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Apple Desktops Discussion of Apple's desktop machines including Mac Pro, iMac, Power Mac, and mini

Best Way To Connect USB Devices


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Peakoverload

 
Member Since: Feb 13, 2007
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I'm trying to work out the best way to connect all my USB devices to my iMac.

My iMac only has 3 USB ports on the back and I don't have a USB keyboard and mouse. Also I have two USB drives that will automatically power up and shut down when the iMac is powered up/down but if I connect these to an hub they stay on the whole time (they don't have a power switch on the back either).

My main query/concern is over the keyboard. I know that the keyboard also has two USB ports on it but I believe these are USB 1 and so very slow.

I basically have the following USB devices

2x Hard Drives
1x Printer
1x Scanner
1x Keyboard
1x Mouse
1x Card Reader
1x iPhone

My thinking is to connect:
Drive 1 to USB 1
Drive 2 to USB 2
Hub to USB 3
Mouse to Keyboard
Keyboard, Printer, Scanner, Card Reader, iPhone to Hub

However I'm sure my iPhone takes longer to sync if I connect it to the hub and my thinking is that having a USB 1 device (the keyboard) plugged into the hub is causing the entire bus to slow down to USB 1 speeds.

Is that the case? Is there a way of connecting a USB 1 device to a hub without it slowing the entire bus down?
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chscag

 
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Apple aluminum keyboards provide USB 2 not USB 1. But in any event you really need a powered hub for all those devices. It's OK to attach a printer or scanner (since they're self powered) and mouse to the keyboard as those devices will not exceed the power limitations of the keyboard.

It's the hard drives, the iPhone, iPods, and some card readers that will draw too much power.
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hughvane

 
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Further to chscag's advice, search Mac-Forums for oodles of info and recommendations about the best powered hubs.

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IWT

 
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My meagre contribution is that iPhone needs to be connected directly to the Mac especially when there is a software update.

Even through a good quality powered hub, my iPhone won't update. Apple themselves endorse this advice.

Ian
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Peakoverload

 
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Hmm cheers all.

My problem is that currently I have 1 USB drive and a Firewire drive but the Firewire drive is small and I've just been given a 1TB USB one which I'd like to use in it's place.

At present I have things like scanner, printer etc connected to a powered hub but if I plug one of the USB drives into the powered hub then the drives never power down when I shut the Mac down and so the only way I can turn them off is to pull the power lead out of them which is not ideal!

The keyboard I have is not the aluminum one so the ports on my keyboard are USB 1 which is a pain.

It's not looking like it is possible to connect up everything I need in the correct way is it? What I need is an active hub that turns off when the Mac is shut down!
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Peakoverload

 
Member Since: Feb 13, 2007
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Hmm, just thinking about this for a second. Do I actually need a powered hub, can't I get away with an unpowered one?

Non of my USB devices with the exception of the card reader and iPhone are bus powered i.e. they all have their own power supply so nothing should really be drawing any power from the USB bus should it?

Therefore could I not do the following:

USB 1 > Unpowered USB Hub > 2x USB drives
USB 2> Powered USB Hub > Scanner, Printer
USB 3> Keyboard & Mouse

When I need to use the card reader or iPhone I could unplug USB 2 and use that. If USB 1 is connected to an unpowered USB hub than shouldn't both drives power down when the Mac is switched off?
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chscag

 
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You do not want to attach your external hard drives to a USB power source that allows them to be turned off when shutting down the machine. That will almost certainly result in data loss. External drives should be properly ejected prior to removing them or shutting them down.
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Peakoverload

 
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Sorry mate I don't think I've explained it properly. The drives on question have a power saving feature that detects when the host computer is switched off I.e. No voltage is going down the USB bus. When the host computer is turned off the drives then safely power down. I've been using these for years without problems. All I want to do is to connect a second one of these drives in such a way that this functionality is retained without slowing other devices down to USB 1 speeds.
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chscag

 
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OK, now I understand. Then what you previously posted should work.
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