USB ports provide connectivity to different types of peripherals with our PC. You can connect the keyboard, mouse, external hard disks, etc. with the help of a USB port.
In order to connect all these different devices, you will require a USB hub. A USB hub is a collection of USB ports that enables you to connect different devices at the same time to your PC.
But if you are connecting large devices that require a distinct power supply, then you should consider a powered USB hub. Let us understand what does a powered USB hub do and know more about its functionality.
What does a powered USB hub do?
You will find that the PC you own has at least one or two USB ports through which any type of device can be connected. But you may find them to be insufficient and go for a USB hub. While there are unpowered and powered USB hubs available, you should know their functionality to choose the right one.
What are the Functions of a Powered USB Hub?
- As the name suggests, powered USB hubs connect to the mains through a separate cable and connect with the PC with one of its USB ports. Since the hub is connected to the mains, it has the ability to power devices on its own instead of relying upon the PC’s power supply unit.
- A powered hub doesn’t draw power from the PSU which enables it to power large devices and at the same time connect to the PC without any concern. Since the PSU has a specific wattage limit, it can only power a limited number of peripherals connected to the PC. This is where a powered hub comes into play.
- When you want to connect devices like printers, scanners, large external hard drives, etc. they demand a separate power supply. If you can connect them directly to the mains, then there is no issue. But if you don’t find a supply from the mains, you have to get a powered USB hub.
- A powered USB hub can connect all these devices with its USB port and provide power through it. Also, they can connect to the PC without drawing power from it.
- Instead of plugging every peripheral to the main supply through a power cord, you can simply plug a powered USB hub into the mains and connect all the devices with it. The hub provides dual functionality of connecting to the PC and powering on its own.
These are functions of a powered USB hub and this is how it differs from an unpowered USB hub.
What are the Pros and Cons of Powered USB Hub?
The functions of a powered hub are desirable and it is not a condition that everyone might require it. Therefore, here are its advantages and disadvantages which enable you to choose this device for your PC.
- It can connect large devices without relying upon the PSU of PC.
- Provides multiple device connectivity with the PC
- Can power each device individually
- Has a specific voltage limit with each port
- Requires a main supply to function
- Larger in size
- More expensive than unpowered
- Might not be applicable to users that use simple peripherals with the PC that can suffice with the PSU of the computer itself.
Are powered USB hubs safe?
Yes, powered USB hubs are safe even if they are damaged or broken. They don’t do any harm to the connected device or the PC. If any fault is present, it may temporarily disable the USB controller it is connected to but doesn’t damage the PC or the device it is powering.
This is the case with unpowered hubs also. But since they don’t power the devices, you cannot use power demanding devices using it. This may lead to an abrupt shut down of the PC due to insufficient power.
On the contrary, with a powered hub, the devices you connect are power independent with the PC and just data transfer occurs with it. So, the PC is safe and doesn’t suffer from any kind of power demand.
Why powered USB hubs are best for a computer?
Powered hubs don’t depend on the PC’s power supply unit for their operation. The USB hubs can power other devices directly from the mains and it doesn’t draw current from the PC.
This makes it a viable option when you have power-demanding devices that might need a discrete power supply as well as needs to get connected with the PC for performing their functions.
So, with a powered USB hub, you can easily fulfill the power demand of these devices and don’t have to upgrade your PSU.
A powered USB hub also protects the PC from insufficient power. Because if heavy devices are connected to the PC, the PSU may not have the appropriate voltage to fulfill their needs and eventually fails to power the PC properly.
Therefore, this USB hub prevents such scenarios and provides power to the devices independently. That is why you should consider a powered USB hub for your PC.
What factors about powered USB hubs Compatibility?
Powered USB hubs are compatible with any computer, but not every hub is the same.
There are a lot of factors to take into account when you’re looking for a powered USB hub. The most important factor is the number of ports. Hubs with 2-4 ports should suffice for most people, but those who need more than that will need to look for hubs with at least 8 ports.
Other factors that can affect compatibility include whether or not the hub has an external power supply (a must!) and whether or not it supports high-power devices like external hard drives and printers.
How much Electricity does a Powered USB hub give?
A single Powered USB Hub can provide up to 5 volts at 2.5 watts of power, meaning that it will take 3 hours for the device to fully charge an iPhone’s latest mobiles which has a battery capacity of 2,715 mAh (milliamp hours).
The amount of power that a Powered USB hub gives depends on the number of ports it has and the amount of power available from its power source.
If you are using a laptop as your power source, you will need at least one powered port for each device you want to connect. If you are using an external battery pack or AC adapter, then one powered port will be enough for all devices connected.
Can a powered USB hub be used without power?
Yes, it is possible to use a powered USB hub without power. The USB hub will not be able to charge any devices, but it can still be used for data transfer.
There are two ways you can use the powered USB hub without a power adapter:
- If the powered USB hub has an uninterruptible power supply (UPS), it means that the device will continue to charge your connected devices even if there is a power outage.
- Some of these hubs also come with battery packs which you can use to charge your connected devices in case there is no power supply available or if you need to unplug the device from an outlet for some reason.
Does powered USB Hub Require Drivers?
In general, a powered USB hub does not require drivers. The drivers are for the devices that connect to the hub, not the hub itself. But there are some cases where you might need to install drivers for your specific device.
Why do people need a powered USB hub?
There are a number of reasons why people need a powered USB hub.
- For one, it can be used to charge your phone or any other device that charges through USB.
- The second reason is that you might need to use more than one device at the same time and you will need a powered hub to do so.
- Thirdly, if you have any devices that require an external power source then you will also need a powered USB hub.
If you have multiple devices that need a distinct power supply and have to get connected to the PC, you should buy a powered USB hub to satisfy both needs simultaneously.
They are safe, efficient and protect your PC from high power demand. It also avoids the need to upgrade your PSU.