USB extensions, how far?

By viper150
Oct 15, 2010
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  1. Hello,
    I have researched this but i hope to get a difinitive answer here. It has been suggested that USB should only be extended 16 feet. Others claim as much as 36 feet. I extended a usb device nineteen feet, one ten foot and one six foot cord plus the three foot device usb cord. The device was originally equipped with a serial input and a usb adapter card was supplied with the machine. The device was working fine for several days but the usb adapter card failed. One of the tiny chips became very hot and there were signs of heat damage on the back of the pcb. The supplier has replaced the card and everything is working once again but i am now using a laptop with only the three foot device cord attached until i can verify that extending the usb could not have caused the failure. And that is my question. What are the consequences if any, of extending a usb device? Would it simply affect transfer rate or cause communication failures or could it actually cause the failure of circuits within the device? Any help would be greatly appreciated. It is truly a pain having to use a laptop near the device. Others have stated absolutely not, using extensions could never cause failure of the circuits, they could only cause performance issues. Are they correct?
  2. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 11,138   +985

    Of course you an ignore those theoretical limits and may actually get away with it ; again assuming you're willing to live with corrupted data that may result.
  3. viper150

    viper150 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Thanks for the info jobeard. Maybe my post was long winded but i wanted to clarify the problem i was having. My main question is whether or not pushing the limit of extending usb can actually damage circuit boards? As i stated, i extended mine 19 feet using three usb cords. A usb adapter card on my device failed. I have a new card installed and everything is working fine again but i want to be absolutely sure that the extensions had nothing to do with the failure of the card before re-connecting to the same computer. I realize that exceeding the limit might cause communication issues but again, my main question is whether doing so could actually fry a circuit board.

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