Can I install a USB 3.0 card in my desktop using PCI?

Episode 1056

Dave from Chicago, IL

Dave wants to know if he can install a USB 3.0 port onto his desktop computer. Leo says sure, but it largely depends on the bus of his desktop. If he has PCIexpress, he should be just fine. USB 3.0 goes as high as 5 Gigabits, but that doesn't mean he'd necessarily get that. What about just plain PCI? He won't get the max speed, but the hard drive isn't as fast as USB 3.0 either. So it should be good enough for his use of it.

How can I play music in my car from a USB key?

Satechi Soundfly

Episode 1004

Yvette from Compton, CA

Yvette has a USB key with music on it and she wants to play it in her car. Leo says that some cars come with USB options, but Yvette will probably need a third party head unit radio that will support that. Or, she can get a small computer that plugs in. Satechi mades the Soundfly, an MP3 player that supports USB drives. It comes with an FM transmitter built in.

Is there a way to connect my Samsung Galaxy S4 to the car without having to use bluetooth?

Samsung Galaxy S4

Episode 997

Randy from Richmond, VA

Randy listens to TWiT podcasts with his Droid connected to his car dock, but his Samsung Galaxy S4 will not pass audio from the phone to the computer without bluetooth. Leo says that's odd that they've taken those features out. He suspects it's because of Bluetooth that they've taken it out via the USB port. An audio jack plugged into the dock could work, but he'll have an extra wire running.

Why do I get an error whenever I try programming my ham radio through my computer?

Episode 994

Gordon from Tarzana, CA

Gordon has a BaoFeng UV5R+ ham radio, and it keeps displaying an error whenever he tries programming the radio through Windows. Leo says that less expensive ham radios don't have an ideal user interface to allow the user to troubleshoot easily. Leo suspects that the USB cable is broken, but he also suggests making sure the drivers for Windows are installed first.

The Chatroom says it's the "prolific driver" that's causing the connection. They recommend using Chirp on Windows to find it.

Why does my keyboard type numbers and letters on its own?

Logitech Bluetooth Keyboard

Episode 984

Trish from Chino Hills, CA

Trish's keyboard seems to randomly type letters and numbers when she's not touching it. Leo suspects the keyboard could have shorted out or the USB port it's plugged into is shorting out. She should try a different keyboard. If that doesn't fix it, then that would point to a different problem. Leo also suspects that the computer may still be paired to the wireless keyboard and her daughter is playing with it, causing the issue!

Why won't my computer recognize the bootable USB key I created?

Episode 965

Robert from Newhall, CA

Robert wanted to create a bootable operating system on his USB key, but his computer won't recognize it. Leo says it may not be formatted properly. He should go into the BIOS and make sure USB is an option to boot to in the boot order. The Chatroom suggests holding down ALT+O when booting up and it'll tell the computer to look at the USB, but Leo hasn't done that so he can't vouch for it.

My car has an iPod dock, but is there another way I can connect my Samsung phone?

Belkin Bluetooth Car Kit

Episode 960

Dave from Tustin, CA

Leo says if the head unit in the car has bluetooth, that would be the easiest way. Dave says his car does not have bluetooth, though.

Another possibility is to connect the phone via USB instead. Or he could try getting an adapter, like this one from Belkin, to go from the iPod 30 pin connector to USB.

Dick DeBartolo

Episode 957

This week's gadget is the NewerTech Power2U USB outlet. What it does is that in addition to the AC plug outlets, the Power2U adds two convenient USB charging ports. The new version has safety for kids, has been boosted to 20Amp version for commercial use. Leo just installed them and he says they were easy to install and work really well! Note though - The Power2U USB device requires the 16 cubic inch electrical box. But they're only $15 at Amazon.