Use Plugable USB 2.0 10 Port Hub as charger


#1

I have a Plugable USB 2.0 10 Port Hub (with Power Adapter) that I intended to use as a power charger for my USB charged devices such as BlackBerrys and iPods. I bought this hub because on Amazon it says it is 2.5 A and supports self-powered (with power adapter attached)". I wanted to use this device without having to plug it into a computer. I tried plugging my BlackBerry into it but it would not charge so I tried a number of other devices. None of them would work! Is there a way I could get this to work? Please Help!!!


#2

Hi Benjamin,

Thanks for posting! Unfortunately, the behavior you’re looking for isn’t possible with standard USB 2.0 hubs and devices without special support (as nice as it would be!).

With standard USB 2.0, devices are only allowed to draw up to 100mA until they negotiate with the attached computer - then they can draw up to 500mA. So to get to that 500mA rate, a computer has to be attached and on for that negotiation to happen.

The devices you’re asking about are higher power and need more than 100mA to charge at all. So they need to the computer on for negotiation.

Even then, at 500mA (USB 2.0’s max), that’s not fastest charge rate for the iPod, and not enough for the iPad to charge at all, if the iPad screen is on. So Apple (and others) have implemented proprietary extensions to USB to signal their devices when they’re allowed to pull more than 500mA (See here for interesting details: http://www.ladyada.net/make/mintyboos…)

Those proprietary mechanisms can’t be supported by standard USB 2.0 hubs.

Unless they say something explicitly otherwise, this will be true for all the USB 2.0 hubs you find out there, and it’s true for the Plugable 10 port hub too.

So unfortunately, you’ll have to connect the hub to a computer that’s on, to charge those devices. I’m sorry.

That said, what you’re trying to do makes total sense – it would be wonderful to use USB as a power source, regardless of whether a computer is involved. So there are efforts to get there. Here are three things to look for:

  1. Apple has their own pseudo-extensions to charge their devices like the iPad at higher amperage (2.1A). Apple appears to be not certifying anyone other than their own chargers to support these extensions, but you may see non-certified 3rd party products.

  2. In the long term there is a real solution under development. The USB-IF (USB’s standards body) Battery Charging Specification. This provides a standard way to do exactly what you’re wanting, including charging without a computer. It requires that both the hub and the device support the specification.

But it will take time for the devices to also be updated to support this new standard, so you have to be careful about which devices support it and not for a while. (For example, as of 2011 Apple devices don’t; but Amazon Kindle Fire and Touch do).

[Update 11/2011: we’ve now launched our first hub compliant with Battery Charging
support. So for those with BC 1.1 compatible devices like the Kindle, there is a standard solution for doing what the customer originally asked about. See http://plugable.com/products/usb2-hub… for details)

Best wishes,
Bernie


#3

Bernie,
I am trying to do the same thing but with Flip Video Cameras. I have multiple that I use in my job, but it takes way too long to charge each one on the computer to use for an event. I am looking for a way to plug multiple cameras in (using the computer) and get them charged. So, I don’t care if I have to use the computer, just need to know how many I could charge at once with a device like this. Also, if you have any recommendations, I need something that is designed to handle the size of the camera. Many, like the one I saw on the Plugable website, have ports side by side, not allowing for the size of the Flip Video.
Any help would be appreciated!! Thanks!


#4

Since I just purchased (from Amazon) and installed today a USB 2.0 10 Port Hub on my iMac, I’m hoping I didn’t make a mistake. There are two Maxtor external drives, two big Epson printers, and an Epson scanner plugged in to the hub (with the power adapter plugged in). Are there too many devices on this hub now? Is the hub able to provide equal and consistent power to all of the ports? Some reassurance that I made the right purchase would be wonderful! Otherwise, please give me some advice as to which hub would be the correct one to buy and install. Thanks for your great customer service (according to this website).


#5

I missed your reply here on this older topic, sorry Tracy! The Flip is awkward in that it can block ports. Perhaps a good way of working around that problem is to buy short USB extension cables to get those Flip devices away from the computer/hub to give them room. Amazon’s is $5 per cable: http://www.amazon.com/AmazonBasics–M…

In terms of our hubs, I’d recommend http://plugable.com/products/usb2-hub4bc because it has plenty of power per port. However - it’s up to the device to decide how much to pull. If you let us know the particular model(s) of Flips in use, we’ll try to research their charging behavior. But if the hub is connected to a PC, it will be the same as if you were directly charging the Flip on the PC - should work fine. Thanks!


#6

Hi Cyndy - Thanks for posting! We’ll be able to help.

The 10 port hub comes with a 2.5A adapter - so it assumes a mix of high and lower power devices, if you’re using all 10 ports.

In your case, the printers probably have their own power adapters, so should be fine. And the two external drives should be no problem. If the scanner is able to be powered by a single USB cable, that should be fine too (I ask, because some USB bus powered scanners come with a 2-headed cable to draw extra power from 2 ports).

We would also check to make sure that the hub is getting its own AC power - a good way to check that quickly is to disconnect everything, then only plug in AC power. If the Blue LED on the hub lights up, you’re good. Then plug everything back in (note there’s a slight benefit to keeping power-hungry devices on the side of the hub closest to where the hub’s power comes in).

If you find any trouble at all, just email support@plugable.com, and we’ll be able to help right away.

Thanks again for asking!
Bernie


#7

I just received this product and haven’t opened, because I am also afraid that I got the wrong thing. I have a bunch of ipod shuffles that I want to be able to push stuff onto from my computer and charge all at once. Is this the right device to do this? I have an Apple MacBook Pro, 2010 vintage.


#8

Hi Bamon,

Thanks for asking before opening! Because many of Apple’s devices use non-standard charging extensions to the USB 2.0 standard, we don’t recommend any standard USB 2.0 hub like ours for this use.

Here is some more detail if you’re interested:
http://plugable.com/2012/03/13/chargi…

In particular, charging and syncing at the same time is something few devices are capable of (again, on a standard port).

Also, our 10 port hub has a 2.5 A power supply. So at most 5 devices can pull USB 2.0 max power of 500 mA (the hub assumes a mix of high and low power devices).

We make returns easy through Amazon (for any reason within 30 days). Just visit http://www.amazon.com/gp/css/returns/…

Sorry for the bad news, but hope that helps save some trouble!
Bernie


#9