I'm having the damndest time with USB hubs

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by imahawki, Jun 16, 2011.

  1. imahawki macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2011
    #1
    I'm on my second USB hub that has flaked out. I have 4-5 devices I normally have connected to a USB hub so I have typically had a powered 7 port hub. I had a Macally one on my Windows box that worked great but when I got my Mac it stopped working. I kinda thought it was a compatibility thing even though USB is pretty universal so I bought a Kensington for $45!!!! at the Apple Store. Yesterday its like it just lost its connection or like its dead. Nothing connected to it worked including my Apple keyboard (I have the wired one). That was the first tip. But my iPhone cable is plugged into that port and it wouldn't sync this morning and the lights on my Wacom are all dead, which is also plugged into this hub.

    So why am I having problems keeping such a simple device working? Its got 7 ports... its not like I'm overloading it by stacking ports or something silly. The only things plugged in are formerly my keyboard and iPhone cable, a card reader, my wacom, and a USB mini cable for when I need to update my Harmony remote.

    I had an LG DVD burner plugged in, the kind with a Y USB cable and no power adapter so at one time, all the ports were full.

    Did something like the DVD burner being plugged into it "burn it out"?
     
  2. laurenr macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2008
    Location:
    California
    #2
    Sorry you're having such a headache with your USB devices. I experienced a similar issue about 2 years ago, nearly drove me bonkers. I bought a powered NEC 4 port USB Hub, and it has worked flawlessly ever since.

    Just a suggestion - have you run a hardware test on your computer's USB port?
     
  3. imahawki thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2011
    #3
    I have not run a hardware check. How would I do that? I have a 2011 iMac but I'm still a Mac newbie.
     
  4. laurenr macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2008
    Location:
    California
    #4
    Link to running hardware test on an iMac:
    http://support.apple.com/kb/HT1883
     
  5. ActionableMango macrumors 604

    ActionableMango

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2010
    #5
    Do some standard troubleshooting. Unplug all the devices and try using the hub with just one device. Continue to add devices. I would add the CD burner last.

    Also, with that many ports and especially an optical drive to power, I hope this is a self-powered hub and not a bus-powered hub. Self-powered hubs have their own power source via an AC/DC adapter.
     
  6. imahawki thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2011
    #6
    Its DC powered (wall wart power supply). I'll do some more troubleshoot.
     
  7. imahawki thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2011
    #7
    OK, first test was pretty revealing. With nothing else plugged in to it I plugged in ONLY my Apple keyboard. No dice. I unplugged the hub from the wall waited a minute and re-plugged it in and no dice. So the hub seems like it is dead. Now the question is 1) why and 2) this is the second time this has happened in a few months and it was NOT on the same computer (the first was on my Mac mini, this was on the iMac). Both computers were less than 2 months old when the USB hub died. AND, I never used the DVD burner on the previous hub because I didn't own it at the time.

    I can run the hardware check but this has happened on two different Macs as I mentioned.
     
  8. laurenr macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2008
    Location:
    California
    #8
    Seeing as this has happened on two different Macs, I am thinking it is one of your USB devices that is causing the hub to "blow". It's highly unlikely that you have faulty ports on both Machines.
     
  9. skorpien macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2008
    #9
    Is it plugged into a surge protector? Is your area prone to power surges? Do you have another AC/DC adapter with the same size connection and output to test with? Sorry, not really of much help, but just suggesting other possible troubleshooting ideas.
     
  10. imahawki thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2011
    #10
    Yes it is plugged into a surge protector, no I'm not in a high power surge area and I'm in a new development in a 5 year old house so dirty power doesn't seem likely. I don't have another power adapter to test but I just realized the LED that indicates whether the hub is getting power is NOT lighting up.

    I can't imagine what is killing the hub. Something drawing a lot of power like the DVD burner seems likely but I never used that on the other hub that died. The other things plugged in don't seem very high power (iPhone/iPad cable, Wacom Intuous 4, Apple keyboard, and a USB mini cable that usually has nothing plugged in).

    The only other thing I can think of is I've been messing with the DVD drive recently because its been acting up so I had unplugged it and plugged it back in several times right before the hub died. Doesn't explain the other hub like I keep saying.

    Its too bad there isn't a "premium" USB hub. They all seem to be about the same price and the all seem pretty disposable.
     
  11. CylonGlitch macrumors 68030

    CylonGlitch

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2009
    Location:
    SoCal
    #11
    With the work I do I have ripped apart tons of different USB hubs (we embed them into our designs for various uses, we just need the raw PCB not the enclosure). Anyway, there are only about 2 or 3 different chip makers of USB hubs; they are **ALL** cheap junk. The only real difference you may find between an expensive hub vs a $1.99 one is that the expensive one won't cut every corner to save a few cents. The main chip is almost always the same (of the three companies) just the way the board is laid out may be better or worse.

    Never spend money on USB hubs, buy $5 to $10 versions; typically internally they are identical to the $50 versions. The $2 USB hubs are not bad, but are more cheaply made. Often the plastic of the box is MUCH more expensive then the electronics.

    USB hubs, unless externally powered, are powered by the USB bus, thus surge protectors on your computer mean nothing. They are all designed to handle plug / unplug surges along with over current situations, but that doesn't mean that they aren't being damaged . . . the chip will fail eventually.

    I've had "good" $50 hubs go out on me in weeks and $2 hubs last years. It's a crap shoot; good luck.
     

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