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Archive for March, 2021

Maintenance for USB Flash Drive Duplicator

USB flash drive duplicators are typically in production type environments because the equipment is being used to make hundreds or thousands of flash drives. In this type of environment if may be required to perform routine maintenance to keep the duplication equipment operating at peak performance.

As with any flash memory duplicator system, there are no moving parts. This certainly makes it easier on keeping the gear in tip-top shape. Although there are no moving parts there are still cleaning steps one can take. There are three areas to consider for maintenance for USB Flash Drive Duplicator.

usb duplicator, usb 3.0, super speed

The USB socket of a USB duplicator receives the most wear-and-tear. The standard USB socket has a specification of 100,000 connection cycles. During that time, it’s possible dirt and dust can get into the USB socket. However, more likely will be plastic shavings form the USB stick itself found inside the socket. If a user connects a USB stick at a slight angle and with a bit of force, it’s possible some of the plastic inside the USB stick connector is shaved off and falls into the USB socket of the flash drive duplicator.

If this happens the quick, simple and effective solution is applying compressed air into the USB duplicator socket to blow out any debris, dust or dirt. By cleaning out the sockets you will insure a better point of contact between the pins of the USB flash drive and the pins of the USB socket.

Another common issue with USB duplicators are the sockets themselves getting lose from all the connection cycles during the production process. Inside each USB socket there are metal tongs which provide tension as the USB stick is connected to the socket. Over time, these tongs lose some of their elasticity and thus result in less tension. When there is less tension between the socket and device, it is possible a good connection is not made. By taking appart the duplicator and adjusting the tongs of the USB socket you can create good, strong tension.

Here is a close up picture of a USB socket from a USB flash drive duplicator made by Nexcopy. The red arrow points the tension tong. Using some sort of sharp mechanical tool, push the tension tong down towards the inner part of the USB socket. Do not push or bend the tong too much, but enough to create good tension when a USB flash drive is inserted into the socket. Apply this technique to all sockets of the duplicator.

usb duplicator, tension thongs on usb socket

The last bit of maintenance for a USB flash drive duplicator would be the internal fan and components. As with any computer, the internal fan will pull or push dust into the chassis and cover the components. The dust itself will not damage the components, but the dust will cover the components on the inside and make them run hotter than what is ideal. For this reason, it is a good maintenance step to open the duplicator unit and apply compressed air to the inside of the unit.

By thoughtfully and methodically applying the above maintenance steps your USB flash drive duplicator will continue to run for many years.

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Transfer Rates Faster Than USB

In the world of physics, heat represents resistance. Think of touching your car tire before you’ve driven it – cool. Think of touching your car tire after driving to the store – warm. Resistance.

Copper found in USB connectors and USB cables is the heat element which represents the resistance of faster speeds. The warmer copper gets, the slower the data transfer rates will be because the heat represents inefficiencies of the material.

Research presented at February’s IEEE International Solid-State Circuits Conference by lead author Jack Holloway and co-authors Ruonan Han and Georgios Dogiamis developed a data transfer system that can transmit information 10 times faster than a USB. The new link pairs high-frequency silicon chips with a polymer cable as thin a strand of hair.

Mr Holloway explains, “Copper wires, like those found in USB or HDMI cables, are power-hungry — especially when dealing with heavy data loads. There’s a fundamental tradeoff between the amount of energy burned and the rate of information exchanged.”

The most common alternative suggested to a copper wire would be an optical wire. Optical wires deal with photons and are extremely efficient but the problem are how the photons interact will silicon of a chip. Since photons don’t work well when talking to silicon, it means a direct connection from a fiber optic cable to a computer chip isn’t ideal.

The technology (by Holloway and team) is a plastic polymer material which works very well at sub-terahertz signals (very high signals) which translates to a competitive alternative to fiber optics.

Next, the team engineered a low-cost chip which pairs with the polymer conduit. Typically, silicon chips struggle to operate at sub-terahertz frequencies. Yet the team’s new chips generate those high-frequency signals with enough power to transmit data directly into the conduit. That clean connection from the silicon chips to the conduit means the overall system can be manufactured with standard, cost-effective methods.

The physical size of this plastic polymer is the same size as a human hair.

Resource: Fiber Optics.

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