12-port USB strip

This 12-port USB power-strip looks like just the thing for people like me, who have three or four USB switches daisy-chained behind our desks (in fact, I could use a 24-port model). I have no idea if this is a crapgadget or not, but I like the underlying notion.

Satechi 12 Port USB Hub with Power Adapter & 2 Control Switches (via Red Ferret)


  1. I’ve got one of these.  It’s not nearly as flaky as I expected–in two months of daily use, I’ve had only one incident where it didn’t seem to be working, and I had to replug it in.

  2. one thing to note is that due to inherent limitations in USB, only six of the ports can be used at once. So they have divided up the twelve ports into two banks of six apiece, and you can switch between the banks manually.

      1.  Or, get this:  make the primary connection a connection to a USB hub device, which then splits off to two more USB hub devices.

    1. I have a 7 port and a 10 port hub, and I use all of them at once in both situations.  The standard hub is 4 ports, they get 7 by cascading (one port of the first feeds the 2nd 4 port hub), and 10 by cascading two (two ports of the first hub feed a 4 port hub each).  If you crack open a 10 port hub, it has three USB hub chips in it.

      I believe that you can cascade USB devices out to 127 devices total. I think a hub counts as a device. So you could go out to around 32 hubs cascaded (4 ports each) giving 96 ports total (32*4-32) and you’d be able to theoretically plug 95 devices into them. In reality the computer has a hub or two inside (some have as many as 3 or 4 root or cascaded hubs) so some of that is already done for you.

      1. oh, i see now. Checking the product page shows that it is segmented as two sets of 6 ports, with a switch for each segment.  Funny enough, there are only 11 ports pointing upwards. I suspect the 12th is at the far end, pointing “forward”. Not really sure why it is designed in such a way, but it has nothing to do with internal USB limitations.

  3. Hmm, I have a 13 port hub that works just fine. Haven’t noticed that any of the ports don’t work at the same time. It is more square than this so this one might be better for travel. No name on mine a search on 13 port usb hub shows it as being sold under many names from $28-40.

  4. Correct me if I’m wrong but don’t these kinds of rigs put a big demand on your power-supply and the USB port themselves generating a lot of excess heat?

    1. Every port on the hub shares(how efficiently depends on the quality of the design, which may or may not be dire; but probably also doesn’t matter for many applications) the available bandwidth on the one port it is plugged into.
      This makes something like hanging a bunch of USB HDDs off a hub and expecting to software RAID them a pretty questionable idea(unless the hub really sucks, it should work; but the speed will not excite you). USB video capture devices, CD/DVD burners, etc. could also be bad neighbors. On the other hand, things like mice and keyboards use virtually no bandwidth, and devices that just use ‘USB’ as an easy source of +5V often use absolutely no bandwidth at all.As for power, no hub of this size is going to be bus powered, a single USB port is only good for 500ma at 5V maximum(with vast numbers of devices breaking that rule in either direction; but still). It’ll have its own little wall wart supply. 12 ports, 500ma/port is only 6 amps. At 5 volts, 30 watts(assuming that the device is fully loaded with devices demanding full spec power and is capable of delivering the same).Even counting for PSU inefficiencies, the whole pile would still be putting out less heat than a single 60 watt incandescent bulb, which isn’t exactly alarming to share a room with, and most use cases would be a fraction of that.

      1. USB RAID? Um that would be pretty counter productive. I suppose if you have an ITX box with no room, (or a laptop I suppose) and have all this stuff external or something… Certainly not going to see performance gains, though mirroring might make sense from a redundancy stand point. Then again it would be a pretty ugly cludge.

    2.  Depends. Most USB devices works fine on the minimum 100mA that a port can deliver. Larger ones, like HDDs may need the max of 500mA or more (that is why you sometimes see those Y cords). And the ports themselves are dead as a doorstop unless something is plugged in, much like your average wall socket.

      Also, there is no way that the motherboard alone could deliver enough for powering the whole row. This because of the above mentioned max of 500mA that each port delivers, including those on the motherboard. So this likely comes with a serious brick as part of the package if is support to handle 12 x 500mA.

      1. Agree, something like a Y cord with a hybrid USB/PLUG combo might work…  probably need extension for plug. One for wall for additional power, and one for USB for transfer. Anyway at that point you are probably looking at solutions that make more sense.

        1. Well it does appear to come with a wall wart, so i suspect that is where most of the juice comes from.

  5. This might not work well with things that need power– charging (cameras, tablets, or phones), hard drives, and scanners could be flaky– it’s a matter of how much power that wall wart puts out.  You’ll get 500 mA from the main USB port you plug into, then each of the hub’s ports could draw up to 500 mA itself.  If the wall wart can’t supply the additional needed 5.5 A (500 mA x 11), full power peripherals could have trouble.  But, things like keyboards, mice, thumb drives, card readers, bluetooth dongles, etc. don’t draw much current so should be OK.

    1. i think the minimum draw is 100mA, and the device is required to request more in units of 100 above that.

  6. USB spec provides a max of five unit loads (2.0) or six unit loads (3.0) with unit load defined somewhat differently for each on the power supply line. For non power drawing devices, no big deal, but clearly you can’t use all the ports for powered devices.

    1. From the port, sure. But with a power brick/wall wart (not pictured), it could in theory power them all if it can deliver the amps.

  7. I have one of these on the other side of my studio and it works great to plug random things in (peripherals, joysticks, you name it.)  It’s really nice looking as well.  For functionality, I can also recommend this 10-port Hub: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00483WRZ6/ I bought both from Amazon several months ago and have no issues with them running almost 24/7.   (Both are plugged in with AC adapter for extra power.)

  8. If it has an external power source, it can’t go wrong.  If not, your PC better have a good power source to run everything.

  9. FWIW, one thing to be absolutely sure of when getting hubs with a lot of ports is that the power supply must be hefty.  For 12 ports you really want about a 4 amp power supply if not more.  6 would be better.   The fact that this doesn’t even say means it’s probably a 1 amp supply or something weak like that.  If you want to run anything other than thumb drives or self powered devices, you’re probably going to have a bad experience.

    I have a Rosewill 10 port that comes with I think a 4.5 amp supply and is about $25 IIRC.  It’s been great.  I also have the 7 port version which runs a pair of RepRap printers in my lab and a couple of webcams and a remote mouse (so I can push buttons on Pronterface from the printer table)

    I once bought a really cheap generic Chinese hub that looked like this, and they were so cheap that they installed a jumper rather than the schottky diode that should have been in the power area.  As a result, the power adaptor backfed power through the USB port to the computer, and after a few days this wound up blowing out my mainboard.  I’ve also had cheap USB hubs corrupt data on external hard drives and thumb drives in the past.  I don’t buy really cruddy USB hubs anymore.

  10. The power supply is absolutely necessary if you want to run that many ports.

    Some people saying you can’t run that many ports at once due to the spec, I have (several) of the awesome Rosewill 10 port hubs. They run just fine.  Internally it might be chained hubs (PC to one internal hub, then 3 hubs of 4 ports each or 2 of 6 each coming off that), but that’s hidden inside.

    Edit: And how about 24 ports?! Not as compact, but still. FEAR IT: http://www.amazon.com/24-Port-USB-2-0-HUB-Adapter/dp/B003WPDICM/

    1. I like how people who bought that thing ALSO bought the 12- and 10-port version. What are people doing with 46 USB ports ?

  11. I’m just not feeling creative enough – what on earth do you guys all do with so many USB ports?

      1.  All at once? I’m just picturing Clark Griswold’s christmas light plug fiasco.

  12. Hmm, not bad, but blue LEDS? No.

     I have a  7-port USB hub with a blue LED on the back that is so intense that I can read at night by its light. I know they’re trendy, electronics manufacturers, but they are awful as status indicators.   I’ve attached a snap of the LED illuminating the rear wall in daylight. It’s not doctored. Eventually I opened the thing and clipped the bulb out.


    1. My solution for that problem is to put a piece of gaffer’s tape over the light – not all the way, though. Leave a tiny sliver uncovered, and you can still see the LED status but it doesn’t light up your entire room at night.

  13. That’s pretty sweet.  I know a few people at work, including myself, that could these.  Especially the Apple (laptop)  guys.  Seems like they’re always plugging into a ton of usb stuff.

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