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USB 3.0 Hub and USB 3.0 active extension lead



A while ago (February) I said in another post that if I purchased a USB 3.0 hub I would report back how successful it was if I tried running imaging camera, guide camera and mount all via the same hub and laptop USB 3.0 socket. I did buy a hub and as my existing USB 3.0 active extension cable is only 5m long I also bought a new 10m active cable.


The hub I purchased was the Anker AH240 mains powered hub




and initially I purchased this active cable from CSL which I intended connecting in series with my existing cable




When I received the hub and cable I decided to try them out using CrystalDiskMark and a USB 3.0 memory stick to test the ability of the combination. When used individually the CrystalDiskMark results were fine for USB 3.0 performance but when the cable and hub were joined together I got intermittent performance from all 7 ports (tested one at a time). Having spent some time testing the 2 devices together (with and without my existing 5m USB 3.0 active cable) I eventually decided to return the cable and get a replacement.


The replacement cable I got was a 10m cable from Lindy:




I repeated the tests and every time I achieved USB 3.0 performance as indicated by the results in CrystalDiskMark.


I connected all my equipment indoors using the single USB cable and hub and it all looked to work OK.


This Monday night I managed to get out to do some imaging and connected everything using the single USB cable and hub. The system performed without issue (apart from the battery in my camera going flat !) for the whole session of 5 hours plus (had to go to bed at 01:30 as work later that morning). I was guiding throughout most of the session and both cameras and mount remained connected to BYE and PHD without issue.


I also got some pictures of M81 and M82 in the same frame, though poorly framed as I wasn't expecting much due to the fairly poor conditions.


So, the outcome of my experience is:


It is possible to run all the equipment using a single USB 3.0 connection and hub as long as the equipment is mutually compatible and works well together.


My previous USB 2 based set up always required 2 leads to be run out from computer to mount area, otherwise one or other camera became disconnected.


It may not work for everyone as per my first test with the CSL cable as there looked to be an issue between the hub and the cable. No idea which device was to blame it was just easier to swap out the cable.









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I have a similar configuration as you, except I use a USB 2.0 hub to connect my guide camera, imaging camera, focuser, and scope/mount.  Then I use an active USB 2.0 cable to connect the hub with my laptop.  It has worked flawlessly since day 1.


The hub is from Dynex and the active extension cable is from GigaWare.


USB 2.0 seems fast enough for my needs.  I am not sure what caused your issue with USB 2.0 hardware, but if I had to guess, I would say that the active extension cable was the culprit.


Rick B

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Initially my USB 2 hub worked fine supporting both cameras and the mount for a short while (about a 6 month period) and then I started getting camera disconnects, not always but sufficiently often to spoil the few times when conditions were good. Easy solution was to separate the guide camera on to its own cable and run the mount and imaging camera from the hub.



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My rig has been somewhat temperamental. USB 2.0 hub and active usb 2.0 cable. Everything, except my laptop, lives outside. and I've found it's important to keep the usb connections clean and lubricated with contact cleaner. I've had situations where it seemed like adding one more usb device made PHD2 and it's camera malfunction, but have not been able to trouble shoot it down to a specific problem.


I have replaced the hub (twice now) this last time with an all metal one with it's own 12v (vs. 5v) power supply. I ended up selling my temprhum and my SSAG pro mono, as those seemed to be the most problematic and I was not happy that the 12bit mode on the SSAG Pro didn't seem to work properly and Orion couldn't do anything about it, plus the fact that there are no video drivers.... My focuser has a temp. monitor so I don't really need the temprhum.


Anyway, another issue seems to be the long cable (without strain relief) tends to break the USB ports on my Dell ultrabook. Perhaps a little solder would fix the problem but I had the entire motherboard replaced under warrentee and may do the same again.


I bought a universal 90 degree cable that I was going to leave plugged in and strain relief, but it didn't work properly in the 90 degree direction I needed it to go, and have not tried another cable (yet).


So yeah, problematic, When working I can do live view from two canon cameras and PHD2 all at the same time so bandwidth doesn't seem to be an issue. More like just insuring good electrical and mechanical connection to the laptop.


Oh, as part of trouble shooting I also bought an inline USB voltage and current meter. The description didn't explicitly say that would pass data. It does, but doesn't seem to be USB 2.0 compliment, at least my rig won't work with the meter in line, although the devices are seen and recognized.  Still, I can use it to make sure everything is getting its full 5 volts (testing one device at a time) and that nothing is drawing stupid amounts of current.


I've wondered if the "nuc" or other dedicated PC at the mount and VNC or similar thin client might be a better approach. But a friend that has that has USB issues as well so...

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