USB 2 SX camera on USB 3 port?

Forums Imaging USB 2 SX camera on USB 3 port?

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    Jeremy Shears

    I have an SXVF-H9 camera, which has a USB 2 connector. I am looking to buy a new laptop with USB 3.1 ports. I’ve heard many general comments stating that USB 2 devices work seamlessly on USB 3 ports, but there are some comments saying there can be backward compatibility issues with certain cameras.

    Has anyone experience of this specific SX camera or others SX USB 2 cameras with USB 3.1 ports?

    I suppose I could get a laptop which additionally has a USB 2 port to be sure…..

    Nick James

    I have a vintage SXVR-H18 which works fine off a USB3 hub.

    Jeremy Shears

    Thanks Nick. That’s reassuring!

    Tim Haymes

    Just a thought, that the 3.1 socket looks different to 3.0.   Jeremy, you might like to check this for yourself on the machine you buy and if you need some sort of plug adapter to run the USB2 camera on USB 3.1.  I dont have experience of this, i was checking out the specs after reading your question.   I expect you will have 3.0 and 3.1 on a new machine.

    Peter Carson

    Hi Jeremy,

    I use a 15 year old Sbig camera via USB 3.0 and it works OK. Cable lengths up to 5m are Ok if you’re using a USB 2 device on a USB 2 or 3 port but be careful if you move to a USB 3 camera. It won’t work if the cable is longer than 3m or if the cable is of poor quality. I’ve had all sorts of issues with USB 3 camera and cables types and lengths at my remote observatory. (All working fine now)


    Grant Privett

    One question: is your camera a USB camera or a serial camera with a USB adaptor? Cannot vouch for those.

    I’ve used: Lodestar, Superstar, Ultrastar, SX H18 and Trius 694s on a USB3 under W7 and W10. No issues. 

    However, if there is a problem, then if your laptop takes Expresscards, you could perhaps install an old USB2 card. 

    Jeremy Shears

    I appreciate everyone’s comments – thank you!

    Was not aware about the implications of cable length, Peter. My cable is 3 m, so hopefully OK. 

    Grant, my SX is a USB camera, not a serial camera with USB adapter.

    I’m now much more confident, so I’ve gone ahead and ordered the laptop with USB 3 only. Fingers crossed!

    Jeremy Shears

    So, my brand new HP laptop arrived and all works well, except the SX CCD camera!!

    Most downloads have short white lines as shown in the screenshot.


    1. The lines are in different position each download and are occasionally absent

    2. I get problems with AstroArt, with SX software and with SharpCap (the last 2 give error code 1235)

    3. I have tried several different USB cables

    4. Both the laptops USB 3.1 ports give the same result

    5. No other programs are running on the laptop and it’s in flight mode, so hardly any background activity

    Terry Platt at SX has been very helpful. He has sent updated drivers and updated firmware. He has suggested it might be caused by system interrupts (computer doing other tasks) during download.

    Might anyone have any suggestions?

    Dr Paul Leyland

    Have you tried putting a hub between the laptop and the camera?

    Grant Privett

    How long is the USB cable?

    Jeremy Shears

    James Dawson updated most of the drivers on the laptop

    The lines disappeared after updating .NET Framework. But came back after a few reboots.

    Curiously we can run 100s of images will James is on via TeamViewer, but when he drops the connection the lines come back. Obs not practical way forward!

    Grant. Tried 3 and 2 m cables

    Paul: I don’t have a hub

    William Bristow

    Hard to tell from the laptop screen shot but it looks a little like parasitic noise, especially if it is erratic in nature.

    Try running the laptop on internal battery only for a short while while acquiring images, the laptop mains supply/charger unit should be completely disconnected for this test.

    If the noise disappears when on internal battery then the source is the laptop charger.

    If the noise is still present when running on internal battery only then possibly there is some RF leakage from the laptop CPU/RAM modules that is being picked up in the USB cable shield or the power supply lines to the camera and the addition of some anti-parasitic ferrite clamps to either ends of the USB cable and the SX power supply cable might be sufficient to deal with this source of parasitic noise.


    Jeremy Shears

    Thank you William.

    There is no difference whether the laptop charger is plugged in or not.

    I’ll have a look at ferrite clamps


    William Bristow


    Forgot to mention earlier, while setting up the new laptop and testing cameras etc make sure that you don’t place loops or coils of excess USB cable and power cables close to the laptop.

    Camera should be as far away as it would be when attached to the telescope and the USB cable should be laid out straight, same applies to the camera power cable. Avoid running USB cables parallel to the laptop chassis, cables should always be run outwards from the laptop where possible to avoid induced interference.


    Jeremy Shears

    Yes good point William. I am aware of that and my tests have been conducted with everything well spaced out and no coils etc.

    Grant Privett

    W10 has the option of sacrificing appearance for performance and also choosing whether the beneficiary is the applications you use or “background services”.

    Would it be worth looking at those and trying different settings? Just a thought given that the system clearly can work without the interference.

    Also, have you tried using the camera with your anti-virus turned off?

    Dominic Ford

    I would second the suggestion above that you trying putting a *powered* USB hub between the laptop and the camera. You should be able to buy one online for around £15.

    If the problem is noise on the USB power lines (or possibly insufficient current?), then a simple fix might be to draw power from a hub rather than the laptop itself.

    Incidentally, to judge from your photo, I also bought a very similar new HP laptop last week, and I’m very pleased with it. Though I haven’t tried connecting it to any astronomical cameras (yet).

    Jeremy Shears

    Quick update. A USB 2 hub (unpowered) Seems to have eliminated the problem. A few 100 images so far and each is flawless.

    Many thanks to everyone who helped online and offline! It is much appreciated.

    Tony Morris

    Jeremy – I’m surprised you had to use a USB hub to solve your problem as USB 3.1 ports should be able to supply more current and voltage than a USB 2.0 port. It may be worth checking the laptop BIOS and or your operating system to see if these is an aggressive power saving setting enabled. I had a Samsung laptop that disabled its USB 3.0 ports on power up as part of its power management regime, the setting was not easy to spot. Maybe if its all working now its best to leave alone……

    Jeremy Shears

    Thanks Tony. I’ve not had any problems since using the hub, so I will let sleeping dogs lie

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