Use a USB Hub or Not To Connect Controllers to a PC

I’ve had a problem with my USB devices being shutoff in the background for default computer power saving settings. The problem eased when I turned the power saving settings off in the operating system (Win 10). It may be something to look at.

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I’ve been using a powered USB hub for a few years. No issues with any device plugged into it. Also, I’ve always had the power savings settings for USB turned off as well.

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Same here. Powered USBhub, no problems.

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Good thing with the powered hubs! :slight_smile:

The thing with USB devices, is THEY send a ‘request’ to the PC and the PC answers that request.

This is what an IRQ is; ‘Interupt Request’. You have hardware IRQ’s and software IRQ’s. IRQ’s stop the processor what what it is doing and ‘address’ whoever is asking for ‘help’.

I understand what you’re saying and it would be nice if the game asked instead the other way around. Sadly, this is not how it works.

USB is basically a fancy serial port. So the PC reacts to one USB device at a time. And yes, you can burden it down so much that ‘real time’ responses are non-existent. Up to 127 items can be used, but they are ALL handled in a serial fashion.

With what you have? Forget it. You’re fine! What delays are there, you will NEVER notice! Can you tell 1 millisecond time from 1.25 milliseconds? Nah…so do not worry! :slight_smile:

Now, if you ARE having delays, this could indicate HW OR SW issues, such as old drivers or flaky HW devices.

As far as a smart hub, think about it. If your joystick is ‘off’, once you move it, the hub will have to turn on, then send the data to the PC. This is an EXTRA step you now have introduced into the process that was not there before.

And the Thunderbolt? Just like a highway, because it is rated at 55mph/90kph does NOT mean EVERY car on that road will be doing that speed. Joysticks and such will NEVER run at that speed as nothing changes that often. About 32 bytes of data is transmitted per ‘interrupt’. Are you going to move your joystick over 1 million times a second? :wink: Plus the cost of such devices would increase and you will never see any ROI for this either.

Will a SATA I HDD run at SATA III speeds if hooked to a SATA III controller? Nope!

You’re fine with what you got and you will NOT notice any ‘delays’ from PROPERLY operating HW/SW.

Your post DOES show you’re thinking and that is always good! :slight_smile:

:slight_smile:

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I use th PS/2 ports for my mouse and keyboard (IBM PS/2 AT keyboard). And there IS a lag as mentioned by those pro gamers. Can they REALLY tell the difference? No.

Can you tell between 1ms and 1.25ms? :wink:

:slight_smile:

Use a powered 3.0 usb x8 hub
Connected:
Honeycomb Yoke
Logitech throttle + pedals + multi + radio
Corsair iCue headphone stand
Xbox usb adaptor

All work fine, no issue :+1:

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I just had the brainstorm that what I want to do, because the most accessible ports on the front of my computer are just USB 2.0, not 3.0 (what a waste!), is take advantage of the USB-C port (the only one, I think, on the PC) that sits right next to them.

I think that I’ll get a USC-C to PC hub with USB 3.0 ports. If I plug my USB 2.0 controllers into that, it probably should be just as good as if they were each plugged into individual USB 2.0 ports, with the same inherent limitations there as to how many ports can you use on your PC with a very demanding sim hogging CPU time (but since I have an i9-9900K and 16 CPU processes all running at 4.7 GHz, I wonder if even a lot of IRQ’s are going to cause a hiccup? - being ignorant!).

But the interesting thing is that USB-C follows the USB-3.1 protocol, 10 Gb/s. So to not be bogged down by slower USB 2.0 devices, a good high-speed USB hub can create a transaction translator and allocate USB 2.0 devices to a slower pool. USB hub - Wikipedia

Each transaction translator segregates lower speed traffic into its own pool, essentially creating a virtual full-speed bus. Some designs use a single transaction translator (STT), while other designs have multiple translators (MTT). Having multiple translators is a significant benefit when one connects multiple high-bandwidth full-speed devices.

So a really smart USB hub can do some signal processing. The article on USB hubs mention that USB 2.0 hubs can actually uptranslate the speed of slower USB 1.1 to USB 2.0 on the uplink to the PC but unfortunately USB 3.0 and higher are not capable of uptranslating USB 2.0 to USB 3.0 or higher. USB hub - Wikipedia

So I think there is room for a lot of improvement in the future whereby the original device still thinks that it’s in its wonderful IRQ environment but little does it know that it’s trapped in a virtual environment and lots more modern stuff at a much higher speed is really going on when the hub talks to the PC (or the PC gets the word from the hub, maybe the virtual environment will be at that level and an “out-of-date” hub can still try to pass all the IRQ requests it wants along to the PC but little does it know… :slightly_smiling_face:

I shall have to see at least whether any additional hub that I might get is MTT and not just STT (at least I can brag about specs even if makes not a whit of difference - just kidding!).

CORRECTION

The STT vs MTT only applies to USB 2.0 hubs. A USB 3.0 or USB-C hub should be capable of passing data at full speed from each of its client ports with little or no interference from other ports, at least in the transmission uplink to the PC.

The distinction is given here in a quote from a manufacturer’s reply as to whether their USB 3.0 port had MTT: Alternative Multi-TT USB 3.0 Hubs? - #2 by soundklinik - Other Gear - Elektronauts

And the following NY Times 2020 review of USB-C hubs appears to claim that every USB 3.0 hub transmits on the PC uplink at full-speed independent of the other attached devices in the USB-C hubs that were reviewed. The Best USB Hubs and Docks for 2021 | Reviews by Wirecutter

If I’m putting the wrong interpretation on the text, it would be good for someone more knowledgeable to correct me!

You’re doing well! Still, in the end, it will make no difference.

The speed at which your joystick transmits at, is so much slower than the ‘highway’ the data is carried on.

You could say it is like comparing a snail to the X-15, the fastest jet in the world (Mach 6.7/7200 mph).

The data from the joystick will never ‘overwhelm’ your PC; 1 joystick or 10 of them

Granted, you might be able to get 2 nanoseconds faster response, will you ever SEE it or benefit from that? No.

Think about it; How often does the data in your joystick change? 1 time a second? 3 times a second?

In ONE SECOND, USB 2.0 can transfer 6,000,000 bytes! Even at 128 bytes in a single joystick data set, USB 2.0 can send 46,875 data sets in ONE SECOND! You will NEVER move your joystick that many times! NEVER! :wink:

This is why I say IGNORE the ‘faster USB’ - It makes NO DIFFERENCE!

Do not worry about it - You are just fine with what you have!

:slight_smile:

You might want to get a powered hub though, as i learned from experience of running multiple devices, effectively from a single port, some rather odd controller behaviour can result.

I forgot to plug my hub in once and a WH HOTAS, MFG Crosswind pedals and a G13 gamepad just didn’t play nice together. Their behaviour improved dramatically however, once i’d discovered my error.

Thanks very much for the advice and the assurances. I didn’t make clear in my OP that effectively if I got a hub in my original plan, I was going to be plugging it into a USB 2.0 port on the front of my computer. The only USB ports left open are just three 2.0 ports and a USB-C port on front and just one USB 3.0 port on the back.

The worry in my original post was basically what happens if I plug FOUR USB 2.0 controllers into ONE USB 2.0 port thru a USB hub.

What I’ve decided to do is get another powered, switchable Sabrent USB 3.0 hub, a USB 3.0 to USB-C adapter plug and plug the hub thru the adapter into the front of my computer. All the flight controllers that I plug into the four USB 3.0 ports on the hub should be guaranteed to behave as if they were talking to the computer through their very own port and I can switch the whole thing off by the individual port switches on the Sabrent and unplugging the AC adapter, saving some juice (and global CO2) most of the hours of the day when I’m not gaming. I can probably daisy chain on at least one more powered USB 3.0 hub to gain additional ports if I need them without worrying about controller performance on a USB 3.0 daisy chain and the powered aspect of the Sabrent hub and its powered USB ports allows me to charge any USB device that needs charging like my cell phone, hearing aid devices, or watch, if I want. *** CORRECTION BELOW

And I’ll free up the (“useless”) three USB 2.0 ports on the front of my computer, still having just that one remaining USB 3.0 port open on the back of my computer. And I’m going to gain a bunch of powered USB 3.0 ports at the expense of my one USB-C port built directly into my computer. (no PCIe slots left for a USB card and I’m not sure if such would be as powered as those thru the hub). So perhaps I shouldn’t have worried about controller performance originally but I’ll be gaining a lot more expansion and versatility if I use my USB-C port for a powered, switchable USB 3.0 hub and would upgrade in the future to a USB-C hub if an inexpensive, powered switchable one wanders by! The whole purchase for a USB 3.0 hub and a 2-pk of USB 3.0 to USB-C adapters was $25 with free shipping.

Correction

The product literature says,

This 4-Port USB 3.0 Hub does not charge your devices (it can only sync).

and

For a stable connection, the devices connected to the 4-Port USB 3.0 Hub must not exceed a combined current of 5 volts 900 mAh.

Apparently, the supplied power adapter is only to assure that connected devices have 900 mAh current to divvy up amongst themselves. Normally, a USB-A port should be able to supply up to 500 mAh at 5 volts. Sorry for the egregious error. I do have devices like a barcode scanner and a (small) USB microphone array that are hooked up to and powered by the Sabrent hub that I already have (so I guess I haven’t exceeded a 900 mAh total current draw yet). https://www.techwalla.com/articles/what-is-the-power-output-for-a-usb-port

Hi guys. First time poster here.

As a useful aside, I found that having my Thrustmaster TWCS + T16000 connected prevents my PC from properly going to sleep (and staying asleep). This was true of my old PC, and it’s also true in my new build. If I unplug them, the sleep behaves as it should. Consequently, having a USB hub with independent switches is really useful, because you can turn off those devices independently, without having to pull them from the ports. I bought a hub for this very reason. And I don’t notice any difference in performance, using the hub.

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Interesting…I would be REAL CAUTIOUS on one thing:

How are these switches ‘turned off and on’?

There is a thing called ‘switch debounce’ which you most likely have seen before. Where is like when you turn off a light at its switch and you see a spark behind the face plate. This is switch debounce.

It can BLOW UP YOUR COMPUTER! You NEED electronic switches - NOT MECHANICAL ONES!

…This means that the act of closing the switch will result in a surge current of 5V / 0.2Ω = 25 amps (eeek)…

See: https://www.eejournal.com/article/ultimate-guide-to-switch-debounce-part-4/

You need to either read the specs or contact the manufacture and ask them what type of switches they are using.

All it will take is one time to fry everything you have. :wink:

And so you can understand, it takes only .1 amp to kill a human - In the above article, he got 25 amps!

Amps are what kill, not volts. You can equate volts to a person height and amps to how strong they are. A tall person with no muscles is not much of a threat unlike a short person with a lot of muscles… :wink:

The Sabrent is NOT listing what they use, you need to inquire.

The wording typically used is SOFT SWITCH. This is what most TV and PC’s use today to turn them off or on.

:slight_smile:

Thanks for your post! Edit: That explains why my computer monitor never goes to sleep anymore either! (I’ve been making the monitor sleep manually since Aug. 18th!). I thought it was something about changing computer settings to run the sim or the sim itself!

A number of the Amazon reviewers of the device said that they got it so they won’t wear out their USB ports and plugs by constantly plugging and unplugging USB devices that they don’t want to have connected (never done it yet to a computer port but I’ve done it to a charging port on a Samsung phone!).

Thanks for the warning. I looked at the product literature on Amazon. It doesn’t say anything about the nature of the switch but I’d think that the switches are electronic. They are certainly not toggle switches but rather squishy push button ones for which there is no clicking or discernible contact flipping, just the bouncy feeling of increasing resistance as you push against a spring and they have LED lights to inform you of on/off status-electronics associated with an electronic switch???

The product has 3,632 product reviews with an average rating of 4.4 out of 5, it’s been on Amazon since February, 2015, and is an “Amazon Choice” item - so given that, I don’t think it’s too likely that it’s got the type of switches that will damage a computer. Sabrent, while not a Logitech, has been around for quite a while, too, as an electronics device supplier for computers. The main type of negative review is from people who had the device break at some point, e.g., a switch stopped working.

A previous claim that I made about the Sabrent hub is in error. It’s powered only to supply current to connected devices up to a 900 mAh total current limit. It cannot charge connected devices. See correction section at bottom of post.

If you unplug your controllers, with any luck, you’ll be able to validate your sleep issue in no time at all! Let me know how it goes!

FYI, I’ve also got an (unpowered) Sabrent hub. On Amazon, it has over 44000 ratings, almost exclusively 5 stars, since 2014. On that basis, I think any risk associated with the product is going to be pretty ■■■■ small.

Thanks for the nudge! Yes, I am definitely lazy! With my game controllers unplugged, the computer monitor goes to sleep within 1 minute of none use > 5 of 5 times, as it’s supposed to. With either my Thrustmaster TFRP rudder pedals or my joystick plugged in through a USB port, the monitor never goes to sleep with 5 min observed for each (and will never sleep, based on past experience).

It’s a long-standing issue with Windows 10, used to work fine with Windows 7 but Microsoft has ignored the problem for at least 5 years.

https://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/forum/windows_10-other_settings/screensaver-and-sleep-mode-not-working-with-game/32299fb3-55ab-45b5-9813-48a9bfeda6cf

A number of users have gone to Device Manager, Human Interface Devices, and just disabled all HID-compliant game controllers after the controller features have been remapped for their games (I haven’t tried it myself and there is a warning that you could lose controller features if you do this). Getting a (safe) switchable USB hub sounds like a better option. Dell has a Windows Store app for power management and I’m going to check it out to see if it restores control over Windows power management vs. game controllers being plugged in. I notice under Properties for HID-compliant game controllers that there is no power management tab for any game controller that I have.

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Glad that’s verified. I wasted countless hours doing all the usual power configuration nonsense before narrowing it down to the game controllers. Nice one, finding that thread!

Interestingly, having game controllers connected is also known to crash Doom Eternal! Bethesda recommend disconnecting before playing. Clearly, something is really messed up with how Windows is managing these devices.

I was brash enough to create a Wishlist item on better power management for controllers and the Sleep problems when not playing a game and I referenced your first post in this thread on the matter(!).

Perhaps there is hope Microsoft will get around once again to give the matter some more attention at the Windows level of device management vs. gaming.

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Nice work. So, what sort of influence does the Wishlist here have? Is there formal affiliation with this forum and MS?

That is weird. I never heard of your computer not going to ‘sleep’ with joysticks plugged in. I do not use sleep so I have no idea if mine does this or not.

One thing that might work for you and it is easier than plugging/unplugging things is to use a batch file to ‘turn on/turn off’ the HID device. This MIGHT work. Create it and place it on your desktop.

Google: disable human interface device batch file

That would be a good starting point.

And the switches? Because you can not hear/feel anything does not make it a ‘smart switch’.

The likelihood of it blowing up something is very low. You needed to be aware of it though… :slight_smile:

:slight_smile:

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