Tech Basics: Cables & Connectors
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Tech Basics: Cables & Connectors

An introduction to help you understand connectors betwen the many electronics tools, devices and gizmos we use today.
4.3 (1,355 ratings)
Instead of using a simple lifetime average, Udemy calculates a course's star rating by considering a number of different factors such as the number of ratings, the age of ratings, and the likelihood of fraudulent ratings.
40,594 students enrolled
Created by Chet Davis
Last updated 10/2014
English [Auto-generated]
Price: Free
  • 2 hours on-demand video
  • 1 Article
  • 1 Supplemental Resource
  • Full lifetime access
  • Access on mobile and TV
  • Certificate of Completion
What Will I Learn?
  • This class provides you with lessons to give you just the right amount of knowledge to better understand how to connect your home electronics.
  • Fundamentals of the electronic signal: elementary signal flow, shielded cables, plug vs. jack.
  • Differentiation between video streams and video files - critical info if you have or are looking for a new camcorder/camera
  • Review of most common audio connectors: Phone (1/4", Mini, Sub-Mini, Micro); RCA/Phono, XLR, Optical
  • Most common video connectors: Phono/RCA - both composite & component, S-video, BNC, IEEE 1394 (4-pin, 6-pin, & 800), HDMI
  • Common Monitor connectors: HDMI, DVI, Display Port, Mini-Display Port, VGA
  • Peripheral connections: USB (A, B, Mini, Micro), USB 2.0 vs. 3.0, Thunderbolt
  • Adapters: When and how to adapt connectors when connecting audio, video, monitors or peripherals. When is the only time to use a Y-adapter, barrels vs. cable adapaters.
  • When and why you need to use a Digital>Analog Converter
  • Two recommended freeware computer applications to help transfer between different video file formats.
View Curriculum
  • No special knowledge or experience is necessary for this class - just a desire to learn!

 If you're like most folks - you have electronic devices that need to be connected and you're not totally sure where to plug all those connectors into which port... can I adapt that DVI plug to go into my HDMI port?  Does that Audio Out cable go into the Phono, Auxillary, or Tuner port?  Which cable should I use to transfer video from my new camcorder into my computer?  And which headphone connection is right for my new Smart Phone?

With this class from Your Technology Tutor, you will gain an understanding of the fundamentals and practical knowledge of the most common cables & connectors.  From audio and video connectors, to adapters - learn the most essential info by joining Chet Davis in these video lessons.

Who is the target audience?
  • This class is ideal for us 'regular' people who have tech tools & toys and want to understand how to connect and properly use them. NOTE: this is a beginners level course with the intention of providing just enough information to allow you to successfully connect your electronics.
Compare to Other Network & Security Courses
Curriculum For This Course
13 Lectures
Welcome to the classroom!
1 Lecture 04:12
Chet Davis provides an introduction/orientation to this classroom - with quick suggestions for where to start. Chet also highlights the learning functions available at Udemy (Notes, Questions & video functions).
Welcome to the classroom!
Introduction to Cables & Connectors
2 Lectures 13:55

Learn some brief, basic but helpful technology foundations that relate to Cables & Connectors.  Chet will review the concept of electrical conductivity, the value of shielded cables, and the difference between plugs and jacks.

Tech Foundations

Particularly useful if you use audio and video components, or are considering purchasing new devices for home or business, it's helpful to know the difference between file and stream data transfers... you'll learn that in this short lesson.
Stream vs. File Based Trasnfer
Connectors by Their Application
6 Lectures 01:27:48

Chet presents a lesson sharing the most common connectors used primarily for audio: the Phone family (3 different sizes), RCA/Phono, XLR, and Digital Optical.  Chet also covers the difference between a mono (TR) and a stereo (TRS)  - and where you will find a TRRS connector.  We also get a glimpse of the audio snake.

Audio Connectors

As we learn about the connectors specific to transfer of the video signal/s, Chet reviews the following connectors (in their application with video):  RCA/Phono - both with Composite Video and with Component Analog video, BNC, S-video.  Chet spends a few minutes delineating the 3 flavors of IEE1394, otherwise known as Firewire (DV/HDV), the 4-Pin, 6-Pin and Firewire 800.  The lesson ends with an introduction to the HDMI connector and why it's in this lesson as well as the next lesson on Monitor Connections.
Video Connectors

In this lesson we'll review the most common connectors used when connecting a device to a display monitor, be it a HD computer monitor or a HD Television.  The connectors Chet includes in this lesson are HDMI, DVI, Display Port, Mini-Display Port, VGA, and SCART.
Monitor Connectors

In this lesson we'll review the most common connectors used to connect peripherals with your computers - we'll review the term 'I/O Device' and jump into the distinction between the 4 types of USB connectors: USB A, USB B, USB Mini, and USB Micro.  Chet also introduces the newer USB 3.0 technology and there is a brief mention of the 'Thunderbolt' technology.
Peripheral Connectors (computer connections)

In this lesson Chet shows adapter types in the following 4 categories: Audio adapters, Video Adapters, and Peripheral/Monitor Adapters.  Chet reviews the importance of ensuring you are attempting to connect 'like' signals between devices.  Covered is a quick lesson on the use of Barrel Adapters & the Y-Adapter, as well as an introduction to the technology known as an Analog>Digital Video Converter.

In this lesson Chet shares two Freeware applications that can be used to convert File-based video for use in other video editing applications.  There are versions for both the Windows & Mac/Apple computer platforms.
You can find out more about these computer applications & download them here:
MPEG Streamclip  and Any Video Converter (AVC)


RF Connectors
Putting It All Together: Looking at Connection Panels on Real Gear
1 Lecture 09:03
In this video, Chet provides a detailed example of how you would put all your connector knowledge together as he examines the real connector panels on an 32" HDTV set.
Connections on an HDTV
Conclusion & Additional Resources
3 Lectures 04:41
Connector ID Guide
4 pages

As we wrap up this TECH 101 lesson on Cables & Connectors, Chet Davis provides you with two website resources where you can find & download the Operators Manual for most home electronics gear. This can be helpful if you have misplaced your original copy (or never had one, due to second-hand equipment) that you can use to check the connections and configurations for your home electronics:   and
Closing Lesson

Additional Classes from Chet Davis - Your Technology Tutor
About the Instructor
Chet Davis
4.3 Average rating
1,543 Reviews
95,707 Students
7 Courses
Your Technology Tutor

Chet loves to teach...he loves helping others learn, whether it's an artistic technique in video or photography; or a software application or technology tool. Whether you join Chet for a live hands-on workshop or an on-line lesson on Udemy you clearly experience his enthusiasm, his expertise, and his passion for teaching.

Chet 'cut' his teacher teeth with 17 years in the classroom as teacher of a high school Video Technology program in California. He's made presentations at National and Regional Conferences and led hands-on workshops for in 41 US States, 3 Canadian provinces and in Europe (European Schools Program). Chet is listed in two volumes of Who’s Who in American Education and has testified before a Congressional Sub-Committee on the importance of Technology in Education.

When he's not teaching, he enjoys traveling - and producing travel video and photography. He likes playing tennis, snowboarding and mountain biking... and he loves to cook (he makes a mean Chimichanga from scratch).