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USB cable strategy - will this work?

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With a new mount hopefully coming in the new year, I've been looking at the layout of cabling.  I'm planning to put a high quality 7-port powered USB hub https://www.startech.com/uk/Cards-Adapters/USB-3.0/Hubs/7-port-usb-3-hub~ST7300U3M  mounted on the Losmandy Dual mounting saddle which will hold three scopes.   The hub would be plugged  into the computer via an active USB lead.

I've worked out that there are 7 possible devices I will foresee wanting to plug in to this hub, but never all at the same time.

  1. Electronic focus controller
  2. DSLR camera
  3. CCD camera
  4. Filter wheel
  5. Guide camera
  6. Mono planetary camera
  7. Colour planetary camera

The mount would be plugged direct into the computer via a separate active USB lead.

My plan was to have short high quality USB cables permanently plugged into each slot, one port allocated to each device.  I would get plastic plug covers to blank off the end of each cable when it is not in use.  https://www.amazon.co.uk/5Pcs-Plastic-Anti-dust-Covers-Protector/dp/B00UYMT7W6.

Hopefully this would reduce/eliminate many of the problems with getting the damn computer to recognise devices.  Would this be the case or have I (as usual) totally misunderstood the problem?



Edited by michaelmorris
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I would avoid a USB hub and active cables, and go for a nano PC mounted on the pier, and controlled wirelessly via teamviewer on your laptop, this seems to be the way to go now, as people are constantly having issues with USB hubs and active cables.

i bought a quad core nano PC with 8gb RAM and 240gb SSD drive, 6 USB ports of which two are USB 3.0....the nano PC runs off 12v and is 9"x4.5"x1" in size, it also has a serial port which is useful. :)

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2 minutes ago, SkyBound said:

i bought a quad core nano PC with 8gb RAM and 240gb SSD drive, 6 USB ports of which two are USB 3.0....the nano PC runs off 12v and is 9"x4.5"x1" in size, it also has a serial port which is useful.

Which one did you buy and did it come with an O/S?

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Hi Michael,

One thing to watch out for is the maximum amount of power that the hub is capable of delivering. Guide cameras, filter wheels etc tend to take their power directly from the hub and you can soon run out of current.  It generally shows up when you start getting intermittent connectivity when you add an additional piece of equipment.

I am currently building myself a USB power booster and using USB hydra cables to avoid this very issue.

Cheers John

Edited by JohnC64
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I use the older USB2 Startech 7 way hub, in fact I have two, and very good they are too. There is a jumper inside for selecting power from the incoming USB bus or 12v psu, and I'd assume the USB version is similar. My hub runs a Lodestar and Sx filterwheel, no problems.



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I'm using a Startech 7 port USB3 powered hub, just running CCD camera with integral filter wheel, motor focuser and weather station ATM, but have had it running separate CCD camera, filter wheel, mount and guide scope with no problems.

Connected to laptop with 5 meter unpowered USB3 cable.


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1 hour ago, steppenwolf said:

Which one did you buy and did it come with an O/S?

I bought one of these for £54 of eBay, the guy had around 50 of them, (all sold now) all brand new and sealed, i had to get my own 8gb RAM and 240gb SSD drive so total cost was £125, already had a free copy of win 10 from when it was a free upgrade, it installed fine from the USB stick it was on.



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2 hours ago, SkyBound said:

I bought one of these for £54 of eBay, the guy had around 50 of them, (all sold now) all brand new and sealed,

Thank you for the info - very interesting, pity I am too late for your bargain!

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3 hours ago, michaelmorris said:

The extra cost and complexity of a nano PC is not something I am prepared to consider at this stage.

I have had the Startech 7 usb2 hub for over two years. It runs Atik 460ex, Qhy8 Pro,  2 x auto focusers, Lodestar2 & a trutek filter wheel. No issues with the hub at all as it is 12v powered. No issues apart from usb cable or computer issues.



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Looking again at the spec for the Startech 7 port USB3 hub, the Psu spec is 36 watts, USB3 spec is 0.9 amp at 5V, so x 7 is 31.5Watts,  I'd have thought you would have more than enough power available for multiple bus powered kit. I too use an active cable from the hub to the PC, and cables from equipment to hub ports are standardised in looms, so kit always goes to the same port though the same cable, cuts down on unknown variables., and now I have finally got an FTDI based EQMOD cable, random Com port issues seem to be a thing of the past.


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I run a micro PC with 4 x USB2 and 4 x USB3 ports and have no issues at all, USB related or otherwise.  It runs W10 Pro and I use RDP to connect to it over 1GB LAN.  I did go for the more costly aluminium fanless i5 version, but the £300 all in cost with SSD and OS was a small cost to have no issues given the cost of the rest of my equipment.

Eggsnow Micro PC

In answer to your original query, I have 2 of these powered USB 3 hubs.  I found that if I used only 1 at the mount end I couldn't get USB 3 speeds unless I used a powered supply to it. That could be an issue with the power supplied from the USB port in my laptop, or even the UBS 3 cable being used, but this was a good one.  It worked fine on its own at USB 2 speeds.

Edited by RayD
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