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Old 12-15-2010, 10:43 PM
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Default USB printer cable...how long can I go?

I've got a customer who has a very cluttered home office and he had cobbled together several USB cords connecting them via 1 or 2 USB hubs and it connects his desktop pc to his large plotter (big HP printer for printing blueprints). He wants to get rid of all the cords dangling from desk to desk and go with one long USB cable and run it around the outside edge of his office. We need a 25+ft cable. I've used a 15ft cable with no problems before and I've found a 33ft cable on Monoprice.com but from what I've read, the max a USB cable should be is between 9 and 16ft depending on the device.

Any thoughts here? Should I buy the long cable and give it a whirl? Would using a hub in the middle of the run and just connecting two 15ft cables solve this problem? Thoughts?
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Old 12-15-2010, 10:48 PM
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5 meters is standard. They make extenders for non-powered devices that I've used without complaint, but they are expensive.
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Old 12-15-2010, 10:54 PM
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Are you talking about running a 25ft cable and then putting a hub on the end of it?

If that is what you are saying then I would recommend against it. I would think it would be way to long. Maybe a 25ft cable for one non-powered device would work but other than that I wouldn't use a USB cable that long. Is there any way to get his computer closer to the devices or can the plotter be hooked up through a network? If the plotter can be hooked up with a CAT5 cable then that is the way to go.
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Old 12-15-2010, 10:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AdamsAPlus View Post
Are you talking about running a 25ft cable and then putting a hub on the end of it?

If that is what you are saying then I would recommend against it. I would think it would be way to long. Maybe a 25ft cable for one non-powered device would work but other than that I wouldn't use a USB cable that long. Is there any way to get his computer closer to the devices or can the plotter be hooked up through a network? If the plotter can be hooked up with a CAT5 cable then that is the way to go.
Yes correct most plotters have Ethernet built in. Ive seen the same, people struggling with USB and trying to share it when all along it had an unused Ethernet port
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Old 12-15-2010, 11:01 PM
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Wireless print server? (if it doesn't have Ethernet port)
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Old 12-15-2010, 11:06 PM
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The problem with long USB cables isn't the power. It's the timing...
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Old 12-15-2010, 11:13 PM
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It's an older plotter with no network jack. USB is the only option.

It's not "powering" anything (like a card reader etc), it's just a communication cable. And the timing as AVG mentioned is what I figured was the concern.

Currently it's working perfectly with about 15-20ft of cables but like I said they are daisy chained together with a couple hubs. My thoughts were either 1 long cable or two 15ft cables with a hub in the middle.

The wireless print server would work but this guy is older, has cancer and can't get around that well. He needs everything to work flawlessly and as easily as possible. I have print servers in both my home and office and they work well most of the time but I have had some glitches before and I'm trying to avoid that with his setup.

Also, he has no easy way to get an ethernet cable over to the plotter either, so I'd have to make a long run around the room and still buy a print server for him. He doesn't have wireless, so a true wireless print server would mean changing out the router also. That is alot of expense just to eliminate a few cords. That's why I was hoping one long USB cable would solve the problem or if not, two cables connected in the middle with a hub.
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Old 12-16-2010, 12:28 AM
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I am 99% sure that if you went with that outrageously long usb cable you will have all sorts of communication issues. The hubs are whats enabling him to get such distance at the moment.
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Old 12-16-2010, 01:06 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ekrizon View Post
I am 99% sure that if you went with that outrageously long usb cable you will have all sorts of communication issues. The hubs are whats enabling him to get such distance at the moment.
But what if I use a hub in the middle of my run and keep the 2 cables to 15ft or under?
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Old 12-16-2010, 01:13 AM
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Your best bet is a USB Network/print server. They are usually little devices with USB on one end and RJ-45 on the other. Google for "usb network server" or "USB over network" or "usb print server". There are wireless versions of these if getting a cable over the the plotter is problem.

It would also be possible to get a crappy PC, plug the USB into that and share the printer over the network, but that way is a little more rough. Do not daisy chain USB cables or try to get a really long one.
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