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Thread: Strange problem with USB3 header

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    Strange problem with USB3 header

    Decided to fit a memory card reader today, so I got this one from Akasa. This has a USB2 based memory- and smart-card reader along with two 2A charging ports and a quartet of USB3 ports. Downside is that it needs 1xMolex, 1xSATA power, 1xUSB2 header and 1xUSB3 header connected

    Hooked it all up, only to find that now my SATA DVDROM doesn't power on etc. Tried methodically going through the connections only to discover that if I just disconnected the USB3 header the DVD ROM sprung into life. And unfortunately the new Card Reader thing does squat - although Windows7 sees a smart card reader.

    With the USB3 header connected Windows7 sees the memory card readers and my Sabretooth's BIOS reports that it's got 4 "CRW" on the USB.

    Any ideas what's going wrong here - defective card reader or motherboard, or something else I missed?

    PS sorry if this should be in the storage section instead - figure that this was more likely a motherboard issue.

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    Re: Strange problem with USB3 header

    Curious as to why it needs two power connectors as the spec says it only needs 5v. My guess would be that the Molex is for the charge points, the data power for the others.

    As for the other problem,, maybe some odd earthing problem affecting the power to the DVD player. The unit is powering, and the functions detected, which perhaps rules out mis-plugging. Are there other USB 3 or 2 headers you could try?

    Hard to diagnose at a distance though. I have had issues with a Akasa USB3 drive caddy, steadfastly refused to operate on a mono built in USB3 socket, although a USB memory stick worked OK.

    Sorry I can't offer more help, I think I'd be getting the multi meter out, or perhaps returning it.
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    Re: Strange problem with USB3 header

    Quote Originally Posted by peterb View Post
    As for the other problem,, maybe some odd earthing problem affecting the power to the DVD player. The unit is powering, and the functions detected, which perhaps rules out mis-plugging. Are there other USB 3 or 2 headers you could try?
    Good thought - Amazon are delivering a fairly cheap USB3/PCIE card today with an internal USB3 header*, so I'll have a second header to try. Downside is that because it's the USB3 plug that seems to be the issue it'd have to be a spare USB3 header (since I don't have the convertor cable).
    I've also spent a couple of quid on the (female) USB3 header to (male) USB2 header so I can try out that motherboard socket/header with a plain ole USB2 plug (got spare/unconnected ones in the case).

    Strange though that I can either have a working card reader or a working DVD ROM but not both. Only use DVD for ripping CD's these days, so heck I could even just use a external DVD drive and reclaim a valuable SATA port.
    Quote Originally Posted by peterb View Post
    Sorry I can't offer more help, I think I'd be getting the multi meter out, or perhaps returning it.
    Akasa was bought from Scan who, in the past at least, have been pretty solid about RMA's. If it fails with the new card then I'll definitely be sending it back.

    (* card is an Inatek brand - haven't dealt with them before, but was intrigued when I got an email from them reminding me to download the latest drivers from their website and thanking me for my purchase).

    Did a search for PCI or PCIe cards with internal headers and was dismayed that there's no sign of USB2 ones (apart from eBay - used) and there were a lot that have internal USB ports rather than the headers. If I get a HX100 watercooling setup then I'm going to be having to decommission some of my current USB2 ports just to reclaim a header.

    PS Thanks for the reply - I was kind of expecting that if I got a reply at all it'd be recommending looking into some kind of PSU overload (not likely given I've got a 750W PSU and only a single graphics card).

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    Re: Strange problem with USB3 header

    This isn't a solution but might at least give you an idea for something to look for -

    Check your manual for your motherboard and the options in the UEFI very carefully.

    I had an issue with the front USB3 ports not working on my PC, and it took me a long time to realise it was due to the PCI-E lanes used to connect it being shared between that and the last PCI-E slot on the motherboard. With appropriate changes in the UEFI I was able to disable the last slot (which I wasn't using anyway) and make the USB3 header work.

    There could be something similar going on here - PCI-E lanes shared between the USB3 header and some of the SATA ports, only able to use one or the other at once. If this does turn out to be the problem, check if there are SATA ports running from another controller that you could connect the DVD drive to instead.

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    Re: Strange problem with USB3 header

    Quote Originally Posted by Taniniver View Post
    This isn't a solution but might at least give you an idea for something to look for -

    Check your manual for your motherboard and the options in the UEFI very carefully.

    I had an issue with the front USB3 ports not working on my PC, and it took me a long time to realise it was due to the PCI-E lanes used to connect it being shared between that and the last PCI-E slot on the motherboard. With appropriate changes in the UEFI I was able to disable the last slot (which I wasn't using anyway) and make the USB3 header work.

    There could be something similar going on here - PCI-E lanes shared between the USB3 header and some of the SATA ports, only able to use one or the other at once. If this does turn out to be the problem, check if there are SATA ports running from another controller that you could connect the DVD drive to instead.
    Good thought - I did take a quick trip through the settings to see if there was any "USB3 header disable" set. Luckily my Sabretooth has a pretty good BIOS. Unfortunately I'm maxed out on the SATA ports - 2 Samsung SSDs, a Seagate SSHD, a WD Black and a WD Green - which with the SATA-connected DVD manages to use all 6 ports on the Sabretooth.

    Anyway, I got my PCIe USB3 card and hooked it up - and I now have a working card reader AND a working DVD. So it's probably something amiss with that header. Unfortunately the postie didn't deliver my USB3-USB2 header converter so I can't try that header with another output port to be certain.

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    Re: Strange problem with USB3 header

    Surely that device needs 1 Molex *or* 1 SATA power? A quick look on Wikipedia says the single 5V pin on the Molex is rated at 11A.

    You could be bridging two power rails together if you are plugging both in, unless they are off the same PSU cable. That could have some odd effects.

    I checked the downloadable instruction sheet from the Akasa website. Not very informative is it

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    Re: Strange problem with USB3 header

    Quote Originally Posted by DanceswithUnix View Post
    Surely that device needs 1 Molex *or* 1 SATA power? A quick look on Wikipedia says the single 5V pin on the Molex is rated at 11A.

    You could be bridging two power rails together if you are plugging both in, unless they are off the same PSU cable. That could have some odd effects.

    I checked the downloadable instruction sheet from the Akasa website. Not very informative is it
    Yep, the Akasa instructions are a total load.

    I finally got the USB3->USB2 cable and once I'd carefully straightened the bent pins on the USB2 male connector I gave it a go - using it to provide the USB2 feed to the Akasa box, and returning the motherboard USB2 headers to providing my case's USB2 ports. Everything now works, so I'm no further forward as to why using the USB3 header as a USB3 one causes the DVD to go offline. So I'm going to chalk it up a either a dodgy motherboard (nominal) or some weird interrupt screw-up. The "CRW" notation I spotted in the BIOS was a red herring - it does that even when working, I'm assuming that "CRW" is Asus-speak for Card Read/Write.

    Solved

    And many thanks to everyone who took time out from their busy schedules to have a think about this. Nice to know that no-one came back to say "you stupid dimwit, you should have ...".

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    Re: Strange problem with USB3 header

    Quote Originally Posted by crossy View Post
    Nice to know that no-one came back to say "you stupid dimwit, you should have ...".
    But it has to be something stupidly simple if you work it out. Just none of us have spotted it

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