Surface Pro 3 USB issues

Discussion in 'Microsoft Surface Pro 3' started by John Fry, Oct 20, 2014.

  1. John Fry

    John Fry New Member

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    Hi all,

    Right now I'm using my 256GB SSD i7 Surface Pro 3, and all I can hear is the constant, and by now very annoying sound of the factory installed version of Windows 8.1 Pro constantly disconnecting and reconnecting my passive USB hub.

    Why is this so annoying?

    Well for one, the single USB connection on the SP3 is poor in today's standards, but made infuriating by Microsoft taking a leaf out of Apple's book (and not a good one) and making proprietary connections... I'm taking about the angled ports, whereby to find the best fit means to purchase Microsoft's own connectors. Come on Microsoft! Guilty as charged and there is no denying it!

    Yes I know other USB connectors work, but most of them seem very loose. Including this USB HUB I have plugged in now which has my 3 Ekahau WiFi NIC's plugged into it. Well that's the plan anyhow.

    I need to use the 3 Ekahau USB NIC's to perform quick Wireless Site Survey testing but the OS keeps dropping and re-adding the passive USB HUB.

    I'm guessing this is because the Surface Pro 3 can't provide enough power to the USB HUB and therefore the USB NIC's? Or could it be that the physical USB port is so poorly made that every time I move the SP3 screen, even ever so slightly, the USB HUB disconnects and reconnects in Windows?

    If I use the same USB HUB on my Lenovo T410 laptop, the HUB and 3 Ekahau USB NIC's remain connected, both physically to the USB port and to the Windows 8.1 OS.

    If I plug each of the NIC's individually into the USB port of the Surface Pro 3 then the connection to Windows remains stable. Wish I could say the same about the physical element (wobbly as ever).

    Now I know that I am asking for a tall order but I need to have all 3 of the Ekahau USB NIC's plugged into my SP3 whilst I walk around various buildings to perform Wireless site survey's. So an active mains powered USB HUB is not going to work for me. (Obviously) so I was wondering if anyone knew of a small USB HUB that was truly self-powered and could work as a normal USB HUB without power cables?

    There was a device on the US market (story of my life - US only!) that had chargeable batteries for the USB HUB, but this was discontinued.

    I know of the "pebble devices" that can charge up iPhones and other Smartphones etc., but I wasn't sure if they would act as a USB HUB too?

    Has anyone else had problems like this with the single (grrr) Surface Pro 3 USB port???

    Thanks all,

    John

    P.S. Other than this gripe, I think the SP3 is a great machine. It's a bloody shame though that one of the main reasons I got the thing for I can't use!!!
     
  2. wertzius

    wertzius Member

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    Yes,,the Surface cannot deliver enough power for 3 Nics. I think there is no solution for your usecase...
     
  3. John Fry

    John Fry New Member

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    Hi Wertzius,

    Thanks for replying so quickly. :)

    The Microsoft Surface Pro 3 can't even provide enough power for the skinny portable 4 port passive USB HUB, let alone the 3 connected USB NIC's.

    How the hell can Microsoft call this product a "laptop replacement"!? Marketing rubbish!
     
  4. Grumpy2

    Grumpy2 Member

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    Perhaps if you had done proper and thorough research before you bought the device then you would not be here whinging about it. There is no substitute for proper research. If you are not happy with the Surface Pro 3 then return it as "not fit for purpose". Then perhaps you will be happy. Do not blame Microsoft because you did not research properly before purchase.
     
  5. John Fry

    John Fry New Member

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    How is one meant to research the lack of power from the USB ports on the Surface Pro 3, Mr Grumpy? Pray tell please.
     
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2014
  6. Grumpy2

    Grumpy2 Member

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    There are numerous posts on this forum as well as other Forums discussing this very point. I know because I did extensive research before purchasing my SP3. As I was aware of a power problem with the USB slot on the SP3 (not enough power to operate some devices attached to the port) I also bought the Docking Station to overcome that problem. But as I have said I did extensive research on this site as well as WPCentral and others before purchase. If you had done the same you would have been aware of the USB problem. As i have said there is no substitute for research. Unfortunately there are people like you who buy products without doing "due diligence research" and then when the product does not do what they want it to do blame everyone (the manufacturer etc,) instead of themselves.
     
  7. wertzius

    wertzius Member

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    The Surface Pro 3 only delivers the 500mA according to the USB specification, most other PCs deliver more, but outside the specification. Technically Microsoft didn't do something wrong, but i understand that this is very annoying.
     
  8. mahdi75

    mahdi75 Member

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    500mA for USB2, and 900mA for USB3 devices, if I remember correctly.
     
  9. John Fry

    John Fry New Member

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    Thanks guys. Appreciate the info. Can I ask where you got this info from?

    Does anyone know if each port on a USB hub will draw a certain amount of mA? For example, if I have a passive 7 port hub will that try and draw 700mA without anything plugged in, and then draw more for each device that is plugged into the HUB?

    Thanks again.

    John

    P.S. I've just seen that USB meters exist. So that's on my purchase radar.
     
  10. GreyFox7

    GreyFox7 Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Just get a powered USB hub. Use a battery pack to power it if that's your use case. If your going to do engineering you'll need to learn to do better homework.
     
    mahdi75 likes this.
  11. John Fry

    John Fry New Member

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    Ah.

    So the answer is to get:

    1. Battery USB charger
    2. USB A to Barrel 5/12V (dependent on requirement) DC Power adapter (of the appropriate diameter)
    3. Active USB HUB.
    4. Plug them together.

    Now I just need to do my "homework" on what size battery USB charger I need in terms of mAh.
     
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2014
  12. GreyFox7

    GreyFox7 Super Moderator Staff Member

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    All depends on which hub you select, some use 5v some use 12v it varies. Size and portability might be important to you as well as the number of ports you actually need.

    Battery Packs come in all sizes and shapes some with multiple connections and selectable power output. see mikegyver as an extreme example but cheaper solutions are available commercially and there's tons of stuff on Amazon.

    Look at and compare specs, I'm sure you can find something that suites your needs with compatible connections. They don't necessarily have to match exactly either but you already know what happens if the amps available is less than the amps required. If the spec says it has a 5v 2amp power supply and the pack is 5v 2.5A then it will just last longer.

    On the other hand don't over do it. :) and keep your budget in mind, everything is a series of tradeoffs with cost, flexibility, functionality, portability, etc.

    Good luck.
     

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