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Old 03-30-2009, 06:04 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Exclamation OUCH!! Hot USB flash drives!

I recently bought and installed a 4-port USB hub made by Saitek, as I was tired of having to get up from the desk every time I wanted to plug in a flash drive. Today I was using it for the first time, and I had 3 flash storage drives plugged into it. They stayed plugged in for about an hour while I was away from the computer; They weren't transfering data.... I had just left them sitting idle. After I came back in an hour, I did some quick file transfers and unplugged them all. And just about BURNED MYSELF!! I've never had USB flash drives heat up so hot before. I had to let them cool before putting the protective covers back on. The plastic housings on the drives were VERY warm.... The metal plug ends were hot enough to burn skin. (Surprisingly, the hub itself wasn't that hot.)

Now, I've left flash drives in the computer's USB slots before (without the hub) for hours, and they get a little warm, but not scalding hot. I sure don't want to damage any devices that I plug in to this hub!

Anyone have any thoughts on this?
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Old 03-31-2009, 02:29 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Post Re: OUCH!! Hot USB flash drives!

Here's what was plugged in:
A Lexar 512MB flash drive, a new Lexar 4GB flash drive, and a PNY 2GB flash drive. They were all hot when I pulled them out.

I'm going to test it again here with a 512MB RadioShack flash drive and a Saitek USB game controller to see what happens. I'll let you know in my next reply.
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Old 03-31-2009, 02:46 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: OUCH!! Hot USB flash drives!

If this a powered hub? IE you have to have a plug socket plugged into it - because if you do the drives might be getting hot from having too much voltage pushed through them as USB can only really handle 5v max from what I rember.
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Old 03-31-2009, 06:49 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: OUCH!! Hot USB flash drives!

I have heard of some brand models getting that hot but the only ones I know of normally have metal cases and are the truly micro ones e.g. 10x20cm (WxL) cubes rather then the larger more common ones. Over voltage would be a definate contender for this.
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Old 03-31-2009, 07:14 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: OUCH!! Hot USB flash drives!

I will go with what an above poster said, if this is a powered USB hub, using an ac/dc converter of some sort then it is most likely sending a voltage above 5v to the usb drives. IMO, RMA the hub as that seems to be the only true culpert.
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Old 03-31-2009, 01:19 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Lightbulb Re: OUCH!! Hot USB flash drives!

No, it is not a powered hub. So it doesn't work for charging my mp3 player, or using an external hard drive. (I only need it for flash drives and cameras anyway.)

I just had a Saitek game controller, a Lexar flash drive, and a RadioShack flash drive plugged into the hub for an hour. Strange, they're not quite as hot as yesterday... but still very warm. The game controller and it's USB plug are stone cold; no heat at all on that.

Just now I sent 2GB of data to one of the flash drives, and it warmed up pretty fast. My guess is that the hub probably only gets "truly" hot when I'm transfering a lot of data to and from it. Yesterday I had moved about 4GB of data on it just before I noticed out how hot it was.
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Old 04-02-2009, 12:31 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Post Re: OUCH!! Hot USB flash drives!

Yeah, I think I might just do that.

Here's the hub, if anyone's interested. Mini UFO Hub
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Old 04-02-2009, 12:54 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: OUCH!! Hot USB flash drives!

Sounds like too much current is running through the hub. I used to be a engineer that worked on prototype power supplies.

Try each usb flash drive and joystick directly plugged into the computer. If they're not hot, then its definately the hub.

This problem can damage your motherboard/components if it hasn't already done so.

Whatever the faulty component is, the problem is probably solder splash, a bad IC, mismatched wires, etc. I've seen this happen and the components on the board get burning hot. So hot the parts will smoke and melt. Usually there's an abnormally high amount of current going through the board.

My bet is the hub. =0) good luck.
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Old 04-02-2009, 06:40 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Unhappy Re: OUCH!! Hot USB flash drives!

I just tried your idea, and no, the flash drives DON'T get hot when plugged into the computer itself, just a little warm.

So do you think I should take this hub back to the store for an exchange? Or just look for something different?
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Old 04-03-2009, 10:07 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Cool Re: OUCH!! Hot USB flash drives!

Well, I took the hub back to the store today and told them about the overheating. They don't seem to carry that item anymore though, so I just got a cash refund.

Better luck next time I guess.... and I'll be sure to watch for overheating when I get another one.

Thanks for all the help guys!
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