Can a dongle with lots of ports stress a USBC port?


leman

macrumors G3
Oct 14, 2008
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Wirst that can happen is that the devices draw too much power, potentially overloading the port. Still, Apple laptops have best USB surge protection on the market, so I wouldn’t worry too much about this.
 

Drifty_Child

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Original poster
Dec 12, 2017
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I had my 2012 MBP lose one of its ports, so it's natural I'm a little concerned. If this happens, can any steps be taken to fix an overloaded port?
 

leman

macrumors G3
Oct 14, 2008
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I guess you go to Apple or a third-party service provider and have your logic board replaced... should count as a warranty case though.
 

Painter2002

macrumors 65816
May 9, 2017
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Austin, TX
I have only once seen a port get burned out (2014 MBP 13" SD Card slot), and that was because the user was using the card slot as a permanent external storage.

The USB-C ports on these computers are pretty hardy and can take a lot of I/O usage. There are lots of people who use Caldigit or OWC docks which can support 6 plus devices and I haven't seen any reports of issues with the USB-C port(s) burning out. I personally use a Caldigit dock which powers my 2017 MBP wTB, has two external displays and two external hard drives plugged into the dock, all plugged into just one USB-C port on my machine, and I have not had any issues at all.

My main suggestion is buy a dongle or dock from a reputable brand name you recognize. Cheaper brands are more likely to cause issues and possible mess up your computer's I/O ports. Often times the cheap brands aren't even to spec for proper USB-C safety standards.

I would aim for brands such as Belkin, Anker, Hyper, Caldigit, OWC brands. They cost a bit more but are more reliable and safer for you computer and your external devices. The one you listed on eBay I would hesitate on, as it doesn't even list the brand name.
 
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Drifty_Child

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Original poster
Dec 12, 2017
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Thanks, that eases my mind about it. Is there a particular adapter that you'd recommend? Here's what I need:

- At least one regular USB port
- Ethernet
- Either Thunderbolt or HDMI

It's okay if it's multiple adapters instead of one. But the less, the better. And the cheaper the better, so long as it's safe to use.
 

Glockworkorange

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Feb 10, 2015
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Drifty_Child

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Dec 12, 2017
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I don't know, but that seems to me to be a really good price---like too good to be true.

Dose it have any issues?
I have no clue, as I've never owned one. But eBay has a lot of listings of similar devices, with the HDMI+Ethernet+USB setup, with varying prices from $15 to $30. The sellers have good numbers, like "97.1% Positive feedback".
 

zhenya

macrumors 603
Jan 6, 2005
6,360
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The bigger issue is that most of these hubs have short cables to connect to the laptop, and the input ports are often on 2 if not 3 of the sides of the hub - so if you are connecting desktop usb-a devices, HDMI, and Ethernet, you have these comparatively thick, heavy cables coming in at different directions. That, plus the fact that Apple’s usb-c ports tend to be looser than other brands, means that it can be hard to maintain a consistent connection.

I would look for something that either has a removable usb-c cord, which is usually a full dock, or one of the types that has the usb-c male port built in and fits flush with the side of the Macbook. So long as you use this latter type primarily on a desk it should be less cumbersome.
 

Drifty_Child

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Original poster
Dec 12, 2017
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Glockworkorange

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Feb 10, 2015
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I have no clue, as I've never owned one. But eBay has a lot of listings of similar devices, with the HDMI+Ethernet+USB setup, with varying prices from $15 to $30. The sellers have good numbers, like "97.1% Positive feedback".
By way of comparison, the Apple sold dongle with just USB C, HDMI and USB A costs like $70.

This one has all of those, the USB C looks to be power pass through and there is an Ethernet port for a third of the price.

It’s almost a little concerning—there’ve been a lot of problems with funky USB C cables from China.
 

Drifty_Child

macrumors member
Original poster
Dec 12, 2017
62
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USA
By way of comparison, the Apple sold dongle with just USB C, HDMI and USB A costs like $70.

This one has all of those, the USB C looks to be power pass through and there is an Ethernet port for a third of the price.

It’s almost a little concerning—there’ve been a lot of problems with funky USB C cables from China.
That does seem pretty suspicious, then. Though I would guess that $70 is a premium price, and a good one doesn't have to cost that much.

What are the kinds of problems that can be caused by USB C cables from China?

Do either of these look okay?
https://www.amazon.com/TNP-Gigabit-Ethernet-Delivery-Charging/dp/B01KV530UU/
https://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=9SIAEKB6E88569
 
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Glockworkorange

macrumors 68000
Feb 10, 2015
1,985
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Chicago, Illinois
That does seem pretty suspicious, then. Though I would guess that $70 is a premium price, and a good one doesn't have to cost that much.

What are the kinds of problems that can be caused by USB C cables from China?

Do either of these look okay?
https://www.amazon.com/TNP-Gigabit-Ethernet-Delivery-Charging/dp/B01KV530UU/
https://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=9SIAEKB6E88569
The reviews aren’t good, although I would generally trust a product from New Egg.

From what I recall, the cheap usb c cables were frying logic boards. https://www.techlicious.com/blog/budget-usb-c-cables-can-fry-devices/