Dell Latitude E4310 and shortage of USB ports

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#579358
William Bristow
Participant

Hi Grant.

One of the issues you will face with laptops (and most desktop PC’s) is that although you might have 3 or 4 physical UBS ports, on the outside of the laptop, inside the laptop all the ports are connected to a single internal USB root-hub which has an absolute limit on the data throughput from all the connected devices. I find that TheSkyX and my Paramount MX keep the USB root hub pretty busy as TheSkyX is continually polling the Paramount for Protrack drive corrections.

One way around this is that your Dell Latitude E4310 has an ExpressCard 34 slot, just above the DVD drive. If you plug in a ExpressCard 34 USB extension card, you gain direct access to the PC main bus without having to go through the existing laptop’s USB Root Hub.

ExpressCard 34’s are dying out now and becoming harder to find but some good quality brands still remain in stock with a few retailers.

They were available with two or four additional USB2/USB3 ports but recently, amongst the better brands, I notice only two port cards are still available and only USB3 cards are still commonly stocked, two port USB2 cards are getting hard to find.

The ExpressCard carries it’s own internal root hub. Some cards also have the facility to connect an external power supply for the USB devices which can be handy for power hungry devices such as some guide cameras.

This gives you the option to put the low demand devices such as the GPS dongle, filter wheel, focuser etc on the laptop USB internal root-hub and your high demand devices like the Paramount and guide camera on an ExpressCard, or just put the GPS dongle on the ExpressCard alone. There are several ways to connect the devices about the laptops’ and ExpressCards’ available slots to keep the GPS dongle away from high demand devices.

Sample link to a current Startech 2 port USB 3 ExpressCard34:

https://www.ebuyer.com/338306-startech-2-port-usb3-0-expresscard-ecusb3s22

And a sample link to a current Startech 2 port USB ExpressCard34:

https://www.ebuyer.com/138357-startech-2-port-usb2-0-laptop-express-card-ec230usb

The other option is to look for a second hand docking station for your laptop, that is if they ever made one, if you can find one that would usually give you another two/four USB 2 ports, again, directly connected to the laptops main bus and bypassing the laptops internal USB root-hub.

HTH

William.