Adapter vs Converter
As the level of the sophistication of the modern technology increases, the devices are designed to satisfy different requirements using different standards. This makes the devices incompatible with others, especially at interfaces used to connect devices for power supply, storage and retrieval or simply communicate. However, interoperability of these systems is important, because it supports or enhances the performance, perhaps the operation of the system may solely depend upon it; for example consider a power supply. Converters and adapters are solutions for the incompatibility of the interfaces.
More about Adapters
An adapter is a component connected in between interfaces of two systems to overcome the physical incompatibility of the interfaces. The simplest example is the adapter used to connect the garden hoses to the water outlets. The purpose of an adapter is to facilitate the connection between two interfaces. It does not change or affect the state of the medium passing through, whether it is water or electricity or a data stream.
The adapters used to connect the plugs (male or female connectors) of the circuits to a different type of plug base (female or male connector) act only to facilitate the electrical connectivity of the two ports. Variety of computer hardware can be connected to a computer system with the use of the adapters. For an example, a mouse with a PS2 connecter can be connected to a USB port using an adapter.
More about Converters
Converters not only facilitate the connectivity but also change the form of the medium passing through the component; hence can be considered as an active component. It can be either a physical component or a software component. The simplest example is the power converters that are used to convert 110V AC mains power supply to a 220V power (or vice versa) using transformers. It enables the interoperability of the two systems by changing the form of the media passing through, that is, current and voltage; hence known as a voltage converter. Another example is the adapters which are used to connect different types of memory cards to the computer.
In other forms, converters may convert the frequency (in AC power distribution), or convert the signal form (from analog to digital – ADC or digital to analog converters DAC) or convert the format of the digital media (audio or video file type conversion)
Since converters actively involved in the transmission of the media between the interfaces, any fault in the converter damages the content of the media. This may result in either equipment damage or loss of data. (A 110V rated device connected to a 230V mains power will simply burn the critical components of the device; this may happen due to converter failure too.)
Adapter vs Converter
• Adapter facilitates the transmission of media from one interface to another, while converters facilitate the transmission and change the form to match the differences of the interfaces and make the devices or interfaces inter-operable.
• Adapter actively does not change the form of the media passing through, but the converter changes the form of the media.
• Adapters do not damage the media passing, but failure in the converter may severely damage the devices or interfaces connected to the converter.