Page 1 of 1

Reliable powered USB hub for mouse and keyboard?

Posted: Mon Oct 04, 2004 3:52 pm
by colin
This is perhaps only tangentially related to silencing, but if you want to move your PC away from your ears a USB hub should be useful for plugging in your mouse and keyboard.

I have a Belkin USB 2 powered hub (F5U224). For a couple of printers it works fine. But when I add a mouse and keyboard I get intermittent failures to recognize them at startup. Rebooting fixes it, but it's not worth the hassle. From preliminary googling, it seems like other people have had this problem and the issue may be that these devices draw power through the USB connection. (Maybe there's also some difficulty with the PC bootup sequence -- I don't know.)

Is this fixable via a better powered hub? One of the reviews on Amazon suggests that Aten hubs succeed where others fail. Thanks.

Posted: Mon Oct 04, 2004 10:37 pm
by MikeC
I'd like to see an answer too. I have a simlar situation with a 4-port hub that gets power from the USB connection. Plug more than a certain number or combination of stuff in -- not only at the hub but any of the 4 ports on the motherboard -- and something goes awry. Usually, the hub just disappears until I unplug some things and replug the hub.

Posted: Tue Oct 05, 2004 2:47 am
by Bluefront
The USB problem you have is rather common. And I don't think there's one answer to fix it. The worst thing that happens to me (on different computers) is sometimes a USB device is not recognized at startup, and then gets tagged an an "unknown" device, and stays that way even after rebooting.

The way I found that works (usually) is to attach your computer to a power controller, so you can detach your computer completely from the AC when it is turned off. Some USB ports are still powered when the computer is turned off normally....that seems to be part of the problem.

Posted: Tue Oct 05, 2004 5:40 am
by acaurora
This probably does not help, but I have the Belkin High Speed USB 2.0 7-Port Hub, and I have not had a problem with it. Of course, though, the fact that it gets additional power from the wall outlet is probably why.

One thing that MIGHT help, though, is that there is only a certain amount of power that can be provided by the USB ports, which is sent from the USB controller. Through the 'USB Root Hubs' that are on my system, which are basically the USB controllers, it reports that 500 mA is available per port. While my Intellimouse Explorer 4.0 uses 100mA, my MX1000 uses only 70mA, interestingly enough. What's more, my SmartDisk FireLite uses only 98mA.

I do recall in a previous thread that there is a protocol which states a specified minimum amount of power that must be fed through the USB ports, and I am guessing that the actual amount of power that is available is really up to the motherboard manufacturer.

Again, I'm not sure if I'm being helpful or just babbling. :) Worth a shot anyways.

Posted: Tue Oct 05, 2004 11:43 am
by Lwood
I have a hub that can be powered either by the USB or the wall. I usually run it off the USB to eliminate cable clutter, but after adding a device my PC has given me a warning stating that I have too many devices plugged into an unpowered hub. Plugging it in to the wall I have no problems. Its pretty old, and made by Belkin, but I don't know the model number and I'm not at home to check.

Posted: Tue Oct 05, 2004 2:16 pm
by colin
Thanks for the replies. Just to emphasize, the hub I'm using is powered and I'm using it with its powerbrick plugged in. When I had failures, the power light on the hub remained on, even while the little green lights for the connected devices were off.

I am noticing, parenthetically, that even with my optical mouse plugged back into the ps2 port, its lights on 24/7, even with the PC turned off. I think one of those lights is pure decoration.

Posted: Tue Oct 05, 2004 3:16 pm
by Bluefront
The next time it happens, try going into device manager and see if you can find an "unknown" device. If you do, delete the device and shut down. Pull the AC plug for awhile, then reboot. See if that fixes it.

Posted: Tue Oct 05, 2004 9:43 pm
by acaurora
colin wrote: I am noticing, parenthetically, that even with my optical mouse plugged back into the ps2 port, its lights on 24/7, even with the PC turned off. I think one of those lights is pure decoration.
No, it isn't decorative. Well, actually that depends on what mouse you have. Some DO have another light just for decoration, some don't. My Intellimouse Explorer 3.0 had a decorative light near the front, where your wrist would normally be. However, both stayed on when using an older powered USB hub. Mainly, if you ask me, I think it just functions as a "dumb" device, so it stays on and keeps tracking even if the computer is off, as long as power is provided to it. :) My Intellimouse Explorer 4.0 doesn't light, though, when the computer is off.

Posted: Wed Oct 06, 2004 2:05 am
by silvervarg
You might be experiencing communication collision on the USB line at startup. With enough semi-stupid deviced plugged in to one logical USB line this could cause a problem.
Does your motherboard have both rear and front USB? (That is the front is just a header on the motherboard). If that is the case things should work better if you move one or more devices to the other logical USB line.
If it is a matter of power provided to the USB port this could also solve that matter. But with a powered USB hub I don't think power will be any problem.