USB Power And Nektar Controllers

General Help & FAQs

Nektar controllers are designed to receive power via a single USB connection.

The exception is the Panorama P4 and P6, which receive power from two USB ports. The standard USB jack (USB-B) provides power to most of the P4/P6 and USB Aux Power (USB-MicroB) provides power for the motor functions of the 100mm fader.

A typical setup involves connecting the controller directly to a USB port on your computer using the supplied cable(s). This connection powers the device and sends data to and from your computer. With that said, we have encountered some cases where the USB ports that are built into computers don’t provide consistent power to bus powered devices and in some case don’t even follow USB power spec. These USB power problems can lead to a number of strange behaviors:

  • Device is recognized by the computer but not the host application (Reason, Cubase, Logic, Bitwig Studio and other applications compatible with USB MIDI devices).
  • Loss of communication with host application (keys stop working, display becomes unresponsive).
  • Performance that deteriorates over a period of a few minutes or hours.
  • Parameter values changing when controls are not being moved.
  • Panorama P4/P6 only: Motorized fader issues (motorized fader doesn’t move when selecting tracks or doesn’t respond when moved manually).

Solutions

We have found that in many cases, simply trying a different USB cable will help.

In other cases, we recommend connecting the controller through a powered USB hub (particularly when using a laptop). To be clear, Nektar controllers will not work with a passive USB hub, only USB hubs which provide their own external power supply are recommended.

This is an example of a powered hub that we have tested extensively: Plugable USB 2.0 10-Port High Speed Hub

Panorama P4/P6: For motorized fader issues we commonly recommend connecting the USB Aux Power cable to a USB > AC adapter. These will often allow devices to draw more current than is typically possible with a standard USB port. Here is an example: iClever BoostCube Wall Charger.

With this solution you also don’t need to use two USB ports on your computer. Very handy if you use a laptop with only one or two USB ports.

iOS Devices

All Nektar controllers with the exception of the Panorama (P and T) Series can be connected to iOS devices via the USB Camera Adapter, available from Apple.

Nektar controllers will only work with a Camera Adapter that has an additional power connector. The exception is the Impact LX+ series when used in Low Power Mode.

Please connect the controller and power cable to the Camera Adapter first, and then connect it to the iOS Device

In addition, Pacer and Aura need to be connected via a powered USB hub before connecting to the adapter.

External Power Adapters

Certain Nektar controllers have the option of being powered from an external power supply. This is intended for powering the unit when away from a computer, so please note that all of these devices will defer to USB power when it is present.

Adapter specifications:

  • Impact LX88+, GXP, Aura: 9v 600mA, center positive, 2.1mm barrel connector.
  • Pacer: 9v 600mA center negative, 2.1mm barrel connector.

About Panorama P4/P6’s Dual USB Jacks

The Panorama P4 and P6 have two USB jacks on their rear panel: a standard USB-B jack and a USB-MicroB jack. The standard USB-B jack is used for communication between Panorama and the computer to which it’s connected. It also provides power for everything but Panorama’s motorized fader. *

The USB-MicroB jack can serve on its own as a power source when you’d like to use the Panorama without a computer. In this case the motor for the motorized fader would not be powered *, but power would be supplied to the display and the LEDs in the buttons and wheels.

*Note: The motorized fader will still transmit MIDI data when the USB Micro B cable is not providing power to the motor.

  • When using both USB cables, we recommend that you connect both USB cables to the same computer or hub.
  • If you are going to use both USB jacks in order to supply power to the motor, make sure both cables are plugged in before you power up the Panorama.
  • The USB port for powering the motorized fader should be capable of delivering 500mA of current. USB 2.0 ports should provide sufficient power, and “dedicated charging ports” will also provide this.
  • Be careful not to use ports that are rated for USB 1.0 only, as the power they provide is likely to be insufficient.
  • It is possible that some computers might not supply full power to the built in USB ports.
  • With certain computers or hubs, if other gear that draws high current is powered from the same USB port, the computer’s operating system may shut off power to the port for the motor. In this case, either use an external power supply, try a different port on the computer (changing ports on the same powered hub won’t help), or move the other gear to a different power source.
Tags: USB Power

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