There’s a big issue that people may not realize if they use a Laptop to power all their DJ peripherals. When people use electricity they’re used to the robust electrical systems of buildings. They don’t understand the actual strain that it places on electrical systems to plug in lots of equipment into a power bar or daisy chain extension cords. In a home a fuse just breaks. But laptops don’t have fuses, they just adjust the current output on a USB port. that can handle daisy chaining and plugging in large power bars. This is where the DJ USB hub comes into play and if you’re planning on loading one up you need to understand the rules to properly utilize this.
Lots of DJs tend to go for Macbooks and other laptops based on the specifications of the hardware for processing and their operating system. But oftentimes the amount of USB ports goes under the radar when making purchasing decisions. This turns into a problem later when you have more devices than ports when you want to hook up to your laptop. If you have two ports when you need three the first thing people tend to do is look for USB splitters or USB hubs to open up new real estate. This appears to solve the problem but a lot of unintended issues can arise from a lack of understanding of the technology.
Laptop ports have a maximum power output. Voltage may stay the same but what gets affected is the power output and current running through the devices. If you have a 3W port and plug three devices in, each will get 1W of power. DJ USB interfaces are designed with the intention of only that device being plugged into a USB port. The device expects a certain level of power. Splitters and hubs cut off that supply to the device by sharing it with the rest. As the current flow diminishes in the device it loses vital processes. Some stray currents that were kept in check at full power may damage circuitry. The gear may randomly shut down or act weird as well.
The most important thing is to figure out where your dj equipment gets it’s power from. If it plugs into an electrical outlet it’s safe to assume that it won’t require power from a USB port and the port is just used for communication instead. These devices are safe to plug into a splitter or hub. Never place more than one USB power dependent piece of equipment on the same port into your laptop. If you find that you don’t have enough spots for USB powered gear you need to look into a powered USB hub.
A powered USB hub plugs into an electrical outlet and takes all of the load off the laptop. They power each port as it’s intended to be powered. This allows for all the connected equipment to get all the electrical needs met and work without failure. It’s a must have gear upgrade if you’re using USB powered gear, otherwise you’ll be at risk of damaging your dj gear. They’re only slightly more expensive than a regular USB hub and it protects your extremely expensive investments.
With all this information you know how to keep your gear safe.