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I have a StarTech Thunderbolt 3 Dual-4K Docking Station (https://www.startech.com/en-us/cards-adapters/tb3dkdpmaw). It connects to my 2019 16" Macbook Pro via a Thunderbolt 3 host port. The docking station has 5 USB ports but I might need more.

If I want to add additional USB ports via a USB hub, can I safely plug that hub into the docking station? Obviously, I could connect both the docking station and USB hub into the laptop directly and independently. I'm trying to see if I can connect the USB hub to the docking station to preserve the ability to dock/undock via a single Thunderbolt/USB-C cable. Should I...

  • Use a self-powered USB hub and plug in its power supply? My concern here is whether I could damage the docking station by connecting a powered hub to it. I've searched all over (including StarTech's site) and can't find an answer to this.
  • Use a bus-powered USB hub (or a self-powered USB hub without plugging in its power supply)? This certainly seems safe but my concern here is that the USB hub might not receive enough power from the docking station. I've always heard that if a USB hub comes with a power supply, you should use it whenever possible to ensure you provide enough power to drive more demanding peripherals like external hard drives.

Thanks in advance for your help.

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Using any hub should be safe. If the USB hub has no power supply or the power supply it has is not plugged in then it will not draw more power than the dock can provide, USB devices are smart enough (or at least are supposed to be) to ask for if power is available before taking it. If there is not enough USB power for a device then the computer will warn you.

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