External Control Hub (the ultimate in silent computing)

Show off your quiet rig.

Moderators: NeilBlanchard, Ralf Hutter, sthayashi, Lawrence Lee

Post Reply
MattP
Posts: 23
Joined: Wed Nov 14, 2012 1:46 am

External Control Hub (the ultimate in silent computing)

Post by MattP » Sat Mar 16, 2013 12:53 pm

external control hub_MatthewPerks.jpg
Hi everyone, I've finally finished the build log of my 'external control hub', which works in tandem with my silent wooden PC.

The unit provides remote access to all the ports and devices that would otherwise be on the PC itself, meaning that the PC can be elsewhere (where you can't hear it!). As far as I know, it is unique.

I've compiled everything into a video, which explains things very clearly if you wish to undertake such a project yourself.

Comments appreciated! :D

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PpXOvjavjWc
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.

mentawl
Posts: 285
Joined: Sat Feb 18, 2006 10:29 pm
Location: Glasgow, UK

Re: External Control Hub (the ultimate in silent computing)

Post by mentawl » Mon Mar 18, 2013 4:26 pm

Very nice :) thanks for the interesting build vid.
i5 2500k @ 4.5ghz | Asus P8Z68-V | PNY GTX780 | 32gb DDR3 | SSD & HDD| Antec Solo 2
i5 4670k @ 4.3ghz | Asus Z87I-Pro | MSI GTX670 | 8gb DDR3 | SSD & HDD | Cubitek Mini Cube

N7SC
Posts: 179
Joined: Fri Jul 20, 2007 7:22 pm
Location: Sunny Florida, where dead people vote 3 times in a county they never even lived in!

Re: External Control Hub (the ultimate in silent computing)

Post by N7SC » Sun Mar 24, 2013 7:56 am

Great idea, and a great video about how you did it.

Have you ever tried to use USB 3.0 extension cables?
[size=75]The Dog philosophy is the best:
Eat, Sleep, Play, Love.[/size]

MattP
Posts: 23
Joined: Wed Nov 14, 2012 1:46 am

Re: External Control Hub (the ultimate in silent computing)

Post by MattP » Sun Mar 24, 2013 11:02 am

Thanks :)

Not sure what you mean about the USB 3.0 cables. Tried using them for what?

N7SC
Posts: 179
Joined: Fri Jul 20, 2007 7:22 pm
Location: Sunny Florida, where dead people vote 3 times in a county they never even lived in!

Re: External Control Hub (the ultimate in silent computing)

Post by N7SC » Sun Mar 24, 2013 11:33 am

MattP wrote:Thanks :)

Not sure what you mean about the USB 3.0 cables. Tried using them for what?
Sorry, I mean using a USB 3 cable for the USB link between the ECH and the computer. I tried it with an active USB 3 cable and it wouldn't work with my DVD drive, or a 3.5" hard drive. It seemed to be unable to find anything at the other end of the cable. It did work with a thumb drive, an Adaptec EIDE to USB adapter, etc., but only at USB 2.0 speeds. Perhaps the SATA to USB 3 adapter that I have did not supply/supply enough 12V power for the bigger, hungrier drives. Maybe an active USB 3 extension cable would work with a laptop DVD drive, like yours. My plan is to use a desktop (5.25") sized DVD drive.

Edit: Plugging the DVD drive or the 3.5" hard drive, with the SATA to USB 3 adapter directly in to one of the computer's USB 3 ports did work at USB 3 speed. Funny it wouldn't work with the extension cable. Maybe too much voltage drop due the small conductors in the cable?

Am now using a plain, non-active USB 2.0 extension cable and all is working well. It even works well when writing a DVD at elevated speed.
[size=75]The Dog philosophy is the best:
Eat, Sleep, Play, Love.[/size]

MattP
Posts: 23
Joined: Wed Nov 14, 2012 1:46 am

Re: External Control Hub (the ultimate in silent computing)

Post by MattP » Mon Mar 25, 2013 2:19 am

Ahh, I see now. All of the devices I used were USB 2.0 devices, so using a USB 3.0 cable for its higher speed wouldn't have been necessary for my particular unit.

I see no reason why it wouldn't work though. How long is your USB 3.0 cable? It's worth noting that a USB 3.0 cable has a max 'recommended' length of 3m, but I'm not sure that's absolute as it's only 'recommended'.

It sounds to me like it could be a power issue. You report that the USB drive worked, and an EIDE to USB adapter. The USB drive doesn't use much power, but what about the EIDE to USB adapter? I assume that the device had external power, which could explain why it was detected if this is the problem.

This SATA to USB adapter you have... being 12v means it needs external power, right? Hmm, puzzling. If you give me some more insight onto how it's all connected up and what devices you're using, I'd be able to make some more suggestions.


Could it be that you've got a faulty USB 3.0 extension cable? Or a cheap Chinese knock-off that's really just USB 2.0?

xan_user
*Lifetime Patron*
Posts: 2269
Joined: Sun May 21, 2006 9:09 am
Location: Northern California.

Re: External Control Hub (the ultimate in silent computing)

Post by xan_user » Mon Mar 25, 2013 6:57 am

personally ive had problems using long usb extensions, some devices work fine, others are slow, and some just dont show up at all. cable quality really does count here, but even the best cable is no guarantee.

if it were my build, id run a separate power feed to the ECH.
Help SPCR keep the lights on, use these links when you buy: NCIX, Amazon and Newegg

MattP
Posts: 23
Joined: Wed Nov 14, 2012 1:46 am

Re: External Control Hub (the ultimate in silent computing)

Post by MattP » Mon Mar 25, 2013 11:08 am

It's not so much the cable quality than the cable length. You ought to use an active USB cable with a length no longer than 3m. Solves any problems that might occur with cable length, and results in very solid reliability.

Power wise, I wanted it to turn on and off with the PC, so a separate power supply was out of the question. ;) Less cables without it too.

Post Reply