USB hub power issues

Hello, I recently started to plug my external usb hard drive to Vero usb hub, where I am also plugging Vero DVB-T2 dongle. If the hub with dongle is switched on, hard drive starts to make strange loud noises when it tries to read data, which seems to me like insufficient input power. When I turn slot with TV dongle off, it starts working normally. It also works without any noises in direct usb input on Vero console itself or different pc/laptop. I bought Vero usb hub just because I planned to use 3 devices, when Vero has only 2 usb inputs. Now it seems all these devices turned on makes it difficult to use. I am also noticing “no signal” for TV dongle from time to time, but can not confirm at the moment if it is when I use usb hard drive turned on. I just noticed recently that when I turned hard drive slot off and rebooted, I was able to tune in with TV dongle (“no signal” message was gone).
Does anybody have similar experience or any advice how to fix this? May the usb hub be faulty?
Thank you.

Is the power supply plugged into the USB Hub? Is the power supply working?

yes, it’s plugged in. when I turn the port on, it highlights blue so I assume power supply works. but this is the only check I did.

There’s limited power output from the power supply to the hub. You may need a PSU with beefier specs if you wish to power multiple devices that are power hungry.

Revamping this topic after some time with regards to choosing correct power source for this purpose. “The factory one” is I believe 5V/2A. If I would like to use “cleaner” power supply and also feed more power hungry devices as Sam noted, which one can I pick without damaging the unit?
I’d like to buy iFi iPower (or eventually iPower2) power supply that is being made in couple variants.

  1. 5V/2.5A
  2. 9V/1.5A
  3. 12V/1.8A
  4. 15V/1.5A

Is one of the above an option to use with Vero 4K+ its USB TV dongle (optionally older external USB drive that seems to be more power hungry)? Just wondering which might feed all 3 devices better if all plugged in.

Thank you.

No, you would need a powered USB Hub to power USB devices connected to the Vero as the Vero USB port is limited to 500ma.

Also a reminder every power supply providing more than stabilized 5V will damage the Vero.

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Much appreciated as I wasn’t sure. Now I understand nothing greater than 5V can be used with Vero. How about Amperes? I am sorry, but what can look obvious for someone, might be mystery for someone else. I can see various linear power supplies that output 5V, however one is 5V/2.5A, the other e.g. 5V/1.5A. What would be recommended or what is the difference?
Thank you for patience : )

Well everything above 2A is fine (lower is not ok). But as I wrote even if you server 5A to the Vero it will not sent more than 0.5A via it’s USB port.
So whatever powersupply with >2A you use you would need to use it on the powered USB hub.

right, so just to confirm and sum up.

Replacement power supply for Vero box must not provide more than 5V. Anything above 2A is probably useless due to limitation on Vero USB port, however shouldn’t be less than 2V.

In case anybody is experiencing lack of power for multiple plugged in devices (like an old external USB disk + TV dongle), should use powered USB hub. In my particular case, provided hub power supply (5V/2A) is still not enough.
So will replacing 2A hub power supply with more amperes help? I guess I still need to use 5V even when connected to USB hub (not Vero), right?
Or would e.g. 9V/1.5A or even 12V/1.8A be better replacement for power hungry devices plugged into usb hub?

It might help to understand voltage and current if you think of a device that’s powered by water, like a water wheel. Voltage is like the pressure of the water - how hard the water is being forced through the device. If the pressure is too low, nothing happens at all, because it isn’t pushing hard enough; but if the water pressure is too high then pipes start exploding because they’re not designed to handle that much force. In this analogy, the current is like the volume of water that is available for the device to use. If there is not enough water available, the device won’t be powered properly; if there is more water available than the device needs, it makes no difference, because it just won’t be used.

You can think of the Vero’s USB ports as being like very narrow water pipes branching off the main one - it doesn’t matter how much water is flowing through the main pipe, the USB pipe can’t allow very much water through it, and increasing the water available to the main pipe makes no difference.

Or you could think in terms of pulling and pushing: voltage pushes electricity into the device - push too little and nothing happens, push too hard and you damage it; but the current rating of a power supply is about how much electricity can pull from the power supply if it needs it; if the supply’s current rating is too low, the device can’t pull enough current out of the power supply to work; but making more current available above what the device can actually use makes no difference.

So: the voltage that a power supply provides must be exactly right - too low and the device won’t work, too high and it will be damaged. The current rating needs to be high enough to supply all the current the device can ever use, but a higher current rating beyond that isn’t useful.

Now, as to this question:

The answer is, that depends. Obviously the power supply voltage needs to be exactly right - neither higher nor lower than is required. As far as as current is concerned, you need to check the specifications of the hub: how much current can it deliver to any one USB port, and how much current can it deliver altogether? (You might think that the total current it can deliver is the maximum per port multiplied by the number of ports, but it isn’t always). If the hub is capable of delivering more current than its power supply can provide, then switching to a power supply with a higher current rating might help you; but there will be a point where the hub can’t actually use any more current, even if the power supply is capable of providing it.

You might also want to check the devices you are plugging into the hub, to see how much current they need to power them; check that the hub can actually supply that much on each port, and check whether the total current draw is greater than what the hub can supply.

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Perfect and thank you so much for detailed (for us who needs that) and simplified (kind of back to school) explanation. That really helped.
Well, I am only using stuff bought at store, so basically no 3rd party devices (except usb hard drive).
here’s the link to the USB hub: 4 Port USB 3.0 Powered Hub - OSMC
and here’s TV dongle: DVB-T2/DVB-C TV dongle - OSMC
unfortunately none of these show any specifications on how much current is delivered per one usb slot or how much current TV dongles require to work.
I am having difficulties with TV dongle since I bough it (currently no free tuner for use is often displayed after fresh boot), however not sure whether it might be tied to insufficient current supplied to it (but that is truly different topic). What I am quite sure is that when I also plug in older Verbatim 500GB external USB drive (model# 53029), it starts making loud noises when reading data which indicates it has no sufficient power. This USB drive is working fine in any pc/laptop I plug it in.
So from that reason I am trying to figure out what power supply to buy and as I am using Vero as a media server too (with external DAC via toslink). I was thinking about killing two bugs with one shot. Buying power supply that would feed both USB devices without issues + something that can provide “cleaner voltage” without possible distortion like various linear supplies can do, but now wondering what voltage/current to pick.

Is your powered Hub connected to the original power supply?

Well… the power supply for the hub is specified at 2A. I assume everything is operating at USB voltage (5 volts). The USB 3.0 specification allows for a maximum current of 0.9A (if I recall correctly); so a 2A power supply does look like it might be a bit on the light side to power four ports supplying 0.9A each.

On the other hand:

  1. You’ve only got two devices plugged into the hub, which shouldn’t be drawing more than 0.9A each, so a 2A power supply should be able to handle that. If the drive is being starved of current, it could be that it is actually trying to draw more power from the port than the port can supply (but that other devices are a bit more lenient about out-of-spec power requirements).

  2. If the hub is designed to work with a 2A power supply, there’s no guarantee it’s actually capable of pulling more than 2A out of a power supply, even if the power supply offers them.

So, while a beefier power supply might help, it also might not. It could be that the hub can’t draw more than 2A anyway; it could also be that the drive needs more current power than the hub can supply from one port.

If I were you, I would look for a new powered hub, one that can supply more than 1A of current per port, and which has the ability to push that much current to all ports simultaneously. I got one on Amazon a few years back that can supply up to 2A per port, from four ports at once, and it wasn’t very expensive. They don’t sell that particular model any more, but I’m sure there will be an equivalent.

Which socket on the hub are you plugging the HDD into? Try the one closest to where the PSU plugs in.

fzinken> yes, it is the original 5V/2A one.

angry.sardine> what I was also trying to do was to “distribute the load”, but not sure whether it had any real impact. I simply plugged TV tuner directly into Vero, leaving USB drive + the remote receiver module for the USB hub. it was sometimes working ok without noises, but not constantly. Definitely better than leaving both USB drive + TV dongle in the hub.

or it also might be good time to upgrade an old “plate” disk for maybe less hungry SSD. I’ve also noticed that the plug part on the usb hub has bit different (thinner) plug than the one on Vero side, that seems more standard to me, so that also might be tricky to buy not only correct current/voltage, but also the correct connector when doing online purchase.

but yeah, great to have all your inputs. really appreciate this.

grahamh> that is very interesting as I was thinking the same when trying all of them. The best results was surprisingly at the one most distant from the plug. and that is not constant behavior as it sometimes works without noises and sometimes doesn’t.

Mine’s very old so may not be the same as yours but I can consistently get more power out of the one nearest the power socket, measuring with a meter. If you count this as socket 1 then socket 3 works about as well but sockets 2 and 4 don’t actually meet the USB3 spec here. I don’t know if it’s always been like that.

I think @angry.sardine’s suggestion is a good one. At least you will know the PSU is supposed to work with that new hub so if it doesn’t you can send it back.

Understood. Thanks all for input. At least I know where to go from here and what options I have.

If you do decide to buy a new hub, check the power output of its power supply. Power is volts times amps, so 5V/2A is 10W, 12V/3A is 36W. If possible, look for something that has at least 4.5W per regular port.

But 12V is not part of the original USB definition and even not part of USB PD so would normally not be a power supply used on a USB Powered Hub