Thursday, 19 September 2013

Play Room Media Centre: Green Hub Option 2

Given that it's not possible to get the PiHub in Australia yet, I've been looking out for other options.  Particularly option that would draw the same or less than the PiHub, yet still offer the same functional advantages.

I Was Bad
Yes I found an option to the PiHub, and I bought it.  Thank you Dick Smith for the XH1237 powered USB hub.  This beauty draws 108W through it's power pack.  That's about the same as three of my +Raspberry Pi machines.  But it did cost $60 AUD.  That is a fair bit more than the PiHub.  Ooops!

But Wait There's More...
The real beauty of this device though is that the output of its power pack is 5VDC at 4A.  That means that whilst the power pack draws the power of 3 RPi, it puts out enough to power 4 RPi.  And it could power 4 RPi and have ports remaining for peripherals.  Yes, you heard correct.  This baby has 13 USB 2.0 ports!

13 Ports?  Really?
Yep.  Now you might well be thinking that this is a bad case of over-kill.  It could be.  But, lets think in terms of a Media Centre that has the capacity to play games.  Now of course you are going to want the hub to power the RPi.  You are also going to want to plug in a substantial  size HDD and a WiFi dongle.  That's 3 ports gone.  Wireless keyboard/mouse dongle.  That's 4 ports gone, with still room to spare.  So let's assume you want a second HDD in there - the first was for your movie collection, then second is for your games.  Sweet.  Now lets throw in some neat gadgets for your gaming experience.  Say a steering wheel, pedals and feedback chair.  We've allocated 8 ports now.  There's 5 ports spare on the hub, plus one other on the RPi itself.

What More Can We Plug In?
Now depending upon what games you have and how big your screen is, it could be feasible to have up to 4 controllers plugged in.  We could also plug in a web cam.  Bam!  That's our 13 ports filled, but look at what we've achieved - neat!