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Other Hardware and Peripherals Other Apple systems and peripherals discussion.

"USB over current notice" - digital camera


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junodog

 
Member Since: Sep 06, 2010
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Hi, I have a MacBook (2GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor, OS X v. 10.5.8, purchased in spring of '09 and in decent condition) and I recently tried to connect my digital camera (Panasonic Lumix DMC-LZ2, 2GB SD card, cable looks like this (not the best picture, sorry), been in use at least since fall of '05 but still in good condition) to upload photos and I got a window saying "USB Over Current Notice - A USB device is currently drawing too much power. The hub to which it is attached to will be deactivated."

Now, I think I know what's caused this, but since trying to get to a store to buy a new USB cable would be a real pain in the rear, I wanted to see if my logic is right before I possibly waste a few hours trying to replace something that doesn't need replacing.

Anyway, here's the situation: I have never encountered this notice before in my life. The camera in question has never given me any trouble before, and I haven't done anything to damage the cable since the last time I used it (about 10 days ago). The camera itself runs on two AA batteries, so it doesn't really need power from the computer. There are only two USB ports on my computer, and neither of them was in use until I connected the camera. I tried both ports. I tested other USB devices (Bamboo tablet, Nintendo DS charger (only use is charging the DS battery, the DS doesn't show up under "devices" or anything), iPod) and while the iPod didn't show up under "devices" as usual when I tried it (the battery was very low at the time and it's just over 3 years old so I don't think it's related) there were no issues with connecting the other devices, all of which draw more power from the computer than the camera would. I restarted the computer, and it's still happening. Oh, and the camera seems to be running just fine and has half-full batteries.

What I'd like to know is, am I right in thinking this issue is probably being caused by the USB cable (i.e., the cable being fried)? Or is there some other hidden issue that could be causing this to occur? And if it is the cable, will finding a replacement be very difficult, or is the type of cable that it uses still fairly standard (judging from the photo)?
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hughvane

 
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Firstly, camera data transfer draws a lot of power. Instead of another USB cable (and yes, that's a standard USB > USB mini cable), consider these options:
1. Use a camera card reader (buy one online, they're very cheap),
2. Power your Panasonic camera with its 9 or 12 volt auxiliary cable (if applicable). That way the camera provides the necessary power for the transfer,
3. Buy a powered USB hub (recommended for a laptop anyway). Be sure to get one with one or two high-powered (1000 mA) ports. Targus is a good example.

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junodog

 
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Huh, so it does take more power than I thought it would. Makes sense, though I figured the batteries would have played a bigger part in powering the transfer. I'll probably get a new cable at some point anyway so that I have a spare one on hand, but I'm glad to know it's actually a case of the transfer drawing some power from the computer, so thanks (though I'm a little irritated that it waited until now to make an issue of itself, but I guess I should be glad that I've made it so long without having to deal with this issue).

I'll look into those options this week before I go to the store on Saturday (I need a converter for some European appliances anyway). I think I'll go for options 1 and/or 3, probably 3 since I can get more use out of that anyway. A camera card reader is just something that adapts SD cards so they can be read directly on the computer (or something along those lines), isn't it?
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hughvane

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by junodog View Post
I figured the batteries would have played a bigger part in powering the transfer.
If you want to see how fast you can drain batteries, transfer pictures repeatedly to your computer! I used my Fuji auxiliary cord for a short while, but I got sick of searching for it each time it was needed.

Quote:
A camera card reader is just something that adapts SD cards so they can be read directly on the computer (or something along those lines), isn't it?
Correct. There are multi-card readers, ie. SD, XD etc that would suit your purposes. Since I use an XD card only, I bought a SSK reader for about US$10. Does the job every time, but I use desktop computers, which provide better USB power to their ports. I think your choice of Option 3 makes good sense.

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junodog

 
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Yeah, I knew it takes a lot of battery power, but I didn't think it would take so much power from the computer itself. Guess it makes sense, though. Sadly, I'd have to buy a new cord, since I got the camera second-hand from my parents and I don't even know if my camera came with an auxiliary cord (though it has a DC jack that says 3 volts by it, so I'd assume it would have) and if it did, it's probably been lost for a long, long time.

I'd forgotten that my university's bookstore has a decent computer technology section, but I was in there for other things and then I saw the section and decided to ask about option 3. I found a powered USB hub there (this one) and I've connected my camera again just now. The "USB over current notice" window didn't pop up this time, but sadly, the camera didn't register at all.

I tried the other USB devices I have again (ipod, tablet, DS charger) and they all seem to work, but then when I tried to plug in my camera while my ipod was plugged in, it... interfered with the ipod's connection, I guess you could say? I got the "device was not properly removed" window the minute I plugged in my camera, and the ipod was no longer appearing under devices. I'm not really sure what that's all about, but it's not a huge concern to me since the ipod is fine and it's only the camera that causes it to happen. The main problem is that my camera still isn't appearing under devices and I can't transfer photos, so once again I'm thinking that the problem is with the cable (or possibly the camera itself, but it's running fine, so I dunno). Guess I'll get an SD card reader and just give up on transferring directly from my camera to the computer.

Anyway, thanks for all the help so far. I'm especially glad you suggested getting a powered USB hub, as this way I can actually have more than two devices connected at a time, which is definitely going to make life more convenient. I'll probably buy a card reader this afternoon.

I have a MacBook w/ 2GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor
Mac OS X v. 10.5.8
it's 1.5 years old and doesn't take nearly as much abuse as my last computer did.
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dtravis7

 
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I am starting to wonder if something in the camera connected to the USB port died. The fact you plug it in and your iPod is unmounted like that. Almost like it's shorting out the port! It could be the cable but cables usually don't just short out like that unless they are twisted and abused.

Did you see a cable like that at your store where you purchased the Hub? If it's not the USB cable I would suspect the Camera at this point.
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junodog

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dtravis7 View Post
I am starting to wonder if something in the camera connected to the USB port died. The fact you plug it in and your iPod is unmounted like that. Almost like it's shorting out the port! It could be the cable but cables usually don't just short out like that unless they are twisted and abused.

Did you see a cable like that at your store where you purchased the Hub? If it's not the USB cable I would suspect the Camera at this point.
I haven't actually looked for a new cable since I got the USB hub. I got a multipurpose card reader today and I was able to transfer everything from the SD card, so I'm not putting a very high priority on figuring out the exact cause, but given that it's an old camera, I think you're probably right in saying it's something in the camera that died.


Anyway, I guess that's the end of that, so thanks for the help hughvane and dtravis7.

I have a MacBook w/ 2GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor
Mac OS X v. 10.5.8
it's 1.5 years old and doesn't take nearly as much abuse as my last computer did.
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