Using a 5M active USB extender cable between my machine and a USB docking hub (with lots of stuff plugged into it).

JamesSyder

Novice Member
Hi all,

Wondering if anyone can advise on the safety of below -

Issue - my macbook has a loud and noisy fan that goes off like a car engine at any opportunity. I use an external condensor mic for recording and conference calls and this compromises quality and creates a lot of noise.

Solution - I'm going to move my macbook to the far side of the room, approximately 4/5 metres while my desk set up stays firnly in place (two monitors, USB mixing desk (voltage powered), webcam, mouse and keyboard.

How - to achieve this, after weighing up options, it looks like the easiest way is to simply run the cable below between my machine and adaptor hub (that will stay on my desk) -

UGREEN USB Extension Cable, USB 3.0 Male to Female Active Repeater Cable with Signal Amplifier

This cable would run from the macbook air (using a USB C to USB Adapter) and would be the bridge between my machine and my 12 in 1 - USB C Docking Station (using another USB C Female to USB Male Adapter to connect the hub to the extension cable) where everything else will be plugged into it as usual. The only difference from before was that this hub was going straight into the machine but will now be running through this active 5M cable.

Questions -

Does this sound safe?

Should I take advtange of the extra power micro USB source, on the active cable, by using a 5V 2A power supply?

Note - the mixing desk, that will be plugged into the docking hub, has it's own 18V wall power plug supply and is merely connectable via USB (not bus powered).

Concerns -

  • I'm using two USB C adaptor heads on each side of the 5M active cable
  • I'm plugging quite a lot of stuff into the docking hub (e.g Mixing desk, webcam, two monitors)
  • Don't want anything exploding!!!
 

EndlessWaves

Distinguished Member
It won't give you full functionality from your dock.

The video outputs on that dock use the USB-C DisplayPort Alt mode, which is carried by dedicated pins/wires that the Type C connector has but the Type A connector lacks, rather than using the main USB data connection.

With Amazon sellers it's always a bit hard to tell exactly what you're getting but I'd guess the power supply on that active cable is to provide the full amount to the connected device. Your dock implies it has external power supply support so that may not be necessary - one of the pictures has a port marked USB-PD, although it doesn't specify how it operates exactly.

In terms of whether it's safe, as far as I'm aware USB doesn't use any encryption internally so best to assume that it'll have full access to any sensitive data you send over it. If that's a concern then I'm not sure buying directly from a random chinese company is going to be the lowest risk route. Although I don't think compromised hardware is a common attack vector against the general public.
 

JamesSyder

Novice Member
It won't give you full functionality from your dock.

The video outputs on that dock use the USB-C DisplayPort Alt mode, which is carried by dedicated pins/wires that the Type C connector has but the Type A connector lacks, rather than using the main USB data connection.

With Amazon sellers it's always a bit hard to tell exactly what you're getting but I'd guess the power supply on that active cable is to provide the full amount to the connected device. Your dock implies it has external power supply support so that may not be necessary - one of the pictures has a port marked USB-PD, although it doesn't specify how it operates exactly.

In terms of whether it's safe, as far as I'm aware USB doesn't use any encryption internally so best to assume that it'll have full access to any sensitive data you send over it. If that's a concern then I'm not sure buying directly from a random chinese company is going to be the lowest risk route. Although I don't think compromised hardware is a common attack vector against the general public.
Thanks for your response.

The PD port serves as a charger insert for the mac lead - where you can use it instead of the USB-C port on the side of the machine. I don't believe it can be powered from this port but can provide power to the macbook machine, in the form of 'charging'.

The safety concerns were physicality rather than data - specifically using the USB-C adaptor heads on each end of an active 5M USB-A lead, which will then host a USB dock with a mixing desk plugged in (that has it's own wall power cord too). As I'm a bit of a noob with voltages and connection length capabilities, I was checking if it might be a bit 'dodgy' to run in a set up in this manner (read a couple of scaremongering articles on the matter) in terms of creating some kind of circuit damage.

The 5M lead has arrived today so I'm going to test out the described set up and will feedback how it goes!

Update: Alas, you were correct in your first paragraph regarding full functionality - the two USB-C adaptor heads on each end of the 5M active USB-A lead prevent the HDMI ports on the hub from working. Everything else seemed to work fine - e.g mixing desk/external mic, webcam, mouse, keyboard. Obviously a total deal breaker without the screens....

On to the back up plan, which means the 12 in 1 docking hub needs to stay next to the laptop, that is now 5 meters away. Ordered a couple of high quality 5M HMDI cables instead and a couple more active 5M USB-A extenders for the other stuff. I have no doubts this will do the trick.
 
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