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Firewire to Thunderbolt Issues with External HD

507 Views 13 Replies Latest reply: Oct 15, 2013 7:55 AM by aegeiger RSS
aegeiger Calculating status...
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Feb 16, 2013 11:45 AM

I purchased the Iomega eGo BlackBelt portable HD (http://www.amazon.com/Iomega-BlackBelt-FireWire-Portable-35115/dp/B0041EM9XM/ref =pd_sxp_f_pt) a few years ago and have backed up my MacBook Pro using time machine. The cable is a firewire 800 with theses connections (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=12-200-730&Tpk=N82E16812200730). The rounded side goes into the MacBook Pro. I am trying to get it to connect to my new MacBook Air with Thunderbolt. The Apple Firewire to Thunderbolt addapter does not fit the one end of the cable. So I purchased the Belkin Firewire 9-9 Pin Cable (http://www.belkin.com/us/F3N418-APL-Belkin/p/P-F3N418-APL;jsessionid=89030857685 109325329E6412E872E81) to use instead of the one that came with the HD. However, there is no power going to the HD. I've tried the split USB also with no luck. It powers with the original cable on the Pro, but not the Belkin cable and Apple adapter on the Air. Any suggestions?

MacBook Air, OS X Mountain Lion (10.8.2)
  • SeattleLonginTheTooth Level 1 Level 1 (5 points)
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    Oct 14, 2013 11:14 AM (in response to aegeiger)

    I have started using an Iomega Blackbelt 1TB (purchased 8/23/11) via a Firewire 800 cable through the Thunderbolt adapter to my Macbook Retina (purch 6/20/12). Initially it was quite intermittent, the drive unmounting if I bumped the Thunderbolt connection to the Mac. I suspected that the connection was not good enough to supply the needed power so, with the drive disconnected, I cycled the thunderbolt adapter in and out of the Mac many times. That seemed to help. But occasionally the drive unmounted itself.

     

    I'm running a new experiment. I also have a USB cable for the drive that has a y-connector arrangement at the end. One is an active USB connector, the other is intended just to supplement the power to the drive. I have connected that second USB connector to the computer and the drive, then connected the Firewire-Thunderbolt cable+adapter. So far this is working reliably though is a bit of a kludge having two cables connected.

  • PlotinusVeritas Level 6 Level 6 (13,630 points)
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    Oct 14, 2013 11:27 AM (in response to aegeiger)

    Ive never said this here.   but nope.  Too much a lost cause.

     

    That and another firewire drive are SATA to Firewire-bus "lemons"

     

    That drive of yours contains a Samsung 500gig SATA, which is nice but not made anymore, you should crack it open, extract the drive and install it in a $20 enclosure.

     


    In the future get a nice Hitachi or Toshiba 1TB or 2TB USB drive, something you can rely on like sunrise.

     

     

    Otherwise crack that drive open and extract the SATA HD and put it into a USB HD enclosure.

     

     

  • SeattleLonginTheTooth Level 1 Level 1 (5 points)

    Read my post again!

     

    I have a 1TB drive! I DO NOT HAVE A 500GB drive.

     

    The drive has performed well as a Time Machine backup drive. Ultimate speed is not critical, but I figure I'd get a speed boost using a Thunderbolt adapter with this and some LaCie drives I also connect to this MacBook Retina.

     

    The key issue here is the reliability of the Thunderbolt-Firewire adapter connection and the benefit of connecting the USB cable (power only side of y-connector) to supplement the power connection. As I said earlier, so far so good.

  • PlotinusVeritas Level 6 Level 6 (13,630 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Oct 14, 2013 12:00 PM (in response to aegeiger)

    I have a 1TB drive! I DO NOT HAVE A 500GB drive.......

    The key issue here is the reliability of the Thunderbolt-Firewire adapter connection

     

     

     

    I was speaking to the original poster, Aegeiger, not yourself....

     

     

    Doesnt matter at all if its 500gig OR 1TB, ....... the issue is the junky Firewire to sata bridge, as I already said

     

     

    hard drive is a hard drive is a hard drive (250gig, 500gig 1TB),........the internal conventional HD size means utterly nothing as relates to the OP issue.

     

    The point is that bridge and access connection is unreliable, is a known 'undesirable' from Iomega.

     

     

    I see now however you were dredging up a very old thread (and so was I) talking to the OP who posted this 8 months ago..... 

  • PlotinusVeritas Level 6 Level 6 (13,630 points)
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    Oct 14, 2013 6:28 PM (in response to aegeiger)

    The MAIN POINT is that thunderbolt and FW to a conventional HD, even a 7200, ....speeds arent that great.

     

    youre still limited by platter and spindle speeds.

     

    Just stick to "tried and true"  USB 3.0 HD

     

    Ive got a 100 hard drives laying around here, 3 are FW HD,...they 'dont impress' and I dont trust the SATA to FW bridge in them.

  • SeattleLonginTheTooth Level 1 Level 1 (5 points)

    That may be reasonable advice for people buying new drives. I'll set that issue aside for now.

     

    So here are a few points:

     

    1. My Firewire drives have been very stable and reliable in the past. As backup drives for modest size host computers, they have been adequately fast.

     

    2. My old drives do not have USB 3.0. They have USB 2.0 and Firewire 800. Firewire is faster even via the Thunderbolt adapter.

     

    You can go on about your mistrust of eSata to Firewire bridges, etc., but my experience has been that the Iomega drives have performed very well at a reasonable price....

     

    Until I tried them with Thunderbird.

     

    ----------

     

    So, reviewing the rules of troubleshooting:

     

    0th Rule: Never assume anything! (I have been burned by this countless times!)

     

    1st Rule: What changed?

     

    Hmmmm... worked fine on USB 2.0 and worked fine Firewire 800 - Firewire 800 on computers that supported it.

     

    Didn't work fine with Thunderbird adapter.

     

    What changed?

     

    Erractic performance

    a. Thunderbird adapter

    b. Use of Firewire 800 via Thunderbird adapter

    c. Faster computer than any used previously with Firewire 800

     

    Performance Stable

    d. Added a USB cable with only power leads active

     

    What might we infer from this?

     

    Possibly the Thunderbolt adapter alone isn't supplying adequate or stable power, especially if the Thunderbolt adapter to computer connection gets bumped.

     

    --------

     

    I submit that the internal configuration of the Iomega drive is not especially relevant unless it is especially sensitive to power glitches (a possibility).

  • PlotinusVeritas Level 6 Level 6 (13,630 points)

    You can go on about your mistrust of eSata to Firewire bridges, etc., but my experience

    .......internal configuration of the Iomega drive

    What changed?

    Erratic performance

     

     

    1. Iomega doesnt make HD, there are only 4 HD (conventional) mfg. on earth current, Hitachi, Toshiba, WD, and Seagate.    The HD in the older Iomega is a Samsung not made anymore.

     

    2. Youre presuming its "my mistrust of SATA bridge hardware" or a subjective limited conclusion......its not.

     

    Its an empirical fact that SATA bridge hardware in USB to SATA HD or (little used, little owned) Firewire to SATA HD is "the most UNTRUSTWORTHY storage failure point that exists"

     

    3. Erratic performance........thats why some of us call it "haunted hard drive" syndrome.  The HD acts illogical, power and issues with appearing in disk utility.......logical diagnosis becomes 'hard' because the SATA interface has often no straightforward ABC.... failing profile.....

     

    I answer no less than about 40 questions a month here that are related to failing or failed SATA bridge cards.

     

    Ive got no less than a dozen dead ones laying around the house. 

     

    In fact in one day (no joke) I had 2 SATA bridge cards die on me. Confirmed that it was the bridge cards.

     

    This hardware USED to be permanently attached to USB hard drives, but the mfg. realized this part failed SO much SO often they made it a detachable part.

     

     

    SeattleLonginTheTooth 

    What might we infer from this?

    Possibly the Thunderbolt adapter alone isn't supplying adequate or stable power,

    "my experience" is a lot more extensive with external HD media.

     

     

    Yes, and that also indicates SATA card issue.......which manifests in 2 ways most often, recognition issues and power drop "lost HD" issues.

     

     

     

     

    the SATA bridge card as found inside USB HD devices which has an extremely high failure rate.

     

    Inside a USB hard drive, containing the HD and SATA card

    screenshot_338.jpg

     

    Countless 1000s of good external hard drives are thrown away each year because the owner thought the HD was bad when it fact it was the SATA bridge card which had failed. This card is removed in a matter of mere second once an external USB HD is cracked open from its plastic casing to reveal the bare HD and the attached SATA card which attaches between the HD and the USB cable.

  • SeattleLonginTheTooth Level 1 Level 1 (5 points)

    Fine. You win. You certainly know more about HDs than I do. Maybe the mounting glitches caused by moving the Thunderbolt adapter merely show up the temperamental nature of the SATA card.

     

    Then let's call the supplemental power via USB cable a strategy to keep a really bad hard drive system operational (for a bit longer) while connected to an absolutely perfect Thunderbolt adapter.

     

    (I still have my doubts about the Thunderbolt adapter. And funny how the same drives perform fine when attached to other devices by a Firewire 800 to Firewire 800 cable. You aren't the designer of the Thunderbolt adapter are you?)

  • SeattleLonginTheTooth Level 1 Level 1 (5 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Oct 14, 2013 11:10 PM (in response to aegeiger)

    That iosafe rugged drive looks pretty impressive. What sort of special cable did they have to come up with?

     

    As I have done for many years, I'll continue rotating multiple backup media. That gives me pretty good odds even with an occasional hard drive failure.

     

    I bought my first hard 10MB hard drive for the bargain price of $999.95 in about 1984. It's amazing that I have had only one drive fail on me since then. That one was an IBM Deskstar (aka "Deathstar") internal drive originally in my still-running PowerMac G4.

  • PlotinusVeritas Level 6 Level 6 (13,630 points)

    You said----And funny how the same drives perform fine when attached to other devices by a Firewire 800 to Firewire 800 cable.

     

     

    not funny at all, when the interface starts going the same HD will work on another computer and not merely from a diff port connect, it can be the same port (USB)

     

    ...both diff port type connections and diff computer will have very meager power diff between where it didn't work just seconds before on another port or a diff computer

     

    Yes they are temperamental, you're right.

     

    That's why the pros keep stacks of NAKED hard drives......no fussy enclosures and SATA bridge failures to pull your hair out over

     

     

    peace

  • PlotinusVeritas Level 6 Level 6 (13,630 points)

    That one was an IBM Deskstar (aka "Deathstar") internal drive originally

     

     

     

    Heres the original "oh my goodness" hard drive, ...I recall it was 100 megabytes or so.

     

     

    Look at that giant, I think its 400+ pounds. 

     

    screenshot_378.jpg

     

     

    Or, 40 megabyte drive.......for the very cheap price of $40,000

    screenshot_380.jpg

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