USB switchbox with switching on a per-device basis?
September 21, 2006 4:48 PM   Subscribe

I have a handful of USB devices that I'd like to share between the 2-4 workstations/laptops at my desk. I don't need simultaneous access to a given device from multiple PC's, just the ability to switch which PC each device is assigned to. Here's the catch, though: I want to do the switching on a per-device basis, so standard USB switchboxes (that switch all USB devices at once) won't do the trick. Does such a device exist?

I realize that I could purchase one USB switchbox for each USB device to solve this problem, but I'd like to keep the number of cables to a minimum.
posted by arathorn to Computers & Internet (6 answers total)
What you need is basically a USB patch bay. This person proposes making one, but I don't know that any exist.
posted by Zed_Lopez at 5:00 PM on September 21, 2006

USB Devices? Can you be more specific? Is there a way they can be shared via a network? (Printer - print sharing) (Drive reader - share the drives..) etc..
posted by defcom1 at 5:24 PM on September 21, 2006

You could probably built a patch panel yourself, but it's arguable whether it is easier to just buy a USB box for each of the devices and use them backwards.

Basically, to built the patch panel you need:

1. USB male to USB female cable for each PC (easy, this is the standard USB extension cable)
2. USB female to proprietary plug for device (came with the device)
3. very-short (6 inches?) USB male to USB female cable (harder, but maybe an electronics store can make you some ultra-short USB extension cables)

You run a cable from each PC to the top of a panel and label them. You then run the cable from each device to the bottom of the same panel and label them. When you want to connect a USB device to a specific PC, you just connect the short cable from the labelled PC port to the labelled device port and it's like it is plugged in direct. If you wanted to be really fancy, you could even add a hub to each PC cable to allow it to use multiple devices at once...

As I said though, might be easier to go with the USB boxes!
posted by ranglin at 5:40 PM on September 21, 2006

to build the patch panel....
posted by ranglin at 5:41 PM on September 21, 2006

belkin USB switches
posted by w.fugawe at 9:13 PM on September 21, 2006

damn! didn't read the end bit. sorry
posted by w.fugawe at 9:15 PM on September 21, 2006

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