I am building a small device with VGA for the display. Sadly the diagrams I am using are for a 15 pin, 2 row connector, and I would like to use a 15 pin, 3 row connector for compatibility.

Do they have the same pinout? I know they're different connectors, but would R/G/B etc. be the same pin?

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Can't you just look up the proper VGA pinout for the DB15 connector and compare? en.wikipedia.org/wiki/VGA_connector \$\endgroup\$
    – jpa
    Jan 11, 2023 at 8:45
  • 4
    \$\begingroup\$ When used for video connections, the 15-pin, 2-row connector (properly referred to as a DA-15) is probably the video standard used on vintage Macintoshes , which is very different from VGA. VGA always used a DE-15 connector (15-pin, 3-row). \$\endgroup\$ Jan 11, 2023 at 8:48

3 Answers 3


Cannon, who invented the D-Subminature connector family, says the second letter indicates the shell size.

For standard density connectors a DA connector has 15 pins, DB is 25 (the original RS-232 connector), DC is 37 and DD is 50 (or so - not quite sure of the number), and DE is 9 pin.

The VGA connector is a high density connector squeezing 15 pins in an E size shell, so should be called DE-15.

It seems common for many people to use "DB" when referring to any connector in this family, but that is incorrect.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Sorry, I thought it meant the placement of the pins. Thanks for the info. I'll try to fix it. \$\endgroup\$
    – R Baker
    Jan 10, 2023 at 17:10

Terminology with these connectors can be a bit of a mess, originally the letter after the D identified the shell size, however it became common to use "DB" to refer to all of the standard two-row connectors.

VGA, however always used a 15 pin three-row "high density" connector. Under the originally cannon scheme this would be called a DE-15. It was also commonly referred to as a HD-15.

Since VGA only always used a 3 row connector, any diagram claiming to be VGA but showing a two-row connector is immediately suspect. Perhaps they just showed the wrong connector on the diagram, perhaps it's some standard other than VGA, perhaps it's not standard at all.

That said, there were certainly other video standards that were electrically similar enough to VGA that adapters were a sensible proposition. The VGA signal, at it's core was simply three channels of analog video and two sync signals. There were some additional lines for monitor identification but they were decidedly optional.

In particular apple used a 15 way two row DA-15 connector to carry analog video. Adapters were quite common to allow people to use PC monitors with their MACs. The pinouts were totally different though.

Some manufacturers of high-end workstations used a "DB13W3" connector. This had 13 regular pins, plus 3 coaxial connectors. This arguably gave better signal integrity for the analog video signals, but in practice the regular pins on the VGA connector proved more than adequate, even at resolutions far beyond what the original VGA supported.

  • 4
    \$\begingroup\$ it became common to use "DB". Just because a mistake is common, doesn't stop you and others from explaining how it is. I thank you for that. \$\endgroup\$ Jan 11, 2023 at 16:36
  • 4
    \$\begingroup\$ Ultimately, the English language is what it's speakers make of it. If enough people use and understand a term in a certain way, then that becomes the meaning. \$\endgroup\$ Jan 11, 2023 at 17:25
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ IIRC there were some VGA monitors that used DE-9 (probably multisyncs that also could be configured to accept EGA). \$\endgroup\$ Jan 12, 2023 at 0:22
  • \$\begingroup\$ @rackandboneman Indeed, there were. Two examples are the "NEC Multisync II" and the "Eizo 9050". \$\endgroup\$ Jan 12, 2023 at 11:26

I highly doubt any VGA connection exists in size B with 15 pins. It is likely just a naming error as usual.

The standard connector is DE-15, size E with 15 pins in 3 rows.


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.