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 Post subject: External Control Hub (the ultimate in silent computing)
PostPosted: Sat Mar 16, 2013 12:53 pm 
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Joined: Wed Nov 14, 2012 1:46 am
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external control hub_MatthewPerks.jpg


Hi everyone, I've finally finished the build log of my 'external control hub', which works in tandem with my silent wooden PC.

The unit provides remote access to all the ports and devices that would otherwise be on the PC itself, meaning that the PC can be elsewhere (where you can't hear it!). As far as I know, it is unique.

I've compiled everything into a video, which explains things very clearly if you wish to undertake such a project yourself.

Comments appreciated! :D

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PpXOvjavjWc


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 Post subject: Re: External Control Hub (the ultimate in silent computing)
PostPosted: Mon Mar 18, 2013 4:26 pm 
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Location: Glasgow, UK
Very nice :) thanks for the interesting build vid.

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 Post subject: Re: External Control Hub (the ultimate in silent computing)
PostPosted: Sun Mar 24, 2013 7:56 am 
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Joined: Fri Jul 20, 2007 7:22 pm
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Location: Sunny Florida, where dead people vote 3 times in a county they never even lived in!
Great idea, and a great video about how you did it.

Have you ever tried to use USB 3.0 extension cables?

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 Post subject: Re: External Control Hub (the ultimate in silent computing)
PostPosted: Sun Mar 24, 2013 11:02 am 
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Thanks :)

Not sure what you mean about the USB 3.0 cables. Tried using them for what?


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 Post subject: Re: External Control Hub (the ultimate in silent computing)
PostPosted: Sun Mar 24, 2013 11:33 am 
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Joined: Fri Jul 20, 2007 7:22 pm
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Location: Sunny Florida, where dead people vote 3 times in a county they never even lived in!
MattP wrote:
Thanks :)

Not sure what you mean about the USB 3.0 cables. Tried using them for what?


Sorry, I mean using a USB 3 cable for the USB link between the ECH and the computer. I tried it with an active USB 3 cable and it wouldn't work with my DVD drive, or a 3.5" hard drive. It seemed to be unable to find anything at the other end of the cable. It did work with a thumb drive, an Adaptec EIDE to USB adapter, etc., but only at USB 2.0 speeds. Perhaps the SATA to USB 3 adapter that I have did not supply/supply enough 12V power for the bigger, hungrier drives. Maybe an active USB 3 extension cable would work with a laptop DVD drive, like yours. My plan is to use a desktop (5.25") sized DVD drive.

Edit: Plugging the DVD drive or the 3.5" hard drive, with the SATA to USB 3 adapter directly in to one of the computer's USB 3 ports did work at USB 3 speed. Funny it wouldn't work with the extension cable. Maybe too much voltage drop due the small conductors in the cable?

Am now using a plain, non-active USB 2.0 extension cable and all is working well. It even works well when writing a DVD at elevated speed.

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 Post subject: Re: External Control Hub (the ultimate in silent computing)
PostPosted: Mon Mar 25, 2013 2:19 am 
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Ahh, I see now. All of the devices I used were USB 2.0 devices, so using a USB 3.0 cable for its higher speed wouldn't have been necessary for my particular unit.

I see no reason why it wouldn't work though. How long is your USB 3.0 cable? It's worth noting that a USB 3.0 cable has a max 'recommended' length of 3m, but I'm not sure that's absolute as it's only 'recommended'.

It sounds to me like it could be a power issue. You report that the USB drive worked, and an EIDE to USB adapter. The USB drive doesn't use much power, but what about the EIDE to USB adapter? I assume that the device had external power, which could explain why it was detected if this is the problem.

This SATA to USB adapter you have... being 12v means it needs external power, right? Hmm, puzzling. If you give me some more insight onto how it's all connected up and what devices you're using, I'd be able to make some more suggestions.


Could it be that you've got a faulty USB 3.0 extension cable? Or a cheap Chinese knock-off that's really just USB 2.0?


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 Post subject: Re: External Control Hub (the ultimate in silent computing)
PostPosted: Mon Mar 25, 2013 6:57 am 
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personally ive had problems using long usb extensions, some devices work fine, others are slow, and some just dont show up at all. cable quality really does count here, but even the best cable is no guarantee.

if it were my build, id run a separate power feed to the ECH.

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 Post subject: Re: External Control Hub (the ultimate in silent computing)
PostPosted: Mon Mar 25, 2013 11:08 am 
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Joined: Wed Nov 14, 2012 1:46 am
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It's not so much the cable quality than the cable length. You ought to use an active USB cable with a length no longer than 3m. Solves any problems that might occur with cable length, and results in very solid reliability.

Power wise, I wanted it to turn on and off with the PC, so a separate power supply was out of the question. ;) Less cables without it too.


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