50-Foot Connections

Technical Discussions on any InterfaceKits
Snakesitter

50-Foot Connections

Postby Snakesitter » Tue May 12, 2009 9:52 pm

Hi--

I need to set up my Phidgets InterfaceKIt (#1018) across the room, using extender cables -- a distance of approximately 36 feet (41.5 feet if I trace the way a cable would have to be laid). Has anyone tested/accomplished this?

Just tonight, I purchased and tried a "USB Extension Over CAT 5e" solution made by Cables Unlimited, which the company said does provide power for those USB devices requiring it. (See here http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/searchtools/item-Details.asp?EdpNo=2893288&sku=C250-3868&srkey=C250-3868). However, the Interface board does not seem to register.

What about USB cables with active signal repeaters? (For example, see here http://shop1.frys.com/product/5497059?site=sr:SEARCH:MAIN_RSLT_PG.)

Is there a way to power the Interface with an adapter? (If Phidgets makes one, I would love to add it to the order I just placed today.)

Any suggestions hugely appreciated, as this is rather urgent.

Thank you,
Last edited by Snakesitter on Wed May 13, 2009 10:43 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Patrick
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Re: Remote Connections

Postby Patrick » Wed May 13, 2009 10:03 am

Something you can try is putting a powered USB hub on the other end of the extender and plugging the ifkit into that. Does the extender work fine with other USB devices, such as a mouse? There is a reason for USBs 5m limitation, and these extenders will not always work, but we have seen them work fine in many cases.

-Patrick

Snakesitter

Re: 50-Foot Connections

Postby Snakesitter » Wed May 13, 2009 10:43 am

Thank you for the quick reply, Patrick.

I am aware of the 5M USB limitation, as I did some research before buying this extender, but went with the company's word that it did transmit power.

While the InterfaceKit is having problems, the extender works fine with several other devices. A mouse I tried worked fine. A powered device I tried registered as attached, but would not work due to the lower speed standard (the cable is USB 1.1, it needs USB 2.0 -- but the fact I got a spoken error message tells me the computer picked it up fine). So the extender seems to be working.

What types of extender have you seen work fine "in many cases" before? I would appreciate any tips, as I need to make this arrangement work by this weekend. In the meantime I can certainly try your suggestion of a powered USB hub (I'll need a short male-male USB cable too, I guess, as the extender has a female end).

As a backup plan, is there any other way to attach power (adapter, etc.) to a #1018? Is a #1019 completely self-powered by its adapter, and thus better in these situations?

Many thanks,

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Re: 50-Foot Connections

Postby fitchett » Wed May 13, 2009 12:09 pm

Likely there is too much voltage drop. We have an extender here that shows a similar behaviour. It would be interesting to use a multimeter to measure the voltage at the 1018 - on a digital output, or even the power/ground on an analog input.

Chester

Snakesitter

Re: 50-Foot Connections

Postby Snakesitter » Wed May 13, 2009 12:25 pm

What type of extender, and how did you work around it, Chester? The extra powered hub? What power adapter would be sufficient for the hub -- regular 5V (which most powered hubs seem to include)?

No multimeter, or I would offer. :-(

Thank you again,

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Re: 50-Foot Connections

Postby Patrick » Wed May 13, 2009 12:44 pm

Why would you need a male-male adapter? This type of cable is non-standard and makes no sense at all, there would be no reason to connect two host ports together.

-Patrick

Snakesitter

Re: 50-Foot Connections

Postby Snakesitter » Wed May 13, 2009 1:30 pm

Sorry, my bad. :oops: I meant double A-type. This is why: http://www.cablesunlimited.com/products/Newgallery.aspx?GroupCode=I3601. I'm connecting to the plug on the far left, which is meant to receive a standard USB plug from a device -- just as the USB Hub is. Is that clearer?

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Patrick
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Re: 50-Foot Connections

Postby Patrick » Wed May 13, 2009 1:48 pm

The hub is a device, you plug it into the extender using a standard A-B cable, and then plug the Phidget into the hub using it's A-B cable.

-Patrick

Snakesitter

Re: 50-Foot Connections

Postby Snakesitter » Wed May 13, 2009 2:13 pm

Doh!, for some reason I never think of hubs as devices themselves. (I was picturing both connectors going into the hub itself. Shows what three nights with four hours' sleep will do to your basic logic.)

OK, so that gaffe settled, how much power do I need for the hub: will the standard 5V adapter be enough (I've been both 1A and 2A versions with different hubs). Looking at the 1018's tech specs, it lists a maximum current specification of 500mA.

I'd still be curious, if you have the time, to hear which other extenders you've seen successfully used before.

Thank you,

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Re: 50-Foot Connections

Postby Patrick » Wed May 13, 2009 4:25 pm

The extenders are tricky because the voltage drop will depend both on the voltage that your computer is providing, and the length of your ethernet cable, more so then the extender itself. If it works with a mouse, then it may work with a hub, it's just hard to say. Since the hub is self powered, if it works, then anything plugged into it should work as well.

-Patrick


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