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  1. #1
    Lounger
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    Lost Range for USB Wireless Keyboard and Mouse

    This is not a big problem, but it seems so strange to me I thought I'd ask if anyone has a decent explanation: When I connect an external USB HDD dock to my computer, the range for my wireless keyboard and mouse drops from 6 feet to about 2 feet!

    The particulars:
    I have a 10 year old box-stock Acer desktop computer that is used for nothing except recording HD videos from my media center. It is set up in the media room with a Logitech wireless USB keyboard and mouse. Due to seating position, etc., I am at near max range for the keyboard and mouse from the USB connected receiver, but it has been working perfectly like this for many years.

    The computer started life as Windoze7 and is now running W10. No backup has been done on this computer for many years (so I have not used any external HDD with this computer for that long either). There is NOTHING attached to it via the USB ports except the wireless keyboard/mouse receiver and the digital PVR (currently turned off, so not really attached). Decided I should do a backup before I started trying to clean up some stuff - connected the USB 2.0 HDD dock and IMMEDIATELY lost the ability to use either the keyboard or mouse from more than about 2' in front of the receiver. Both keyboard and mouse have lost the same amount of range.

    The batteries in both devices are good. I have tried different USB cables and different USB headers on the computer - the results never change at all. If I turn off the USB HDD dock, the wireless range goes right back to 6'; turn on the USB dock (with drive inserted) and the range drops to 2'. The USB dock is powered by it's own supply, so it should not be drawing any power from the computer. The keyboard/mouse receiver is not externally powered, so maybe somehow the available power from the USB bus is dropping and reducing the receiver sensitivity? But c'mon, there is NOTHING ELSE using the USB bus power! I have noticed no other problems with this computer at all, so I can't really believe it is a power supply issue.

    Does this behavior make any sense at all?

  2. #2
    Super Moderator Rick Corbett's Avatar
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    It sounds like electrical interference - perhaps the USB HDD dock needs a choke. Have a look at this article - What are the bumps at the end of computer cables? - for an explanation.

    Hope this helps...

  3. #3
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    Download the free version of HWMonitor to check your voltages - if they are low then your PSU could be on the way out.

    Post a snip of it if want any clarification but your 3.3, 5 and 12v should be within Plus/Minus 5% of their value.

    http://www.cpuid.com/softwares/hwmonitor.html

    Hit the SETUP ENGLISH button down on the left.

  4. #4
    WS Lounge VIP mrjimphelps's Avatar
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    Try a different USB port for the external hard drive, or for the keyboard/mouse dongle. Perhaps you will get the two on separate USB circuits; that may eliminate a power issue.

    Since the hard drive dock has its own power supply, power shouldn't be a problem; but you never know...

  5. #5
    Lounger
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    Thanx for the responses guys -

    (corrected post)
    Initial tests with utilities looked like the power supply was in the checkout lane. Significantly low voltage on both +3.3 and +12. But when I tested with a different PSU, problems and voltage readings are identical.

    I did run into another strange issue (totally unrelated) - after I found the low voltages on the old Acer box, I decided to check my other computers. I have a stock HP Pavilion where neither CPUID HWMonitor nor Speedfan can read any voltages!? No errors on either utility, just to voltage displays. I am not particularly surprised when a utility cannot see certain chipset monitor outputs, such as temps or fan speeds, but I kinda thought that basic power supply voltages would be available to anything! Any ideas on how to track this one down?
    Last edited by V7Goose; 2016-10-01 at 15:14.

  6. #6
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    Do the voltages display in the BIOS ?

  7. #7
    Lounger
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    Correction - problem with the Acer is NOT the power supply. Luckily I was able to find an old PSU in my junk pile to test with (wrong form factor for this little box, but still worked for test). Voltage readings and wonky USB performance is identical with both PSUs. So now I am guessing the best option will probably be to just buy a new low-cost PC to replace this one if it eventually quits - probably not worth effort and cost to just replace the MB. But hey, it has been working for a long time - maybe it is no different than when it was new? I would never have seen this problem today if I had not just happened to connect the USB dock while using the mouse that far away. I still do not know what is causing the wireless keyboard/mouse range to drop when using the USB dock, but I'm not going to sweat it too much if no other problems show up.
    Last edited by V7Goose; 2016-10-01 at 15:17.

  8. #8
    WS Lounge VIP mrjimphelps's Avatar
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    I would suggest trying the following before investing in a new computer:
    * Try the wireless keyboard/mouse in a different computer.
    * Try a different wireless mouse/keyboard.
    * Try some different USB ports for either the dongle or the HD.
    * Try adding a USB expansion card to the computer, and plug your dongle (or HD) into it.

  9. #9
    Lounger
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    Well, it looks like this whole thing was a trip down the rabbit hole. After putting the thing back together I decided to try one last test with a different USB dock. The original dock I was using is a fairly old USB 2.0 dock (because this computer is only USB 2.0). I do have a newer USB 3.0 dock, and when I try it, the keyboard/mouse range is unaffected. So whatever the actual cause of this strange behavior, it is clearly specific to using that old USB 2.0 HDD dock.

    Solution: don't use that particular accessory with this particular computer! Case Closed.

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