I need a device that toggles power (ON/OFF) in a USB cable - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 26 Old 12-25-2011, 06:25 PM - Thread Starter
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I have a very special need to be able to toggle power in a USB cable when necessary.

The reason is, I have USB devices that wont turn off UNLESS I unplug the usb cables from them. I would like to automate this with either a specialized USB hub that cuts power to certain ports when necessary or USB cable repeater that can be turned on and off when necessary via an electronic timer.

Unfortunately, all the hubs I've seen; whether powered or not; allow power to flow through them.

If there is no such thing, maybe someone knows of an online shop that makes custom USB parts?

Basically, something like the below device; except with a way for me to automate "when" to turn the port on and off:
http://www.engadget.com/2009/06/17/b...ates-vampires/
or
http://www.thinkgeek.com/computing/usb-gadgets/e2d2/ (7 Port version)
http://www.meritline.com/7-port-usb-...rce=nextaghdac (7 port version)
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post #2 of 26 Old 12-25-2011, 07:44 PM
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What are you planning to use as a trigger to either energize or de-energize the USP port? In other words, what type of event would require the port to be toggled on or off? I ran a search and came up with the following:

http://hackaday.com/2011/09/29/remot...ed-usb-switch/

A simple 2-way USB switch could be used whereby one output connects to the devices you wish to power on and off and the other input is left open. When you switch to the open port, the devices connected to the other port should now be disconnected and power off. Switch back to the same input and the devices are powered back on.

Automating them would require more expertise than I can provide. You'd probably need some sort of interface whereby you could program it to send a signal to the external switch and toggle the outputs in the manner I described. You'd probably need a single output that would toggle between a high or a low as the switching signal. I'm just not sure how to go about setting that up on a PC. I suspect there may be something related to home automation from a PC that would do what you want.
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post #3 of 26 Old 12-25-2011, 07:58 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for replying. Since I want to automate this (toggle OFF/ON), a remote control won't be much better than me manually powering ON/OF the devices with one of the USB hubs in my original post.

All I need is a switch that can be controller with a simple electronic timer.

Quote:
Originally Posted by captain_video View Post

What are you planning to use as a trigger to either energize or de-energize the USP port? In other words, what type of event would require the port to be toggled on or off? I ran a search and came up with the following:

http://hackaday.com/2011/09/29/remot...ed-usb-switch/

A simple 2-way USB switch could be used whereby one output connects to the devices you wish to power on and off and the other input is left open. When you switch to the open port, the devices connected to the other port should now be disconnected and power off. Switch back to the same input and the devices are powered back on.

Automating them would require more expertise than I can provide. You'd probably need some sort of interface whereby you could program it to send a signal to the external switch and toggle the outputs in the manner I described. You'd probably need a single output that would toggle between a high or a low as the switching signal. I'm just not sure how to go about setting that up on a PC. I suspect there may be something related to home automation from a PC that would do what you want.

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post #4 of 26 Old 12-25-2011, 08:34 PM - Thread Starter
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Geeze, I just did a search on google for "toggle usb power with electronic timer"; and my own question on AVS forum came up. Surely, I can't be the only person in the history of the Internet that asked about this.

The below device does exactly what I want; the only problem is someone made it himself:
http://www.r3uk.com/index.php/home/3...evice-resetter
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post #5 of 26 Old 12-25-2011, 08:45 PM
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If all you need is to control it via a timer then it should be a relatively straightforward circuit to build. Get a small project box and cut a USB cable somewhere between the connectors. Drill three holes in the box: two for grommets and one for a DC power jack. Insert the cable and grommets through holes at each end of the box and splice the three wires together (everything but the +5V line). Get a wall wart and a DC relay chip that are of compatible operating voltages (i.e., if the relay operates at +5V get a 5VDC wall wart). Install a DC power jack in the project box that's compatible with the connector on the wall wart. Connect the two ends of the USB +5V line to the input and output of a relay chip. You can mount the chip on a small project board or build your own from scrap PC material. Connect the positive and negative lines from the DC power jack to the Vcc input of the relay and ground, respectively.

The timer needs to be programmable so you can set the start and stop times. A simple appliance timer used to turn lights on and off would work. Just plug your wall wart into the socket and use the output to power the relay. When the timer hits the start time, the power supply turns on, the relay is energized, and the +5V line of the USB cable is connected for continuity, allowing the USB devices to power on. When the time reaches the stop time, the power supply is turned off, the relay is de-energized, and the +5V connection is opened, turning off the USB devices.

There are probably more elegant solutions, especially if you want more precise control over the start and stop times. If you're just looking for a rough start and stop time then this may do what you want.
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post #6 of 26 Old 12-25-2011, 09:47 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks. But, I'm looking for something to buy, not build. If I had experience in electronics, I wouldn't be posting here; which is why I was asking in my first post for an online shop that builds these parts for me.

Quote:
Originally Posted by captain_video View Post

If all you need is to control it via a timer then it should be a relatively straightforward circuit to build. Get a small project box and cut a USB cable somewhere between the connectors. Drill three holes in the box: two for grommets and one for a DC power jack. Insert the cable and grommets through holes at each end of the box and splice the three wires together (everything but the +5V line). Get a wall wart and a DC relay chip that are of compatible operating voltages (i.e., if the relay operates at +5V get a 5VDC wall wart). Install a DC power jack in the project box that's compatible with the connector on the wall wart. Connect the two ends of the USB +5V line to the input and output of a relay chip. You can mount the chip on a small project board or build your own from scrap PC material. Connect the positive and negative lines from the DC power jack to the Vcc input of the relay and ground, respectively.

The timer needs to be programmable so you can set the start and stop times. A simple appliance timer used to turn lights on and off would work. Just plug your wall wart into the socket and use the output to power the relay. When the timer hits the start time, the power supply turns on, the relay is energized, and the +5V line of the USB cable is connected for continuity, allowing the USB devices to power on. When the time reaches the stop time, the power supply is turned off, the relay is de-energized, and the +5V connection is opened, turning off the USB devices.

There are probably more elegant solutions, especially if you want more precise control over the start and stop times. If you're just looking for a rough start and stop time then this may do what you want.

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post #7 of 26 Old 12-25-2011, 11:22 PM
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Contact the user Gizmologist (usually posts in Audio Theory.) If he can't build one for you, he probably knows someone who can.

Keep in mind the more sophisticated you want it, the more the labor will be, and these guys don't work for peanuts.

Don't believe everything on the Interwebz! A duck's quack DOES echo!
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post #8 of 26 Old 12-26-2011, 01:56 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks. I sent him a PM.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tulpa View Post

Contact the user Gizmologist (usually posts in Audio Theory.) If he can't build one for you, he probably knows someone who can.

Keep in mind the more sophisticated you want it, the more the labor will be, and these guys don't work for peanuts.

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post #9 of 26 Old 12-26-2011, 08:21 AM
 
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Quote:
a relay chip

That's cute.
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post #10 of 26 Old 12-26-2011, 08:48 AM
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There definitely are some USB hubs that lose power when you unplug them - I have some that have to be manually switched from self-powered to bus-powered

Quality Assurance Manager, Ceton Corporation
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post #11 of 26 Old 12-26-2011, 09:07 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SAM64 View Post

That's cute.

What's cute about it? I was referring to something along these lines:

http://www.radioshack.com/product/in...ductId=2062478
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post #12 of 26 Old 12-26-2011, 03:36 PM - Thread Starter
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The trick is finding a USB hub that that's also powered that does this. If you know of any powered 7 port USB hubs that disconnect power; especially the power coming from the PC, please let me know.

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Originally Posted by erickotz View Post

There definitely are some USB hubs that lose power when you unplug them - I have some that have to be manually switched from self-powered to bus-powered

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post #13 of 26 Old 12-26-2011, 04:39 PM
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Can't you cut the 5v conductor in the cable that runs from the PC to the hub (you might want to label it so)? This means the power will come from the hub's PSU. You can then put the hub's PSU on a timer.

Yo mama so fat, time slow when she near.
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post #14 of 26 Old 12-26-2011, 06:44 PM
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Just to expand on the powered hub idea - there are several models of triggered outlets that could be combined with a powered hub such as this one from Xantech. If you want the devices powered at specific times during the day, a timer outlet would work too.

I think it would take some trial and error with the hub though as the device may draw enough power through the PC USB port to not totally reset the attached device. Test a couple from somewhere that has a good returns policy.
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post #15 of 26 Old 12-26-2011, 06:52 PM
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Thinking out of the box here... What about writing a script/program to "disable" and "enable" these devices at specific times within Device Manager? If the device is disabled...does that achieve the same result as yanking the USB plug?
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post #16 of 26 Old 12-26-2011, 07:15 PM - Thread Starter
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I already tried that with MS Devcon. A fully working script. Unfortunately, it requires a reboot to disable these type of USB devices in the state they are at.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kapone View Post

Thinking out of the box here... What about writing a script/program to "disable" and "enable" these devices at specific times within Device Manager? If the device is disabled...does that achieve the same result as yanking the USB plug?

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post #17 of 26 Old 12-26-2011, 07:24 PM - Thread Starter
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It looks like I'll be going the relay switch route (between the USB device and the USB hub). I found someone that will do this for me. Thanks so much for your help everyone.

Quote:
Originally Posted by captain_video View Post

If all you need is to control it via a timer then it should be a relatively straightforward circuit to build. Get a small project box and cut a USB cable somewhere between the connectors. Drill three holes in the box: two for grommets and one for a DC power jack. Insert the cable and grommets through holes at each end of the box and splice the three wires together (everything but the +5V line). Get a wall wart and a DC relay chip that are of compatible operating voltages (i.e., if the relay operates at +5V get a 5VDC wall wart). Install a DC power jack in the project box that's compatible with the connector on the wall wart. Connect the two ends of the USB +5V line to the input and output of a relay chip. You can mount the chip on a small project board or build your own from scrap PC material. Connect the positive and negative lines from the DC power jack to the Vcc input of the relay and ground, respectively.

The timer needs to be programmable so you can set the start and stop times. A simple appliance timer used to turn lights on and off would work. Just plug your wall wart into the socket and use the output to power the relay. When the timer hits the start time, the power supply turns on, the relay is energized, and the +5V line of the USB cable is connected for continuity, allowing the USB devices to power on. When the time reaches the stop time, the power supply is turned off, the relay is de-energized, and the +5V connection is opened, turning off the USB devices.

There are probably more elegant solutions, especially if you want more precise control over the start and stop times. If you're just looking for a rough start and stop time then this may do what you want.

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post #18 of 26 Old 12-26-2011, 07:27 PM
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After a bit of googling, it seems that this can be done in software with certain hubs. Check out this blog post. The author was wanting to power on/off USB LED lights. He links to some software as well as a hub that works with it - the Linksys USB2HUB4.
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post #19 of 26 Old 12-26-2011, 08:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MKANET View Post

The trick is finding a USB hub that that's also powered that does this. If you know of any powered 7 port USB hubs that disconnect power; especially the power coming from the PC, please let me know.

The ones I had were only 4-5 ports and not 7, but if your other method doesn't work, let me know and I'll dig one up/find the brand. It was some cheapie/generic one.

Quality Assurance Manager, Ceton Corporation
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post #20 of 26 Old 02-10-2012, 11:52 AM - Thread Starter
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Someone here on the forum built/fabricated this exotic device from scratch for me. It ultimately ended up being much more elaborate than my original request since I decided to take advantage of this guy's great electronics and fabrication skills. I swear, this guy can build just about anything from scratch! It looks like a very nice electronics great I would buy at a store. It doesn't look home-made or generic.

Now... I have both of my cableboxes' AC power cables plugged into it as well as their USB cables. During normal operation there's a GREEN LED. As soon as my electronic timer turns on, both USB cable connections are completely severed as well as power going into the cable boxes. While these two cableboxes are completely isolated from any type of power whatsoever, this gadget's LED will illuminate RED.
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post #21 of 26 Old 05-21-2017, 06:34 PM
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Originally Posted by MKANET View Post
Someone here on the forum built/fabricated this exotic device from scratch for me. It ultimately ended up being much more elaborate than my original request since I decided to take advantage of this guy's great electronics and fabrication skills. I swear, this guy can build just about anything from scratch! It looks like a very nice electronics great I would buy at a store. It doesn't look home-made or generic.<br><br>
Now... I have both of my cableboxes' AC power cables plugged into it as well as their USB cables. During normal operation there's a GREEN LED. As soon as my electronic timer turns on, both USB cable connections are completely severed as well as power going into the cable boxes. While these two cableboxes are completely isolated from any type of power whatsoever, this gadget's LED will illuminate RED.
Hi MKANET,

This is my first time on the AVS Forum cuz I searched for what you searched for, 5 years ago, and found YOU.

Can you believe that I've searched and searched but cannot find what I'm looking for and I'm not gifted enough to build my own.

You said you found somebody who built one for you. Can you let me have some details, please?

Alternatively (additionally?) do you have any inspiration or knowledge you can share which mightt help me find one?

Thanks for reading and hoping you can help.

Bunny
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post #22 of 26 Old 05-22-2017, 05:57 PM - Thread Starter
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Hello BunnyGee. I'll send you a Private Message shortly with the person to contact who built me this device.
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post #23 of 26 Old 05-25-2017, 10:00 AM
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Hello BunnyGee. I'll send you a Private Message shortly with the person to contact who built me this device.
I can't send a PM in reply as my "Post Count" isn't great enough (seems a bit daft that I can't even REPLY to a PM though).

So here's the PM I tried to send:

Thanks MKANET,

We're seeking a resolution to different issues though, as my particular niggle isn't worth spending more than $10 (maybe $20 at a real push).

I do appreciate your making the effort to respond, though.

So, thanks again.

Bun
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post #24 of 26 Old 05-25-2017, 10:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BunnyGee View Post
Can you believe that I've searched and searched but cannot find what I'm looking for and I'm not gifted enough to build my own.

You said you found somebody who built one for you. Can you let me have some details, please?
The Yepkit hub is probably the cheapest pre-made programmable USB switch that you can get ($31.14). The more professional ones cost $100 (PowerUSB) and $300 (Acroname).

Yepkit USB switchable hub (YKUSH):
https://www.yepkit.com/products/ykush

Read Yepkit's description and application example. It looks like exactly what I wanted.

Also take a look at the Super User answers:

Control Power To Multiple USB Devices:
https://superuser.com/questions/1032...le-usb-devices

How to disable a USB port:
https://superuser.com/questions/1088...ble-a-usb-port
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post #25 of 26 Old 09-13-2017, 06:13 AM
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I know this is an old thread but it seems that some things like this are integrated into alarm clocks/fans on Amazon. Won't let me post a link but search: "usb battery timer"
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post #26 of 26 Old 09-14-2017, 01:26 AM
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Quote:
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I know this is an old thread but it seems that some things like this are integrated into alarm clocks/fans on Amazon. Won't let me post a link but search: "usb battery timer"
Not sure what it is. A search shows several different items. What is the brand, item number, or SKU?

Let's say you get an alarm clock or fan to pull out the timer. How are you going to program it to toggle USB?
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