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.

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Chapter 1: DB Connectors

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What is D-Sub Connector?

DB or D-sub connector is one form of electrical connector. 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.

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Chapter 2: The Applications of DB Connectors

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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.

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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 Connector

You can find different types of DB connector 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 connector 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 connector 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 connector 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 connector 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 connector.

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

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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. The DB 15 connector includes both the DA 15 and DE 15 connector.

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 connector 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 connector is also known as Game Port for its use in video game controllers and joysticks.

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

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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 a female DB 25 connector 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 connector is also known as IEEE-1284 Type-A Connector 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. 

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Text – Using a DB 25 connector

4. DB 37 Connector

DB 37 connector have 37 pins spread across two rows. The upper row has 19 pins while the lower row has 18 pins. DB 37 connector 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 connector is also common on various models of sensors, satellite antennas, switches, video hardware, control systems, and security systems. Interestingly, DB 37 connector 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.

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Text – Using a DB 37 connector

5. DB 50 Connector

DB 50 connector comes 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 the 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 connector is 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.

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Text – Using a DB 50 connector

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


Is DB15 The Same As VGA/HD15?

From a technical viewpoint, these two are different.

The DB15 has 15 pins in two rows of 8 & 7 and is wider. On the other hand, DE15, HD15, or VGA (names are interchangeable) have 3 rows of 5 and are smaller. However, some manuals and devices wrongly label VGA connectors as DB15. Why?

Officially referred to as D-Sub miniature, D-Sub or DB isn’t limited to only display functions. You can also use it for serial port, SCSI, parallel port, and other connectors, with the number of pins varying according to the purpose.

However, such connector standards are not commonly found in PCs as today’s general-purpose devices prefer to use USB.

Although initially USB was not designed for display interface, emerging demand for easier ways to set up multiple monitor environments, especially for low-priced netbooks and laptops, is putting pressure on D-Sub cables. 

The D-Sub port, when used as a monitor interface, is often called a VGA port, which is an old-school analog standard. VGA is a DE15 connector with 15 pins neatly lined up in 5 rows, often called D-SUb 15 pin or mini D-SUb 15 pin.

Keep in mind not all varieties use all the pins. Most people stick to D-Sub ports right now as they connect to a heap of LCD monitors and PCs.

There’s a D-SUb male connector attached to the cable and a D-Sub female connector attached to the monitor. D-Sub cables have screws on each connector end, which you twist to properly secure the cable to your device.

You can use DVI-I for both kinds of setups, analog and digital, depending on what type of cable you are using for your monitor.

DVI-I can send analog signals that work with D-Sub, allowing you to use a cable with a D-Sub connector on one end and a DVI-I connector on the opposite end.

Keep in mind the type of connectors and cables on the LCD monitor side and the PC side; you can also use an adapter to connect a D-Sub connector with a DVI-I connector.

Is D-Sub or HDMI Better?

HDMI works with both video and audio; therefore, if your monitor has speakers, it doesn’t need a connection to a sound card.

On the other hand, DVI-I only offers video. Both provide high-quality video and are digital. D-Sub (VGA) is an analog signal standard; therefore, you can’t use it on a digital-only monitor.

HDMI Cable

Caption: HDMI Cable


DB connector is 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.

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