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What is the extra, 5th, pin on micro usb 2.0 adapters for?

Here is an image with the different connectors. Most of them have 5 pins, but the A-type host only has four.

USB Connectors

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up vote 53 down vote accepted

It's for On-The-Go, to select which device is the host or slave:

The OTG cable has a micro-A plug on one side, and a micro-B plug on the other (it cannot have two plugs of the same type). OTG adds a fifth pin to the standard USB connector, called the ID-pin; the micro-A plug has the ID pin grounded, while the ID in the micro-B plug is floating. The device that has a micro-A plugged in becomes an OTG A-device, and the one that has micro-B plugged becomes a B-device. The type of the plug inserted is detected by the state of the pin ID .


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And since a Type-A connector is nearly always host it doesn't need to have a 5th pin? – Sponge Bob Jul 10 '12 at 22:42
If you mean a standard 4-pin Type-A plug, this would be used for a permanent host - you wouldn't use this in an OTG device. The ID pin is only used if the device can change between host and slave. For standard USB the ID pin is just left disconnected in the device. – Oli Glaser Jul 10 '12 at 23:28
Yeah, that answers my question. Thanks! – Sponge Bob Jul 11 '12 at 3:27

To complete Oli Glaser's answer, 5 pins USB respects the On-The-Go standard (OTG). The additional pin added to the conventional USB port is the ID pin added to the 4th electrical pin, and allow to recognize the device. Here is the resulting electrical setup of the pins:

  1. VDD (+5V)
  2. D- (Data-)
  3. D+ (Data+)
  4. ID (ID)
  5. GND (Ground)

As compared to other 4-pins USB devices, where there is no ID pin, the advantage is to be able to distinguish the host device from slave devices.

  • Host: ID connected to GND
  • Slave: ID not connected (floating)
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It's for host:client negotiation.

Permits distinction of host connection from slave connection

host: connected to Signal ground

slave: not connected


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I'm a real newbie when it comes to serial connection. I've only just started using RS232... Can you please explain a little more? – Sponge Bob Jul 10 '12 at 22:35

As shown here the original type A and B connectors use four connections, D+ and D-, which are differential data signals, along with ground and +5v. The newer mini and micro connections add an ID signal.

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Ok, so what info does the ID signal carry? When does it use the ID pin? – Sponge Bob Jul 10 '12 at 22:37

There is no info on the 4th pin. When connected to the ground (5th pin) it serves to notify the host that it is connected to a dumb-client device instead of a smart-client device. This is confusing at best because some client devices only act as dumb-clients and some client devices can be either smart-client, another peer-host, or a pass-through repeater. You will probably only ever see OTG actually used in case of a keyboard being plugged into the micro or mini connector on a tablet computer. Other client devices usually have enough inherent software capability to notify the host that they are a client using the normal 4-wire USB connection.

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