Using 3rd-party cables with your drawing tablet


Your drawing tablet comes with the cables needed to connect it to a computer.

It IS POSSIBLE that you can use other cables depending on the type of drawing tablet and the type of computer.

  • Pen tablets - you can almost always use a 3rd-party cable

  • Pen displays - You can often use a 3rd-party cable but sometimes a manufacturer cable is really the best or only option

Using 3rd-party USB cables for pen tablets

For pen tablets, I recommend using the cables that the manufacturer provides. But sometimes these get lost or damaged. Even though I never use those cables myself, I always use 3rd party cables.

If you use a 3rd party cable you have to make sure the cable can do 2 things:

  • Can carry power

  • Can carry data - not all USB-C cables carry data. For example, some USB-C cables are power only.

Can you use the cable that you use for other devices? Yes, as long as it can carry power and data.

The cables I use for pen tablets

I use USB 2.0 cables with a USB-C plug on one end (this goes to the tablet) and a USB-A end on the other (this goes to the computer or to a USB-hub).

The specific cables I use are these:

And I use these cables with many other devices that only need USB 2.0 connectivity.

I specifically choose the blue color so that I can visually identify it is a USB 2.0 cable.

Using adapters for USB port types

These days the ports on pen tablets are all USB C ports. However older tablets used different kinds of ports. These could be micro USB or mini USB. And cables that have micro USB ends or mini USB ends are getting more difficult to find. For this reason I prefer to continue to use USB C cables but use adapters for these older tablets if possible.

More here: Cable adapters

Using 3rd-party cables for pen displays

Single USB-C cable connection

If the pen display was connected with a single USB-C cable, then you can TYPICALLY use a USB-C cable that MEETS CERTAIN REQUIREMENTS to connect your pen display. More here: Connecting a pen display with a single USB-C cable.

Even if the cable meets the requirements - there are some issues you should be aware of.

Sometimes the USB-C port on table goes into a recessed port and the manufacturer cable was specially designed to go into that port.

Sometimes the USB-C port is not recessed, but expects the metallic part of the USB-C cable to be a little longer (an extra 1 mm for example). The manufacturer provided cable works correct, but you may find that a 3rd party cable's metallic end does not go as deep and the connection might work but is loose and might disconnect if the cable is moved slightly.

Sometimes, in my experience, 3rd party cables are seem to - for whatever reason - sometimes not work correctly or as well as the manufacturer cables. This is rare, but happens.

3-in 1 cable connection

3-in-1 cables provided by the manufacturer are almost always proprietary. You have to get to get the same exact cable from the manufacturer.

Last updated