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Old 01-06-2017, 11:43 AM   #1
terrie
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Default Nifty USB3 extension cable

I can't remember if I ever mentioned that the USB3 ports on the top of my Fractal Design Define 5 pc case are somewhat finicky, particularly the rightmost USB3 port.

If you remember, I had MicroCenter do a custom build for me in September 2015 and within a day or so of bringing the sytem home, I couldn't get the rightmost USB3 port on top of the case to work--it would not recognize a USB3 thumbdrive inserted into the port. I took the system back to MicroCenter thinking that the port was bad. Of course, the port worked just fine when the MicroCenter tech checked it using various USB3 thumbdrives and the tech was also very willing to check all the internal connections.

I brought the system back home, got everything plugged back in--monitor, etc.--plugged in my thumbdrive and...it worked just fine. 2-3 days later, plugged in the thumbdrive and...no connection. Unplugged it, plugged it back in again and...connected just fine. I decided that the port was just a bit finicky in making the connection and/or the thumbdrive (inexpensive MicroCenter drive) was just a bit off spec--this was after touching base with a pc hardware forum asking Define 5 owners if they had experienced the problem and none had.

It was basically a minor annoyance.


I received some money for Christmas and I've always believed that these little unexpected windfalls are meant to be spent frivolously buying things that you would normally say, "well, I can live without that".

With that in mind (and the fact that the geek in me needed feeding), I went browsing around monoprice.com looking for a usb hub and after putting the hub in the shopping cart, I spied what is essentially a USB3 extension cord and thought to myself...hmmmm...I wonder if I plugged this into the Define R5's USB3 port and the thumbdrive into the other end of the extension if I'd get a more consistent thumbdrive-to-USBplug connection? At $2.43 each (I ordered 2, one for each USB3 port), it seemed worth a try. My order arrived yesterday afternoon and...

It works! Each time I plug the thumbdrive into the end of the extension cable, I get the thumbdrive notification in the taskbar. I'm very pleased--it doesn't take much really...'-}}


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Old 01-06-2017, 03:56 PM   #2
Hugh Wyn Griffith
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Sounds like a slight difference in the tolerance limits on the original socket and the thumbdrive with the socket being out of tolerance? And the new cable more tolerant.

I bought a very compact powered 4 port USB3 hub from Amazon for about $17 complete with power brick. It's about the size of a small card reader!

I only put a 2 port USB3 PCIe card in to save cost at the time but the hub also brings the sockets out front of the PC.

   
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Old 01-07-2017, 11:41 AM   #3
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hugh: And the new cable more tolerant.
That's exactly what I'm thinking...




>>I bought a very compact powered 4 port USB3 hub from Amazon for about $17 complete with power brick. It's about the size of a small card reader!


Which one did you get?

About a 2 years ago, I bought my sister what turned out to be a really nice monoprice USB2 hub with 7 ports and also with its own power brick--I always buy powered hubs. When my sister got her new HP laptop, she gave me her old Dell laptop and I decided that I wanted to get a USB hub to use with it because I've found that you can end up with loose connections from the laptop being moved around as you work with it and that using a hub saves the laptop's ports.

I would have liked a USB3 hub but in the end, I decided that for the most part, given that the laptop is a backup/testbed system and what I was going to plug into the hub (mouse, USB-ethernet adapter, etc.) that a USB2 hub would probably be fine and so I ordered the same one from monoprice that I'd bought my sister. I wish that monoprice would make one like that one but USB3 instead of USB2.



>>I only put a 2 port USB3 PCIe card in to save cost at the time but the hub also brings the sockets out front of the PC.


When I had this system built, I made sure that in addition to the back-case mobo-based USB ports and any front-case mobo-based ports, that I also had an add-on set of front-case mounted USB ports--because one can never have too many USB ports...'-}}--and then I bought a 4-port powered USB3 hub from MicroCenter which I got on sale.



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Old 01-07-2017, 11:47 AM   #4
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It's the little things ...

   
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Old 01-07-2017, 11:52 AM   #5
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Same here, sorta. I bought an ANKER powered USB3 hub with 9 ports. What can I say? I'm greedy. One of my laptops won't boot when the thing's plugged in at startup (but works fine if I plug it in after bootup). Minor nuisance, and the laptop's USB3 port has been the source of other oddities as well; I'm willing to blame it on the port and not the hub. I've since moved it to a newer PC, an ASUS that's got mostly USB-C portage, so the extra USB3 ports are a welcome addition.

   
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Old 01-08-2017, 10:15 AM   #6
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Sorry -- I thought I'd linked to it. It was the Amazon Basic and I don't see anything more that I need! And it's compact enough to go in with the ASUS T200 Hybrid Laptop I have if we are travelling.

I also bought a twin pack of USB3 6t extension cables since the stub cable on the hub is short but better than having too much sometimes!

   
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Old 01-08-2017, 01:03 PM   #7
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steve: One of my laptops won't boot when the thing's plugged in at startup
Have you checked the BIOS/UEFI settings? When I booted up my new system the first couple of times, there were weird things going on with the USB ports and I discovered that there are BIOS/UEFI settings such that only the "essential" USB ports are fired up on boot and the rest come online after booting. I changed those settings so that all USB ports are active at boot--apparently the millisecond longer that takes (granted off an SSD so things are pretty quick anyway) is aggravating to some people.


What is USB-C? I've seen it ref'd but don't know anything about it...


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Old 01-08-2017, 01:10 PM   #8
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hugh: It was the Amazon Basic
Thanks so much for the link. That's a nice looking hub. I think if in my wanderings I'd run across that one (amazon's search function purely sucks!), I would have ordered the USB3 7-port one. I've made a note of it for the future.



>>since the stub cable on the hub is short

I don't know why they make them so short but with the extension cables I guess you get the best of both worlds. By the way, I can highly recommend monoprice.com for all sorts of cables (and other goodies). Their cables are well made, well priced, shipping charges are reasonable and their customer service is excellent.



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Old 01-09-2017, 04:03 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by terrie View Post
What is USB-C? I've seen it ref'd but don't know anything about it...
Type C connectors are connectors that can be put into a periperal device any way up, so no need to put on reading glasses to plug a device in. They can be used for both data and power. My phone has a USB-C cable which I find incredibly useful!

Even better, the USB-3 cable connector is the same as for Thunderbolt 3 meaning that in furure we won't have so many different cables laying around.

Good description of cables & connectors on https://www.cnet.com/uk/how-to/usb-t...nect-them-all/

   
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Old 01-09-2017, 07:24 AM   #10
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Second the monoprice.com recommendation. I've bought all kinds of computer and audio cables and other oddments from them, always at much better prices than the usual suspects and never a complaint about quality/service.

I've had good luck with Amazon Basics stuff too. I've used (and killed) a couple of paper shredders over the years. Bought one of theirs not too long ago; a good bit less $ than the others in its class and it eats larger stacks of paper w/o whining and so far hasn't jammed once. WinWinWin.

   
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