USB Hub Recommendation

Hi all,

New Organelle owner here… Just starting to scratch the surface.

I’ve poked around a bit looking for a concise answer on this so I may be looking for a recommendation. In addition to my Organelle I have a monome grids 256, a Nakedboards MC24, a Launchpad Mini and a LaunchControl XL. What USB hub should I be looking at to use these with the Organelle? I know from reading that the LaunchControl and grids need some USB power to get them to function when used with other passive USB devices (iPad, etc) but I’ve also learned about power backfeed being a no-no. Can anyone make a suggestion based on their experience or shed some light on this?


I haven’t used this myself - but if you look on other posts on this topic it’s supposedly any powered hub from this site should be all good. I got the cheap 4 port one that’s sold out now and the first one I received was DOA, the second one works, but is quite flimsy and doesn’t seem reliable, so if I were to get another now, I’d probably shell out the extra $ for this. Sometimes you get what you pay for:

Thanks for the reply. I did read some of the threads here but unless I am poking in the wrong places I didn’t really see anyone specifically saying whether non-powered or powered hubs were better or which ones if so. Thanks to your recommendation I researched and decided to go with this one based on it using the same chipset and design as the Anidees:

Yeah I just know if you have a grid you need a powered hub, at least for newer grids… not sure about the 256. And that it’s important to get one that doesn’t backfeed power, which is why the raspberry pi ones are recommended bc (I think) they all have backfeed protection.

edit: actually, are you sure this will function as a hub? Looks like it’s just a charging station, idk much about electronics though… either way would be great to hear your experience with it!

just use a powered hub, I use my organelle with one all the time, never had a problem.
… ive seen it can backfeed, so i unplug it before turning organelle off, but does not appear to be an issue, I also use the same hub on a rPI without issue.

(the Eigenharp Pico I used with the Organelle, needs power to, as it draws too much to run straight off the Organelle)

do you have a reference to where some says its an issue?
frankly theres a lot of nonsense talked on the internet :wink:

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Thx, @thetechnobear! I really appreciate your cutting through the mystery (perceived or otherwise).


The above is NOT a USB hub, search for a data hub (powered as @thetechnobear recommendation)


Thank you! I’ll slip away into the corner now and don my hat of shame.

@thetechnobear just this - although he does say later that the OP’s issue is likely not going to “harm” the organelle, so… yeah I suppose if the only issue is getting stuck during shutdown, then your solution of unplugging it before shutting down is also a good one :slight_smile:

yeah, unfortunately when I looked into this a while back, there was quite a lot of anecdotal evidence/discussion and not a lot of clear facts :frowning:

here’s what I understood , which as I say is incomplete…

it’s unclear if this is really an ‘issue’ of the hub or the motherboard, as it can be prevented on either side - it is not just just the organelle, and rPI, you see it on many other boards too, and Ive seen it happen not just with ‘cheap hubs’, but also branded ones.
my guess is perhaps the spec is a little unclear on who’s (host or hub) responsibility it is to prevent this.

but it does seem to be ‘undesirable’ behaviour (usually!) ,

  • when both the device and hub is powered, a little current will flow back, that’s not desirable, but unlikely to cause issues.
  • when the device is off and hub is powered, then this is when we see the ‘issue’,
    mostly like the cause is the 5v line of the usb is connected directly to the 5v power line.
    as such, I don’t think this should cause a problem if the device is powered by 5v, and the usb hub can provide enough amps.
    In fact some have used this as a way to power old rPI… (hence why is say usually undesirable :slight_smile: )

unfortunately the above makes a lot of assumption, and thats why we don’t get a definitive answer, and usually it ends up with ‘it depends’.

on the anecdotal side…
there are a huge number of rPIs in circulation (which have this ‘issue’),
I suspect a pretty large number of those have powered hubs connected (rPI has power issues of its own), I also bet a good percentage of these use cheaper hubs (given the rPI price point).
so, Id figure there are a very large number of rPI when backfeed occurs regularly.
given there is no huge outcry of blown rPIs, and they (rPI) have not sought to address it in newer models - my assumption is its pretty safe.

unfortunately, as said, this is incomplete and anecdotal
my approach has been - not to worry about it too much, try to power off my hub before rpi / organalle (if i remember). that said, this is just because I have some good quality usb hubs i reuse… and don’t see the need (or want) to replace.

I guess if i was buying a hub specifically for the rPI or Organelle, then why not buy a hub thats says it doesn’t backfeed… seems like a good idea, even if just for a bit of piece of mind.

disclaimer: Id not recommend intentionally backfeeding as a way to deliberately power your organelle, as if i do it, its for a very short while, when i notice I’ve pulled the DC power, and the organelle is still on :slight_smile:

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Thank you for the lengthy response, @thetechnobear! This is precisely the ambiguity that confused me in the first place.

I found this while poking around. Not sure this is recommended but it makes sense.

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yeah, the issue with that mod is then you have to use the power supply for the hub, since you now cannot use the bus power from the host. (this is why VCC is connected).

I guess with the doubt around, if your concerned the safest thing to do is to go for sometime like the one owen suggested (and @TheDeadFarmer linked to )

or perhaps look at this list (which came from the article you posted)