DB Connectors – Everything You Need To Know

Did you know that you still use DB connectors or D-subminiature connectors in different devices and applications? They come in various shapes, sizes, and PINs to suit various equipment. Do you know which type of DB connector you need for your project?

In this article, we will help you find out all you need to know about DB connectors. By the end of this guide, you will become a pro on DB connectors and become able to make informed decisions.


DB Connectors

Chapter 1: DB Connector

What is D-Sub Connector?

DB or D-sub connector is one form of electrical connectors. Their goal is to establish a connection between two points to facilitate the transfer of information or power. The standard was developed by Cannon in 1952 and became popular consequently.

The connectors get their name from the D-shaped metal shield around the pins. At the time of introduction, DB connectors were the smallest of the lot. They can act as multi-way connectors, and you can find the best-known application perhaps in the RS-232 serial links.

D-sub connectors are in use for a long time for serial links in computers. You can still find variations of the DB connector in many computers used today.

DB connectors have two or more rows of parallel connections. The male plug contains the rows of pins, whereas the female plug comes with rows of holes. The number of pins generally denotes the connectors. For example, DB 25 connector has 25 pins, and DB 9 has nine pins.

Here’s a video of how to connect DB connector-

We will talk about the applications of DB connectors in the next chapter.


Chapter 2: The Applications of DB Connectors

DB connectors are used widely for various electronic devices. The connectors are common for establishing communication between various devices such as printers and monitors. They are also applicable for video and gaming controllers. Here are some specific uses of DB connectors-

Electronic Office Systems

DB connectors were one time the standard for office electronics like computers and peripherals. You can connect mice, keyboard, monitors, video outputs, and similar devices to computers using DB connectors. 

Another common application of DB connectors was for connecting printers to computers. For example, DB 25 connectors were useful in establishing connections with the parallel and serial ports.

Medical Equipment

DB connectors are ideal for medical equipment that require precision and performance. DB connectors used in medical electronics have to be reliable along with complying with electrical and mechanical requirements.

Some medical equipment relying on DB connectors include computer tomography system, imaging machines, nurse call systems, MRI machines, and more. You can also use them for various screening, therapeutic, and sensor-based diagnostic systems.

Data Communications

DB connectors are used to facilitate data communication between various devices. The most common application was for RS-232-based serial communications, like exchanging data between the computer and the printer.

DB connectors are also used for connecting modems to allow data transfer between PC and modem. Some computer networks and token ring networks also rely on DB connectors. 

Business Equipment

Business equipment includes computers, communication devices, and other systems used for business. You already know that you can use DB connectors for modems, computers, printers, network devices, and more.

Some business security controls and surveillance systems also utilize DB connectors.

Mobile Communications

At times, you can also use DB connectors in mobile communications for serial and parallel protocols.  The connectors offer maximum cable length and adequate speed necessary for mobile communications. Sometimes they are also utilized for older equipment that has long life expectancies.

Cables used in mobile networks also come with DB connectors. 

Consumer Electronics

You can find DB connectors in consumer electronics in various forms. They are used as the plugs of power cables for various devices and used to establish a connection between devices. Video equipment like TVs, desktop computers, printers, game controllers, and more need DB connectors to function.

DB Connectors

Text – using a DB Connector plug socket

In the next chapter, we will discuss the different types of DB connectors.


Chapter 3: Types of DB Connectors

You can find different types of DB connectors to suit various applications. There are DB 9, DB 15, DB 25, DB 37, and DB 50 connectors that come in standard density. On the other hand, DB 15, DB 26, DB 44, DB 62, and DB 78 connectors are of high density.

The density refers to the spacing between the pins of a DB connector. Normal density DB connectors have a pin spacing of 2.76 mm while high-density connectors come with a spacing of 2.3 mm between the pins. You can also find standard density DB connectors.

We are going to explore the different types of standard-density DB connectors in our post.

1. DB 9 Connector

DB 9 or DE 9 connectors were commonly used for serial ports or COM1 ports of older computers. The connectors feature a total of 9 pins arranged in two rows. The upper row of the male end contains five pins while the lower row has four pins. The female connector comes with nine holes and connects to ports of devices.

DB9 connectors were widely used when serial ports were standard on computers. The connectors work with the EIA/TIA 232 serial interface standard. DB 9 connectors were common for peripheral devices such as a mouse, keyboard, and joystick. You can also find them on DB 9 cable assemblies used for data connectivity.

Current configurations such as USB, PS/2, and FireWire have replaced the DB 9 standard. Still, you can use BD 9 connectors for applications based on serial communication. Token ring adapters also make use of DB connectors.

DB 9 connectors offer the smallest footprint among all DB connectors.

DB Connectors

Text – Using a DB 9 Style Connector

2. DB 15 Connector

DB 15 is a part of the D-sub miniature group of connectors and used in computers and communication devices. DB 15 connectors include both the DA 15 and DE 15 connectors.

DA 15 connectors have a larger enclosure, and the pins arranged in two rows. The upper row features eight pins while the lower row comes with seven pins. DA 15 is a male connector and connects to female ports of a device.

DE 15 connectors are smaller compared to DA 15 connectors and have three rows of pins, with five pins in each row. Don’t confuse DE 15 connectors with HD 15 connectors, which also has three rows of pins.

DB 15 connectors were used for game ports of a computer, sound cards, and older AUI network cards. Legacy Mac monitors also used DB 15 connectors, but they have been phased out. DB 15 connectors are also known as Game Port for their use in video game controllers and joysticks.

Another common use of DB 15 connectors was for VGA connections. You can find them on Windows computers and laptops, older CRT monitors and projectors. 

DB Connectors

Text – Using a DB 15 Connector

3. DB 25 Connector

DB 25 is an analog 25-pin plug version of the DB connector family.  You see the pins in two rows of 13 pins (top row) and 12 pins (lower row). You can also find female DB 25 connectors featuring holes in place of pins.

DB 25 was mainly used to parallel port connections. Some common applications include the RS-232 serial and SCSI applications for computers. DB 25 connectors are also known as IEEE-1284 Type A Connectors if you use them for parallel applications.

In older systems, you will also be able to find female DB 25 parallel ports. Sometimes, the DB 25 male port can also replace the DB 9 port. Older Apple computers used the DB 25 connector for SCSI devices and other expansion cards.

DB 25 connectors are also known as Printer ports as they were previously used to connect printers. Serial connections that depend on the transmission of data through the RS-232 standard also takes help of DB 25 connectors. DB 25 allows asynchronous transmission of data for serial connections using the RS-232 standard. 

DB Connectors

Text – Using a DB 25 connector

4. DB 37 Connector

DB 37 connectors have 37 pins spread across two rows. The upper row has 19 pins while the lower row has 18 pins. DB 37 connectors were used by Cisco networking components that rely on the RS-449 serial communication standard. Network devices such as SMC and Nortel can also use these connectors.

DB 37 connectors are also common on various models of sensors, satellite antennas, switches, video hardware, control systems, and security systems. Interestingly, DB 37 connectors were not very common in mainstream electronics. They were found in very few computers though sometimes they were used in back panels of the PC board.

DB Connectors

Text – Using a DB 37 connector

5. DB 50 Connector

DB 50 connectors come with 50 pins arranged in either two rows or three rows. The two-row DB 50 connector has 25 pins spread over two rows. In case of three-row DB 50, the upper row contains 17 pins; the middle row has 16 pins while the lower row includes 17 pins.

DB 50 connectors are what you use for legacy SCSI connections.  You can also find them in sensor and control applications where you need to transmit multiple signal sets through a single cable.

DB Connectors

Text – Using a DB 50 connector

Now you know about the different type of DB connectors and their applications. Next, we move on to the differences between connector, plug, and jack in the following chapter.


Chapter 4: The Difference between Connector, Plug, and Jack

Many people often get confused when you ask them about connectors, plugs, or jacks. The three of them are different components and are not the same. To give you a clear idea, we are going to discuss the differences between connector, plug, and jack.

What is a Plug?

The term plug denotes the part of a cable or wire that you connect to a port. The plug is the connecting part, and you connect it to either a port or a jack.

The most common example of a plug is the power plug.  It has a plug at the end of a cable which you can connect to a power source, mostly wall outlets. You can find male plugs on computer power cords that you can hook into the wall socket. The female plug end goes into the device like CPU, printer, or monitors.

DB Connectors

Text – Using a printer power cable plug

What is Jack?

A jack is the slot or holes on devices where you insert the plug or cards in case of computers. For example, one of the most common types of the jack is the audio jack you find in laptops and computers. 

The jack allows compatible plugs and cables to connect to the hole or jack. Other examples of jack include sound in or sound out jacks, line in and line out jacks, microphone jacks and so on.

What is a Connector?

A connector is also a plug or jack with unique features that connect to a port. Edges of various cards like graphics card used in computers are also called connectors. You can insert the connectors of computer cards into the slots on the motherboard.

Connectors are also found in cables and refer to the end that connects to a port of a device. For instance, USB printer cables have serial or parallel connectors that connect to the printer.

You can easily distinguish between connector, jack, and plug through physical means like visual observation. Their application can also be used to differentiate between the components.



DB connectors are still widely used in many electronics and devices. If you have a DB connector project in mind, we can help you! You can learn more about DB connectors from us and choose the right connector for your project. We manufacture high-quality connectors that make way for the success of your project, enabling you to save time and cost.

For more information, contact us today.

Hey, I am John, General manager of Cloom and OurPCB.

I am a responsible, intelligent and experienced business professional with an extensive background in the electronics industry.

Reach me at sales@wiringo.com to get a quote for your projects.

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