Why Do I Keep Blowing Up my USB Network Dongles?

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Both a NetGear 6120 and two TPlink A600 (T2U+) have died after I
connect them to USB extension cords.

The 6120 died within 6 hours afedtr I used it for a day without the
entension cords.  It kept disconnecting from W10 and needed adapter
resets.

The TPlinks lasted almost a week, then started crapping out the same
way.

The extension cords are 6 foot + 12 foot, stapled across windowsills
and floorboards with a "U" staple gun and lead out of the man cave
into the the loft and provide 2X the speeds of just plugging them
into the USB ports on the mini-tower case.

When the adapters start to fail on the extension cords, they now no
longer work plugged into the case either.  Well, they do, but keep
disconnecting just like they do on teh extensions. 3 of them never
started disconnecting UNTIL I used them in the extension cords. Then
they don't work on either he extension or the case ports.

I've blown up 2 TPLink T2U+ and possibly a Netgear 6120 (but the
6120 has terrible reviews saying the same problem).  The only thing
that has survived the extension cords are the NetGear 6100's (one I
blew up myself <clapping>, the other has persevered).  The T2U+ and
Netgear 6120 all generated a bunch of heat at the farthest point
female connector.  It didn't matter which female connector it was -
the 6-footer or the 12 footer. But the 6100 generate no heat there
and work fine.

I really liked the Netgear 6120 for the 24 hours or so that it
worked - I got 240Mbps (190 without the extension cords) which is
what I get right next to router. Otherwise I get 110-120 with the
Netgear 6100's and T2U+ and extension cords, and 60 while plugged
into the case.

Three USB thumb drives work on the extension cords, one of them
shows a drive is connected in Windows 10, but when you look at the
drive in Explorer, says "No device connected" (but it assigned it a
drive letter in W10).

Yeah, the cables are old 2.0 and spent 6-10 years as part of "The
Ball" (that big box of cables that when you pick one, you pick 30-40
pounds worth of cables, that all started with 2 8-foot cheap speaker
cords 40 years ago).  But they both work independently but not
connected together in either order.  They're sehileded and there no
length issue according to specs(?)

So WTF?

-sw

Re: Why Do I Keep Blowing Up my USB Network Dongles?
wrote:

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When I used to do network wiring, I would occasionally destroy cables
with my Arrow T2025 staple gun.  I have 3 of them.  The problem may
sound familiar.  When I crush the cable slightly, after about a week
or two, the insulation would cold flow and the wires would short
inside the cable.  If I remove the offending staples, the cable would
magically return to normal.  My solution was to use longer 9/16"
staples and install them so the cable is loose, not smashed to the
wall.  There are various tricks to do this.  The easiest is to
temporarily put a cardboard spacer on top of the cable to act as a
spacer.  The result is a small gap between the U staple and the cable.

Also, note that the wiring I did was with #24AWG solid conductor CAT5e
cable, which is quite strong.  USB cable are made to flex and
therefore use #28AWG stranded wires for data.  It doesn't take much to
break these.  Needless to say, the T2025 was not designed to staple
such small and fragile cables.  

If you must staple USB cables, find an old bicycle inner tube, cut
some strips, wrap the USB cable with the strips until the outer
diameter is about 1/4", and staple them together.  

However, the right way is to use cable clips, which come in
4,5,6,7,8,9,10,12,14mm widths (or just get an assortment):
<https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07PW98X59
They also come with 2 nails, in various colors (usually black or
white), with specialized nails, or with peel off glue backing in place
of the nail.
<https://www.amazon.com/eBoot-Pieces-Adhesive-Management-Holder/dp/B01HR9VS4I
I still use the nail type cable clips for outdoor cable runs, the
staple gun for hanging cables under houses, but the indoor stuff is
mostly stick-on.

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Hint:  Use CAT5 cable for extensions and RJ45 jacks, exactly as you
would install an ethernet switch.  Then, plug in a USB to ethernet
adapter:
<https://www.ebay.com/itm/162492893121
Note that only the female USB adapter is available.  You don't need a
male adapter because you can use a USB A-A male cable to make the
conversion.

--  
Jeff Liebermann     jeffl@cruzio.com
150 Felker St #D    http://www.LearnByDestroying.com
Santa Cruz CA 95060 http://802.11junk.com
Skype: JeffLiebermann     AE6KS    831-336-2558

Re: Why Do I Keep Blowing Up my USB Network Dongles?
On Sun, 29 Nov 2020 09:34:19 -0800, Jeff Liebermann wrote:

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My 2025 has a little nose that comes out that helps you center the
staple and keep it from going down too far, so it didn't smoosh any
of the wire. - there's still a little gap there.  Plus my
windowsills and baseboards are pretty hard wood, and the 20205 isn't
super strong.  If the cable(s) are damaged, then I think it's
probably a result of them being assimilated into 40-pound "Ball"(*)
for too many years and being ripped and pulled.  Or the fact that
they run past a couple power strips, outlets, power transformers,
under a lamp, and fan (I'm 3 feet short of running it across the
ceiling).

Anyway - the TP-Links cost $20/ea and cost $16 in return shipping,
so they can GFT. I may try another Netgear 6120 - one that's not
refurbed his time.

Anyway, I digress.  I'll get proper cable clips and new cable if I
continue with the setup on another unsuspecting network dongle.
  
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I just don't have all the crimpers and cable for that.  I'm fine if
I only run at 80Mbps rather than inventing anymore in this POS
project (I know that probably irks you being teh gadget guy...
but... ;-)

(*) While my small galaxy of cables has very little speaker wire
holding it all together (I've never even had wired speakers) I'm
pretty sure cheap 2-lead braided copper wire is the fabric that
binds galaxies together (not even lamp cord gauge). Instead of SETI
looking for space noise, they should be looking for a dangling
copper speaker wire and start yanking on it. Probably just stick an
RJ9 on the end and ... "Hello?  Anybody out there?"  

-sw

Re: Why Do I Keep Blowing Up my USB Network Dongles?
wrote:

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<snip>

I would seriously consider closing most, or possibly all, of the distance
with Ethernet rather than USB. If running Ethernet all the way isn't
practical, what about running it as far as you can from your router toward
your PC, terminating in a POE-powered access point that you place well
within range of your PC.


Re: Why Do I Keep Blowing Up my USB Network Dongles?
On Sun, 29 Nov 2020 12:09:04 -0600, Char Jackson wrote:

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That's not really possible due to the design of the house.  It would
be easier building a shelf 15" high, halfway up the cathedral
ceilings, and putting the router up there.  But that would look like
total shit.

-sw

Re: Why Do I Keep Blowing Up my USB Network Dongles?
On Sat, 5 Dec 2020 15:42:57 -0600, Sqwertz wrote:
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Not it you hid it in a cucko-clock.    :-)


Re: Why Do I Keep Blowing Up my USB Network Dongles?
On Sun, 29 Nov 2020 07:47:24 -0600, Sqwertz wrote:

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Scratch that.  I just blew up the last Netgear 6100.

I'm now using a WRT54G in bridge mode until I get a new ....
something.

-sw

Re: Why Do I Keep Blowing Up my USB Network Dongles?
wrote:

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1.  Do you have a DVM (digital volt meter)?  Put it on an AC voltage
scale and check if there's any AC power line voltage across any of the
USB cable connections.  There should be none.  Also, unplug the USB
extension cable and measure between the cable shield and the case of
the computer and/or USB hub.

2.  Test the power outlets involved with one of these:
<https://www.google.com/search?q=ac+outlet+tester&tbm=isch
My guess(tm) is you might have either a miswired outlet, leaky power
line bypass capacitor to ground, disconnected protective ground
(green) wire, or something similar.  Be sure to also test power strips
and extension cables for wiring errors.  I went through my house last
year and found 2 miswired outlets and 2 defective power strips.

3.  You might also want to use a GFCI tester to check for line current
balance problems:
<https://www.google.com/search?q=portable+GFCI+tester&tbm=isch
If the GFCI trips when some device is plugged in, you have a problem.

Good luck and try not to electrocute yourself.


--  
Jeff Liebermann     jeffl@cruzio.com
150 Felker St #D    http://www.LearnByDestroying.com
Santa Cruz CA 95060 http://802.11junk.com
Skype: JeffLiebermann     AE6KS    831-336-2558

Re: Why Do I Keep Blowing Up my USB Network Dongles?
On Tue, 08 Dec 2020 07:35:50 -0800, Jeff Liebermann wrote:

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You would think so, but it's been on my bucket list for, oh, 30
years.  And Harbor Freight discontinued all their seemingly
perpetual "Free VM with ANY PURCHASE" (only half of them worked more
than 3 times - according to the reviews). I did get a few decent LED
flashlights, though.  
  
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I have a whole dead circuit in the house and I can't even find the
breaker that controls it - everything in the breaker box turns off
something. My "voltage meter/tester" is literally an electric hand
blender (Braun).  I'm not a rich as I used to be <ahem>.

But everything else attached to this outlet has worked fine for
decades - including the computer.  And the power to USB is brokered
through the computer.  And the USB ports work just fine without the
extension cables. Oh, and I blew up my first power supply inside a
PC a few months ago - lighting strike in back hit the SAME TREE FO
THE THIRD TIME (there's 30+ trees to choose from back there(*)).
but even before the lights came back on 5 seconds later, I smelt it.
Surge protector, telephone/answering machine and monitor survived
just fine).

So I've had 2 different power supplies in the PC during these
seemingly physical damages to the networking dongles.  I'm certainly
no expert (or even familiar) with USB electrical specs and TX/RX  
But I was the serial/RS-232 guy for 20 years and I know I did some
seriously shit-ass cabling and all those home-grown adapters I made,
I never physically blew up any equipment (Arnet boards excluded -
Bill and I were good friends long before we both ended up at SCO)

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The first thing I'm gonna do if they ever brig back those Free
Harbor Freight Vm's is test the 240 rails in my breaker box.  I got
all the way to, "Here, hold my beer before I chickened-out testing
them with my tongue (my tongue wasn't wide/long enough).  There  are
no brakers that tie 2 120's together to power the jacuzzi tub and
the dryer - they seem to be missing the box and nothgin there shuts
them off.  Only thing on the outside of the house as a HVAC breaker
(which I had to [pay somebody to] put in for Code).

This morning I just bought another TP-Link A600 - this one is the
"mini" rather than the folding antenna, but I'm going to
double-stick this to wall behind the computer just like I had it for
4-5 years prior. [looking up] I've gor all sorts of velcro and
doucble-stick tape up there, abd 8 holes in the plaster showing
sheetrock where I've done seasonal placement testing.  I'm a PRO at
this ;-)

-sw

Re: Why Do I Keep Blowing Up my USB Network Dongles?
On Tue, 08 Dec 2020 07:35:50 -0800, Jeff Liebermann asked:
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I've been happy with the Innova 3320 Wal-Mart had in-store years ago for
~$20.  It wasn't on the rack with the other DVMs in the store -- it was
over in the Automotive section, I figure because the packaging said
"Auto-Ranging".  :-/

https://www.walmart.com/ip/INNOVA-3320-Auto-Ranging-Digital-Multimeter/14644666

Advance Auto Parts appears to sell a non-auto-ranging Innova DVM for
$19.99.

If you do get one of these, beware that they, like many other VMs, have a
fuse to protect them against high currents, and it's not that hard to blow
out the fuse accidentally.  You'll probably want to buy extra fuses.
The easiest way to tell that the fuse has blown is that the battery test
lights no longer work.
 -WBE

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