USB Observations

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by ZipZap, Jul 20, 2012.

  1. ZipZap macrumors 601

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    Dec 14, 2007
    #1
    I have a 2.3/16/256 Macbook Pro Retina
    I purchased a USB 3.0 hub by Uspeed.

    Hub works but I do have some observations:

    1. The USB superdrive will not work through the hub. Both Mac and Windows seem to recognize the device but slipping a CD does not work. The drive does not pull it in. If I plug the superdrive direct into the mac...works perfectly.

    2. I have 2 external drives in separate go-flex enclosures with USB 3 adapters. The drives work but the Mac often has trouble recognizing that the drive are there when plugged into the hub. Both go through the hub. If I leave them plugged into the hub and reboot the mac, it can take minute (5) just to boot Mac OS.

    I have read #2 is a problem with Mac OS but thought I'd see if anyone had any new information on this problem.
     
  2. Intell macrumors P6

    Intell

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    #2
    The SuperDrive works only if it is plugged into a Mac directly. This is how they'll been since the Air came out. It has to do with the drive needing more power then the hub can provide. The hard drive problem is likely to be another power related problem.
     
  3. brand macrumors 601

    brand

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  4. terraphantm macrumors 68040

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    #4
    That may be Apple's excuse, but it's a load of crap. There are plenty non-Apple USB DVD (and even blu-ray) burners out there that have no issue being powered by a single USB port on a hub. One downside is that OSX doesn't allow such drives to be used to play DVDs... but that's a check that's pretty easy to hack out.

    With USB3, the power requirement should be even less of an issue
     
  5. Intell macrumors P6

    Intell

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    #5
    The SuperDrives are still USB 2 and they must follow USB 2 rules. Mac OS X will see that it is a SuperDrive and divert more power to that USB port to power the drive. Similar to how Mac OS X does it for iPads and iPhones. Through a USB hub, it cannot do that because it would be violating the USB 2 protocol on a device that would get burnt out because of the extra power, even though it is a USB 3 hub. It's USB 2 lines cannot handle the extra power.
     
  6. brand macrumors 601

    brand

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    #6
    Actually that is a load of crap. I have used several that could easily play DVDs without any hacking. Powering external devices on USB is a very real issue, weather or not you choose to believe it. The USB2.0 standard only supports 500mA and not all external optical drives are created equal as you would like to believe.
     
  7. ZipZap, Jul 20, 2012
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2012

    ZipZap thread starter macrumors 601

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    #7
    Its a uspeed 7 port powered hub.

    Also for those who think this is a power issue...its not. The drives firmware prevents the use on other computers as well as hubs.
     
  8. Intell macrumors P6

    Intell

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    #8
    It's actually how the drive presents itself to the OS. Windows and Linux OSes don't have the proper drivers configured for the device ID that the drive gives the OS. Mac and Windows with Boot Camp drivers does. The limitation of using that drive through a hub is not caused by the drive or its firmware, but the OS.

    Some USB optical drives refuse to work on one USB port alone and require the use of a special cable to draw power from two USB ports. Other drives work just fine with one port on the same computer. Other drives work on one port, but refuse to work through a hub. Still other drives refuse to work through a hub as all. Note: The drives I am speaking about are USB powered ones. Not ones that have a separate power supply.
     
  9. kdoug, Jul 20, 2012
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2012

    kdoug macrumors 6502a

    kdoug

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    #9
    Same problem here. I'm on my 4th USB 3.0 Hub in less than a week. Personally I think it's a power issue. Most of these hubs are shipping with 3 amp wall adapter and I don't think it's enough when running dual hard drives from one port. I ordered the Plugable with the latest VIA-VL811 Chipset and a 5v 4amp premium power adapter. Their hubs get really good reviews and they have a very informative website.

    http://plugable.com/products/USB3-HUB4/
    http://plugable.com/2012/07/03/new-usb-3-0-hub-combines-power-and-speed/
    http://support.plugable.com/plugable/topics/usb_3_0_hub
    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B008CKA1K4/ref=oh_details_o00_s00_i00

    YouTube Review:
    http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=...yrnUCg&usg=AFQjCNEWRMOcI99D2FbQrCZk6F2d5DA-ZQ

    Here's the Hubs that I've tried and returned for one reason or another:
    http://www.amazon.com/J-Tech-Digital-SuperSpeed-Backward-Compatible/dp/B004WM36WG/ref=pd_sim_e_2 USB cables won't fit into 3 of 4 the holes, returned.
    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B003VAH0AY/ref=oh_details_o02_s00_i01 Won't recognize the drives when I restart the rMBP, much slower speeds when running enclosure from Hub, returned.
     
  10. ZipZap thread starter macrumors 601

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    Dec 14, 2007
    #10
    Some things I don't like about it:

    It's white
    It a box instead of a rectangle
    You cannot chain 2 together
    It will not charge devices

    I ordered one to see if it makes a difference.
     
  11. ZipZap thread starter macrumors 601

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    #11
    Update:

    I found another issue with the uspeed that I think is the culprit for at least some issues.

    The USB cables do not fully seat into the plugs. So if they move there can be a port disconnect.
     
  12. kdoug macrumors 6502a

    kdoug

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    #12
    I just received the Plugable today and it not only works great but it DOES charge my iPhone. Most USB 3.0 will not or aren't designed to be a charger, this is a popular disclaimer with the manufacturers of USB hubs. Fortunately this one does. I've posted a review on Amazon.
    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B008CKA1K4/ref=oh_details_o00_s00_i00
     
  13. ZipZap thread starter macrumors 601

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  14. RabidMacFan macrumors regular

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    Jun 19, 2012
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    California
    #14
    I have the users 7 port hub too, and I can really only reliably use a couple ports at a time. It appears that most of the hub manufacturers are providing inadequate power supplies. the uspeed 7 port power supply is only rated for 2A. I'll give this plugable hub a shot, thanks for recommending it!
     
  15. Alameda macrumors 6502a

    Alameda

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    Jun 22, 2012
    #15
    USB 2.0 only supports 500 mA of power. There are proprietary ways around this. Phone chargers do it by shorting the unused data pins together, which is a de facto standard that tells a phone that it can draw 1000 mA. But you can't short the data pins together if you intend to transfer data over the USB link. Apple has a proprietary method which signals Apple devices that they can draw up to 1100 mA.

    USB 3.0 permits a power draw of 900 mA, but only a USB 3.0 device can know this. A USB 2 device connected to a USB 3 hub will not draw 900 mA.

    So to be clear, the source of the power (PC, USB hub, USB charger) signals how much current can be drawn, and then the USB device draws up to the permitted current.
     
  16. asicguy macrumors newbie

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    Jul 14, 2012
    #16
    It's well documented on the web that Apple did some non standard handshaking with the superdrive to make sure it would not pass commands through a hub. There is a logic board you can buy to fix it if so inclined. I bought one but never did the surgery.
     
  17. ZipZap thread starter macrumors 601

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    Dec 14, 2007
    #17
    Plugable arrived. Plugged in my USB ethernet. Little blue lit #1 lit. Moved unit, light flicked off then on.

    Moved again light out and no light come on when any device is plugged in....:mad:

    Reordered...if replacement is bad then that's it...shocked that it broke in 30 seconds...may show how suspectible these are to power surges and jostling.
     
  18. asicguy macrumors newbie

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    Jul 14, 2012
    #18
    If it's apples ethernet, they did the same thing as the superdrive. It will not work unless plugged into the computer as it does non-standard handshaking which doesn't pass through hubs. They toss the invalid events.
     
  19. kdoug macrumors 6502a

    kdoug

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    #19
    Mine broke also. It worked for a while then all of a sudden OS X wouldn't recognize my Sammy 830 until I rebooted. When I rebooted and ran a disk test my speeds we're below 40MB/s when plugged into the hub. Plugged into the computer it's over 230MB/s. I think I'm done with USB 3.0 Hubs unless somebody has a better idea.
     
  20. KevinC867, Jul 23, 2012
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2012

    KevinC867 macrumors 6502a

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    Saratoga, CA
    #20
    I spent some time today debugging my own problems with my 4-port Uspeed hub. Since Apple is being slow to release the Thunderbolt to Firewire adapter, I decided to try connecting my multi-interface drives via eSata to USB 3.0 adapters, connected through the USB 3.0 hub.

    I bought two different adapters (from StarTech and ByteCC) and wasn't having much luck using either of them with the hub. However, they both worked great when connected directly to my rMBP. When connected through the hub, the ByteCC adapter was stable, but only ran at USB 2.0 speeds. The StarTech was unstable and either ran *very* slowly or caused the drive to disconnect in the middle of data transfers.

    I finally noticed that System Information indicated that the USB 3.0 hub was only connecting as a USB 2.0 hub. I found this article: http://support.apple.com/kb/HT5172#12 and tried rebooting my machine and reconnecting the hub. That did the trick. After that, I saw that the hub connected as *both* a USB 3.0 hub and as a USB 2.0 hub. The ByteCC adapter then worked perfectly with the hub, but the StarTech was still unstable unless connected directly to the rMBP.

    Edit: I just noticed that the Pluggable unit some of you are using appears to be almost identical to these two Uspeed hubs.
     
  21. ZipZap thread starter macrumors 601

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    #21
    In looks only. Those models use 2A power and are probably the previous generation chips set.
     
  22. terraphantm macrumors 68040

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    #22
    The point is, it is very possible to make an external drive that works fine on 500mA or less. I have one (made by buffalo IIRC) that I've been using with my MBA 2,1 (only 1 USB port on those) and it's never given me a power issue, even when burning a dual layer disc. Cost only $40 too. If Apple really wanted to, they could have designed such a drive. The native dvd player app however is deliberately coded to disallow DVD playback with external drives. This is extremely easy to defeat though - just a couple strings that need to be edited (more details here). I never said the hardware isn't capable, nor did I say 3rd party apps can't play DVDs.
     
  23. kdoug macrumors 6502a

    kdoug

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    #23
    I'm done with USB hubs for now. I have a 6GB/s USB external enclosure with a 128gb Samsung 830 and I ordered the Seagate thunderbolt adapter and Apple thunderbolt cable. I already have a GoFlex 500gb HD I'll use with the adapter. It's simply amazing that nobody can make a reliable USB 3.0 hub.
     
  24. ZipZap thread starter macrumors 601

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    Dec 14, 2007
    #24
    Wanted to follow up:

    1. I dumped the Seagate go-flex cases as their throughput was awful and they impeded the booting of my rMBP.
    2. I switched to the Thermaltake 5X Cases STATA III (not cheap) and my problems are gone. Also the speed is 2 times faster.
    3. I got a working Plugable hub and it drives two external 3.5" drive, a gigabit ethernet adapter and camera. No issues, no disconnects so far.
    4. Biggest annoyance is Lions inability to spin down the drives appropriately so stupid things cause them to spin up even though they are not being used.
    5. I also note that the plugable hub does shave performance off the drives. Connected directly to the mac they are even faster. Plugable should try and address this issue.
     

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