iView-3500STB Tuner & DVR Owners Thread - Page 167 - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #4981 of 5013 Old 03-22-2017, 01:45 PM
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I have the iView-3500STBII and out of all the $40 units, I think overall it's the best box, best remote, best firmware.

Thinking of getting another unit.

Which $40 units are comparable or 'next best'? Another iView, eMatic, HomeworkX, other? Model number and why?

Opinions? Thanks!

Nick

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days I've stayed alive. - George Carlin - 1996
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post #4982 of 5013 Old 03-22-2017, 02:45 PM
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HomeWorX seems to have the fewest bugs. The HW-150 is comparable to the iView 3500, and the HW-180 is comparable to the iView 3200. But the remotes all suck compared to the 3500's remote.

eMatic went through a phase with bad firmware like iView did, but the newest ones are reportedly OK. Model number is AT103B. Ematic doesn't do firmware updates though, so if you get one make sure you can return it in case you get one of the buggy ones.

If you get an iView 3200, you can use the 3500's remote with it; you don't have to use the sucky 3200 remote. (That's not true of the HW-150 and HW-180 though - each of those needs its own remote!)
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post #4983 of 5013 Old 03-23-2017, 11:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JHBrandt View Post
HomeWorX seems to have the fewest bugs. The HW-150 is comparable to the iView 3500, and the HW-180 is comparable to the iView 3200. But the remotes all suck compared to the 3500's remote
What's your opinion of HW-150 versus either iView unit? And what specifically, in your opinion, makes the remotes suck?

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post #4984 of 5013 Old 03-23-2017, 11:13 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ncsercs View Post
I have the iView-3500STBII and out of all the $40 units, I think overall it's the best box, best remote, best firmware.

Thinking of getting another unit.

Which $40 units are comparable or 'next best'? Another iView, eMatic, HomeworkX, other? Model number and why?

Opinions? Thanks!
I just bought an Ematic AT103B last weekend from Walmart for $31. It had firmware dated Nov 2016. I think it has a reasonable remote control layout. The performance seems great so far. I set up a few timed recordings and it would properly wake up from off and record them and go back to off. The video quality has been excellent. The only issue I've had from a bug standpoint was entering digits to overwrite a start or stop time to record a show. Sometimes I'd press a 3 and it would just keep trying to give me a 1. I never figured out why, but worked around it by always starting at the first digit, even if it's not changing and even if it's 0 and entering all of the time digits. That seems to work.

However, I am in the process of replacing this unit with a Homeworx HW-150 (after reading positive things about that unit on this forum) only because the AT103B remote conflicts with my Vizio sound bar remote. The mute on the sound bar is the same as the Play on the AT103B, and the input select on the sound bar is the same as fast forward on the AT103B. The HW-150 should arrive tomorrow and I'll take it for a spin. If it weren't for this, the AT103B would be a definite keeper. I'm really sad to give it up because it otherwise works so well.

If you don't have a Vizio sound bar, I'd definitely endorse the AT103B to at least try out. If you get it from Walmart, it's easy to return if it doesn't work out (and if it doesn't have at least Nov 2016 firmware since, as JHBrandt points out, Ematic isn't forthcoming with firmware updates).
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post #4985 of 5013 Old 03-23-2017, 12:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mdbratch View Post
What's your opinion of HW-150 versus either iView unit? And what specifically, in your opinion, makes the remotes suck?
The HW-150 is a lot like the iView 3500. Main differences are, it's lacking a few frills, such as the front-panel display. But it seems well-built, and it has a hard front-panel power switch that physically disconnects power. That's sometimes useful.

Homeworx does offer firmware upgrades, but only by email. You have to send them a pic of your serial number so they can tell which firmware version was written for your specific box. Over the years, Homeworx firmware seems to have had the fewest bugs, but like the box itself, it lacks a few frills, such as setting transparency of the menus.

As for its remote, judge for yourself:
It's actually bigger than the small remotes used by the eMatic, HW-180, and iView 3200, but it's very hard to read, especially the block of 12 buttons at the bottom, which have grey labels on a black background. There's almost no color, and the layout isn't very logical: Record is above the arrow keys, FF/Rew are on a curved rocker below and to the right, and play, pause, and stop are in that hard-to-read block of 12 buttons. I actually prefer the HW-180 remote (looks like the eMatic one with a slightly different layout), even though it's smaller.

Luckily, I understand you'll be using a Harmony, so you probably won't care much about the Homeworx remote.
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post #4986 of 5013 Old 03-23-2017, 06:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JHBrandt View Post
As for its remote, judge for yourself...
...
Luckily, I understand you'll be using a Harmony, so you probably won't care much about the Homeworx remote
Ugh. The arrangement of the "transport" buttons are particularly weird. Actually, outright bizarre. Glad I'll be using the harmony!

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post #4987 of 5013 Old 03-24-2017, 12:40 PM
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Not to mention the button that changes a recording from the preview window to full screen being labeled as 'Hold'. :-)

But once you get used to it and just remember it as bottom-most right, you don't think of it much after that.
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post #4988 of 5013 Old 03-24-2017, 01:00 PM
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The button to go to full-screen doesn't make much more sense on the iView. It's the "Schedule" button (equivalent to "Timer" on the HW remote). I have no idea why neither box picked a more obvious button, like "OK." At any rate, I just remember it as the green button
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post #4989 of 5013 Old 03-25-2017, 04:15 AM
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Originally Posted by eherberg View Post
Not to mention the button that changes a recording from the preview window to full screen being labeled as 'Hold'. :-)
That is odd. The AT103B is the same. I don't know any function that the Hold button performs that actually means "hold".

On the odd UI topic, both the AT103B and HW-150PVR use 1, 2, and 3 for add, edit, and delete. On the USB drive screen, it uses EPG to delete, TIMER to rename. Pretty random. Thankfully, it has the legend right on screen for the button meanings.
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post #4990 of 5013 Old 03-28-2017, 08:21 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ncsercs View Post
I have the iView-3500STBII and out of all the $40 units, I think overall it's the best box, best remote, best firmware.

Thinking of getting another unit.

Which $40 units are comparable or 'next best'? Another iView, eMatic, HomeworkX, other? Model number and why?

Opinions? Thanks!
Just ordered a ViewTV AT-163 that was a Lightning Deal on Amazon for $23.99 w/free ship (normally $29.99).

Very similar to the iView. The price and the remote sealed the deal.

Nick

Every day I beat my own previous record for the number of consecutive
days I've stayed alive. - George Carlin - 1996
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post #4991 of 5013 Old 03-28-2017, 08:48 AM
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Great! Let us know what you find:

  • Menu/System/Information (HW version, SW version, etc.)
  • Any special features (games a la eMatic, menu transparency a la iView, etc.)
  • Any stupidly disabled features, such as time-shifting on the RCA DTA880 boxes
  • And, of course, any bugs
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post #4992 of 5013 Old 03-29-2017, 08:03 PM
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hi everyone,
I first got the iview3500 back in 2013, when I went by johngbm4el. the box eventually could be only be controlled by pointing a remote 2" inches away from the box, whether it was iview's or a harmony. I am now in the market for a new box. I see a 4 star amazon rating for the "Edal Digital ATSC HD TV Receiver Converter Tuner Box." There is no edal website.
Amazon said they tested and they back the product. any thoughts?
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post #4993 of 5013 Old 03-30-2017, 03:58 AM
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Originally Posted by johngbm4avs View Post
hi everyone,
I first got the iview3500 back in 2013, when I went by johngbm4el. the box eventually could be only be controlled by pointing a remote 2" inches away from the box, whether it was iview's or a harmony. I am now in the market for a new box. I see a 4 star amazon rating for the "Edal Digital ATSC HD TV Receiver Converter Tuner Box." There is no edal website.
Amazon said they tested and they back the product. any thoughts?
There are only 38 reviews on Amazon, so statistically it's hard to tell how it compares to most of the others which come in close, at about 3.5-ish stars with 100's or over 1000 reviews.

There are a lot of players in this business. From a feature and UI standpoint, these units are about the same, and most of them run around the same price give or take a couple of bucks. What's different are some extra features here or there and level of support. From what I've seen, at least iView and Mediasonic (Homeworx products) provide firmware updates. I have personally had email and phone support experience with Ematic (AT103B) and Mediasonic and found them to be very responsive, although Ematic doesn't provide firmware updates readily.

So all that said, I would hesitate to by a unit that didn't have a website and has an unknown support record unless the user reviews indicate that they get good support.

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post #4994 of 5013 Old 03-30-2017, 06:33 PM
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Is there something on Amazon that will enable me to plug an HDMI cable in the back and convert to a USB port enabling me to use my laptop as a monitor? Everything I see goes from laptop to monitor only. Is there a term for it?

Nick

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post #4995 of 5013 Old 03-30-2017, 08:10 PM
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Just search Amazon for "HDMI capture device. " They aren't particularly cheap though.
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post #4996 of 5013 Old 03-30-2017, 10:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JHBrandt View Post
The button to go to full-screen doesn't make much more sense on the iView. It's the "Schedule" button (equivalent to "Timer" on the HW remote). I have no idea why neither box picked a more obvious button, like "OK." At any rate, I just remember it as the green button
They don't have a set of mode screens and functions for each mode like you might find on a more "professionally-designed" user interface. They just throw a bunch of buttons on the remote, then they can't remember what the functions are for any particular remote and certainly can't design a mode screen, so they just grab any available button. Note that something like Apple TV relies on a remote with hardly any buttons but you are guided to press a particular button (up, down, ok) for a function on each mode screen.

I forgot the other day about how I'd programmed my universal remote for the iView "Schedule" button, but then I remembered I needed to use it to change the size of the playback in the "playback" mode, and I use buttons with arrows on them or picture-in-picture toggle buttons to do those kinds of things, so I pressed an unused right-pointing arrow button in the DVR section, and it worked. I probably should change that to the unused PIP buttons on the universal remote because the pictograph on the button really captures the essence of that function (an arrow between two different size windows).

--
max
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post #4997 of 5013 Old 03-31-2017, 10:11 AM
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Ironically, iView is one of the few MStar boxes whose remote has colored (red, green, yellow, blue) buttons that are often used for mode-specific functions - and Schedule is one of those buttons (the green one)! So iView actually did a somewhat better job than most of the others, although they should have used colored backgrounds on the onscreen button labels, and other colors for other mode-specific functions (e.g., red would have made sense for delete; and blue might have been better than green for full-screen since it isn't next to red/delete).

My beef is, switching to full-screen is such an obvious thing to need to do, they should have used an equally obvious button to do it. To me, pressing OK again would have made the most sense.
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post #4998 of 5013 Old 04-01-2017, 01:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JHBrandt View Post
My beef is, switching to full-screen is such an obvious thing to need to do, they should have used an equally obvious button to do it. To me, pressing OK again would have made the most sense.
Then don't use the "OK" button (and then the "green" button) to view your recorded program. Use the "Play" button instead. It will go "full screen" automatically. Just have to train yourself to use the "Play" button. It's just too tempting to use that big old "OK" button for starting everything. You'll get the hang of it after a few hundred tries.
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post #4999 of 5013 Old 04-02-2017, 08:24 AM
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Thanks! That's a great tip and I hadn't even thought about using the play button. Just tried it on my Mediasonic and it works there also.
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post #5000 of 5013 Old 04-03-2017, 02:44 PM
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Trouble with scheduled recordings

Hello all,

Just bought an iView 3500STBII and have been trying to make it work. I updated the firmware to the latest version, 9-23-2016, but it is still giving me trouble. Over the weekend I tried to record four episodes of The Avengers but only one is good. That was the first one, which ran from 1:00 to 2:00 Sunday morning. The second episode which ran from 2:00 to 3:00 resulted in an .mts file which cannot be read either by the iView itself or by my desktop computer. I set up both recordings using the EPG button/feature. Then, last night, I set the iView to record two more episodes, but this time I set the iView to make a single recording from midnight to 2:00 on the same channel. This was the scheduled time for the next two episodes. The result was a readable file but it plays for only about 46 minutes then ends abruptly.

All recordings were done using a 64GB Lexar USB3 flash drive. I reformatted it to NTFS (on my computer) so that it could accommodate HD broadcast movies and shows. However all the recordings I have attempted with it have been 480i broadcasts which along with the success of one recording, makes me think the flash drive is fast enough for the job.

I would appreciate any advice on troubleshooting this issue.

TIA -- Dave
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post #5001 of 5013 Old 04-03-2017, 05:04 PM
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...All recordings were done using a 64GB Lexar USB3 flash drive....
You should be fine using a flash drive that's fast enough for HD recording.

Trouble is that most flash drive makers don't seem to want you to know how SLOW their drives are. Typically, the larger the capacity of the flash drive the faster it writes (read speeds are always faster than write speed, but they're not as important as write speed).

Write speed is very important to assure our HD files are being faithfully and completely written to the drive we're using. This requires a write speed at least as fast as a typ. HDD, or 125MB/s. Without a good write we can see bad playback w/o realizing it's caused by a poorly written HD file.

Here's a Lexar page on many of their flash drives with MANY SLOW-writing drives... there's only ONE on that page that's fast enough for recording HD, the P20 down the page priced at $74.99, with 270MB/s write speed. Other mfgrs seem to have many faster drives that Lexar.

People who'd really like to use flash drives need to do a little digging to find one that actually tells you what the write speed is! Also, many drives are USB 3.0 and natively much faster than 2.0 but operate at 2.0 speed if your machine is only 2.0, which most are today, so take that into count as well... i.e., get the FASTEST flash drive you can afford to assure best results in recording (writing) and simultaneously playing (reading) HD files, which we often do.

Here's a help file on this subject JFTHOI:

Worried about "slow" FT drives? Best FT drives for DVRs will be larger-capacity USB 3.0 drives (128+GB), which are *designed* for faster reading/writing than smaller-capacity models from same mfgr. This can prevent the playback-stuttering-while-recording reported on other DVRs. Here's a good comparison chart that might make your research easier? Look for write speed at least faster than 125MB/s, the typ min. write speed of HDDs. Beware of sellers who show only read speed, which is always (much) higher and not nearly as important as write speed for our recorders. See note on Samsung 850 Pro below.
Worried about multiple writes/rewrites? How about "Two freaking petabytes" (2,000 TB) in SSD endurance tests so far (tests performed "way back" in 2013-2014). All depends on the type of flash memory inside, e.g., the Samsung 840 model in that report was not a great performer due to its use of TLC flash but its new 850 models for 2017 (up to 4TB) will be using 2-bit NAND MLC and have 470-520MB/s write speed(!).
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post #5002 of 5013 Old 04-04-2017, 10:54 AM
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Question WD 1TB Elements Portable External Hard Drive - USB 3.0 - WDBUZG0010BBK-WESN

Has anyone had an experience using an external hard drive, that draws power from the USB connection?

I need another 1T hard drive, and hesitate to buy one if the lack of a separate power function is going to be a problem.

Thanks!
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post #5003 of 5013 Old 04-04-2017, 11:29 AM
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Has anyone had an experience using an external hard drive, that draws power from the USB connection?

I need another 1T hard drive, and hesitate to buy one if the lack of a separate power function is going to be a problem.
I'd recommend asking their support (support@iviewus.com). I have a different unit (the Homeworx HW-150PVR) and it supports powering the hard drive as long as it is rated less than 800mA. My drive is a 2.5 inch SATA drive and it's 700mA. So it will work as long as you don't have a power hungry drive. In the case of the HW-150PVR, they don't regulate the current, so they warn the user that putting a higher rated current device on there can toast the circuit.

Alternatively, you can get a "USB power injector" that will allow you to connect the host and device and give you a receptacle for the power supply, if you don't want it to come from the host device directly. They sell them on Amazon.

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post #5004 of 5013 Old 04-04-2017, 12:58 PM
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A few words of caution about USB power injectors. First, many require two USB ports on the host, which makes them useless with an iView, which has only one USB port. (Besides, all they do is parallel the power from two USB ports, which doesn't help if the total power available isn't enough.) Second, most are unswitched, so they supply five volts to the drive even when the iView is off, causing the drive to spin continuously. (Some drives have a "sleep" feature which can overcome this, but the sleep feature can create its own set of problems.)

If you're willing to build it yourself, I did find plans for a switched USB power injector on the web here: https://www.eeweb.com/blog/extreme_c...al-hard-drives.

For the rest of us, a powered USB hub is probably your best bet. These are usually switched - but I've had trouble with some of those too! So far I haven't tried a powered hub I can personally vouch for, but this 7-port hub was recently recommended on the HomeWorX thread, so it might be worth a shot: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00DQFGJR4

If the link doesn't take you to a 7-port hub, click '7-port USB 2.0' on the page. (I had some trouble with the page.) The 4-port USB 2.0 hub linked to on that page is not powered; avoid it. (The 4-port USB 3.0 hub is powered, so it would probably work too, but I don't know of anyone who's tried it.)
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post #5005 of 5013 Old 04-04-2017, 01:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JHBrandt View Post
First, many require two USB ports on the host, which makes them useless with an iView, which has only one USB port. (Besides, all they do is parallel the power from two USB ports, which doesn't help if the total power available isn't enough.)
There are different kinds, as you point out. Sorry I didn't make it clear, but I was referring to the kind that allows you to power from an external AC adapter, not from two host USB ports. Obviously, the two USB port kind won't work here since the whole issue is that the host in this case is expected not to have adequate power to provide to the device (can't source enough current). A powered USB hub is a nice, economical alternative and is really the same idea, just with multiple ports.

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post #5006 of 5013 Old 04-05-2017, 02:13 AM
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Like this?

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Inateck USB 3.0 to SATA Converter Adapter for 2.5 inch/3.5 inch Hard Drive Disk HDD and SSD, Power Adapter Included(UA1001)

Nick

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post #5007 of 5013 Old 04-05-2017, 05:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ncsercs View Post
Like this?

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Inateck USB 3.0 to SATA Converter Adapter for 2.5 inch/3.5 inch Hard Drive Disk HDD and SSD, Power Adapter Included(UA1001)
That's one of numerous choices if one has a spare SATA drive.
I have a spare 700mA 2.5 inch SATA drive taken from a laptop that I upgrade, and only needed something like this, since the PVR could power the drive without external help:

https://www.amazon.com/Sabrent-2-5-I...sata+enclosure

Here's a very simple USB power injector adapter (requires an external AC adapter):

https://www.amazon.com/Mikrotik-5VUS...power+injector

But it's actually cheaper to get this powered USB hub:

https://www.amazon.com/Protronix-Por...power+injector
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post #5008 of 5013 Old 04-05-2017, 02:35 PM
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That's a good price on that powered hub. Have you confirmed that it works on the iView or HomeWorX? (I assume if it works on one, it'll work on the other.)

I got this one last year for about $13: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00OM9QMOS

... but it never worked on either the HW or iView.
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post #5009 of 5013 Old 04-05-2017, 03:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JHBrandt View Post
That's a good price on that powered hub. Have you confirmed that it works on the iView or HomeWorX? (I assume if it works on one, it'll work on the other.)

I got this one last year for about $13: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00OM9QMOS

... but it never worked on either the HW or iView.
Actually, I haven't tried it, and that's a good point. The hub you linked complies with the USB 2.0 specification, which only guarantees up to 500mA current capacity, which is less than HDDs require. It looks like the Amazon description says 400mA in this case. So it probably would not work powering an external HDD. The USB 3.0 specification is 900mA @ 5V, so that stands a chance. The hub I linked claims USB 3.0, so I'm only supposing it stands a chance of working as long as the HDD doesn't require more than 900mA.

Last edited by mdbratch; 04-05-2017 at 03:28 PM.
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post #5010 of 5013 Old 04-05-2017, 07:59 PM
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As to why my hub doesn't work, I tested it with a voltage/current checker. Output voltage was 4.9V; a bit low but should be OK. Current drain of my HDD measured <180mA with or without the hub, and the HDD light comes on when plugged into the hub (and when the iView is turned on). But the iView doesn't recognize it.

A clue, perhaps, from Amazon's product page: "Not support Mac OS X." How can a USB hub only work on some OSes and not others?

So I tried it with my Windows 7 PC. When I plugged in the HDD, it installed a device driver, which required a reboot! That never happens when I plug the HDD directly into the PC. I can only conclude the device driver came from the hub itself.

But even after rebooting it still didn't work. And naturally Windows couldn't find an updated driver for it. So for my $13, it basically turned out to be a piece of junk.

I wouldn't expect other powered hubs to have these kinds of issues. Guess I just picked a bad model.
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