Using Extension Cables with Pen Displays

Just bought a pen display and found out the included cables are too short? Fear not because you can use extension cables with your pen displays.

Nowadays, most pen displays come with a 3-to-1 cable and some would support USB-C to USB-C connection for a single cable solution. Both types of cables can be extended if you need them to be longer.

My tests below were done with the XP-Pen Artist 16 (2nd gen) and they should be applicable to other brands.

Extending the 3-to-1 cable

There are two ways to extend the 3-to-1 cable, You can extend the end with the three connectors (HDMI, USB-data and USB-power), or extend the end that goes to the pen display

To extend the end of with three connectors, you may need 3 extension cables. But how many cables you need really depends on where your computer is or how far apart the ports are.

You will definitely need a full-size HDMI adapter. This can be female full-size HDMI to female full-size HDMI, or female full-size HDMI to (full-size or mini) displayPort.

You will also need a longer HDMI cable.

And if the USB cable ends are too short, you will need a female USB-A to male USB-A cable (above), which may be included.

What did not work for me was to extend the end that goes to the pen display with a longer USB-C video cable and a female USB-C to female USB-C adapter. All the separate cables and parts work but they just don't work together. So only extending from the end with the 3 connectors worked for me.

Extending the USB-C cable

If you want to extend the USB-C connection, you need an additional USB-C video cable, and a female USB-C to female USB-C adapter.

I prefer the adapter option because it allows me to reuse my existing cables and not buy another cable.

The second option is to get an additional USB-C cable with female and male connectors. Make sure the extension cable is able to transmit video signal.

Important note before you buy USB-C cable

If you need to buy a USB-C cable, make sure it's a USB-C video cable. Not all USB-C cables can transmit video.

Some pen displays are designed with the USB-C port recessed in a hole. If you need to buy a USB-C cable, make sure the cable's connector is small enough to go into the hole. If your pen display's USB-C port is flushed to the side of the pen display, you don't have to worry about the connector's size. Or just play it safe and get the USB-C cable, if it's not already included, from the company that makes the pen display.


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