Is it safe to power a mini hard drive from one USB port?

Discussion in 'NZ Computing' started by Jack, Apr 30, 2007.

  1. Jack

    Jack Guest

    I am considering buying a 160GB USB mini 2.5 inch ATA external hard drive,
    but I have been told that you shouldn't run a drive like this off just one
    USB port. Apparently, this is because long term damage to the computer / USB
    port is possible because of the current drawn by the hard drive. One brand
    that costs about $250 has a cord that allows you to connect the hard drive
    to two USB ports and it also has an optional mains power connection.

    Can anyone tell me whether it's safe to power a mini 5400 RPM hard drive
    from just one USB port on a laptop computer? I'm not that keen on using two
    USB ports to power a mini external hard drive because the laptop only has 3
    USB ports. I know I could purchase a USB hub, but this adds to clutter etc.
    when carrying a laptop around.

    Would you be better to always use mains power to run an external hard drive
    in order to get the best results?

    Thanks for your comments.

    Jack
     
    Jack, Apr 30, 2007
    #1
    1. Advertising

  2. I've been running a 60GB 2.5 HD on a single USB port on my tower
    for almost a year with no problems, I have sometime to use two laptop
    USB ports th have it recognised by any file manager.
    Lindsay Rollo
    Wellington, New Zealand
     
    lrolloatparadisedotnetdotnz, Apr 30, 2007
    #2
    1. Advertising

  3. Jack

    Jack Guest

    <lrolloatparadisedotnetdotnz> wrote in message
    news:eek:...
    > I've been running a 60GB 2.5 HD on a single USB port on my tower
    > for almost a year with no problems, I have sometime to use two laptop
    > USB ports th have it recognised by any file manager.
    > Lindsay Rollo
    > Wellington, New Zealand


    Thanks Lindsay for this information. So if you use your portable hard drive
    on a single USB port of your laptop, does it not function properly, I wonder
    why this would be?

    I have been using my Ipod as a portable hard drive, and this works very well
    on a single USB port, so I guess it must draw less power than some mini
    portable hard drives that are designed to have two USB ports power them?

    I think it is probably a good idea to buy a mini portable hard drive that
    has the option of being powered from mains power, as this seems to be the
    most reliable power source for a hard drive.

    Jack
     
    Jack, Apr 30, 2007
    #3
  4. Jack:

    It's only some laptops that require the dual power supply,
    usually older models.

    My portable USB HD primary function is backup. But I have several
    hundred utilities etc. on it and I take it on 'helping neighbours'
    visits and the like.

    The dual male USB to single male USB cable I have came with an
    external USB 2.5 2 GB HD. I've subsequently swapped the original drive
    for an ex-laptop 60 GB HD.

    I'm sure someone must sell them locally, although I couldn't find
    them on Dick Smiths' website.
    Lindsay Rollo
    Wellington, New Zealand
     
    lrolloatparadisedotnetdotnz, Apr 30, 2007
    #4
  5. Jack

    Adam Rosner Guest

    On May 1, 10:20 am, lrolloatparadisedotnetdotnz wrote:
    > Jack:
    >
    > It's only some laptops that require the dual power supply,
    > usually older models.


    Check the RPM of the Hard drive - if it's a 5400 rpm model, then it is
    more likely to need power from two USB ports than a 4200 rpm drive.

    > The dual male USB to single male USB cable I have came with an
    > external USB 2.5 2 GB HD. <snip> I'm sure someone must sell them locally,
    > although I couldn't find them on Dick Smiths' website.


    You can get a "Targa" external USB2 HD box for 2.5" drives for about
    $44 from Atech computers (Wellington) and I'm sure other places as
    well. This includes the USB lead with dual plugs.

    I've been using one of these for about 18 months and have never had to
    use the dual-plug. I've used it on a variety of machines, and in all
    cases it spins up perfectly and mounts in Windows Explorer with no
    problems.

    FWIW
     
    Adam Rosner, Apr 30, 2007
    #5
  6. Jack

    Jack Guest

    "Adam Rosner" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    > On May 1, 10:20 am, lrolloatparadisedotnetdotnz wrote:
    >> Jack:
    >>
    >> It's only some laptops that require the dual power supply,
    >> usually older models.

    >
    > Check the RPM of the Hard drive - if it's a 5400 rpm model, then it is
    > more likely to need power from two USB ports than a 4200 rpm drive.
    >
    >> The dual male USB to single male USB cable I have came with an
    >> external USB 2.5 2 GB HD. <snip> I'm sure someone must sell them locally,
    >> although I couldn't find them on Dick Smiths' website.

    >
    > You can get a "Targa" external USB2 HD box for 2.5" drives for about
    > $44 from Atech computers (Wellington) and I'm sure other places as
    > well. This includes the USB lead with dual plugs.
    >
    > I've been using one of these for about 18 months and have never had to
    > use the dual-plug. I've used it on a variety of machines, and in all
    > cases it spins up perfectly and mounts in Windows Explorer with no
    > problems.
    >
    > FWIW
    >


    Thanks for your replies. The hard drive I have been referring to is a 5400
    rpm model. Although it can be powered from just one USB port, a friend
    suggested that, to avoid damage to my computer, it should be connected to
    two of my laptop's USB ports. The retailer then confirmed that a cord comes
    with the drive that enables it to be connected to two USB ports on the
    computer. It also has an optional power adapter:

    http://www.maxtorsolutions.com/en/catalog/OTIII_Mini/

    Thanks for the reference to the Targa external USB2 hard disk enclosure, I
    found one here:

    http://www.targahk.com/product/trader_FL.asp?chanpinid=79

    The only disadvantage of this one is that it supports a maximum of 120GB,
    whereas I was looking at a 160GB model.

    This enclosure supports any 2.5" IDE HDD up to 160G and 7200RPM or any 2.5"
    SATA HDD up to 500G and 10000RPM.

    http://www.ascent.co.nz/productspecification.aspx?ItemID=352802

    What do you think of this enclosure?

    Jack
     
    Jack, May 1, 2007
    #6
  7. >http://www.ascent.co.nz/productspecification.aspx?ItemID=352802
    >
    >What do you think of this enclosure?


    At $60 NZ it seems dear: I paid $ AUS 40 for an enclosure including a
    2GB HD and driver disk.

    Do you really need 7200 rpm resource ?

    Try PriceSpy to see if you can get a better deal.
    Lindsay Rollo
    Wellington, New Zealand
     
    lrolloatparadisedotnetdotnz, May 1, 2007
    #7
  8. Jack

    Fred Guest

    "Adam Rosner" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    > On May 1, 10:20 am, lrolloatparadisedotnetdotnz wrote:
    >> Jack:
    >>
    >> It's only some laptops that require the dual power supply,
    >> usually older models.

    >
    > Check the RPM of the Hard drive - if it's a 5400 rpm model, then it is
    > more likely to need power from two USB ports than a 4200 rpm drive.
    >
    >> The dual male USB to single male USB cable I have came with an
    >> external USB 2.5 2 GB HD. <snip> I'm sure someone must sell them locally,
    >> although I couldn't find them on Dick Smiths' website.

    >
    > You can get a "Targa" external USB2 HD box for 2.5" drives for about
    > $44 from Atech computers (Wellington) and I'm sure other places as
    > well. This includes the USB lead with dual plugs.
    >
    > I've been using one of these for about 18 months and have never had to
    > use the dual-plug. I've used it on a variety of machines, and in all
    > cases it spins up perfectly and mounts in Windows Explorer with no
    > problems.
    >

    Same here. When I purchased it I was told it shouldn't be necessary to use
    two USB ports, but some computers wouldn't function on one.
     
    Fred, May 1, 2007
    #8
  9. Jack

    Jack Guest

    "Fred" <> wrote in message
    news:4636c1d5$...
    >
    > "Adam Rosner" <> wrote in message
    > news:...
    >> On May 1, 10:20 am, lrolloatparadisedotnetdotnz wrote:
    >>> Jack:
    >>>
    >>> It's only some laptops that require the dual power supply,
    >>> usually older models.

    >>
    >> Check the RPM of the Hard drive - if it's a 5400 rpm model, then it is
    >> more likely to need power from two USB ports than a 4200 rpm drive.
    >>
    >>> The dual male USB to single male USB cable I have came with an
    >>> external USB 2.5 2 GB HD. <snip> I'm sure someone must sell them
    >>> locally,
    >>> although I couldn't find them on Dick Smiths' website.

    >>
    >> You can get a "Targa" external USB2 HD box for 2.5" drives for about
    >> $44 from Atech computers (Wellington) and I'm sure other places as
    >> well. This includes the USB lead with dual plugs.
    >>
    >> I've been using one of these for about 18 months and have never had to
    >> use the dual-plug. I've used it on a variety of machines, and in all
    >> cases it spins up perfectly and mounts in Windows Explorer with no
    >> problems.
    >>

    > Same here. When I purchased it I was told it shouldn't be necessary to use
    > two USB ports, but some computers wouldn't function on one.


    The point is that, even though the mini external hard drive may function for
    a while powered by just one USB port, apparently there have been instances
    of where this port can be damaged because the load from the portable hard
    drive is too high. It may not damage the port straight away, but over a
    period of time the USB port might be damaged because it is overloaded. Do
    you know for sure that your USB drive is not being overloaded, would you be
    better to use 2 USB drives all the time? I think the operating system may
    also display a message when the power requirement from an appliance is too
    much for one USB port.

    Jack
     
    Jack, May 1, 2007
    #9
  10. Jack

    dmbkiwi Guest

    On Tue, 01 May 2007 16:17:31 +1200, lrolloatparadisedotnetdotnz wrote:

    >>http://www.ascent.co.nz/productspecification.aspx?ItemID=352802
    >>
    >>What do you think of this enclosure?

    >
    > At $60 NZ it seems dear: I paid $ AUS 40 for an enclosure including a
    > 2GB HD and driver disk.
    >
    > Do you really need 7200 rpm resource ?
    >
    > Try PriceSpy to see if you can get a better deal.
    > Lindsay Rollo
    > Wellington, New Zealand


    Can anyone point me to a enclosure (only) for a 2.5 inch drive (IDE to
    USB), that can be powered by both a USB port AND an external power source?

    Cheers

    Matt
     
    dmbkiwi, May 1, 2007
    #10
  11. Jack

    Kent Smith Guest

    Jack wrote:
    > "Fred" <> wrote in message
    > news:4636c1d5$...
    >>
    >> "Adam Rosner" <> wrote in message
    >> news:...
    >>> On May 1, 10:20 am, lrolloatparadisedotnetdotnz wrote:
    >>>> Jack:
    >>>>
    >>>> It's only some laptops that require the dual power supply,
    >>>> usually older models.
    >>>
    >>> Check the RPM of the Hard drive - if it's a 5400 rpm model, then it
    >>> is more likely to need power from two USB ports than a 4200 rpm
    >>> drive.
    >>>> The dual male USB to single male USB cable I have came
    >>>> with an external USB 2.5 2 GB HD. <snip> I'm sure someone must
    >>>> sell them locally,
    >>>> although I couldn't find them on Dick Smiths' website.
    >>>
    >>> You can get a "Targa" external USB2 HD box for 2.5" drives for about
    >>> $44 from Atech computers (Wellington) and I'm sure other places as
    >>> well. This includes the USB lead with dual plugs.
    >>>
    >>> I've been using one of these for about 18 months and have never had
    >>> to use the dual-plug. I've used it on a variety of machines, and in
    >>> all cases it spins up perfectly and mounts in Windows Explorer with
    >>> no problems.
    >>>

    >> Same here. When I purchased it I was told it shouldn't be necessary
    >> to use two USB ports, but some computers wouldn't function on one.

    >
    > The point is that, even though the mini external hard drive may
    > function for a while powered by just one USB port, apparently there
    > have been instances of where this port can be damaged because the
    > load from the portable hard drive is too high. It may not damage the
    > port straight away, but over a period of time the USB port might be
    > damaged because it is overloaded. Do you know for sure that your USB
    > drive is not being overloaded, would you be better to use 2 USB
    > drives all the time? I think the operating system may also display a
    > message when the power requirement from an appliance is too much for
    > one USB port.
    > Jack


    It's to do with current draw. USB port is 500mA, if you device draws more
    than that it will need two ports. Some laptops with two ports still wont
    work because they are split internally. i.e one 500mA supply feeding two
    ports. So it pays to check the specs.


    -KENT
     
    Kent Smith, May 1, 2007
    #11
  12. Jack

    Jack Guest

    "Kent Smith" <> wrote in message
    news:f18et7$c55$...
    > Jack wrote:
    >> "Fred" <> wrote in message
    >> news:4636c1d5$...
    >>>
    >>> "Adam Rosner" <> wrote in message
    >>> news:...
    >>>> On May 1, 10:20 am, lrolloatparadisedotnetdotnz wrote:
    >>>>> Jack:
    >>>>>
    >>>>> It's only some laptops that require the dual power supply,
    >>>>> usually older models.
    >>>>
    >>>> Check the RPM of the Hard drive - if it's a 5400 rpm model, then it
    >>>> is more likely to need power from two USB ports than a 4200 rpm
    >>>> drive.
    >>>>> The dual male USB to single male USB cable I have came
    >>>>> with an external USB 2.5 2 GB HD. <snip> I'm sure someone must
    >>>>> sell them locally,
    >>>>> although I couldn't find them on Dick Smiths' website.
    >>>>
    >>>> You can get a "Targa" external USB2 HD box for 2.5" drives for about
    >>>> $44 from Atech computers (Wellington) and I'm sure other places as
    >>>> well. This includes the USB lead with dual plugs.
    >>>>
    >>>> I've been using one of these for about 18 months and have never had
    >>>> to use the dual-plug. I've used it on a variety of machines, and in
    >>>> all cases it spins up perfectly and mounts in Windows Explorer with
    >>>> no problems.
    >>>>
    >>> Same here. When I purchased it I was told it shouldn't be necessary
    >>> to use two USB ports, but some computers wouldn't function on one.

    >>
    >> The point is that, even though the mini external hard drive may
    >> function for a while powered by just one USB port, apparently there
    >> have been instances of where this port can be damaged because the
    >> load from the portable hard drive is too high. It may not damage the
    >> port straight away, but over a period of time the USB port might be
    >> damaged because it is overloaded. Do you know for sure that your USB
    >> drive is not being overloaded, would you be better to use 2 USB
    >> drives all the time? I think the operating system may also display a
    >> message when the power requirement from an appliance is too much for
    >> one USB port.
    >> Jack

    >
    > It's to do with current draw. USB port is 500mA, if you device draws more
    > than that it will need two ports. Some laptops with two ports still wont
    > work because they are split internally. i.e one 500mA supply feeding two
    > ports. So it pays to check the specs.
    >
    >
    > -KENT


    Thanks Kent for that information. If you are prepared to use a USB Hub, then
    it might pay to buy one that has high power ports. I have seen one hub, for
    example, that has 2 high power ports that provide 1000 mA ports, but its
    other 5 ports have the usual 500mA. This model also has audio pass through
    ports. So I agree with you that you need to know what you are doing when you
    are buying a mini hard drive, and that you need to establish what current it
    draws and whether your computer's USB ports can handle this.

    Are the USB ports on hubs split internally, or would plugging into two 500mA
    hub ports provide 1000 mA for the hard drive?

    Will the computer's specifications say whether its USB ports are split
    internally? It sounds like it's important to buy a mini hard drive that also
    has a mains power option just in case it doesn't work with the computer's
    USB ports.

    I know that iPods work well with just one USB port, so their current draw
    must be well below 500mA.

    Jack
     
    Jack, May 2, 2007
    #12
  13. In <4637d3f1$> Jack wrote:
    >
    > I know that iPods work well with just one USB port, so their current
    > draw must be well below 500mA.
    >
    > Jack


    iPods use a 1.8-inch hard drive, which uses even less power than the 2.5-
    inch laptop mechanisms that most external drives use. iPods also don't
    run directly from the external power but from their internal battery, so
    even if the computer can't supply enough peak power the iPod's drive
    will keep running.

    --
    * Roger Johnstone, Invercargill, New Zealand -> http://roger.geek.nz
    * PS/2 Mouse Adapter for vintage Apple II or Mac
    * SCART RGB video cable for Apple IIGS
     
    Roger Johnstone, May 2, 2007
    #13
  14. Jack

    Jack Guest

    "Roger Johnstone" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    > In <4637d3f1$> Jack wrote:
    >>
    >> I know that iPods work well with just one USB port, so their current
    >> draw must be well below 500mA.
    >>
    >> Jack

    >
    > iPods use a 1.8-inch hard drive, which uses even less power than the 2.5-
    > inch laptop mechanisms that most external drives use. iPods also don't
    > run directly from the external power but from their internal battery, so
    > even if the computer can't supply enough peak power the iPod's drive
    > will keep running.


    It pays to keep the iPod's battery charged up before using it as an external
    hard drive for a computer.

    In this article:

    http://www.girr.org/mac_stuff/usb_stuff.html

    it says that: "When the iPod photo is completely discharged, it can try to
    draw more current than some in-spec USB ports can supply. It will try to to
    boot. When it tries to spin it's disk, then it drags the voltage too low and
    crashes and the cycle repeats. A very high power USB port can work, but
    sometimes it is necessary to initially charge the iPod from FireWire (which
    can supply 1.3 amps) to pick up the battery a little. Then it will charge
    from USB."
     
    Jack, May 2, 2007
    #14
  15. Jack

    Jack Guest

    "Roger Johnstone" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    > In <4637d3f1$> Jack wrote:
    >>
    >> I know that iPods work well with just one USB port, so their current
    >> draw must be well below 500mA.
    >>
    >> Jack

    >
    > iPods use a 1.8-inch hard drive, which uses even less power than the 2.5-
    > inch laptop mechanisms that most external drives use. iPods also don't
    > run directly from the external power but from their internal battery, so
    > even if the computer can't supply enough peak power the iPod's drive
    > will keep running.



    I have just come across this article, which you might find to be of
    interest:

    http://www.spcug.org/reviews/bl0512.htm

    This article was written in 2005 and says that:

    "So what devices are typically high speed and require USB 2.0? Let's start
    with external USB hard drives. Seagate has a very interesting technical
    paper on external hard drives. In this paper they state that most 2 ?"
    external drives require 1000 - 1100 mA during the start-up cycle and then
    can function at the 500 mA maximum current available from the USB port. They
    also state that most USB ports can support up to 700 mA on a continuous
    basis. This is something I have not found elsewhere. Consequently, my
    recommendation is that when looking for an external drive, pick one with its
    own power supply. I wouldn't want to depend on one that drew all its power
    from the USB bus."

    After studying this topic for a while, I tend to agree with the above
    conclusion, that is, it may be better to use an external hard drive that has
    its own power supply.

    Jack

    :
     
    Jack, May 4, 2007
    #15
    1. Advertising

Want to reply to this thread or ask your own question?

It takes just 2 minutes to sign up (and it's free!). Just click the sign up button to choose a username and then you can ask your own questions on the forum.
Similar Threads
  1. Silverstrand
    Replies:
    0
    Views:
    647
    Silverstrand
    Jan 25, 2006
  2. Mike
    Replies:
    0
    Views:
    3,045
  3. jeff
    Replies:
    1
    Views:
    835
  4. Mini Dual Layers? Mini dl

    , Oct 25, 2005, in forum: DVD Video
    Replies:
    0
    Views:
    518
  5. Becky
    Replies:
    0
    Views:
    783
    Becky
    Dec 7, 2012
Loading...

Share This Page