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Thread: 50 foot cables

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    50 foot cables

    How well does a 50 foot VGA cable work? Are there any noticeable problems? What about a 3.5mm cable of the same length? Can this be used to watch movies from a computer?

    Since USB cables have a maximum length of 15 feet, do those 16-foot cables with repeaters work? Can I put 2 of them together and attach a 10-foot cable from the end of the last one to the destination for 42 feet of USB cable? Can this be used to transfer files effectively?

    And can anyone think of cheap places to get cables of such size? I'd actually rather buy a 50-foot repeater cable, but I heard those are even more expensive than making a segmented cable from multiple 16-footers.

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    Follow Me On Twitter: @djg gold trophysilver trophybronze trophy Dan Grossman's Avatar
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    Maximum cable lengths are set by the time it takes information to travel that distance, not arbitrarily. So stringing together multiple cables to exceed that distance can lead to problems. If you did it with ethernet cables, for example, the computers on both ends of the cable would assume their message did not reach the destination and constantly resend the message, when in fact it is reaching the destination, just at longer than the maximum time because the cable is longer than the maximum rating. Network performance would be destroyed.

    I don't know what will happen with your VGA and USB cables, but I wouldn't recommend it. Why do you need to attach a USB device to a computer 42 feet away? What about using a laptop which you can bring to the destination, or streaming the information over a wireless network?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Grossman View Post
    Maximum cable lengths are set by the time it takes information to travel that distance, not arbitrarily. So stringing together multiple cables to exceed that distance can lead to problems. If you did it with ethernet cables, for example, the computers on both ends of the cable would assume their message did not reach the destination and constantly resend the message, when in fact it is reaching the destination, just at longer than the maximum time because the cable is longer than the maximum rating. Network performance would be destroyed.

    I don't know what will happen with your VGA and USB cables, but I wouldn't recommend it. Why do you need to attach a USB device to a computer 42 feet away? What about using a laptop which you can bring to the destination, or streaming the information over a wireless network?
    That's not really what I asked. I wanted to know specifically about VGA cables. Now, the 3.5mm and VGA cables I am talking about are individual. It's just one cable that is 50 feet. From the PC to the monitor. Nothing between them.

    I'm also not simply stringing together USB cables. I am keeping in mind the 15 foot limitation. That is why I got the cables with the repeaters. I'm pretty sure that at no point is there a stretch of USB cable longer than 15 feet without a repeater being somewhere.

    This appears to be the way in which the products are designed to work, especially the VGA and 3.5mm cables. If it doesn't work because of inherent limitations, then why would they even make and sell such products?

    The reason I don't want wireless is because it's too much of a hassle to set up, it's slow and it's unreliable.

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    Lets get this straight, are you trying to connect a monitor to a PC via VGA for the graphics and a 3.5mm stereo jack for the sound and the PC and monitor are 42ft away? Are both the PC and monitor in the same room or a different room?
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    There are lots of decent reasons to run 50' of cable to something these days--I've done it many times in various A/V setups, especially once you start taking wire management into account.

    As for the technical question, the real answer is "it depends." VGA is guaranteed to work to 25' or so if memory serves, everything longer is above spec. Depending on the strength of the output, and the sensitivity of the reciever, it could work well, work badly or not work at all. I've seen 100' VGA cables work perfectly in production settings, while getting run over by forklifts, if that helps.

    In any case, you are definitely going to want a single long cable rather than coupling up a bunch of shorter ones--you loose alot of signal at the edges. As for purchase, check out monoprice. Its the only way to fly when it comes to cabling.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SpacePhoenix View Post
    Lets get this straight, are you trying to connect a monitor to a PC via VGA for the graphics and a 3.5mm stereo jack for the sound and the PC and monitor are 42ft away? Are both the PC and monitor in the same room or a different room?
    They are in different rooms and yes, I need the VGA for video and 3.5mm for audio. Technically, they are closer, but I don't want to drill through the wall.

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    Quote Originally Posted by wwb_99 View Post

    In any case, you are definitely going to want a single long cable
    This is what I did for the VGA and 3.5mm. One cable with the ends going to the PC and the monitor.


    rather than coupling up a bunch of shorter ones--you loose alot of signal at the edges. As for purchase, check out monoprice. Its the only way to fly when it comes to cabling.
    However, USB specifications are pretty strict as to the 15 feet limit. So, I bought many 15-foot cables to ensure that at no point is there a length of USB cable that is greater than 15 feet. Every 15 feet or less, there is either a repeater or the destination/source of the signal.

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    Obviously at one end of the usb cable is the computer, what device is at the other end?
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    Programming Since 1978 silver trophybronze trophy felgall's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by py343 View Post
    How well does a 50 foot VGA cable work?
    I don't know about that length but several of the computers in the office I work at have large TV screens connected by VGA cables that are around 30 foot or so long and they all work okay - even with the splitter on the back of the computer so it can feed the computer screen as well.
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    Purchase good quality cables. cheap cables with bad copper can cause signal lose.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SpacePhoenix View Post
    Obviously at one end of the usb cable is the computer, what device is at the other end?
    External hard drive.

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    Quote Originally Posted by py343 View Post
    External hard drive.
    If you want an external hard drive that far away from the computer you are better off getting a Network Area Storage (NAS) box and use that as it can use a network cable or even wireless networking to connect to the computer over that distance or an even greater one. Most NAS have USB ports allowing additional external hard drives to be plugged into them inaddition to the hard drive(s) in the NAS itself.
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    Quote Originally Posted by felgall View Post
    If you want an external hard drive that far away from the computer you are better off getting a Network Area Storage (NAS) box and use that as it can use a network cable or even wireless networking to connect to the computer over that distance or an even greater one. Most NAS have USB ports allowing additional external hard drives to be plugged into them inaddition to the hard drive(s) in the NAS itself.
    How much are these? If you haven't noticed, I'm trying to keep costs down.

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    Not horribly expensive. You can actually turn just about any old x86 box into a NAS using some specialized linux distros if you want to go that way as well.

    I really wouldn't trust a USB HDD on an extra-long connection. It will probably work most of the time. Except when it won't. And, in this case, that can likely cause data corruption of nasty sorts. Any reason why the HDD can't live with the PC?

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    Quote Originally Posted by wwb_99 View Post
    Not horribly expensive. You can actually turn just about any old x86 box into a NAS using some specialized linux distros if you want to go that way as well.

    I really wouldn't trust a USB HDD on an extra-long connection. It will probably work most of the time. Except when it won't. And, in this case, that can likely cause data corruption of nasty sorts. Any reason why the HDD can't live with the PC?
    Because it's being used more often in the other room. It's either a direct USB connection both ways, unreliable and slow wireless, or carrying the drive back and forth along with the power supply whenever a file transfer is needed.

    Why would the USB setup not work? Why do they even sell those cables, then? Some sites even say you can daisy-link 4-5 of them. And I'm not even going that far.

    I guess there's also the option of putting an old computer there and having it act as a server with a hard link to the router for more speed and reliability, but I don't think I have one available right now. Buying one would be costly.

    What about eSATA cables? Can they go that long?

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    If there's no computer in this room, and that's why you're stringing 50 foot video and USB cables over there, how is the hard drive being used *in that room*? Isn't it actually being used in the room of the computer it's plugged in to?

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    ^^^What he said.

    Also, while you are stringing all this cable, you probably want to string some CAT6 ethernet. Mainly because 50" is a short throw for Ethernet and everything is really going to IP-based transport these days.

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    What is the drive being used for in the other room? Presumably there is a computer there of some sort for it to be used with and so all that is needed is to network the computers together in order for both to have access to the drive when it is plugged into either of them. If it is some other type of device that isn't a computer then if you tell us what the device is then perhaps we can come up with a solution that works with that device. Prior suggestions were based on the drive being in the other room and not connected to anything there.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Grossman View Post
    If there's no computer in this room, and that's why you're stringing 50 foot video and USB cables over there, how is the hard drive being used *in that room*? Isn't it actually being used in the room of the computer it's plugged in to?
    The device using it is very specialized and has no wireless (or wired, for that matter) capability. It just has USB. And it can output video/audio.

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    Since you'd have to unplug the USB drive drom that device in order to connect it to the computer and unplug it from the computer to connect it back to that device how much more difficult would it be to carry the drive with you when walking between the rooms in order to swap it over.

    Having had a look at a variety of video/audio devices recently I haven't found any listed anywhere that can use a standard USB drive that don't also have the ability to connect to a network (even if it needs a specialised USB bridge plugged in to do it). All the ones that are standalone appear to use a proprietary hard drive format where the drive wouldn't be readable by a computer. Some even split files between the internal and USB hard drives so that disconnecting the drive effectively makes both the device and the drive unusable until they are reconnected or you wipe the content and start over.

    As I said before - if you tell us what the device is then we might come up with a solution but since just about every specialised video/audio device is different it is hard to say what solution might be viable without knowing which one it is you have.
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    Quote Originally Posted by felgall View Post
    Since you'd have to unplug the USB drive drom that device in order to connect it to the computer and unplug it from the computer to connect it back to that device how much more difficult would it be to carry the drive with you when walking between the rooms in order to swap it over.
    Much more difficult since it is in a difficult-to-reach place (to avoid having it fall to the ground) and since the power supply is also difficult to remove. Plus, I can just use a USB switch box to avoid unplugging anything.

    Having had a look at a variety of video/audio devices recently I haven't found any listed anywhere that can use a standard USB drive that don't also have the ability to connect to a network (even if it needs a specialised USB bridge plugged in to do it). All the ones that are standalone appear to use a proprietary hard drive format where the drive wouldn't be readable by a computer. Some even split files between the internal and USB hard drives so that disconnecting the drive effectively makes both the device and the drive unusable until they are reconnected or you wipe the content and start over.
    WD TV Media Player.

    As I said before - if you tell us what the device is then we might come up with a solution but since just about every specialised video/audio device is different it is hard to say what solution might be viable without knowing which one it is you have.

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    http://b-rad.cc/wdlxtv provides an unofficial firmware upgrade that among other things adds support for usb dongle wireless networking

    http://wiki.wdtv.org/doku.php?id=usb...les_table_page has a list of the usb wireless networking adapters that people have got to work with WD TV Media Player
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    For the USB have have you through about something like this? The one there is USB 1.1 only but there must be a USB 2.0 version out somehwere. It would connect at both ends with a USB and inbetween would be a Cat5 network cable.
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    Quote Originally Posted by felgall View Post
    http://b-rad.cc/wdlxtv provides an unofficial firmware upgrade that among other things adds support for usb dongle wireless networking

    http://wiki.wdtv.org/doku.php?id=usb...les_table_page has a list of the usb wireless networking adapters that people have got to work with WD TV Media Player
    I'm aware of those. However, if I understand custom firmware correctly, it is a modified version of official firmware. But WD is currently release many updates to the firmware. So, I can install the custom firmware of, say, version 3.01, and when version 3.05 comes out with an important fix, I would either have to abandon wireless or go without the fix.

    Wireless is also a bad choice because of how slow it is. It is much slower than USB and is unreliable.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SpacePhoenix View Post
    For the USB have have you through about something like this? The one there is USB 1.1 only but there must be a USB 2.0 version out somehwere. It would connect at both ends with a USB and inbetween would be a Cat5 network cable.
    It's 25 pounds and it's for USB 1.1? And that doesn't include the 50 feet of cable (although that wouldn't be expensive). I think it's cheaper to link the USB repeaters together.


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