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I have a USB device that perfectly works when it's plugged into a Tower Windows-PC, but doesn't work when it is plugged into an old Linux Laptop. Is there a way to add more power to the USB device? Would the following circuit work?

schematic

simulate this circuit – Schematic created using CircuitLab

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Yes, that will work. Another solution is a USB Y cable. Depending on what your device actually needs, you can get them with USB A-Female, Mini/Micro-B Male, or 3.0 Micro B (or more).

enter image description here

Uses two USB ports, which bypasses any individual port limitations. I need one for a 2.5" Sata hard drive enclosure with my MacBook, which enforces the 500mA limitation.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Aren't those cables simply shorting two power outputs together? The solution proposed by the OP looks like a better idea to me. \$\endgroup\$ – Dmitry Grigoryev Sep 2 '16 at 8:24
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Your circuit idea would work but it would be easier to simply use a powered USB hub in between the computer and the USB device.

I really doubt that the failure of the USB device on the old Linux computer is due to the power though. It is far more likely that the problem is that the old computer does not have the latest device drivers installed that are needed to support the target device. You did not mention what type of USB device it is but even devices that have standard generic capabilities sometimes have special drivers to support getting them initialized and operational.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ The device is both a touchscreen and keypad. The touchscreen input moves the cursor, but Keypad Input doesn`t do anything on the Linux Laptop. \$\endgroup\$ – Tim Jan 6 '15 at 10:01
  • \$\begingroup\$ Indeed, that is a driver rather than power problem. Jump over to unix.stackexchange with relevant excerpts from dmesg and lsusb after connection. \$\endgroup\$ – Chris Stratton Jan 6 '15 at 13:08
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That circuit will work.

However, it may not actually solve the issue you're having, depending on the device you're having trouble with. It might be not turning on due to a lack of the proper communication with the host computer.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Is the lack of proper communication that you mention a problem that might come with my circuit or another problem that might be the reason for the issue i mentioned in my question ? \$\endgroup\$ – Tim Jan 5 '15 at 23:26
  • \$\begingroup\$ Communication error might be the actual problem, but you've assumed that not enough power is the problem. Add power will not solve a communication problem. \$\endgroup\$ – Samuel Jan 5 '15 at 23:32
  • \$\begingroup\$ Thats easy enough to test. Does the usb port work with other usb devices, like a mouse? Then its likely a power issue. Older laptops are notorious for it. \$\endgroup\$ – Passerby Jan 6 '15 at 0:37

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