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USB hub fried my external drives?

Last response: in Components
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February 12, 2011 1:00:38 PM

It seems that one of my el cheapo USB hubs (one of those Chinese imports with blinking lights) has gone berserk - I connected to it an external hard drive (used successfully for backups in two other computers) and not only did the computer refuse to recognize it, but so did the other two computers after that. The drive still turns on and spins (with no audible noise), but its main light just blinks and blinks. I would have thought it was due to some problem with the hard drive but when I later connected a flash drive to the same hub (to copy some files from another computer), that flash drive wasn't recognized by the computer and no longer recognized by any of the others. It was at that point that the idea occurred to me that something must be wrong with the hub.

So has something like this happen to anyone else? If it's indeed the hub's fault, is there a way to test it BEFORE plugging in any expensive peripherals to make sure it won't send them to an early grave?
February 12, 2011 1:05:46 PM

I personally would get rid of the hub before another accidents happens. Is this a powered hub?
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February 12, 2011 1:11:26 PM

I obviously would not connect a dead cat to it before I figure out what's wrong...

Two things (which I should have mentioned):

To your question: yes, it is powered.
Also, I have plugged into the same hub (before these incidents) one of those mini Wi-Fi adapters. It's still there and continues to work! Not that I know what to make of it - just wanted to point that out.
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February 12, 2011 1:15:39 PM

I wonder if the wi-fi is causing a power drop so the other items wont work.
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February 12, 2011 1:17:50 PM

But how would that FRY the other items?
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February 12, 2011 1:24:39 PM

Lower voltage = higher amperage = melted fuse/wire/connector.
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February 12, 2011 1:27:52 PM

So would that mean that one should never plug both a wi-fi adapter and a drive into the same powered hubs at the same time?
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February 12, 2011 1:36:33 PM

Powered hubs are for connecting multiple devices but they can be broken. If it was a none powered hub then they fail safe in the computer would shut off power to the USB, if to much load, which would be resolved by restarting the computer. I am just not sure how that would work on a powered one.
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February 12, 2011 1:41:37 PM

So is it possible to test a hub before I plug anything into it? I would hate to throw away this hub, get a new one, plug another flash drive into the new hub and then realize that this flash drive is fried, too...
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February 12, 2011 1:47:54 PM

The only way I know how is to plug something into it apart from actually measuring volts and possible ripple on the DC voltage in the connector.
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February 12, 2011 2:16:13 PM

So I guess I have to go out and find the cheapest flash drive available and use it as a guinea pig :) 

Anyway, thanks for the feedback, rolli59.
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