Oxygen Free Copper. What is it?

Cables are boring; there, I said it. So how does one market something that is inherently not that exciting? I grew up deep into computers, networks and programming. I can remember the birth of so many interesting things that cables have facilitated, but I can never recall coming home shouting about a C13 to NEMA 5-15P. Okay, I admit, even us geeks would call this a computer power cord. So how does one go about making these things interesting? And what is really important?

One of the biggest, annoyingly brilliant deals in copper cables was to declare a cable has oxygen free copper (OFC). This is genius because one takes a simple term most didn’t think was worth mentioning and it becomes some marketing juggernaut. Hey, In most cases we say it too. Copper cables are oxygen free. So what exactly is going on there?

Copper is a base element (Cu on the periodic table). So how does copper get oxygen? Well it’s not like we mine pure copper from the ground. There are impurities in the ore itself. We also introduce impurities when we refine the copper ore. Typically some oxygen gets into the mix at the refinement stage. Depending on the requirements of the final product, the refinement methods and process can vary.

C10100 (trade name: Oxygen-Free-Electronic) the final portion of it’s process occurs in an airspace devoid of oxygen with rules so stringent even silver is considered an impurity. Keep in mind this stuff is going into places like vacuums inside a particle accelerator or a CPU where any impurity can matter. I think this might be overkill for speaker wire. Maybe I am wrong though, it does have a 101% IACS conductivity rating. Wait, is this like giving 110% of oneself? I love giving more than all

C10200 (trade name: Oxygen-Free) differs in that silver is not considered an impurity and it can have more oxygen, by a power of 50 which means very little when it’s 0.0005% vs 0.001% and we are using it for speakers…

C11000, is called Electrolytic-Tough-Pitch (ETP), relaxes the rules even further. It typically can equal more than all in conductivity as well. This is the copper that finds itself all over normal applications. (Shut up, a particle accelerator is not normal!) Most of what is out there and marketed as oxygen free copper is this stuff here. I am sure that there are some cables out there which are made with C10200 and there always will be because some people will buy them just like people keep thinking a Cat5e cable marketed as 250MHz is better than 100MHz. Side note on a completely different rant if that 250MHz Cat5e was so amazing they would have printed Cat6 on the packaging and jacked the price…. (Though I think I might be due a rant on this so we’ll see.)

What really matters is that your cables, wires and cords that should be copper are indeed copper, not aluminum, and that they are uniformly and well constructed. You need to choose a cable that is of the correct materials and size for the intended use. If you are unsure about the gauge you need for a 100 foot run delivering 100 watts to a two way in your garden, don’t fret we have Tech Support to help you out.


HDMI: The 1.0 Generation

HDMI: The 1.0 Generation Explained

When HDMI cables first hit the market in 2002, they forever changed the way home consumers could transport digital audio and video signals between remote signals. The days of analog were officially over, and our new digital realm was firmly in place.

Since then, HDMI standards have gone through a series of upgrades and changes. Yet some things remain the same: 90% of HDMI connectors used in the HiFi world, for example, are still the 13.9mm Type A.

Yet today, HDMI cables are capable of transferring video signals anywhere from 480i to 4K resolution. While every individual manufacturer will determine the parameters for their HDMI components, the official HDMI specifications have progressed significantly with each new standard iteration.

In the beginning, there was the HDMI 1.0. This revolutionary single cable combined a two-channel audio signal with a digital video signal of standard and high-definition capabilities. Commonly, they were used to connect HDMI-equipped DVD players and television screens.

Then came the HDMI 1.1. This added additional audio features to the two-channel system, including surround signals for Dolby Digital, DTS, DVD-Audio, and up to 7.1 PCM channels.

The HDMI 1.2 arrived in 2005 and included support for one-bit audio processing and Direct-Stream Digital (DSD) for Super Audio CDs, both of which in turn helped make HDMI cables better suited for PC connections.

New technologies during this time, such as HD display, Deep Color, and higher resolutions and frame rates, demanded more bandwidth from HDMI cables. The 1.3 standards introduced speeds up to 340MHz/10.2Gbps to support these developing advancements.

HDMI 1.4 was released in 2009, the final iteration of the 1.0 generation. These standards were designed specifically with Blu-ray technology in mind, with the ability to pass two simultaneous 1080p signals on one connector.

When the HDMI 2.0 arrived in 2013, it brought with it a slew of changes and improvements. While the details of the forthcoming 2.1 are still under wraps, HDMI standards will be sure to advance and evolve for as long as technology allows.

Understanding the difference between USB 2.0, USB 3.0, A and B-Type, and More

Does this sound like a familiar situation?

You need to connect to a printer, camera, or cellphone, but you can’t find a USB cable. You frantically search through your cupboards, drawers and bags, untangling the wires as you go. Once you finally come across a USB cable, you try plug it in, only to realize that the connector just doesn’t fit.

We’ve all been there. The reality is that not all USB cables are created equal. While you might not have realized it, you probably found USB 2.0 printer cables with a Type B connector, when what you needed was a Mini-B connector or vice versa.

So how can you tell the difference and learn which cables connect to what? Here’s a quick guide to figuring out the difference between all of the cables you have in your arsenal.

First things first, there are two different type of connectors: male and female. This applies to all cables, as well as other connectors and fasteners. The male connector fits inside the device. For an iPhone charger, the end that plugs into your laptop or brick is the male connector. A female connector is often referred to as the port. It is where the male connector plugs in. That makes the USB ports on your laptop all female.

Next, what is a USB cord anyway?

It stands for Universal Serial Bus, which was developed in the 1990s as an industry standard. This defines the cables, connectors, and communication protocols that facilitate communications and power delivery between computers and/or electronic devices. As time has gone on, the USB standard has evolved to become more efficient and adoption among device manufacturers so wide spread as to make it ubiquitous.

More recent specifications.

USB 2.0: The USB 2.0 specification was released in 2000 and increased the amount of bandwidth from 12 Mbit/s to 480 Mbit/s (Megabits per second).

USB 3.0: In 2008, USB 3.0 was released. This new specification introduced more bandwidth for transferring data, an increase in power output to improve charging and powering of devices and more robust power management. USB 3.0 cables are compatible with USB 2.0 devices, but the performance of these connections is only as fast as it would be at 2.0 level.

Plugs, Connectors and Ports oh my!

USB A-Type: This is the standard rectangular female port found on computers and other devices.

USB B-Type: Most USB 2.0 printer cables, scanner cables and some external hard drive cables are B-type connectors. They are small and square.

USB C-Type: These are the newest USB connectors on the market. They have a symmetrical design that eliminates that age old orientation annoyance when plugging in a USB cable. You are most likely to see the C connector on the device side for now as most computers are sticking with Type-A ports. This excludes the latest Macbook Pro which sports Thunderbolt 3 ports, designed by Intel, which happen to support USB C. You will find plenty of USB A to USB C cables that work on both USB 2.0 and 3.0. Just be mindful that charging rates will ultimately be limited by the USB version.

Micro USB B-Type: Until the C connector becomes more utilized, this is likely the connector that people associate the most with USB. Micro USB B-Type is found on phones, tablets, external drive cages, some cameras, and many more devices. Due to its small dimensions and relatively cheap licensing, this connector/port is all over the place and unlikely to go away any time soon.

USB Mini-b (5-pin): If you’ve rummaged across a USB cable slightly too big to fit your cell phone, it may be a Mini-b 5 pin. This is found on digital cameras, GPS units, some DV cams, external drive enclosures and similar hardware. This connector is slowly being phased out in favor of the Micro USB B-Type.

USB Mini-b (4-pin): This connector made the rounds some time ago and probably didn’t need to exist. However, given that it did exist on quite a few cameras and smaller devices, we will reference it. Smaller even than the Mini-B 5 pin, the Mini-B 4 pin was also replaced by the newer Micro USB type B.

If you’re struggling to find a USB 2.0 printer cable, cell phone charger cable, GPS cable adapter, or anything else, buy a brand new one from CableWholesale today!

Cleaning Up Cord Clutter

Cleaning Up Cord Clutter

Managing the clutter in your home can be quite the task, especially seeing as how the average household in the U.S. contains over 300,000 items.

In the modern age, much of that clutter stems from electronic devices. Case in point, many American homes have more television sets than people — each of which is left on for an average eight hours and 14 minutes every day, or one-third of the time.

Do you remember the last time you misplaced the TV remote? Some people lose up to nine items every day, or 198,743 over the course of a lifetime. And those minutes we spend searching for misplaced items can add up. On average, we’ll spend 3,680 hours — 153 days, total — looking for the items we lose.

Organization is the trick to not losing things. If your TV is mounted up close to a wall or the back of an entertainment center, for instance, you might consider investing in some 90-degree or swivel couplers for your HDMI hookups. This also helps reduce stress on the neck of the cables, as they’re forced down by gravity, which will help them last longer.

Another key tip for better cable organization is bundling. Use a simple zip tie or hair binder to group together individual cables that run together to lessen the clutter behind your entertainment system or computer desk.

If you want cable clutter out of sight altogether, you might also try installing an undermount basket or bracket right on the underside of your desk. IKEA sells the Signum for just this purpose, and for only $10.

The best time to take control of your cable organization is when you’re first installing or replacing an old system. When you do so, consider using a color-coded system so that you can tell on sight which cable is connected to which device behind your TV. Added bonus: colored cables in red, blue, or yellow are often less expensive than black or white cables, too. You’ll not only save some money, you’ll also help preserve at least a little bit more of your sanity.

Why You Shouldn’t Pay for Expensive Highspeed HDMI Cables

There are many different types and brands of highspeed HDMI cables out there on the market that sometimes vary widely in price. But what if we told you that they’re all more or less the same?

The industry association standards behind HDMI have made it pretty clear what current HDMI highspeed cables can and can’t do, and that’s about all there is to it. Don’t be fooled into thinking that more expensive cables are any better than their more affordable rivals. When it comes down to it, this technology is relatively standardized across the board. While there are a few exceptions (which we’ll discuss below), here’s why you shouldn’t pay more than you have to for highspeed HDMI cables that work.

  • Rule #1: HDMI does not affect fidelity.
    In this case, a cable is a cable. Your HDMI cable will only transmit whatever your source or screen is capable of. This might mean the video picture difference between 1080P and 4K, or the audio quality of a DVD versus a Blu-Ray Disc. A pricier cable can’t and won’t improve video or audio signal.
  • Rule #2: Length and wire gauge does matter.
    Most home entertainment systems won’t be affected by the length of an HDMI cable in terms of picture or sound quality. There are several exceptions, though. Standard wire thickness for HDMI cables 15ft and under is 28AWG. For lengths above that, a thicker 24AWG is required which will cost more. When you get to 75ft or 100ft, a HDMI cable with a built-in booster chip is a good idea.
  • Rule #3: It works until it doesn’t.
    Unlike analog signals that might fuzz or fade with time, the digital signal of HDMI is a mostly all-or-nothing transmission. You’ll know it’s time for a new cable if data starts dropping.

Most of the time, any HDMI cable that meets industry standards will work just fine, no matter where or how you use it. Of course, some exceptions still apply if you want to run cable over long distances, install it in-wall, or frequently unplug or rearrange your devices. A solid gold plug and a braided jacket never hurt anyone, but for most HDMI customers, they’re simply not necessary. When it comes to delivery, highspeed HDMI cables are one standard you can always count on.

The Buyer’s Guide to Fiber Optic Cables

Fiber optic technology is one of the most exciting and most quickly-evolving technological fields today. While fiber optic cables have long been used for network infrastructure, they’re only just now becoming more available for home and business use. Here’s what you need to know about these cables as fiber to the home (FTTH) and fiber to the premises cables (FTTP) become more widespread.

What Does Fiber Optics Mean, Anyway?
Optical fibers transfer data using light as a medium, meaning your data literally travels at the speed of light! This is a major departure from other devices like Cat5e network cables or coaxial cables, which rely on electricity. In many ways, this makes fiber optics a safer technology as well as a faster one, since electrical fires, failures, and malfunctions resulted in about 53,600 home fires in 2008 alone. These caused 500 deaths, 1,400 injuries, and $1.4 billion in damage. Frayed or damaged electrical cables are often a fire hazard.

Who Needs Fiber Optics?
Cat5e cables or Cat6 cables are generally sufficient for most home consumers when it comes to data transfer speeds. But people or businesses that require an especially large amount of bandwidth have common troubles with interference. They may also need to run cables over very long distances, which is why they may look to zipcord fiber optic cables instead.

What Kind of Cables Do I Need?
There are actually many different cable types for fiber optics. For the typical consumer, the most useful is zipcord fiber optic cable, which consists of two simplex cables webbed together. They can be used in tandem to keep the cables running together or can be pulled apart by hand for more bulk fiber optic cable to use wherever you need.

What Speeds Can I Get With Fiber Optics?
Compared to Cat 5e cables, which generally get a maximum 1Gbps speed, fiber optic cables can get up to 40Gbps, with less noise, interference, or signal loss. In other words, data is traveling at about 200,000 kilometers per second and getting better all the time with improved cabling technologies.

If you want to feel like you’re already living in the future, invest in some bulk fiber optic cables for all of your business network connections. The connections from fiber optic cables will have you feeling like you’re traveling at the speed of light.

More Ways to Use Up Your Cat 5 Cable Bulk, Besides Internet

Buying Cat 5e cable bulk makes good logical sense. It’s affordable, versatile, and when made of top-grade materials, can have a usable life expectancy of at least five to 10 years. Most people today use Cat5e cables for a fast, reliable, and secure Internet connection, but once you’re done wiring the network Ethernet cables, what are supposed to do with the rest of that Cat 5e cable bulk?

In fact, with a little bit of know-how, you can cut and wire Cat5e cables for a variety of uses around the house. Here are five more ways to use up your bulk cables for quality connections at an affordable price.

  1. Telephone Lines
    You may have all the cell phone accessories you want, but there’s still nothing better than a secure landline. You can use Cat5e cables to wire your telephones, same as your Ethernet.
  2. Computer-to-Computer
    You can also use any length Cat5e cable to transfer large amounts of data directly from one computer to another. However, you may need to wire the pin-outs to create a crossover cable connection so that the information can transfer more easily (check out a how-to here).
  3. Speaker Signals
    Although for a truly high-quality performance you’ll want to get specially designed audio cables, Cat 5 cable bulk still works great in a pinch for running sound from source to speaker. Simply terminate the cables with a standard RCA jack for a secure connection that’ll be safe from interference.
  4. Video Connections
    Analog video signals, such as S-video or composite video, work great through Cat5e cables and can run for impressively long distances without sacrificing quality. Believe it or not, you can also send HDMI and VGA signals over a Cat5e — but you’ll need to purchase an additional extender.
  5. USB Transfers
    Again, you’ll need an extension to wire a Cat5e with a USB terminal. But this hack is definitely worth it for running USB cables over long distances to external devices like scanners and printers.

Don’t let your extra Cat 5e cable bulk go to waste! There are plenty of ways you can use Ethernet cable besides Internet to provide quality connections all around your home, which makes buying in bulk an even smarter way to DIY and save.

6 Surprising Cell Phone Facts

These days, we’ve become utterly dependent upon our technology. We often feel like we need constant access to our devices — and the information they provide through Cat6 ethernet cables, USB cables, and lightning cables to power our internet, tablets, and cell phones. We may not even be fully cognizant of our dependency and how it can affect our lives. But these six facts about cell phones may surprise you:

  1. Our phones are mega-powerful
    You might not realize it, but your smartphone is just like a small computer. In fact, it has more computing power than the computer that was used to orchestrate the Apollo 11 moon landing! It’s really impressive that you can now carry around a computer in your pocket or purse. By using power lightning cables, you can charge your phone in a small amount of time and have access to that powerful computer whenever you need it.
  2. Our phones are also really dirty
    If you’re a heavy cell phone user who is constantly experiencing skin or health problems, you should clean your phone regularly. The truth is that every square inch of your cell phone contains about 25,000 germs. That’s dirtier than a pet’s food dish, the sole of a shoe, or the average toilet seat! Although many germs won’t harm you, there have been cases of serious diseases being spread via cell phone usage (especially when people bring their phones into the bathroom). Get some antiseptic alcohol wipes and clean your phone screen regularly.
  3. Texting might be on the decline
    Nearly nine trillion text messages were sent in 2013. But numbers show that texting might actually be on the decline. Apps like WhatsApp, Kik, and Snapchat have replaced some of the necessity for texting. But texting is still going strong for many people and has revolutionized the way we communicate.
  4. The fear of not having your phone is real
    Did you know that there’s actually a name for the fear of not having your phone or being able to get a cell phone signal? It’s called Nomophobia. In a 2010 study conducted in the UK, the fear of being denied access to their smartphone, cell phone accessories, or network coverage was found to be present in 58% of men and 47% of women who participated. It just goes to show how emotionally connected we are to our gadgets! If you want to reduce your risk of anxiety, make sure you carry an external battery or extra lightning cables when you leave the house.
  5. We check our phones unnecessarily
    A lot of people experience phantom rings and vibrations, and most people will check their phones out of habit or due to boredom. The average person unlocks their phone around 110 times per day. That number is even higher for those who are highly addicted to their cell phones. Essentially, they’ve become an extension of our bodies and it can be very difficult for many of us to disconnect.
  6. Cell phones can disrupt sleep and relationships
    Many of us spend time browsing our favorite sites or using our favorite apps before we retire for the evening. But 63% of people who use their phones directly before bed report that they have difficulties sleeping. Experts recommend that you limit your cell phone use before bedtime. Cell phones can also put a strain on your relationships, especially if you can’t seem to tear yourself away in order to communicate with the person you’re with. Although our cell phones are useful in numerous ways, it’s best to put them away and out of sight when you’re trying to spend time with friends, family, or your partner — or when you’re trying to wind down for sleep.

Let’s face it: our cell phones are a vital part of our lives. But they won’t be functional for long without the proper cell phone accessories or lightning cables to charge them! If you want to find out more about the types of cables we offer and how they can serve your needs, get in touch with us today.

Newer, Faster Ethernet Standards Are Here

Your network Ethernet cables are about to get a whole lot faster — and you won’t even have to rewire a thing.

The NBASE-T Alliance has recently approved the new IEEE P802.3bz standard, which will allow existing Cat5e cables and Cat6 cables to achieve faster transfer speeds up to 2.5Gbps and 5Gbps, respectively. This is a huge leap over the standard maximum 1Gbps speeds we’ve had to put up with for quite some time now.

Of course, there are non-standard ways to reach up to 10Gbps, but these methods only work with Cat6a cables, which often involve an extensive (and expensive) overhaul of any existing systems that rely on older cables. The current 10 Gig Ethernet hacks are also known to suck up a formidable amount of power usage.

The new standard, however, only requires upgrading the hardware to support 2.5GBASE-T and/or 5GBASE-T, which is already available on newer products and is expected to become even more widely implemented on network devices over the next three years. In the simplest terms possible, this means your existing infrastructure of Cat5e network cables or Cat6 cables can be used to deliver the faster speeds.

Right now, the improvements are for the most part only aimed at industry applications. This is good news in the health care sector, for instance, where nurses currently spend 7% of their time documenting vital signs. Faster speed signals could help save time — and lives.

The bad news, of course, is that home consumers will still have to wait a little longer to see the improved standards have any real effect at home. But if the speed of the approval process so far is any indication, the wait won’t last for too much longer.

“From proposal to approval, the standards process took less than two years — a remarkably fast progression,” said NBASE-T Alliance chairman Peter Jones. “Seeing the standard approved so quickly has been an enormously satisfying experience, and shows what can be achieved when we work together to develop a compelling solution that offers clear value to the industry.”

Get your Ethernet system ready for the upgrades: Make sure all of your current cables are up to par, or order some bulk Cat6 cables to take your connections to new speeds.

5 Amazing USB Hacks You’ll Want to Try Right Now

Despite the recent standard upgrades to USB 3 cables, many of us still have several — OK, several dozen — USB 2.0 cables lying around the house. We use them for charging our phones, connecting to our printers, storing external information on thumbdrives, and so much more.

But you don’t have to ditch your old cables for the newer models just yet. There are plenty of cool ways to get more use out of your USB 2.0 cables. Here are our top five hacks for USB cables you need to try out today.

  1. More Power
    Do you keep every electronic device connected to the cable it came with? Big mistake. The iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, for example, both come with 5-watt USB chargers by default, but you can power up the device in half the time by using a 12-watt iPad charger instead.
  2. Computer Key
    Use a USB flash drive as a physical “key” for access to your laptop or computer. Download a free program like Predator to make sure no one can access your files without inserting the magical USB drive first.
  3. Longer Lengths
    Want to run your cables a little longer? You can string together a few USB 2.0 extension cables for lengths up to 5 meters (approximately 16 feet, 5 inches). This is especially helpful for running sound or screen systems without an outlet nearby. For even longer lengths, try an active (repeater) USB 2.0 extension cable specifically designed for this purpose.
  4. Boost WiFi Signals
    Use your USB WiFi dongle to connect to a homemade “satellite dish” fashioned from a metal colander or tin can. It’ll help you pick up better signal from your own router (or the open network from the cafe across the street).
  5. Make a Flashlight
    Power your very own little light with a simple USB port and this converted USB 2.0 device cable. Follow instructions here.

Just because newer 3.0 USB cables and C-type connectors are here doesn’t mean that the old 2.0 doesn’t still hold a firm place in our hearts. Give the old cables in your drawers a new lease on life with a few creative hacks that will be sure to please your geekiest sensibilities.