Extending a USB2/USB3 signal successfully

Often when building an installation or a show, it would make everything much simpler if you could extend the USB2 / USB3 signal of your sensor to lengths far exceeding the original cabling. While we can’t really endorse a particular brand or vendor with cables (for a slight deviation to this practise see below), we can provide you with some general hints about what to expect when using depth sensors with cable extenders:

  • Keep the cabling as short as possible (duh)
  • If your sensor is compatible, try both the OpenNI1 and OpenNI2 versions of the software (Z Vector)
  • Unpowered USB2/USB3 extension cables are going to give you a maximum of 10-15 meters of coverage
  • Powered (with an external power source at the receiving end) USB2/USB3 extension cables can give you 15 meters (verified) or up to 20 meters of coverage
  • Our users have reported USB2/USB3 Ethernet and fibre extenders to work on occasion, giving you a theoretical maximum of 100 meters of coverage.
  • Still having problems? Try enabling USB3 compatibility mode in NI mate / Z Vector

Disclaimer: Delicode will in no way guarantee that cables from this particular brand will work for your case, but if they’re available to you, Deltaco Prime branded active USB extension cables (such as the USB3-1008 model) have worked for us on almost all PC + sensor combinations (the cables are backwards compatible with USB2).

Are you a user with good or bad experiences with extending your sensor’s range? Please reply to this post.

So I have a Light-Link USB Cable by Sewell, 100 ft, USB 3.0 over Fiber that I have gotten to successfully work to connect my Xbox 360 kinect v1 sensor with Z Vector on windows 7.

When I upgraded to Windows 10 the set up stopped working and I had to remove the cable to make Z Vector display the data again. It still gets audio so I know the 100 ft cable works.
We’ve also seen the kinect work with Windows drivers/100ft cable.
What is it about Delicode or Windows 10 that would prevent me from being able to use my cable?

The Kinect for XBox 360 will have issues on anything more recent than Windows 7 due to driver signature enforcement. You will have to install the Kinect 1 driver via the Z Vector installed in a special boot mode that allows installing unsigned drivers. This is done as follows:

  • Press “Win+R” to open up the run prompt and enter “shutdown.exe /r /o”.
  • Press “OK” to restart to the “Choose an option” screen.
  • Select “Troubleshoot” (icon with tools).
  • Select “Advanced options” (Icon with checkmarks).
  • Select “Windows Startup Settings” (Icon with gearwheel).
  • Press “Restart” to restart the computer to the “Advanced Boot Options” screen.
  • Select “Disable Driver Signature Enforcement”.
  • Once the computer starts, start the Z Vector installer
  • Install the XBox 360 Kinect driver
  • If the sensor still doesn’t work, open device manager and find the XBox 360 camera device, go to its properties -> Update Driver -> Select from list -> Select the driver that gives a warning about it being unsigned

I have already bypassed signature enforcement with this method and updated with the unsigned driver.
The Kinect only has issues when the 100ft cable is involved, I have tested the cable and it transfers other video and 3d depth data with no issues. Is there something about the cable that would effect the Kinect v1 drivers?

If the Kinect works with other cables but no the 100ft cable, then the problem is likely in the hardware or the driver receiving the USB packets. A lot can go wrong when extending USB cables as the USB standard only states cables up to 5 meters must work. But then, why does your long cable work with Windows 7 but not 10? My guess is that something in the Windows 7 USB package handling is more permissive of errors while Windows 10 isn’t - perhaps something is lost in transmission and Windows 10 doesn’t permit the errors.

Your cable is fiber (?) though, so the signal loss shouldn’t be an issue, apart from any issues in converting the signal causing some sort of small delay.

Hi, I have a similar question.

Am currently running Z Vector on OSX Capitan and a Kinect V2 using the normal short cable, all fine.
I need to extend this up to 30 meters and looked at a few Kinect forums, one suggestion of a working optical extender was this:

It says Windows though.
Does anybody know if this will work for MacOS?

thanks in advance!