Friday, December 16, 2016

Oculus Rift headset cable extension for under $20


I was able to get extension cords that work for the Oculus Rift headset, and they were cost-effective as well!

The Oculus Rift headset's cable is only 12 feet, which is more than enough for standing VR experiences, but is a little short for roomscale VR (and yes, I've confirmed that the Rift can do roomscale even with only two sensors).

The Rift uses precision electronics so not all cables work, and cable compatibility can vary depending on your hardware.  However, here is the combination that worked for me:

1. HDMI Extension: C&E HDMI extension cable (10 ft.).  Currently around $7.
2. USB Extension: Cable Matters USB 3.0 extension cable (10 ft.).  Currently around $8.
Total cost: $15.

To keep things organized, I use velcro cable ties (like these) along the length of the two cables to keep them together:

BENEFITS
The extension not only makes the headset cable more than adequate for roomscale VR, but is also easier to connect the Rift headset cables to the extension cables than the back of my PC.  Plus, I believe the extension will decrease the tension stress on the Rift headset cables.

SETUP DETAILS
Please note I am still connecting my headset and all sensors to USB 2.0.  USB 2.0 works better on my computer and I still have not experienced any problems with it.  

My PC specs:
- processor: Intel Xeon W3565 --> this is an old, power-hungry workstation processor.
- graphics card: Zotac NVidia GTX 1060 6GB Mini.  
- power supply: Corsair RM850x
My graphics card is connected to my monitor via DVI.  The only other connection to my graphics card is the HDMI cable for the Rift extension.

Some users who have tried extension cables have reported that their PC was not getting an HDMI signal, even though the HDMI was connected.  If this happens to you, here are possible solutions:
2.  try a DVI to HDMI adapter*
3.  try an active HDMI repeater.

*It seems a Displayport or DVI has a stronger signal.  I've ordered a Displayport to HDMI adapter to try it out.  I haven't tried an HDMI repeater.

ISSUES
I tested the combination and have not experienced any problems with it.  The only thing I noticed is that the first time I connected the extension cables, the Rift software did not launch automatically when I wore the headset (even though the proximity sensor lights seemed to be working normally).  I had to go to the desktop app to manually launch a Rift app.  After I did, the headset worked normally, and it has worked normally ever since (including automatically launching).

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