D200: Trouble with USB cables.

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Peter De Smidt
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D200: Trouble with USB cables.

Post by Peter De Smidt »

I'd like to use my D200 tethered to my computer, probably via Control My Nikon. The problem is that I can only get Windows 7 to see the D200 using a 6 inch USB cord. Both a new 6ft (Amazon Basics) cord and a new 15ft cord don't work. I'm running CMN in Vista Compatibility mode, as recommended, and the camera is set to the proper USB mode, i.e. not set to "mass storage". I've done some web searching but haven't found a cure. Any suggestions?

DQE
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Post by DQE »

I don't have any specific suggestions, but my "go to" source for computer and other cables is:

http://www.monoprice.com

I've found their selection, price, and performance to be as documented and without issues in a fairly wide variety of applications, over a multi-year time frame. The quality of the mechanical connectors of monoprice cables has been especially good and this has made a difference more than once for me. Their prices are usually remarkably low and they ship very quickly.

It's been much more hit-or-miss with Amazon and most other commonly used vendors.

Hope this helps.

(I have no connection to monoprice.com other than as a satisfied customer)
-Phil

"Diffraction never sleeps"

Craig Gerard
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Post by Craig Gerard »

Peter,

When using long extensions you may need a USB cable with a built in signal booster.

Possibly something like this item. I have not used one, so consider this a suggestion.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/160782402736


Craig
To use a classic quote from 'Antz' - "I almost know exactly what I'm doing!"

Peter De Smidt
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Post by Peter De Smidt »

Thanks Guys.

I'll look into your suggestions.

ChrisLilley
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Post by ChrisLilley »

Do you have a powered USB hub available? If so, does

computer > 6ft USB > hub > 6" USB > D200

work? Also, do the longer cords work with other USB devices?

Peter De Smidt
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Post by Peter De Smidt »

Good questions, Chris. I'll give your ideas a try.

The 6" cord does have one of those large cylinders on one end. (A balun?) The new cords don't.

Chris S.
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Post by Chris S. »

Craig Gerard wrote:When using long extensions you may need a USB cable with a built in signal booster.
Yes, for going over 6 ft with USB, a cord with a signal booster is a good idea. I use a 15 ft USB cord with a built-in signal booster with my D200, and have found it to work very reliably with the several XP computers and single Windows 7 computer that I've used it on. I use Nikon Capture Control 2 for tethering, but that's probably not pertinent.

When purchasing this cord, I first checked reviews of several competing models at Newegg.com, and purchased one with a strong reported track record. It's been several years, but at the time, I got the impression that some manufacturers/models of such cords tended to be much more reliable than others.

I do note that even Peter's six-foot "basic" cord isn't working. Here, I wonder if a higher quality cord would work. A cord labeled "basic" might skimp in shielding from interference, fit of connectors, etc.

I do like Chris Lillie's question about using a powered hub. Since USB cords carry both power and data, problems can occur with either--and in my experience, power issues tend to be much more common than data problems. Since the D200 is a self-powered device, I'd consider that less likely, but still worth thinking about.

--Chris

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Post by rjlittlefield »

FWIW, the following snippets are from the ControlMyNikon FAQ:
Will this non-Nikon USB cable work?
We only support the use of the official Nikon USB 2.0 cable that comes with the Nikon camera. Since Nikon supports this cable, we are very sure that it will work. We do not support and cannot guarantee that non-Nikon third-party USB cables will work properly. If you are having problems while using a third-party cable, try switching back to the Nikon cable and try again to see if that helps.
Can I run the cable through a USB hub?
No. Hubs can cause unpredictable problems. Connect directly from computer to camera.
--Rik

Chris S.
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Post by Chris S. »

If Peter's computer can only "see" his camera with a six-inch cord, I'd be looking for the problem to exist upstream of ControlMyNikon, and would expect it to occur no matter what tethering application he uses. The litmus test here would be whether or not the camera appears on the devices list as "working properly." If so, the computer "sees" it; if not, it doesn't.

It's interesting to see what the ControlMyNikon FAQ says about USB cords and hubs. However, my experience with these items would lead me to try top-quality hubs and non-Nikon cords anyway, if I had reason to do so. While many USB hubs (especially non-powered models) can indeed cause unpredictable problems, carefully-selected, top-quality powered hubs tend not to do so, and sometimes work much more reliably than direct USB connections (probably because the supplied power in a powered hub is less likely to be attenuated by the multiple, poor connections that often occur within PC cases). This is definitely an item where a buyer should check reviews and purchase only well-regarded items. For USB cords, the minefield is less dangerous, but better and poorer cords still exist. My Nikon USB cords seem pretty good, but I doubt they have any voodoo that other good-quality cords lack.

Peter De Smidt
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Post by Peter De Smidt »

I'll try some things soon, but it's going to be a busy couple of days.

I agree that CMN is not the problem. Windows doesn't see the camera with the longer cords. I do have an older powered hub somewhere, and it won't hurt to try it, once I find it.

rjlittlefield
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Post by rjlittlefield »

I agree about all the above. The reason I included the snippet from CMN is only that they've been in a position to hear about lots of problems and solutions -- quite possibly more than all of us put together. Of course they're also motivated to recommend a single "known good" solution.

--Rik

Peter De Smidt
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Post by Peter De Smidt »

Ok, I ran a quick test. An MP3 player connects with the computer with no problems through the new 6ft cord, but it doesn't work with the 15ft. Using a cheap Dynex powered hub, both the MP3 player and the D200 connect to the computer ok. Plugging the long cable into hub doesn't work.

This is good news, and I really appreciate the hub suggestion. I hadn't thought of trying it because of CMN's warning. 6ft of cord might be enough, but I'll try getting a 10ft cord from one of the suggested vendors.

Chris S.
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Post by Chris S. »

Peter, you may also want to try different USB ports on your computer, if you haven't already. I've seen plenty of problems go away simply by switching to a different port--preferably one that is soldered to the motherboard.

USB ports on computers can get dust in them that interferes with connectivity (so blowing out USB ports with compressed air is part of routine computer maintenance for me). They can also acquire corrosion, especially if coffee or other liquids have ever been spilled in the vicinity.

More importantly, USB ports have three main paths of connectivity into the computer's motherboard. The most reliable are built onto the motherboard during manufacture; their electrical connection to the motherboard is generally soldered and therefore usually trouble-free (though a "cold solder"--a type of manufacturing defect--is possible, and could cause intermittent problems). These USB ports are found on the back of a desktop computer, in the same vicinity as other hard-wired connectors--typically the network connection, built-in rear-facing audio connectors, etc.

Far less reliable are the USB ports found on the front, top, or sides of a desktop computer. These typically have wires running from them to a push-on fitting on the motherboard. These fittings tend to have less integrity than a soldered connection, and are prone to problems. I often see devices not work in a front USB connection, but work when plugged into a connection on the back of the computer.

But not all USB ports on the back of a computer are hard-wired into the motherboard; if a set of USB ports is located in the area of the expansion card slots, chances are these ports are sitting on some sort of add-on, rather than the motherboard. These can range from excellent to troublesome. Many simply have wires that plug into fittings on the motherboard, and are no more reliable than typical front or top USB ports that do the same thing. Others plug into a PCI or other expansion slot, and can be excellent performers--if the expansion card is a good model (not all are).

Laptop computers are very model specific as to which USB ports attach how--it's hard to know without taking them apart. But different ports do often perform better or worse than others on a given machine.

--Chris

Peter De Smidt
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Post by Peter De Smidt »

Hi Chris,

That's a good suggestion. I built the computer, and so I know which connectors are directly soldered to the motherboard and which aren't. In any case, I tried each slot.

Babylonia
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Post by Babylonia »

USB-connections can have strange behaviour. From my desktop I must not use to much USB-connections from a cold start of my PC. It reboots. Only when my computer is running I can plug in more USB devices.

From my laptop once I have connected my D700 camera working with all kinds of cables to each other (male - female connectors), using a USB hub between at about 6 feet. With or without extra power supply at the hub didn't matter. Total length about 28 feet USB cable running without problems.
Greetings from Holland

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