Question

Burning smell from headphone udb hub - fried mother board?

Jan 6, 2017 5:32AM PST

I recently purchased a Satechi USB hub headphone stand from Amazon. After using it for a day I noticed a faint burning smell coming from inside the headphone stand - like that metallic circuit smell.

The company states it isn't a powered hub, so should only be used for USB memory sticks and similar devices. I only used it for 2 USB sticks, and to connect my Corsair VOID wireless headset - I didn't use the 3.5mm pass through.

I can't remember if the hub was connected to a USB 2.0 or 3.0 port, but I was using another 4-way hub, keyboard, mouse and focusrite AI in the other ports in my laptop. The USB ports seem to be functioning fine now, but the burning smell makes me worry that it has shorted the USB controller or motherboard on my laptop.

I didn't get any warning messages about high current from windows. How can I test for damage, and could it have potentially harmed my laptop?

Thank you

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Answer
Amazon quote
Jan 6, 2017 5:34AM PST

Just to add - someone tested the current drawn from the sand - is this abnormal and dangerous?

'Aesthetically nice and long enough to fit big headphones. The USB ports stopped working. Got a windows error that the USB port connected to it was drawing too much power. I checked it with a USB power monitor and it was drawing 3 amps at 4.5V!! Smelled burned too, something is definitely shorted inside. If you value your motherboard don't plug it in...'

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3 Amperes means a laptop fault.
Jan 6, 2017 8:14AM PST

USB 1, 2 and 3 are all current limited to about 0.5 Amperes so this points to a laptop fault. Ouch.

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Lucky it wasn't mine!
Jan 6, 2017 9:41AM PST

That's just a quote form a review on amazon - I doubt mine was outputting this current. If im correct, a laptop shouldn't output more than 0.5A, so if devices require more than that, they just won't work? Usually it'll cut out before damaging the motherboards?

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According to the USB design spec
Jan 6, 2017 10:30AM PST

You can short out USB and not damage it. Not that some laptop somewhere would dare to not follow the rules....

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