard of doing any of that for file transfers. That's interesting. The shared folder would probably make the most sense, although they may not appreciate that at work. I use my phone to take pictures of laptop damage, and working in a school district, that's a lot of pictures, sometimes 5-6+ times a day. Since the part is apparently replaceable in the S5, and cheap, I'll probably just stick with the cable.

Sacrificial hubs to save on wear on irreplaceable ports is probably a good idea.

Offline Leslieann

  • * Elevated Elder
  • Posts: 4334
Re: Where to buy high quality USB DIY connectors?
« Reply #13 on: Sat, 02 May 2020, 03:59:37 »
I hadn't heard of doing any of that for file transfers. That's interesting. The shared folder would probably make the most sense, although they may not appreciate that at work.
A shared folder is best left for home, but if your phone is on the wifi at work they may not mind the FTP since it's all run from the phone, the only thing being sent is the files you request. If you're doing them a few at a time anyway you could also just email them to yourself.
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| YMDK75 Jail Housed Gateron Blues
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| KBT Race S L.E.
More
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| Das Pro
More
Costar model with browns
| GH60
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| Logitech Illumininated | IBM Model M (x2)
Definitive Omron Guide.

Offline Maledicted

  • Posts: 2097
  • Location: Wisconsin, United States
Re: Where to buy high quality USB DIY connectors?
« Reply #14 on: Sat, 02 May 2020, 18:55:40 »
I hadn't heard of doing any of that for file transfers. That's interesting. The shared folder would probably make the most sense, although they may not appreciate that at work.
A shared folder is best left for home, but if your phone is on the wifi at work they may not mind the FTP since it's all run from the phone, the only thing being sent is the files you request. If you're doing them a few at a time anyway you could also just email them to yourself.

I love FTP, starting with when I first started playing with modded original Xbox consoles. I think USB is probably a little more convenient for a phone though myself. Same goes for emails. I don't send emails from my phone. I hate touch screens too much to bother with using them for much of anything other than pictures unless there's not already a computer nearby, and there usually is.