Super User is a question and answer site for computer enthusiasts and power users. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I am using a four port cheap USB hub, plugged into a GoFlex Home on one side, with a Micromax Q5 mobile on the other. The only other device plugged into the hub is a flash drive, which functions normally.

The mobile appears to work normally when plugged directly into similar plug computers or into a laptop. However, when plugged into the hub, I get inconsistent behaviour. At times, it reports "bad contact on charger." At times the connection between GoFlex and mobile drops. However, at other times, the connection is stable and the phone does not complain.

Would this mean the hub is faulty (and therefore a replacement unpowered hub would work), or is it a question of a lack of power (for which I need a powered hub)? If the problem is a mere lack of power issue, it would seem like it should consistently fail, not vary in this manner.

share|improve this question

The mobile appears to work normally when plugged directly into similar plug computers or into a laptop.

Does that mean that when you plug the phone into a USB port that is part of a desktop or laptop, it works fine all the time? You never see this dodgy behavior when it is NOT plugged into this hub? Have you ever plugged the phone's USB cable into a different external hub?

That right there is kind of telling. If the phone never exhibits this behavior when plugged directly into the computer, changes are good that it is neither the phone nor the cable itself that are at fault. This would point to the hub.

At times the connection between GoFlex and mobile drops.

How is your phone connected to the GoFlex? I don't mean for you to repeat that they are connected to the same hub. I mean, your phone doesn't appear to use iOS or Android as it's operating system, so you wouldn't have the GoFlex App running that allows your phone to connect to the storage device directly... or do you? I'm just curious as to what is actually informing you that the connection between the GoFlex and the phone dropped.

Now... it might be a POWER issue. The phone could be drawing/demanding all of the power that the USB port of the computer puts out, so by also using that USB flash drive in the same hub, and thus drawing power from the same port, you might be taxing the port. You could test this by removing the USB flash drive from the hub and seeing if it improves the situation. Normally, Windows would notify you if something like this was occurring, but the power issue could be right there on the edge of what would be tripped by the port itself. It could be inconsistent and still be a power issue, because not all the devices on the hub are drawing power AT THE SAME TIME. Again, you can test that by using the phone by itself on the hub for a while... or even by accessing the flash drive and storage drive at the same time (maybe copying some large files from one to the other) and seeing how the phone reacts.

It might be a cable length issue. I don't know how long the cable is from the computer to the hub, but that is tacked on to the total length to the phone itself.

It might be a combination of the ports of the hub AND the cable to the phone. Do you have another USB cable that you can try with the phone? I'm not saying that the ports in the hub are bad per se, and I'm not saying that the cable is bad, but the combination of the two... well, I've seen stranger things.

But honestly, when you remove the hub from the equation, and the phone works like it should... that tells me that maybe you should, you know, not use the hub for connecting the phone.

share|improve this answer
Sorry for the delay in responding on this, I have been traveling. The GoFlex Home is running Debian Squeeze (not its original system) from the flash drive (the hub is necessary as there is only one USB port). I know the connection drops as a result of the fact that the disconnection is recorded in the kernel log. But your point that it could be inconsistent and be a power issue is a help - I'm trying it now with a powered hub, let's see. – ShankarG Jun 12 '12 at 8:46
After nearly a week of experience, I find that the powered hub improves reliability but does not solve the issue. The phone charges at times and does not charge at others. Connection drops have become much more infrequent but still occur. The whole thing seems a bit of a mystery. – ShankarG Jun 20 '12 at 13:12
So just to re-cap... the issues occur with two different hubs (less frequently with a powered one), but do not occur at all without a hub. Were you able to test the phone on the powered hub by itself (with nothing else attached to the hub) for any length of time? – Bon Gart Jun 20 '12 at 14:53
No, because the OS is on a flash drive. But there may possibly be a problem with the plug point to which the powered hub was hooked up :( - talk of multiple problems! I've tried to fix that today, let's see. The connection drops are still however mysterious - they only occur once a day or so, but they do happen. – ShankarG Jun 21 '12 at 4:26
The OS is on a flash drive? That's a new piece of information. And ONLY the phone drops connection... nothing else? The problem couldn't be where the hub connects to the computer, if the only device that suffers a connection issue is the phone. – Bon Gart Jun 21 '12 at 14:18

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .