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USB over Cat-5 or Cat-6 cable

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#1 Sammy_S

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Posted 15 November 2019 - 05:21 PM

Has anyone had any luck running USB from their imaging setup over Cat-5 or Cat-6 cables? Right now I use 2 active USB cables and a powered USB hub. I would like to get rid of the 2 USB cables and run over one cable as well as have plans to make a permanent setup. I have 3 things running on the cable, mount, camera and auto guider. 

 

Is there any other or better way then the Cat-5/6 method?

 

Thanks,

Sam



#2 drmark67

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Posted 15 November 2019 - 05:28 PM

Yes, I use the Aten extender which is good for 100m; although I only use it for distances of 20+m



#3 Bloated Star

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Posted 15 November 2019 - 05:51 PM

I use the Icron Ranger 2304. It does exactly what you need.

#4 Jim Davis

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Posted 15 November 2019 - 06:35 PM

We use the Icron Ranger. Works great. The USB 3 version is a bit pricey right now.



#5 bigjy989

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Posted 15 November 2019 - 08:08 PM

I use the icron as well but usb speed in the camera needs to be set to a medium-low level to work dependably over several nights.

#6 Sammy_S

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Posted 16 November 2019 - 05:49 AM

Great, thank you for the info!



#7 bignerdguy

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Posted 16 November 2019 - 11:06 AM

I tried a USB to ethernet extender but as it was only a 100MBps device it didn't really work well.  The transfer rate was too slow and equipment kept disconnecting.  I suggest you use a USB to Ethernet device that is at least gigabit or better (if such exists) for proper transfer speeds, depending on how many devices you connect.  FOr my self, i was connecting two camera (main and guider) and the telescope to the hub and this proved too much for a mere 100 MBps transfer.  



#8 kisstek

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Posted 16 November 2019 - 11:44 AM

For less than the price of the Icron Ranger, you could put a nice little mount computer at your scope and use the Ethernet as Ethernet to remote access it. That keeps the synchronous USB traffic local to the mount so you won't have the communication drop outs that some people have with USB extenders.

 

The mount computer also can have the advantage in power usage. It can be busy doing the imaging for me while my laptop is in power saving mode, preserving its battery. This is really important to me when I'm out in the field, away from mains power. (My laptop is a "workstation" model so it's battery last about an hour and a half, not nearly long enough for an imaging session.)

 

But with CAT-5 to your scope, there are lots of ways to get the data from the scope.


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#9 MikeBY

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Posted 16 November 2019 - 12:35 PM

USB 2.0 is 480Mbs and USB 3.0 superspeed is 5Gbs. CAT5 isn't nearly fast enough to avoid being a bottleneck. You need to be running CAT6a and 10Gb Ethernet links if you want to run imager and guider cameras and scope control without any contention in the network. Even with USB 2.0 devices, you need to be using 1Gb Ethernet devices. That said, the case is strong for a local telescope computer(s) to run your capture, guiding and scope control and remote access via the Ethernet link or maybe wireless if distance and signal strength allow rather than a CAT5 100Mbs link.
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#10 Jim Davis

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Posted 16 November 2019 - 12:59 PM

USB 2.0 is 480Mbs and USB 3.0 superspeed is 5Gbs. CAT5 isn't nearly fast enough to avoid being a bottleneck. You need to be running CAT6a and 10Gb Ethernet links if you want to run imager and guider cameras and scope control without any contention in the network. Even with USB 2.0 devices, you need to be using 1Gb Ethernet devices. That said, the case is strong for a local telescope computer(s) to run your capture, guiding and scope control and remote access via the Ethernet link or maybe wireless if distance and signal strength allow rather than a CAT5 100Mbs link.

We use CAT 5 with USB 2.0 devices and it works just fine. Even run USB 3 devices just fine, even though they, of course, run at 2.0 speed. Camera, autoguider, mount control, focuser all together.


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#11 MikeBY

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Posted 17 November 2019 - 06:52 AM

We use CAT 5 with USB 2.0 devices and it works just fine. Even run USB 3 devices just fine, even though they, of course, run at 2.0 speed. Camera, autoguider, mount control, focuser all together.

CAT5 at 100Mbs might work fine for you. Others will have problems. It depends in part on what exactly you are doing and the type of devices. If you are doing long duration exposures of deep sky objects data transfer is bursty with a lot of idle time. If you are capturing raw video frames of brighter low contrast objects you may have high sustained data rates more susceptible to contention. As you mentioned, a USB 3.0 device will run turned down to 2.0 rates, but you are no longer taking advantage of the devices full capability.  My point is, from the perspective of planning a new or upgraded installation, and particularly for a new permanent installation, it is important to avoid potential bottlenecks and where you can with reasonable concern for budgets look at solutions with an eye towards best technical and robust solutions that can support upcoming technologies or are easier or less expensive to upgrade.  The difference in cost to run CAT6a cable rather than CAT5 or 5e is minimal. Many USB over Ethernet adapters are not able to run over a switched network, so require individual runs which the OP is trying to eliminate. 100Mbs extenders are not a good match for USB 2.0 data rates. 2.0 devices will downgrade to 1.1 speeds.  As Kisstek mentioned, a mount computer that can keep high speed USB connections short and also offload some processing tasks may be a cost effective solution with technical advantages. It will be up to the OP and other readers to decide what will suit their needs best.  


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#12 gunny01

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Posted 17 November 2019 - 09:49 AM

  I had a lot of problems with cat 5 and the icron ranger, but only with maxim.  I up graded to cat 6, and still had the problems with maxim. Doug George blamed the hub for all of the problems.  Since I operated remote from 150ft away, I wasn't going to get rid of the hub.  Instead, I got rid of maxim and went with SGP.  There have been no problems once I got rid of maxim ver. 666.

 

  Since then, I use the cat 5 exclusively for the 10u mount.  Both cables go to the router inside the house.  Icron ranger has worked flawlessly for 5 years now. 

 

  I bring up the maxim issue, as hubs get a lot of blame for problems.  I've found that imaging software/ usb cables are the more likely source of problems. 


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#13 bignerdguy

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Posted 19 November 2019 - 11:19 AM

Because of the issues I had and because I don't have too far to run cables I went out and bought a 50' USB 2.0 extended cable and attached that to a USB 3.0 hub.  As long as the total length doesn't exceed the 50' from the PC to the Hub it works fine.  I had to shorten it a bit since I was plugging it into a wall port in my house I put in for just this reason.  If your run is less than 50' you might consider the same thing.  just be sure you have one with good shielding or it may suffer the same noise issues.  also you would need a USB hub (powered) at the end as the cable is too long to power most devices from the PC directly. 

 

Normally 25' is the max length for the USB standard but they have cables out that are 50' with a single repeater at the 25' point.  So it really is like 2x 25' with a repeater device in the center.  It does work though.



#14 Raginar

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Posted 21 November 2019 - 07:21 PM

Tried it all. Just get an industrial computer at the mount and remote into it.
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#15 Astrola72

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Posted 21 November 2019 - 07:42 PM

We use CAT 5 with USB 2.0 devices and it works just fine. Even run USB 3 devices just fine, even though they, of course, run at 2.0 speed. Camera, autoguider, mount control, focuser all together.

+1

 

Joe




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