M.2 adapters


USB flash sticks/drives whatever, everyone want one, and a big one (128 GB +). However, to run an OS from, they are not much use (unreliable, no TRIM, limited lifetime), see Running OSX of USB 3.0.

Much better and cheaper, is an SSD drive, be it 3.5″, 2.5″ internal or external. These can be used as an OS disk sans problèmes, with none of the disadvantages listed above.

However, these are quite large, compared to a USB stick. Also, an external will have a slower interface that using an internal SATA3. Likewise, an internal can’t quickly be connected to another computer via an external USB, unless you have a USB to SATA cable.

However, most manufactures will have a M.2 equivalent of their 2.5″ internal SATA SSD drives. Now, an M.2 SSD can be put into a small-ish external USB-C enclosure, as well as an internal 2.5″ SATA enclosure. The best of both worlds… you can take your internal 2.5″ SSD out, pop out the M.2 SSD and pop it into a small USB device to carry about, with no real loss of performance, if you use a USB 3.x port.

In short:

  • Instead of getting a USB flash drive, think about getting an M.2 SSD and USB-C adapter.
  • Instead of getting an 2.5″ SSD drive, think about getting an M.2 SSD and 2.5″ SATA adapter.

That said, it is then a massive headache to get the correct enclosure matched to the correct M.2 SSD (SATA vs NVMe).

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How to test a game controller on Windows 10


The usual organisation of control panels is seriously messed up on Windows 10. Where there used to be a control panel for Printers and other devices in Windows 7, which would show any USB game controllers, now the Devices control panel is virtually useless. To get to the Devices and Printers dialog, you have to scroll to the bottom of the Bluetooth and other devices dialog and then click on Devices and printers link under Related settings.

Nice move Micro$oft, adding more clicks to achieve the same thing. What wizards you are!

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More High Powered USB charging stations


After my failed attempt to purchase one of the rare, and much sought after, Xtar Eu4 charging stations, due to the fact that they were discontinued (see High power USB charging station), I thought I’d have a look for a reasonable facsimile.

Usually when a product is discontinued, some bright spark in China takes the design and continues to manufacture them, maybe with modifications to make them even cheaper to produce.

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ExpressCards on Santa Rosa MacBook Pro


My 15″ Santa Rosa (2.4 GHz) MacBook Pro is seriously limited with its two USB 2.0 ports. So I thought about:

  • Daisy chaining USB 3.0 passport disks – not possible due to them not having two USB ports (see Is there a way to daisy chain USB3 external hard drives?) and I don’t have a hub, although…
  • … one option is to use a Seagate Backup Plus hub, big (at up to 10 TB) but noisy, or at least noisier that passport external disks). Also, according to this cnet review, if the drive is plugged into a USB 2.0 port then the built-in USB 3.0 hub does not work correctly, and may not detect what is connected to it. Also the price is about the same as two “fat” 5 TB passport drives.
  • Using a Firewire to USB adapter in the (unused) Firewire port ( see Is there any usb to firewire adaptor?)
  • Adding an ExpressCard to provide more USB ports…

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Burnt out USB charger


It’s one of those horrifically dangerous 2.5×2.5×2.5 cm mini-cube singe port 1 A USB chargers. There were scorch marks on the base of the case. The circuit was very simple, a simplified SMPS on two small PCBs… which held into the cube casing with white silicone/glue – scratch that away and it is easy to extract the pair of PCBs

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High power USB charging station


Whilst looking into the XTAR battery chargers, I came across the XTAR EU4, which offers QC3.0, 2 x USB 2.4A and USB C (PD) ports… and although the QC and PD capability is a bit limited, it’s not by much (i.e. QC 3.0 does not have 20V capability, and PD current is limited to 20V 2.25A (45W))…

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