Powered USB-C Hubs

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KVRAF
5915 posts since 31 Aug, 2013 from Down the Withywindle

Post Mon Jun 14, 2021 6:37 am

Hi,

I'm looking for one of the above. My M1 Mini doesn't give enough juice for my Fireface 802 to function with a hub that draws its power from it. I look at Amazon, and don't really see anything with anything that resembles a power cord.
Any ideas under 100€ Welcome!
Jai Guru Deva....Om.....

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KVRAF
12869 posts since 8 Mar, 2005 from Utrecht, Holland

Post Mon Jun 14, 2021 7:06 am

Wait, the FireFace is not bus powered. Do you use it with USB or FireWire?
What adapters / connectors are you currently using, what more do you have connected?

I'd use the standard Apple USB-C adapter that has USB-C power in & HDMI + (standard) USB. Then use a regular USB hub, may be powered or not.
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KVRAF
22308 posts since 20 Oct, 2007 from not here

Post Mon Jun 14, 2021 7:07 am

so how does the Fireface plug in? I have a great hub, that takes USB the old way - up to 3.0 - and inputs into my computer as though it's thunderbolt. It has a power cord, 24W. I'd use the power cord if I had to, haven't had to but I'm not inputting audio interfaces or streaming drives as I have enough ports to do those directly. It looks like the same port.
I say great because nothing is robbed of power, which is the case in every cheapass hub I've bought.
bought it via Amazon. Assuming you need a hub per se because of too few ports. I wouldn't run an audio interface off a hub if I didn't have to; ie., mine is thunderbolt, the external drives come with the adapter, and the Apple adapter is well-sufficient for that kind of thing if not. I have to power my audio interface, comes with the thing.
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KVRAF

Topic Starter

5915 posts since 31 Aug, 2013 from Down the Withywindle

Post Mon Jun 14, 2021 9:36 am

I'm using the USB-2. I bought a cheap USB-C hub when I bought the Mini in January, and the FF works through it...but not reliably. There's a little light on the hub when the computer is turned on, and sometimes when the FF is plugged in, the light just goes out, meaning, I assume, there's not enough power to run the FF, because the sound then comes out of the Mini. So, I then move to the USB-A port.
But I'm thinking long term. The new iMacs don't have USB A ports, just the C and the Thunderbolt 3, or whatever iteration it is now.
Jai Guru Deva....Om.....

KVRAF
13015 posts since 13 Oct, 2009

Post Mon Jun 14, 2021 9:42 am

Bombadil wrote:
Mon Jun 14, 2021 9:36 am
I'm using the USB-2. I bought a cheap USB-C hub when I bought the Mini in January, and the FF works through it...but not reliably. There's a little light on the hub when the computer is turned on, and sometimes when the FF is plugged in, the light just goes out, meaning, I assume, there's not enough power to run the FF, because the sound then comes out of the Mini. So, I then move to the USB-A port.
But I'm thinking long term. The new iMacs don't have USB A ports, just the C and the Thunderbolt 3, or whatever iteration it is now.
If you're thinking long term it's probably better to go for a thunderbolt hub. Almost all of them have power adapters because of potential charging needs of the host, e.g., mac air.

Personally, I would just use one of the USB-A ports for the moment and use the cheap hub for things like your keyboard and any controllers. Then shop around carefully for a thunderbolt hub. I don't think that any are ideal for the new mini at the moment, so I'm hoping that some vendors step in and deliver a better desktop oriented product.

KVRAF

Topic Starter

5915 posts since 31 Aug, 2013 from Down the Withywindle

Post Mon Jun 14, 2021 9:43 am

Thanks, but sorry, I meant Firewire on the FF. I get them mixed up because I don't use them.
My brain ain't functioning normally.
Last edited by Bombadil on Mon Jun 14, 2021 9:57 am, edited 1 time in total.
Jai Guru Deva....Om.....

KVRAF
13015 posts since 13 Oct, 2009

Post Mon Jun 14, 2021 9:57 am

Bombadil wrote:
Mon Jun 14, 2021 9:43 am
Thanks, but sorry, I meant Firewire. I get them mixed up because I don't use them.
So you're using the chain of Apple dongles to get thunderbolt 3 to firewire? I'm a bit confused because the 802 has firewire and USB but also is powered from wall mains. Is there another fireface 802? Or, can it work on bus power and you need that feature? Or, is what you're saying is that the fireface disconnects because you have other things plugged into the unpowered hub?

KVRAF

Topic Starter

5915 posts since 31 Aug, 2013 from Down the Withywindle

Post Mon Jun 14, 2021 9:59 am

No no. Sorry for the confusion. I'm simply going from the FF, which is either FW or USB2 out, into the Mini via the USB 2 cable into the USB A input. There's my midi keyboard and a VSL dongle on the hub as well.

And yeah, given the FF is plugged in, I would've thought it was powered by the unit.
Jai Guru Deva....Om.....

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KVRAF
11458 posts since 7 May, 2006 from Southern California

Post Mon Jun 14, 2021 10:05 am

So I haven't seen many actual Thunderbolt 3/USB-C hubs with external power options, except ones like these:
https://www.digikey.com/en/products/det ... L/12349327
https://www.digikey.com/en/products/det ... H/12349358
You may find some USB-C hubs which have a power pass through port, but that doesn't directly power devices, as was the cases with older USB2/3 hubs (with USB A connectors).

A device should theoretically be able to draw 3A from a USB-C port but I've seen a lot of issues with cheap hubs and cables which are not actually compatible with Thunderbolt 3/USB3.1 power specs. If you are using a USB2 audio interface, I would seriously recommend getting a USB2 hub with MTT (these Plugable hubs have been very reliable for me https://www.amazon.com/Plugable-10-Port ... 00JEOWV14/), and connect it directly to one of the USB A sockets. I have a similar setup with my MacMinis at work. It might sound counter intuitive but I've recommended this setup to a lot of people using M1 Macs with USB 2 audio interfaces.

KVRian
959 posts since 3 Oct, 2011 from Christchurch, New Zealand

Post Mon Jun 14, 2021 11:46 am

Bombadil wrote:
Mon Jun 14, 2021 9:36 am
I'm using the USB-2. I bought a cheap USB-C hub when I bought the Mini in January, and the FF works through it...but not reliably. There's a little light on the hub when the computer is turned on, and sometimes when the FF is plugged in, the light just goes out, meaning, I assume, there's not enough power to run the FF, because the sound then comes out of the Mini. So, I then move to the USB-A port.
But I'm thinking long term. The new iMacs don't have USB A ports, just the C and the Thunderbolt 3, or whatever iteration it is now.
since your interface isn’t usb-c easiest fix is a powered usb3 hub (I like tp-link ones myself) and dirt cheap usb-c to usb-a adaptor to plug it in to the usb-c port on the mini

KVRAF
13015 posts since 13 Oct, 2009

Post Mon Jun 14, 2021 11:59 am

jdnz wrote:
Mon Jun 14, 2021 11:46 am
Bombadil wrote:
Mon Jun 14, 2021 9:36 am
I'm using the USB-2. I bought a cheap USB-C hub when I bought the Mini in January, and the FF works through it...but not reliably. There's a little light on the hub when the computer is turned on, and sometimes when the FF is plugged in, the light just goes out, meaning, I assume, there's not enough power to run the FF, because the sound then comes out of the Mini. So, I then move to the USB-A port.
But I'm thinking long term. The new iMacs don't have USB A ports, just the C and the Thunderbolt 3, or whatever iteration it is now.
since your interface isn’t usb-c easiest fix is a powered usb3 hub (I like tp-link ones myself) and dirt cheap usb-c to usb-a adaptor to plug it in to the usb-c port on the mini
Now that he's explained the situation though, I don't think that it's power. I would start pointing fingers at cables. That said, I find that just dedicating a port to my audio interface often makes for fewer of these kinds of issues. All of the lightweight controllers and peripherals can easily hang off of even the cheapest hubs, often working just fine with the lowest quality cables.

KVRAF
22308 posts since 20 Oct, 2007 from not here

Post Mon Jun 14, 2021 1:00 pm

well, the one I depicted is designed to make the old USB go to Thunderbolt 3 with the proper jack, simple and it will power from the wall just like in the picture.
Powered USB Hub Rosonway 5 Port Aluminum USB Hub Extender with 4 USB 3.0 Data Ports and 1 USB Fast Charging Port, USB Hub 3.0 Splitter with 24W(12V/2A) Power Adapter and Individual Switches (Black)
Amazon, $20.99

KVRian
959 posts since 3 Oct, 2011 from Christchurch, New Zealand

Post Mon Jun 14, 2021 1:28 pm

jancivil wrote:
Mon Jun 14, 2021 1:00 pm
well, the one I depicted is designed to make the old USB go to Thunderbolt 3 with the proper jack, simple and it will power from the wall just like in the picture.
Powered USB Hub Rosonway 5 Port Aluminum USB Hub Extender with 4 USB 3.0 Data Ports and 1 USB Fast Charging Port, USB Hub 3.0 Splitter with 24W(12V/2A) Power Adapter and Individual Switches (Black)
Amazon, $20.99
that's just a usb3 powered hub - presumably you're using a c-a to adaptor on it's cable - or a usb-c to usb3 type-b cable? There's nothing 'thunderbolt' about that hub - if you plug it into a tb3 port it'll be operating in fallback mode to 5gbps usb3gen1

A true tb3/usb3 hub would avoid the bandwidth limits of that setup with a full 40gbps to the host - so it could run 8 usb3 ports with each getting full 5gbps bandwidth as opposed to sharing 5gbps between all ports on a usb3gen1 hub. But I've only seen tb3 dock (with video as well)

KVRAF

Topic Starter

5915 posts since 31 Aug, 2013 from Down the Withywindle

Post Mon Jun 14, 2021 1:48 pm

Thanks for your thoughts, guys and gals!
As I said, I am mostly thinking into the future when there's no more USB A inputs. Everything works fine as is. I am just hoping to streamline the wiring in back and take advantage of that 40gbps which should handle everything. And there will have to be a workaround sooner or later for RME and other devices: B-male =>C-female adapter seems obvious, but it is certainly a waste of bandwidth.
Jai Guru Deva....Om.....

KVRAF
22308 posts since 20 Oct, 2007 from not here

Post Mon Jun 14, 2021 1:51 pm

A true tb3/usb3 hub would avoid the bandwidth limits of that setup with a full 40gbps to the host - so it could run 8 usb3 ports with each getting full 5gbps bandwidth
I realize that, and I wouldn't put 'my' audio interface in it as I said. I also did not assert it was doing more than 'make the old USB go to T3'. But in the absence of a real T3 with a wall wart...
NB: the goalpost was getting an older device into the newer port (not sure it's going to be really exploiting that bandwidth), not all that.

"presumably you're using a c-a to adaptor on it's cable"
it has a T3 cable itself. It works as a dongle, it does not require further to get into my T3 ports.

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