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Adapter Vs Converter

We had a customer who was confused about a product described as a “Converter” when he understood it as an “Adapter” (we have since changed the product description) but to try to avoid further confusion, maybe it’s worth discussing the semantics of the two.

For some people the connotation is that converters are ’smart,’ active devices that change a signal and that adapters are ‘dumb’–simply passive connectors. We tend to use the words interchangeably. For example, we call the USB to Serial an adaper, even though it does have an active chipset in it that will converts the Serial communication to a USB signal. On the other hand, we call the 2.5? to 3.5? IDE a converter, because it converts a 2.5?interface on a hard drive to a 3.5? interface that can connect to a ribbon cable. But if you look at the board, it just wires the two connections together, nothing “smart” in it.

In our product naming or description, sometimes we match the description that the manufacturer uses, or what other companies call a similar product, but we are never trying to confuse or mislead anyone. It is always best to read the full description on the product page, to make sure that it will fit your needs (and to check compatibility etc) If that does not help you completely understand the product, let us know and we will try to adjust the website to be more clear. (We will often change descriptions and details based on even one customers comments)

During business hours (8:00AM to 5:00PM MST) you can call (800 709-1345) or click on the Live Chat button on any of our product pages, and someone can answer any questions, or you can always send us an email and we will respond within one business day. Don’t be afraid to ‘bother us’ checking if a product is right for a certain application–that’s what we are here for. It is a lot less trouble for you and for us, if we can help you get the right product the first time.


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