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Why does my cable appear to be missing pins?

Answer: Many different types of cables use pin connectors. These pins carry different streams of data to connected peripherals and other devices. Most cables with pin connectors have a male end that has multiple rows of pins. These pins connect to a female connector, which has receptacles for the pins.

Sometimes you may notice that there are more receptacle holes than there are pins. This is normal, as many cables do not use all the possible pins. In fact, some of the pins included with the cable may not even be used. This is because many connection standards are designed with scalability in mind, meaning extra pins are included for future use. Sometimes these pins may never be used, while other times they provide useful functionality for new hardware designs.

VGA Cables

A common example of a cable that appears to be missing a pin is a VGA cable. A standard VGA port has 15 pin receptacles, organized into 3 rows of 5 pins each. However, the male end of the VGA connection is missing a pin in the middle row. This is normal, since the pin is not needed for the connection. Therefore, if you notice your VGA cable is missing a pin, don't freak out. It's just part of the design.

Published: August 19, 2009 — by Per Christensson

Answer from the PC Help Center