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Notes on USB

Posted: Mon Jan 04, 2010 5:45 pm
by JohnGrimshaw
Thought I might post this on the back of a question in the "Beta Bugs" area.

This is what I tell my clients about USB:
1) any "non-standard" item plugged into USB should be considered a likely cause for problems. This does not mean that every item will cause faults, just that if you intend to use odd things be aware of the potential consequences.
2) If a new device calls for a driver to be installed, you should assume it cannot be used. While it might be possible to "hack" a driver solution, there are implications for the general operation of the console.
3) If you are simply using the USB as a power source (to charge a phone or something), then maybe you should not be using the console for this purpose.
4) any Windows XP machine (including the Palette) does not cope well with a "low voltage" incident on the USB bus, and is often a cause for BSOD. Thus, it is a good idea to use a powered USB hub to take the load off the computer PSU - but then this item needs to be considered in the light of point (1). Also, it is not worth the drama to buy a cheap hub. Pay an extra $10 and get a "name" brand.
5) if you are using the internal USB outlets to power external devices, be very careful that the cables are not "pinched" at the exit by the moving bits of metal, because a damaged cable can turn into short on the USB bus mid-show, and that is a "less then desireable" outcome. You can buy/fit something like this Neutrik panel mount USB connector to safely get a USB signal outside the console:
http://www.neutrik.com/fl/en/dataconnec ... etail.aspx
I have used this on Palette consoles to allow the use of USB lights (via a powered USB hub) on the console without damaging the USB outlets directly available on the back. As THOSE standard outlets are mounted directly on the motherboard, it is NOT a good idea to use those outlets for that purpose.
6) the USB-VGA adaptor really should have a powered USB hub - even if simply to remover power load from the computer PSU. I find the smartest thing to do with these is to internally place the USB hub AND USB-VGA adaptor, and install a new VGA plug on the back of the console. That way, the connections are not "stressed" if you move the console around your venue. There is not a great deal of unused room to play with in the smaller consoles, so this can take a little planning to execute.

Re: Notes on USB

Posted: Mon Feb 01, 2010 3:39 pm
by Aacosta
I have used this on Palette consoles to allow the use of USB lights (via a powered USB hub) on the console without damaging the USB outlets directly available on the back. As THOSE standard outlets are mounted directly on the motherboard, it is NOT a good idea to use those outlets for that purpose.
Just checking, are you saying those outlets are ok for mouse and keyboard, but not for a USB powered lite?

Re: Notes on USB

Posted: Mon Feb 01, 2010 4:10 pm
by JohnGrimshaw
Well, you can use any of those outlets for any "USB Compliant" device that does not require a driver installation. All I am saying is that, if some operator drops something heavy behind the desk, and it lands on those plugs, the shock is transferred directly to the motherboard. Computers are like cats - fine when they are doing what they are supposed to, but you just know they will muck up if given the opportunity.

(No, I have not had a lighting console drag a dead bird into the house, so the metaphor is not perfect, but I think you get my meaning.)

I have already seen at least one usb socket that has been broken through mis-adventure. Depending on the way you use the console, you just might like to think about taking care with the back sockets. A USB light puts a huge amount of tortional stress on that socket - not a good idea.

Re: Notes on USB

Posted: Mon Feb 01, 2010 4:20 pm
by Aacosta
All I am saying is that, if some operator drops something heavy behind the desk, and it lands on those plugs,
of course, all of my operators are as graceful as the dancers they light, so there is no need for me to worry. :lol:
Understood, thank you.

Re: Notes on USB

Posted: Tue Feb 02, 2010 3:19 pm
by Kuni
@Aacosta
If you use a USB Light directly to the console (without a external powered UBS-HUB) than it can be happen that you will have problems with the update of the soft and receive the error message that you post in the other parts of the forum.