I needed to connect 3 printers to a computer that was about 20-25 feet away (depending on which printer you looked at). Unfortunately, I didn’t have enough USB extension cables, and since the maximum cable length is around 5 meters (or about 16.4 feet) anyway, I decided to look for a cheap powered USB hub.
I headed to a Computer Boulevarde store and picked up an i-rocks IR-4300 for about $20 CDN. In the don’t-slice-your-hand-while-cutting-it-open package was:
- USB hub
- USB cable (approximately 4.5-5 feet)
- Power cable (approximately 5.5-6 feet)
- “User’s Manual”
Installation was easy. I had an extension which I combined with the included USB cable for a total length of about 18 feet between the hub and the computer. I plugged it in, plugged in the power, plugged the 3 printers into the hub, Windows XP popped up a “found new hardware” message and installed the drivers automatically, and everything was done (the beauty of USB of course is the true Plug n Play).
Click either of the above thumbnails for a full-size close-up.
Since the user’s manual is a little slip of paper (which you’ll undoubtedly throw out), I’ll paste the contents here:
Thanks for purchasing USB2.0 4 Port Hub. This is a hi-speed USB2.0 hub with fully backward compatibility to all your existing USB products and allows connection of up to four USB peripherals or devices to your computer. USB2.0 4 Port Hub allows users to add multiple higher performance peripherals, such as high-resolution video conferencing cameras, USB 2.0 scanners, printers, and fast storage devices.
- USB 2.0 4 Port HUB
- User’s Manual
- USB 2.0 Cable
- Installation Driver
- Hi-speed Universal Serial Bus (USB) Specifications V 2.0
- Backward compatible to USB 1.1
- Plug & Play – automatic detection and installation of peripherals (Windows 98/SE driver installation is needed)
- Hot swappable
- Connects up to 127 devices with additional hubs
- Supports different data transfer rate at 480Mbps, 12Mbps and 1.5Mbps.
- Supports self-powered mode.
- Supports over-current detection and individual power control
- Supports both OHCI and EHCI
IBM PC or Macintosh computer with USB 2.0 or USB 1.1 host .
Operation Systems :
MAC OS 8.6
MAC OS 9.X
MAC OS X 10.1 or later
STEP1: Before installation, be sure your system operates correctly and the USB system is under correct setting.
STEP2: Connect USB cable A plug to your PC.
STEP3: Connect USB cable B plug to the hub. (Switching power is required to support self-power mode, which provides up to 500mA for each port or for multiple hubs connection.)
STEP4: Connect your USB devices to the hub, and insert CD (Windows 98/SE, Windows 2000, Windows ME, Windows XP, MAC OS 8.6, MAC OS 9.X, MAC OS X 10.1 or later) to install driver.
Basic Power Consumption: 200mA
Limit Current Protection: 1250mA
Root (upstream) Port: 1 series-B receptacle
Downstream Ports: 4 series-A receptacles
Operating Temperature: 0C-40C
Humidity: 0%-80% RH
ExtEmission / Safety: FCC, CE, UL
LED Indicators (Aluminum series only): 1 Power Status (blue while power on)
It’s been a few days, and so far, so good. If you’re looking for a good little USB hub, the i-rocks IR-4300 is definitely worth a look.