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While cleaning up the office today we ran across two odd looking cables still in bags. On one end is a female DB 9 connector and the other end is a 3.5mm plug with 4 contact points. The types of equipment we have are: Dell workstations and servers, HP SANs, Equallogic SANs, Cisco network gear, and symmetricom time servers.

The only thing I found on the net is a speakercraft adapter cable but we've never had anything to do with speakercraft.

Picture

UPDATE: We don't have any cameras or video/audio equipment in the area. It can't possibly be for a camera, cell phone, or some other home consumer item since we just can't have that stuff in the area.

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    Pictures! Post pictures. Mar 25 '13 at 20:27
  • No cameras or cell phones allowed in here. I'll take the cable home and upload a picture in about an hour.
    – murisonc
    Mar 25 '13 at 20:35
  • One of these? cablestogo.com/product/02444 Mar 25 '13 at 22:14
  • Nope, that one only has three conductors on the plug.
    – murisonc
    Mar 25 '13 at 22:25
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    Throw them all away - within 15 minutes of the garbage truck driving away, a critical piece of equipment will explode. Then you'll know!
    – Dan
    Mar 25 '13 at 23:09
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I finally found them. The cable is a firmware upload cable that came with our IOGEAR GCS1644 KVMs.

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We've had them lying around too. They're usually thrown in the box to give you serial console access to a wide variety of gadgets. Have a look for ISDN terminals, video projectors or UPS devices. Could even be a graphing calculator!

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    +1 for calculator - fairly sure a TI83 I had years ago had a cable like that Mar 25 '13 at 23:49
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In some cases, it is a specially made Video Cable for Polaroid®'s PDC-300, Fun! 320, & Fun! Flash 640 cameras.

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  • It might be for a digital camera but not necessarily a Polaroid. As I recall this was commonplace in the pre-USB days. Mar 25 '13 at 21:05
  • Those are all 3 conductor plugs aren't they?
    – murisonc
    Mar 25 '13 at 22:09
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From the depths of my grey mind I think there's a possibility that it's something used on a VERY old HP MSA SAN array (maybe an MSA 1000?). Happy to be wrong but I'm sure I've seen one years ago like that.

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    I definitely have a disc pack that uses this for console access, but it's in a colo on the other side of the country at the moment, so I can't go check what it is.
    – MadHatter
    Mar 26 '13 at 8:54
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I have one. I mean identical in appearance -- even the mounding of the connectors appears exactly identical.

What I know is we have UPS devices, old APC Back-UPS, etc., but all of them seem to have DB-9. Then we have various generations of KVM switches, but not the manufacturer mentioned having such a port that is unexplained by audio connection. (This would not be audio--nobody in his right mind would hook audio to db-9.) We have iPod, iPad, and iPhone -- but never recall purchasing a cable like that. However I see on eBay such a cable of nearly identical, but metal connector, sold as a "data cable" for iPhone/iPod/iPad. Can't find any documentation to support, and the sale gives none whatsoever.

Another possibility--I have a very old digitizing tablet, separated in location now. (Will relocate in next few months, then can check if fits.)

I present all this for possible elimination. My memory was an older UPS, but can't find one that matches.

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many mobile devices use 3.5mm jack for serial console. my bet is that if you open the DB9 housing - you will find a TTL-to-RS232 convertor chip in there

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(from a buddy here at work, but sounds right, hope it helps)

There are lots of different applications for a DB9 to 3.5mm plug.

RS232 serial control is my bet here in an IT shop. A 4 port/conductor 3.5 will typically be audio (stereo) plus video (or maybe bi-directional audio, think output and input). For instance, an iPhone uses a TRRS (4 conductor) for the headset. Look for equipment like touch screens, custom hardware, camcorders, etc. that would require a db9 to 3.5mm.

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  • We've looked at everything we have. No cameras or personal electronics are allowed in the area.
    – murisonc
    Mar 25 '13 at 22:11
  • Another thing that came to mind...what about a music-on-hold device for an older PBX?
    – TheCleaner
    Mar 26 '13 at 14:28

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