Simple Introduction to USB Adapter

Last Updated: 2021-09-13

Ringkasan: As a type of protocol converter, a USB adapter is used to transfer USB data to a serial port and vice versa. It has a USB cable on one end and a non-USB cable on the other end. Thus, a USB adapter connects USB-port devices to non-USB-port devices.

Development of USB Adapter

The development of a USB adapter can be dated back to a very earlier time.

  1. In the earliest period, a majority of the personal computer had a built-in D-sub serial RS232 port (or a COM port), which could connect the PC to most types of serial RS232 devices.
  2. By the late 1990s, the serial COM port, which is used to support the USB port, was gradually launched out by computer manufactures.
  3. By the mid-2000s, some computers were equipped with both a USB port and a serial COM port. But by that time, many computers were no longer equipped with a serial COM port.
  4. Today, most modern computers have only USB ports but no serial COM port. As a result, the disappearance of the serial COM port created a need for the USB to serial adapter.

Application of USB Adapter

A USB adapter can play a significant role in data transferring, especially when one device doesn’t equip with a USB hub. E.g., suppose that you want to connect your computer to an older printer, you need a USB adapter. The reason is that your computer has a USB port, but the printer doesn’t.

The primary application of a USB adapter is to enable USB-based computers to access serial devices featuring D Sub in which the security of data transmission can be ensured.

Here are some uses of USB adapters:

  • USB to serial RS232 adapters: Commonly used with consumer, commercial and industrial applications.
  • USB to serial RS485/RS422 adapters: Mainly used with industrial applications.
  • USB to TTL-level UART converters: As can be directly interfaced with microcontrollers, they are extensively used by students and hobbyists.

There also exist USB Adapters that are used to convert USB to other standards or protocols. However, they are not regarded as serial adapters.

USB adapters can be divided into isolated or non-isolated versions.

The isolated version can prevent data loss and damage to the adapter through optocouplers or surge suppressors. The non-isolated version is usually used in only non-critical applications or brief communication ranges because it can not prevent static electricity or voltage surges.


In a word, a USB adapter is a protocol converter that connects two devices and transfers data between them. Users widely use USB adapters as it heals the deficit when one device doesn’t have a USB port.

USB adapters also have an extensive application. Besides these uses listed above, USB adapters can also work with wireless devices, like keyboards, mice, or headsets. I hope the above contents help you walk through all you want to know about the USB adapters.

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