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Topic # 79779 22-Mar-2011 11:28
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Hi all, I have a question regarding USB cables.

What is the maximum length a USB cable could be?

The reason I ask is, in our home office we have the Desktop PC set up at the desk on one side of the room and then on the opposite side of the room we have a cupboard unit where we have placed the 2 printers on top of. At the moment we run a USB cable across the room each time we want to print something. Up until now this has been fine, but now the wife is working from home the printer is getting used far more and the cable across the room is becoming a hazard.

There are two options I was considering but would like to hear any other options that might work better or cheaper

1st option... is getting a 12 mtr USB cable ( if possible) running it up through the wall  across in the ceiling and back down to the PC, (there is cable cavity’s in the walls for this), but I have heard that a USB cable wont function very well over 5 mtr.

2nd option... is some sort of USB to cat5 connector plugged into the rj45 outlets by the printer then patched over to the outlets by the PC, not sure if USB will travel across cat5 cable.

Any other ideas or opinions would be gratefully accepted.

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  Reply # 450705 22-Mar-2011 12:38
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Network/wireless printers?

USB won't like you running over more than 5 meters. You could put powered USB hubs in the ceiling (to act as boosters). Or use a LAN USB print server. You probably can get CAT5 to USB balun devices, but I have never used one.


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  Reply # 450716 22-Mar-2011 13:21
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I recently used one of these usb extenders for a webcam, for a total cable length around 7 meters (no problems), but these (never used one) give you usb over cat5.


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  Reply # 450854 22-Mar-2011 18:13
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Similar devices available from Jaycar. Never used them myself either, but I do buy lots from Jaycar.

The USB standard specifies about 3 cable lengths. The longer the cable the thicker the power wires to overcome cable loss. Data wires are the same on all lengths. You will probably have no issues with power cable loss, because the printer will not draw much off the USB port. Your issue will be latency, which limits USB cables to about 5m max.

The lower speed cables have poorer shielding, but USB cable shielding is not critical since it is a twisted pair cable. Only the original USB 1.1 did not require any shielding, but it is unlikely you will have a USB 1.1 cable.

You can never have enough Volvos!

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