What is a VGA Cable?

VGA Cable

VGA is a ubiquitous video signal. It is found on many projectors and computers. It stands for Video Graphics array (that doesn’t really explain much… lol).

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VGA is a video only signal (hence the name). Unfortunately, VGA is slightly outdated due to HDMI (High-Definition Multimedia Interface) but is still very widely used since it provides great signal strength. It was unveiled as a new analogue graphics array by IBM in 1987.

A VGA Cable, on the other hand, is a device used to link between the computer and the monitor or television and transfer video signals. The VGA cable comes in two types which are the male connector and the female connector.

It is a high-quality cable that has three rows of 15 pins on it (male) that goes into the three rows of 15 holes on it (female). It has two screws by the left and right of the head to hold it in when plugged in.

Uses

The earliest makes of VGA cables came into the industry around 1987. Through many iterations and minor revisions by various makers in the successive years, the format quickly became one of the most common forms for computer cables.

Today, we still see VGA cables and sockets in use on a large number of Personal Computers, Televisions, laptops and monitors.

You might need an adaptor to plug the VGA to your laptop, but you may not need an adaptor to plug it to the TV. So you basically plug it into your system, screw the nuts in, and then plug the other end into you TV or projector (as the case may be). Be careful when plugging it in because the pins could bend and damage the VGA cable.

Anyway, each of the VGA cables pins plays a different role when transferring signals. Pin 1 to pin 3 is for the Red, Green and Blue aspects of the video. Pins 4 to pin 15 are more for more technical parts of the video.

Choosing a VGA Cable

There are no exact means of measuring the quality of a VGA cable. But when a cable of good quality is acquired, a clearer video (with a higher resolution) is the result. The length of the wires also doesn’t make a huge difference in choosing a VGA cable.

Taking Care of Your VGA Cable

Also, although it is doesn’t affect it so much, it is advisable to plug and unplug VGA cables when the devices involved are turned off. Because eventually, hot-swapping it (swapping it when devices are still on) is dangerous, in that it can cause a serious power surge that can burn up either the device giving the video signal or the device receives.

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As it is for every other cable, a VGA cable should not be rolled around too taut. It can unnecessarily stretch or break the cable and damage it, causing it to either give bad video signals or none at all.

The following are the ways you can know a VGA cable is damaged:

  • Either Red, Green or Blue could be missing from your video.
  • There could be no output at all.
  • There could be a loss in brightness or contrast.
  • It could ghost some characters in the video (Rare).
Aigbini Jennifer
I am a language enthusiast, studying Linguistics at the University of Benin, in Nigeria.