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Thread: USB Hubs

  1. #1
    3 Star Lounger
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    USB Hubs

    I know this may seem a stupid question, however, it is one that I need to ask. One can purchase these inexpensive USB hubs, usually for about $20. I've had two of them fail on different motherboards. I'm wondering if I'm supposed to use the power supply that always accompanies these things. I tried that initially, and that was the first hub that stopped working. The next, I used no power supply (other than the power that comes through the USB port from the motherboard). It caused a new motherboard to fail to get past post. This was after almost a year of use.

    Nowhere can I find any info on when to use the power supply. Is it just when you've got so many devices that the motherboard port can't handle it? How do you know?

    Just wondering. Thanks for any thoughts.

    Sincerely,

    Bob Harris <img src=/S/confused.gif border=0 alt=confused width=15 height=20>
    -Bob Harris
    "Seek Simplicity, Then Mistrust It!"


  2. #2
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    Re: USB Hubs

    Hi
    There's no such thing as stupid question, only stupid answers.

    If your hub is a powered type : use the power.

    I leave mine permanently on. It has 7 ports and 6 of them are in use. What you are asking is whether the combined power your devices would be trying to draw adds up to more than a single USB port can handle. The answer is almost invariably yes. If you have fewer devices e.g. up to 4 on some newer mother boards, use the built in ports and forget the hub. If you think about it, a supplier would not include an additional voltage supply if their device could draw enough power from the pc.
    If you do not power the hub, it may work for some of your devices, but add an extra one and phut! you're overloaded. New mother boards are not cheap.
    Quite why your first hub stopped working when you used its PSU is anohter question : but I'd bet the answer would not be 'because you were using the power'.

    Rgds

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    Re: USB Hubs

    Hello Bob!

    Having had the problem of not enough USB ports to handle all of my hardware, I purchased a hub myself. I learned that the only time to use the wall wart (power supply) is when the mother board cannot supply enough power to operate the equipment. This only a rare occasion, as the mouse which requires a power boost when pluged into the hub. To get around this, I plug my mouse into one of the two USB ports on the mother board which provides sufficient power. The only other piece of gear I have that needs a power boost is the card reader for my digital camera. The only time I use the wall wart now is when I need to use the card reader.

    James Smith

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    Re: USB Hubs

    I agree with Merc's answer and wanted to expound a little bit.

    Motherboards are rated to handle x amount of power to different components. Even if your motherboard can supply the hub, why put extra strain on it? As Merc stated - new motherboards are not cheap. Even if you don't blow the board by adding power-hungry devices, by using the hub's power supply, you can be assured that it will work as designed, since it will not be dependent upon another variable to do it's thing.

    As a rule of thumb, I on'y use the power on the motherboard for things that require it - video cards, sound cards, hard disk/CD/floppy drives. Causing the motherboard's voltage to dip will result in strange happenings and a frustrating computing experience, and we all know what a joy these things are to use anyway. <img src=/S/compute.gif border=0 alt=compute width=40 height=20>
    -Mark

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    Re: USB Hubs

    Thanks to all who answered this thread. You've all clarified this issue for me. I have begun using the "wall wart" with the hub. A couple of years ago I did that with an older hub and it got hot. This one is staying cool as it should.

    I had not thought about the power from the motherboard, but that makes a lot of sense.

    I sincerely appreciate all of the input.

    Sincerely,

    --Bob <img src=/S/bravo.gif border=0 alt=bravo width=16 height=30>
    -Bob Harris
    "Seek Simplicity, Then Mistrust It!"


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