USB Extender Cable Making Live Video Choppy?

  • I have a PC running Windows 7, 4 GB RAM and about 300GB/650GB free HD space.
    I also have a HD Microsoft LifeCam as a live feed into Isadora.  Apparently it's USB 2.0. This is connected to the computer through a USB 2.0 15 ft. extender cable with repeater.
    The issue I'm having is that when plugged into the extender cable the feed is very very choppy.  When plugged in directly it works just fine.  I know that USB cables have a bunch of resistance when extended out this far.  But this cable has a repeater/booster.
    Question is whether I should try and get a USB 3.0 extender cable (with repeater), or is that overkill?
    Performance is tomorrow and if I don't get it working, I'll just have to be sitting right next to the performer ;)

  •  It may be that the connection drops to usb 1.1 speed due to length. Try it with a powered hub, it may even make a difference if it's next to the camera rather than computer.

  • Thanks LPmode I will try that.  Also, would it matter if I got a USB 3.0 cable as well?  That way it may dip down to USB 2.0 speed?  The manufacturer says because it's powered/active that it will maintain it's 2.0 speed but obviously this is not the case.

  • Beta Tester

    Switching to a USB3 extender will not make a difference. While USB2 and USB1.1 both used the same physical connection, USB3 gains its speed through the addition of extra conductors which will be of no assistance to a USB2 device that lacks them. As such it will effectively be functioning as a USB2 extender and any issues you have now will likely persist.

    Does the extender that you currently have use an external power supply for power or does it run off the bus power provided by your computer or hub? If it is the later, it may be an issue of insufficient power making it to the camera in which case inserting a powered hub between the camera and extender could potentially solve your problem. If that doesn't work I would suggest trying to get a higher quality USB2 extender.

  • Hey Callie,

    What did you end up doing? I have to do something similar soon.

  • Sorry, I haven't responded on this.  I ended up daisy chaining 2 15 ft. USB extender cables with powered hubs and it did the trick...until... a person in a electric wheelchair whacked one out of place during the performance (no amount of tape would have held that thing down)...but we got it going again and it worked for the rest of the performance without a snag.  Apparently, the signal gets weak after about 15 ft., so daisy chaining was a necessity to boost the signal.
    Hope this helps someone out there.

  • The problem most likely is that your USB at the computer may not provide enough power for the active extender to work. This is often the case with PC's - there are just too many manufacturers and standards to have any consistency. Since mac's are made way lesser variety the USBs are more reliable.

    I have not had any issues with about 10 different macs using 2 10m long active extenders daisy chained + camera cable 23m. That without an additional power adapter.
    And I have seen cheaper(ebay-chinese) extenders that do not work but more quality ones do at the same setup.