Author Topic: CM reps, what's with the non-standard USB A jack on the XT?  (Read 1626 times)

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Offline oryan_dunn

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CM reps, what's with the non-standard USB A jack on the XT?
« on: Tue, 13 August 2013, 23:15:02 »
Looking like the XTS will be my next keyboard, so I'm looking at the XT with more scrutiny.  CM reps, why use a non-standard USB A jack on the keyboard?  Why not use a standard USB B jack?  I don't believe a USB A-A cable is within spec (though I know you can buy them).

Offline alaricljs

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Re: CM reps, what's with the non-standard USB A jack on the XT?
« Reply #1 on: Wed, 14 August 2013, 00:43:10 »
Sure it's weird... but they aren't hard to come by.
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Offline oryan_dunn

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Re: CM reps, what's with the non-standard USB A jack on the XT?
« Reply #2 on: Wed, 14 August 2013, 08:40:13 »
Oh, I know you can buy them, I mean, monoprice has just about any cable you could want.  The problem is that a USB A-A cable can be dangerous.  Someone has one and thinks "I'll plug my laptop into my desktop to transfer files", then feeds 5V in, could cause issues or release the magic smoke in one of the USB chips.

Granted, most of the people buying a keyboard like that would know better, but we all know the world isn't in short supply of idiots.  It's just odd given there is a plug designed for the device end of USB.
« Last Edit: Wed, 14 August 2013, 08:42:12 by oryan_dunn »

Offline CPTBadAss

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Re: CM reps, what's with the non-standard USB A jack on the XT?
« Reply #3 on: Wed, 14 August 2013, 08:42:40 »
Sweet little overview Mkawa! Cooler Master is definitely making very broad strokes in the mechanical keyboard market and their boards seem to be extremely good value. My Trigger is an absolute beast..... just don't step on the USB cable and rip the mini-USB connection off of the USB hub PCB......  :))
this is _exactly_ why they went with a full-sized USB female port with the XT. the PCB-mount SMT full-sized female connector has like an order of magnitude more material strength than the mini A connector.

these are also exactly the kind of details that were sweated and can be appreciated by the enthusiast community in this board. the price point and general usefulness makes it a very good buy for the common consumer, but the lessons learned from the enthusiast community were intelligently and thoughtfully applied in the design regardless. the full-sized connector costs a few cents more, and many manufacturers would go with the mini because of that, but CM knew that the device lifetime could be extended by literally an order of magnitude under real conditions by spending those few cents, so they did. for that i applaud them

If you click on the title of the post, you can read the thread. Mkawa explains in there why they use the connector they do.
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Offline oryan_dunn

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Re: CM reps, what's with the non-standard USB A jack on the XT?
« Reply #4 on: Wed, 14 August 2013, 10:31:19 »
Most keyboards use the USB Micro B connector, which, as he states and most people find out, is very fragile.  It was not designed for full sized PC accessories, but rather things like cell phones.  There is also a full size USB B connector, which is the proper plug for the keyboard end.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Types-usb_th1.svg

A Standard-B plug—which has a square shape with bevelled exterior corners—typically plugs into an "upstream receptacle" on a device that uses a removable cable, e.g. a printer. On some devices, the Type B receptacle has no data connections, being used solely for accepting power from the upstream device. This two-connector-type scheme (A/B) prevents a user from accidentally creating an electrical loop.

The host side uses USB A and the client side uses USB B.  Both ends come in standard, mini, and micro sizes.  I'm guessing most people don't understand the differences between the A/B ends of a cable.  There's no need to break USB spec to use a full size connector on the keyboard.
« Last Edit: Wed, 14 August 2013, 10:40:31 by oryan_dunn »

Offline nsrexler

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Re: CM reps, what's with the non-standard USB A jack on the XT?
« Reply #5 on: Tue, 20 August 2013, 13:51:27 »
Sweet little overview Mkawa! Cooler Master is definitely making very broad strokes in the mechanical keyboard market and their boards seem to be extremely good value. My Trigger is an absolute beast..... just don't step on the USB cable and rip the mini-USB connection off of the USB hub PCB......  :))
this is _exactly_ why they went with a full-sized USB female port with the XT. the PCB-mount SMT full-sized female connector has like an order of magnitude more material strength than the mini A connector.

these are also exactly the kind of details that were sweated and can be appreciated by the enthusiast community in this board. the price point and general usefulness makes it a very good buy for the common consumer, but the lessons learned from the enthusiast community were intelligently and thoughtfully applied in the design regardless. the full-sized connector costs a few cents more, and many manufacturers would go with the mini because of that, but CM knew that the device lifetime could be extended by literally an order of magnitude under real conditions by spending those few cents, so they did. for that i applaud them

If you click on the title of the post, you can read the thread. Mkawa explains in there why they use the connector they do.

Nobody is criticizing the use of a full-size USB connector, we're criticizing the use of the WRONG full-size USB connector. USB is only ever supposed to go A-B, never A-A. There is a full-size USB B connector which is actually quite common (you may have seen it on devices such as printers.)

Offline CPTBadAss

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Re: CM reps, what's with the non-standard USB A jack on the XT?
« Reply #6 on: Tue, 20 August 2013, 13:53:40 »
Hm, ok. I totally misunderstood the argument then. My bad.
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Offline oryan_dunn

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Re: CM reps, what's with the non-standard USB A jack on the XT?
« Reply #7 on: Wed, 21 August 2013, 08:20:56 »
I'd bet that something like this happened (as I've had a similar experience)

Note: this is all fiction
Carter: Hey Rajiv, the guys in the forum are having trouble with the mini USB connector.  I think we need to get that updated.
Rajiv: Sure, lets just use a full-sized USB.
Carter: Ok, I'll call manufacturing.
.....
John (in manufacturing): Hello
Carter: Hey John, it's Carter.
John: Hey Carter
Carter: We need you to update the spec on the new XT to use a full-sized USB connector.
John: Sure thing Carter.

At this point, John looks down at has USB key and thinks, well, this is full-size USB; I need to order some female jacks like this.  (which works, since both ends of a USB cable are electrically identical).

Jane (in purchasing) goes looking for the cable and now needs to find a full-size USB cable.  She finds that most that she comes across are not what she needs.  Most are either for cell phones or the old USB printer cables.  She calls up a supplier to ask for the cable.  The guy at the supplier says "Sure we can get that for you, but it's really not standard" .  Jane replies "I know, we're doing something different and new." all the while thinking they're doing something ahead of the curve.


I've lived through a similar experience and is why I have a full-sized USB A-A cable at my desk right now.
« Last Edit: Wed, 21 August 2013, 08:23:13 by oryan_dunn »

Offline SpAmRaY

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Re: CM reps, what's with the non-standard USB A jack on the XT?
« Reply #8 on: Wed, 21 August 2013, 08:35:55 »
I'd bet that something like this happened (as I've had a similar experience)

Note: this is all fiction
Carter: Hey Rajiv, the guys in the forum are having trouble with the mini USB connector.  I think we need to get that updated.
Rajiv: Sure, lets just use a full-sized USB.
Carter: Ok, I'll call manufacturing.
.....
John (in manufacturing): Hello
Carter: Hey John, it's Carter.
John: Hey Carter
Carter: We need you to update the spec on the new XT to use a full-sized USB connector.
John: Sure thing Carter.

At this point, John looks down at has USB key and thinks, well, this is full-size USB; I need to order some female jacks like this.  (which works, since both ends of a USB cable are electrically identical).

Jane (in purchasing) goes looking for the cable and now needs to find a full-size USB cable.  She finds that most that she comes across are not what she needs.  Most are either for cell phones or the old USB printer cables.  She calls up a supplier to ask for the cable.  The guy at the supplier says "Sure we can get that for you, but it's really not standard" .  Jane replies "I know, we're doing something different and new." all the while thinking they're doing something ahead of the curve.


I've lived through a similar experience and is why I have a full-sized USB A-A cable at my desk right now.

^^ Until we hear otherwise let's say that's what happened! ;)

Offline vun

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Re: CM reps, what's with the non-standard USB A jack on the XT?
« Reply #9 on: Wed, 21 August 2013, 08:46:10 »
I'm not really seeing the problem here, could anyone enlighten me why you should use B instead of A when A seems to work just fine?

Offline oryan_dunn

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Re: CM reps, what's with the non-standard USB A jack on the XT?
« Reply #10 on: Wed, 21 August 2013, 09:14:54 »
I'm not really seeing the problem here, could anyone enlighten me why you should use B instead of A when A seems to work just fine?

On a technical level, there is no problem, it works just fine.

The problem is that an A-A cable is not standard (my not even be allowed per USB spec, but who the heck enforces that?).  It's not a commonly available cable, which also isn't really a problem since the keyboard comes with one.

The A end (host) is what provides the 5V power, and the B end (client) accepts 5V power.  You plug an A-A together, usually both ends would be pumping out 5V, which could cause problems (ie. one isn't turned on, and gets 5V input on an output line).

The problem is it puts a USB A-A cable in the hands of the consumer.  'People' are dumb.  And that is why the USB designers came up with an A end and a B end to the cable.  With an A-A cable, you could, say, plug your cell phone charger into your USB port on your computer.  Ridiculous, I know, but see my 'People' are dumb comment earlier.

Basically, I'd expect a really good reason for using an A-A cable; and the likely mis-communication example I gave isn't a good reason, though a fully understandable explanation.  The keyboard as shipped is technically fine.  And to be honest, most people buying an XT are going to be smart enough to not do something stupid with the A-A cable.  For the XTS, it's backlit (which I really want), you'll pull in a different audience, and I think you want the proper connector at that point.
« Last Edit: Wed, 21 August 2013, 09:28:07 by oryan_dunn »

Offline vun

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Re: CM reps, what's with the non-standard USB A jack on the XT?
« Reply #11 on: Wed, 21 August 2013, 09:25:48 »
Oh, fair enough, that makes sense.