Serial communication used to be one of the major ways to connect peripherals like scanners, joysticks and printers to PCs for several years. One of the most commonly used cable connector for this type of communication was 9-pin D-Subminiature connector which is also known as DB9 cable or a DE-9 cable.
DB9 serial cables has nine pins which were enough to carry data in the series. But it has certain drawbacks which made their usage less frequent. People started to prefer USB cables over DB9 cables. However, if you shop for electronics, you will still find several devices having DB9 cables or ports on them. Let us check out some of the advantages and disadvantages of DB9 D Subminiature Connectors.
Advantages of DB9 Subminiature Connectors
DB9 connectors have several advantages. You can easily customize them with 9 individual pins to carry serial data. Although the speed of these connectors is low as compared to other standards like USB, the length of these cables is quite long. For eg, USB, has a five-meter length limit, but RS-232, which is the most commonly used standard for serial data doesn’t have a particularly defined length limit. RS-422 has been used at length which is hundreds of meters long with special equipment.
In case you have an old device having DB9 connectors on it, you will find several options for conversions. Converters from other standards like USB, Ethernet etc also enable you to make use of your device on any computer.
Drawbacks of DB9 D-Subminiature Connectors
As the connectors are large, it becomes difficult to connect and disconnect them in small spaces. The pins of these cables are usually exposed so there are more chances for them to get damaged or break. Although you can mate the connector without any thumbscrew hardware, there are less chances that it will hold on to the equipment. On the other hand, if you use thumbscrews, the connector will take a long time to get plugged and unplugged.
And as mentioned before, serial communication is a slow and old way of exchanging data. So the speed is quite slow when there are cables of long length. This also causes breaks in communication and makes the software of PC freeze. Due to such issues, other standards gained more popularity over DB9 cables.
But this in no way means that DB9 connectors aren’t used. If you use right angle adapters, they can help you solve the tight space issue without causing any damage to the connector. You can attach the connectors with D-Subminiature plug and jack covers which can protect pins from getting damaged when not being used.
Before you make a buy for DB9 connectors, make sure you precisely know what your needs are. If there is a smart alternative for DB9 cables, you can go for that as well!