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  1. #1
    Plutonium Lounger
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    Memory Stick Reader

    Mundane question, I know, but I just bought one of those (inexpensive) USB memory stick readers to go with the (too expensive) still camera I splurged for. Does anyone have any opinion on whether I should "unplug" the thing when it's not in use to keep it from being constantly powered up? Given its low cost, it wouldn't be a great loss if it didn't last a long time, but I was just wondering.....

  2. #2
    Plutonium Lounger Leif's Avatar
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    Re: Memory Stick Reader

    Presumably it is powered by the USB port?
    Does it have a current consumption rating on it anywhere (maybe the manual)? Something like 5V 50mA, or something.....

  3. #3
    Plutonium Lounger
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    Re: Memory Stick Reader

    Yes, it's powered from the USB port. The doc on CD (or at their web site) doesn't mention the voltage or current drain. I guess it's such an inconsequential device, the Taiwanese didn't think it worth mentioning..... I'm tempted, when not using it to yank the cable from the DEVICE to keep from going round to the back of the PC.

    Wait a minute, Leif. I just answered half of my question. While I was thinking of my next sentence, I checked for the little removable devices icon in the tray, "stopped" the USB device and the lights on the reader (three of 'em) went out! Now all I've gotta see is how to turn it back on. Sorry for the bother. I guess I should look before I leap!

  4. #4
    Plutonium Lounger
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    Re: Memory Stick Reader

    I think you can look up the current ratings for your USB devices in the properties of the USB root hub in Device manager.

    StuartR

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    Plutonium Lounger
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    Re: Memory Stick Reader

    Thanks Stuart. It says the device is 500mA. I don't know nuttin 'bout no milli's! Is that a lot or what? Since my last post, I did find out that to turn it back on, you have to unplug the cable momentarily and plug it back in. No sweat, it does just what a USB device is supposed to do and its "three drives" are immediately visible. I guess it's probably worth shutting it down from the tray since a fella like me doesn't use his camera all that much anyway.

  6. #6
    Plutonium Lounger Leif's Avatar
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    Re: Memory Stick Reader

    500mA sounds a lot - I wouldn't expect it to have drawn that much in quiescent mode.
    Anyway, at 5V that equates to 2.5W - not a lot in the grand scheme of things , but still another 2.5W to be supplied by your PC's PSU.
    Solid state electronics should have several years continuous life, and it should have been designed to be continually powered up. I wouldn't worry much either way, but I would expect it to last longer if it was not continuously powered.

  7. #7
    Plutonium Lounger
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    Re: Memory Stick Reader

    500mA is the absolute maximum total load that a USB hub can deliver. This means that you can't have any other USB device plugged in to the same hub at the same time, even if there are spare connectors. I prefer to use external powered USB hubs for devices like that.

    StuartR

  8. #8
    Plutonium Lounger
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    Re: Memory Stick Reader

    I wonder if that reader is giving a false reading, Stuart? Surely to goodness, if 500mA is the maximum load a USB hub can handle, this little bitty device can't possibly be consuming that much. And Leif makes a good point - it's just sitting there, no load, no activity. I just did a wee experiment, hoping I wouldn't blow the doors off one of the two devices! On my second built-in USB port I have the cradle for my Palm PDA. So, while I left Device Manager open on the screen, I put the Palm on the cradle and pushed the bottom to run an auto-synch. It ran OK and no new entries showed up in USB of Device Manager, although that screen re-painted itself as if it were refreshing. Isn't it interesting that the person with no in-depth knowledge of such topics can get himself into this with an innocent acquisition of an innocuous device!

  9. #9
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    Re: Memory Stick Reader

    I think that the current rating is reported to the system by the device and represents the maximum current that it intends to draw when it is busy.

    500mA is not that unusual, I have an Alcatel ADSL model that claims to require 500mA. In fact it occassionally draws more than 500mA and causes my motherboard to hang!

    StuartR

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    Uranium Lounger viking33's Avatar
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    Re: Memory Stick Reader

    Big Al,
    500ma is 1/2 an Amp. That is a LOT of current for a small device like that to draw! My own opinion would be to pull the device out when not in use. <img src=/S/fire.gif border=0 alt=fire width=15 height=15>
    Bob
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    Today it is called golf!

  11. #11
    Plutonium Lounger
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    Re: Memory Stick Reader

    Thanks to all for the technical advice! I called the device vendor on the phone today to see what their support folks could tell me. I must say that the support guy I talked to, even after consulting with his staff, didn't seem too sure of his "stuff" but he was of the opinion that the device doesn't draw any current to speak of when in an idle condition. His staff told him that it might draw 350 mA when actually moving or copying files from a memory stick to the hard drive. He said that they have had NO calls of power problems. I think I WILL continue to unplug it when not in use, just because it's hardly ever used.

  12. #12
    Uranium Lounger viking33's Avatar
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    Re: Memory Stick Reader

    Seems like he smart thing to do, Al.
    BOB
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  13. #13
    Plutonium Lounger
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    Re: Memory Stick Reader

    I know this a thread that's over a year old, but I thought I'd add something recent. I have a need to move my USB scanner since I took the machine it was attached to out of service. But I already have two USB devices plugged in to this XP machine. So, being a somewhat conservative tightwad, I bought an inexpensive 4-port USB hub that draws its POWER from the bus. The cardboard in the box says the per-port current is 100mA unless you buy an optional AC adapter (which I did not). I wasn't too concerned about this, since the scanner I plan on attaching will use its own AC power. However, when I try to plug in to this hub the original subject of this thread - a SmartDisk Universal Media Reader - I get a message that there is not enough power to fire it up. The only thing this "proves" (un-scientifically, of course) is that the sucker uses more than 100mA in a restful state! I think I'll go out and buy that optional power adapter!

  14. #14
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    Re: Memory Stick Reader

    Al.

    Thanks for posting this update. We all learn from experience and I much prefer to learn from other peoples <img src=/S/smile.gif border=0 alt=smile width=15 height=15>

    StuartR

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    Re: Memory Stick Reader

    Thanks for the "read" Stuart. I looked all over the web for the Belkin power adapter for this little hub and it seems to be out of production or doesn't exist, even in the local store. Well, cheapskate that I am, before springing for another hub, I tried a different approach that seems to be working. I connected the hub and plugged in the scanner and my Palm cradle, which both have their own power. Then, I used the second port on the CPU to connect the media reader and all three devices seem to be working OK.

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