Bug #290

USB multiport support

Added by Hammel over 5 years ago. Updated about 4 years ago.

Status:ClosedStart date:09 Mar 2014
Priority:ImmediateDue date:
Assignee:Hammel% Done:

100%

Category:-
Target version:PiBox - 0.11.0
Severity:03 - Medium

Description

PiBox Media Server (and related packages) needs to support the following USB devices:
  1. Wifi dongle
  2. Bluetooth 4.0 dongle
  3. 2 Media sticks
It should also optionally support:
  1. Keyboard
  2. Mouse

If you have all of them together you need 6 ports. But you can do without 2 media sticks during setup and just have the two dongles, keyboard and mouse. That's four port. The RPi only has two ports.

The wifi and bluetooth don't need to be readily accessible (but should be accessible enough to be replaceable). The 2 media sticks must be user accessible. This means 2 ports internal to the PiBox Media Server (and related packages) and 2 ports external.

The USB ports of the RPi may be able to support low power devices but its unclear of 4 USB devices, including mouse and keyboard, are possible without using a powered hub.

There are some off-the-shelf options:
  1. DSI Smart Hub USB 1.1 High Speed 4-Port Hub - ~ $5US
  2. HIGH-SPEED USB 7-PORT HUB POWERED +AC ADAPTER CABLE - ~$15
  3. Raspberry Pi - 4 USB Hub & RTC - Lite Board (shield board for RPi) - ~$50US
  4. UUGear 7 port hub - ~$30
There are some schematics that might help in building these devices.
  1. USB bus powered hub - more than 100 mA per device?
  2. Default Simple 2-port USB 2.0 Hub
  3. Four port USB hub (and TUSB2036 Datasheet)
  4. Google images of USB schematics
And some writeups of how to mod USB hubs to power the Pi:
  1. My Raspberry Pi setup
  2. Review: UUGear 7 port hub - might be perfect solution

The Raspberry Pi B+ has 4 USB ports which makes it suitable for Media Player.

History

#1 Updated by Hammel over 5 years ago

  • Assignee set to Hammel
  • Target version set to 2.0 - Harkonnen

#2 Updated by Hammel about 5 years ago

  • Description updated (diff)
  • Priority changed from Normal to Urgent
  • Target version changed from 2.0 - Harkonnen to 1.0 - Atreides
The actual number of ports is now:
  • 1 or 2 for video sticks
  • 2 input device (keyboard and mouse) or 1 (keyboard/mouse combination or Bluetooth wiimote)
  • 1 network
  • 1 webcam (Media Server only).

The new B+ model supports 4 ports. That means the Media Server still needs an additional USB port so we have at least two video stick ports. But the Media Players could do with just two since they need no video sticks and no webcam.

I found the UUGear 7 Port board today, so that looks like a good solution.

#3 Updated by Hammel about 5 years ago

  • Description updated (diff)

#4 Updated by Hammel about 5 years ago

  • Status changed from New to In Progress
  • % Done changed from 0 to 10

Ordered 2 Pi B+ from Spark Fun.
Ordered 1 UUGear 7 port usb hub.

#5 Updated by Hammel about 5 years ago

  • Priority changed from Urgent to Low
  • % Done changed from 10 to 90
  • Severity changed from 03 - Medium to 05 - Very Low

UUGear 7 port hub works fine. It attaches to the RPi via its mounting holes (above or below the Pi). I can power the Pi using a USB port but there are also pins that I can connect directly to the Pi's GPIO pins to free up that USB port.

I should note a modified list of USB ports needed for the Media Server for future development:
  • 1 or 2 for video sticks
  • 2 input device (keyboard and mouse) or 1 (keyboard/mouse combination or Bluetooth wiimote)
  • 1 network
  • 1 webcam (Media Server only).
  • 1 BLE (new)
  • 1 Digital TV (new)

That's 8 ports max or 7 if you use a Bluetooth wiimote or keyboard/mouse combo like the Favi keyboard. Also, the Media Server can drop the BLE port in the future if a BLE board is connected via the GPIO pins instead. I suppose I could use the RPi camera instead of a USB webcam but that will change a number of things and I don't like the ribbon cable of the RPi camera. Reducing the number of devices on the USB hub may be necessary because of the power draw of the combined devices.

This issue seems resolved then. I'm going to keep it open for now and move to very low priority and 90% complete until I make note on the wiki of the use of the UUGear board.

#6 Updated by Hammel over 4 years ago

  • Target version changed from 1.0 - Atreides to 0.11.0

#7 Updated by Hammel over 4 years ago

  • Priority changed from Low to High
  • Severity changed from 05 - Very Low to 03 - Medium

#8 Updated by Hammel over 4 years ago

  • Priority changed from High to Immediate

#9 Updated by Hammel about 4 years ago

  • Status changed from In Progress to Closed
  • % Done changed from 90 to 100

The UUGear 7-port hub turned out to work fine. I was able to cable a single power supply that was split to power the UUGear hub and RPi separately. The hub was setup to not power the RPi. This works as long as the power supply can provide at least 4A @ 5V. There are problems if you try to power the RPi with the hub but that may have been due to the power supply I was testing with. I used a micro-usb-A breakout board to split in the incoming power to the two devices. And I power the RPi through the GPIO pins, not the micro-USB-A port. Using the latter also caused problems in this setup.

So the real trick was finding a physical configuration that powered both boards correctly. That's done.

This has been integrated into the first prototype case.

Closing issue.

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