Good Vibrations: Vibration-Proof USB Connectors

April 21, 2016 at 8:00 AM


Universal Serial Bus (USB) is one of the most successful and widely used connectivity technologies. It can be found on televisions, computers, printers, keyboards and cell phones.  Not only does USB allow devices to connect to one another, it can also be used to power devices.


As popular as USB is, there is one fundamental problem that plagues the technology: sensitivity to vibration. Traditional USB connectors rely on a friction-fit, meaning that they don’t latch or lock when they are mated. A friction-fit can result in a USB connector to unexpectedly pop-out and dislodge from its mated port when jostling, vibration, or cable pull occur.  This is especially problematic in high-vibration, military, industrial and medical applications.


Fortunately, there are several vibration-proof USB connector options to improve connection performance and put your USB cable on lockdown.


Latching USB Cables


Latching USB cables feature latching plugs on the side of the USB connector. This provides a secure connection with lock-down mating retention.  Latches are located on USB 2.0 Type-A connectors.


USB coil cables also utilize latching connectors to battle vibration and cable pull. They have latches that lock into the channels on each side of a USB jack and the cord retracts and expands from 2.5 feet to 12.5 feet




Thumbscrews are another great way to protect a USB connection from vibration. They ensure a secure connection and prevent the USB connectors from disconnecting. Locking thumbscrews can be used with machine vision applications or in any application where vibration is an issue.


High-Retention Connectors

High-retention connectors are an effective way to combat the effects of vibration on your USB connection. With a mating force of 40N max and an un-mating force of 15N min, they have 50% higher retention than standard USB connectors.  USB adapters with high-retention connectors are easy to use and feature screw mount hardware for a secure connection every time.


For all the ease of use that USB offers, vibration can be a problem. If standard USB’s friction-fit isn’t keeping your devices connected, one of these solutions may be the perfect fit to turn these problematic pulsations into good vibrations.


For more information on USB, read our blog post A Tutorial on USB.


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