The PhoneBoy Blog


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MacBook and iSight Problems? Maybe it’s your USB Hub.

I’m not sure who to blame here, but I might as well document it in case someone else runs into this stupid problem.

So I recently got a MacBook and I’ve been using it quite a bit. Today I decided to fire up SightSpeed to try a video call with someone. For some reason, it did not detect my iSight camera. Various other applications thought the camera was either not present or in use.

A did a bit of googling. It appears many people are having this problem. Various suggestions are available, none of which were working. Nor do I like the idea of being without my Mac for several days while they figure out what’s wrong. Anyway, after trying lots of software tweaks, including reloading Quicktime and the Mac OS 10.4.7 update, I stumbled on the culprit: my USB hub. Yes, you heard right, a USB hub.

Basically I had a cheapo USB 2.0 hub plugged into my MacBook. The only thing plugged into that was my USB to PS/2 keyboard adapter. I unplugged the hub, plugged in the USB to PS/2 adapter straight into my MacBook, and booted up. SightSpeed started working again. I stopped SightSpeed, plugged in the hub (nothing in the hub, mind you), and restarted SightSpeed. SightSpeed couldn’t use the camera. I replaced that USB hub with the one I was using on the Mac Mini and it seems to like that one okay.

Several hours of troubleshooting and a call to Apple Technical Support wasted over a cheap USB hub.

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