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Thinking about ditching my USB hub and just using mini-PC's USB ports

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#1 dan_hm

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Posted 25 October 2020 - 02:35 PM

I've had success using a Beelink mini PC for the last few months, but I've never made much use of the onboard USB ports. I just run a cable to my USB hub and have my camera, mount, and focuser plugged into that. Now, I'd really like to just get rid of the USB hub, but I've read that the USB ports in the mini PC might not be reliable. Anyone have any experience with this? The idea of ditching the hub is attractive because it'd be one less thing to power and one less thing to put on my OTA. If you have enough ports on your mini PC, is there any need for a separate powered hub?



#2 lonn

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Posted 25 October 2020 - 02:46 PM

The usb ports on a PC might not supply enough current or amps to power your equipment .


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#3 imtl

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Posted 25 October 2020 - 03:04 PM

I have a Beelink mini pc and I think its a great little computer, especially for the price. A few comments however:

 

1. I use all 4 usb ports on it. They work just fine. 

 

2. The wifi adapter kept giving me trouble in the last few months. It use to just drop power all of a sudden. At least that's what I thought.

Then I took the rig into the house and started investigating. I found out that it was the USB3 cables interfering with the wifi antenna. Which is of course a known problem, that I'm not going to discuss here. So, every time I had a USB3 cable touching the enclosure of the mini pc, especially if its near the antenna location I would just lose wifi reception power. I tested it literally by moving the usb cable all around and found the "hot spots". I have since tidied up my cables and it works just fine.

 

3. Use as short usb3 cables as possible. I have 4 devices connected to mine. the camera, focuser, mount and guide camera/flat panel/powerbox (I keep changing the last one while experimenting).



#4 dan_hm

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Posted 25 October 2020 - 03:54 PM


 

2. The wifi adapter kept giving me trouble in the last few months. It use to just drop power all of a sudden. At least that's what I thought.

Then I took the rig into the house and started investigating. I found out that it was the USB3 cables interfering with the wifi antenna. Which is of course a known problem, that I'm not going to discuss here. So, every time I had a USB3 cable touching the enclosure of the mini pc, especially if its near the antenna location I would just lose wifi reception power. I tested it literally by moving the usb cable all around and found the "hot spots". I have since tidied up my cables and it works just fine.

 

 

I actually didn't know about this issue. Interesting.



#5 SonnyE

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Posted 25 October 2020 - 04:58 PM

I've been using a StarTech 7 port powered USB hub for a number of years now. (Since June 2016)

Very recently I changed my USB2 cable, to a USB3 cable from this telescope mounted hub to my mount side computer.

I noticed a jump in performance, despite my cameras and focuser being USB2. My USB2 cable was a bottleneck.

 

But I went through 2 non-powered hubs in the beginning until a friend recommended a powered USB hub.

My biggest advantage is a single USB cable to route from the mount for everything, including the mount.

 

My Baby Dell 2 in one WiFi's to my router, which gives me inside control and operation of my equipment from my Man Cave during colder weather. wink.gif



#6 galacticinsomnia

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Posted 26 October 2020 - 06:34 AM

I use a mini-pc exclusively and love it.  I use all the ports, have no issues.  Though from a cable management standpoint, its better to worry about one cable slewing and moving than a bunch of them.

Good luck.



#7 dan_hm

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Posted 30 October 2020 - 11:00 PM

Well, using the Beelink's USB ports turned out to be a disaster, at least for my ZWO cameras. The filter wheel and guide camera would fail no matter which USB port I plugged the main camera into. I made sure to turn off the power saving options for each port in device manager. So it looks like I won't have quite as good cable management as I wanted.


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