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Windows 7: A USB cable issue. Advice wanted.

15 May 2013   #1
TVeblen

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 64 Bit Home Premium SP1
 
 
A USB cable issue. Advice wanted.

In my home office I have 2 printers connected to my main PC with 15 foot cables since forever. Works great.

Keep in mind the USB 2.0 spec for cable length is 5 meters (15+ feet) max. Longer cables than that could result in poor signal timing.

Now I want to reorganize my office and will want to move the PC even further away from the printers. I bought some cheap 6 foot extension USB cables (dumb cables - not extenders) just to test to see if the printers will work. They do! Print, scan, fax - all good.

Just one small problem: every time I start the PC, Windows now 'discovers' the "new hardware". There is the familiar bloop-boop sound (twice) when I reach the desktop. If I am fast with the mouse I can get into Devices & Printers and see that the printers are being discovered. Obviously the signal timing issue on the extended USB cable is to blame.

I can live with this small problem. But I have 2 questions:
  • Is there some long term problem I could be headed for if I set up this way?
  • Is there some way to increase the amount of time that Windows reacts to the USB printer connections (registry edit)?
I could also buy some 20 foot, 20 gauge USB cables to increase the signal response, but those are 20 bucks a piece. I'll live with a minor annoyance for $40.


My System SpecsSystem Spec
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15 May 2013   #2
Comp Cmndo

Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit
 
 

Add a USB hub between the cables.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
15 May 2013   #3
Lady Fitzgerald

Win 7 Ultimate 64 bit
 
 

Or you could get an active USB cable. However, I always believed in "if it ain't broke, don't fix it".
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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15 May 2013   #4
TVeblen

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 64 Bit Home Premium SP1
 
 

Thanks CC and LF. Yes I could buy more stuff, I know. But I am trying to cheap-out here! (Little known fact: I am the king of the cheap-pricks!)
My System SpecsSystem Spec
15 May 2013   #5
carwiz

Windows 7 Pro-x64
 
 

I run two of my printers off a router. It's the same router I use to connect to the net. If the printers are network capable (Most are for the past 10+ years), you can run 5e or 6e cables much further--Something like 150'. And if you happen to have a $20 network switch handy, you can run one cable from the router to the switch and run both printers with short links to the switch.

The image below shows a LAN (Local Area Network). The two PCs on the right can just as well be printers instead.


Attached Images
A USB cable issue. Advice wanted.-local-area-switched-network.jpg 
My System SpecsSystem Spec
15 May 2013   #6
TVeblen

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 64 Bit Home Premium SP1
 
 

I like that idea. Unfortunately my MF3240 is not network capable. But now I can see an upgrade path!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
17 May 2013   #7
TVeblen

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 64 Bit Home Premium SP1
 
 

Gah! Boot delay with laser printer connected. Goes away if it is disconnected.

Move everything last night. It did not do this when I tested the extensions before I moved everything. And yes, I switched cables in case I got a bad one.

My tech is alive and it hates me.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
17 May 2013   #8
bobafetthotmail

Win 7 Pro 64-bit 7601
 
 

A printerserver should be the best (it does give network ability to an otherwise non-network-capable printer and takes on itself the USB cable from the printer).
Can be wireless or not, but most are nowadays, some kinds allow even multifunction printers.
They are pretty darn cheap.

as for boot delay you could give a shot at BIOS options, some allow you to decrease/increase the time it waits for a USB device to answer
My System SpecsSystem Spec
17 May 2013   #9
TVeblen

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 64 Bit Home Premium SP1
 
 

Thanks. I'll look into that more closely. I did not spend a lot of time in the sub-menus in UEFI the other day.

I've got the heavy gauge cables on the way. I'll see if that fixes it first. I'll post back anything I find.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
22 May 2013   #10
TVeblen

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 64 Bit Home Premium SP1
 
 

Ding Ding Ding. Give the prize to Comp Cmndo.

I got the 20 foot cables and was so confident I just took out all the old stuff (strung and hung on the underside of the counters) and installed them. Turned everything on..... nothing. The printers were not even recognized. Just greyed out and dead.

What really surprises me is that they worked fairly well with 22 foot cables (one 16' and one 6' extension), but not a solid 20' cable? There is definitely a big stupid-hole in my knowledge of USB specs.

So I got a USB hub, used one 6 foot extension to connect it to PC, and all is good.

I won't bore you with the story about the printer going off line after the 20 foot cable failure......
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 A USB cable issue. Advice wanted.




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