Computer USB ports are a mess

I am using 2 or 3 arduino at a time to test with and actually would like to use more. I thought buying a usb hub would solve issues, since it has switches to turn devices on and off, I wouldn't need to physically unplug the arduino anymore to reset serial port debugging issues. That's just not working, and I am just having trouble using arduino through the usb hub.

Now I got a desk full of cables flip-flopping all over and I hear that USB-DISCONNECT sound (from windows) randomly when I am not disconnecting things. I assume there is a lame cable somewhere in the mess that probably has 2 or 3 tiny strands of copper (since I never really know how these cables are made until I take them apart).

I was wondering if anyone can tell me how their setup is, if they use multiple arduino boards, and / or swap them out alot. Should I consider installing an aftermarket usb pci card, so I can dismiss any issues with my onboard usb ports, and protect the computer better against an accidental mistake? Ideally I would just like a usb panel on my desk, with the cables routed to the computer itself, this way I could have a nice reliable patch-panel.

Powered hub?

Sounds like you have some bad cables - buy some new ones - they're cheap.

As for mutiple outputs , either a hub or PCI card would acheive that..

regards

Allan

I'll buy new cables. Ok.

Yes, I have a powered hub. I thought it was bad, so I bought another. Is 4 ports with switches, I used to run without external power connector. I started using external power connector, and still have issues. I read somewhere in forums, others were having trouble with arduino and using a hub.

In order for me to reset the board (sometimes - when I'm doing something tricky with serial ports), I have to unplug the usb cable, board go dark, and plug back in - hopefully not forget to close serial monitor. I thought powered hub with switches would just allow me to hit a switch, but that actually does not work. Aparently, the data cables are somehow still attached and whatever goes on with serial port into pc doesn't actually reset with just the power switch.

It's so annoying now, I feel I have to make my own toggle/push-button switched hub panel. I was posting to see if anyone knew of anything like that, before I spend my time making one - then find them already made somewhere for less then what it cost me for parts. Stupid plastic enclosures sometimes actually end up costing more then all the parts inside it.

DocStein99:
I'll buy new cables. Ok.

Yes, I have a powered hub. I thought it was bad, so I bought another. Is 4 ports with switches, I used to run without external power connector. I started using external power connector, and still have issues. I read somewhere in forums, others were having trouble with arduino and using a hub.

I had similar problems and gave up in the end.
One suggestion was that it had something to do with how the PC/IDE handles COM ports.

Sometimes Spurious com ports appeared in the device manager and sometimes plugging in another arduino was not recognised.

DocStein99:
I'll buy new cables. Ok.

It's so annoying now, I feel I have to make my own toggle/push-button switched hub panel. I was posting to see if anyone knew of anything like that, before I spend my time making one - then find them already made somewhere for

I built had one of those for selecting memory sticks using a usb hub chip.
Still had the same problems with arduino.

Ok, well I guess re-designing a usb-bus to complicate things more is probably out of the question… I think I might explore pci card idea, and just extend the wires to a patch panel. This way if possibly I mess something up, I can replace a card, instead of troubleshooting usb ports on the motherboard of main workstation.

The USB on these little development boards are generally not designed very well for hot plugging. They have a large electrolytic capacitor that connects to the USB supply. Without a soft start circuit (e.g. a PMOS that slowly turns on ) a nasty dose of current flows when the development board is plugged in, and that pulls down the USB power enough to brownout other devices on the bus.

One of my boards has an example of a soft start:

I don’t hotplug USB devices unless I see a soft start circuit, also I am using Linux machines (e.g. Raspberry Pi) as terminal servers, they don’t power the device but can be connected and disconnected all day.

I have numerous USB devices, some are quite power hungry, some draw little current to operate. None of my devices are USB 3.0, but I bought the UH7000C USB 3.0 7-port hub c/w 4 amp charger.

My thinking was to get something of higher quality, higher speed capability and higher current capacity per port so that I could hot swap devices or run multiple USB without issue on my laptop with Windows 10. So far, absolutely no issues and everything works great! Other older USB 2.0 hubs didn't work for me.

dlloyd:
! Other older USB 2.0 hubs didn't work for me.

I think i will give that a try. I am running windows 7 though.

Have you ruled out an issue with the OS?

No.

I recon it's worth trying dlloyds idea though as there is little i can do about the OS.

yes, that makes sense . USB3 provides up to 900mA while USB2 provides only up to 500mA -
if one or several devices you’re using need more than 500mA, a powered USB3 hub will do the job where a powered USB2 hub fails
I recently connected an external HD drive (USB2) to my tower computer (only USB2 ports), and I had to use an “Y usb cable” to make it work . The same drive worked on the USB3 port of my laptop with a normal USB cable.

The Kensington usb 3.0 usb hub looks nice. However, does not solve my issue with reset testing / power-off & complete disconnect on my Arduino boards.

It could take me weeks on months to gather the parts and make the soft-start circuit board, explained on "ron_sutherland" example, that's really too much of a distraction to my projects.

I prefer uploading via Bluetooth and not using USB at all.

DocStein99:
The Kensington usb 3.0 usb hub looks nice. However, does not solve my issue with reset testing / power-off & complete disconnect on my Arduino boards.

It could take me weeks on months to gather the parts and make the soft-start circuit board, explained on "ron_sutherland" example, that's really too much of a distraction to my projects.

I still have some unppulated pcb boards from my my memory stick project you could have , drop me a pm if interested. No soft start but maybe using smaller caps may help.

DocStein99:
That's just not working, and I am just having trouble using arduino through the usb hub.

Which OS are you using ?

Windows 8.1

DocStein99:
I was wondering if anyone can tell me how their setup is, if they use multiple arduino boards, and / or swap them out alot.

Yes. With this hub...
http://www.usbgear.com/USBG-7U2ML.html

The first one failed (without damaging anything else) after years of abuse including a few short-circuits. I happily purchased a replacement.

DocStein99:
I thought powered hub with switches would just allow me to hit a switch, but that actually does not work. Aparently, the data cables are somehow still attached and whatever goes on with serial port into pc doesn't actually reset with just the power switch.

I took an old one apart.

The switches appear to only switch the power to the ports.

What they should do is send a signal to the hub to shut the port down properly. Not all chips support this.
My homemade one did but is suspect other power issues now.

That's plain nasty.
The USB outer pins are longer than the data for a reason.
It is to ensure the power is connected before the data.

This may suit your switching requirement.

I built my hub because i could not find a 'proper' one.