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Daisy Chain USB To FireWire?

3626 Views 9 Replies Latest reply: Apr 16, 2009 5:51 PM by y_p_w RSS
nate12345 Level 2 Level 2 (495 points)
Currently Being Moderated
Apr 6, 2009 7:24 AM
Hi all.
I'm not really sure where to post this, so any suggestions about a better place would be great. Anyway, here's my question.

I do a lot of work with photos, and they take up a lot of hard drive space, so what I'm planning to do is this: I'll buy a big external hard drive with lots of connections (1 USB, 2 FireWire 800, 1 FireWire 400). I'll also buy a smaller external hard drive with much less in the way of connections (1 USB only). The big drive will act as my main storage drive, with all the files for each image included on it. The smaller drive will act as the bakcup drive, with the top 20% or so of my best photos in only a compressed format on it. I want the smaller (backup) drive to be as cheap as possible, as I don't have much of a budget at all. Here are the two drive selections I've made: big drive:

LaCie Big Disk Extreme+ Triple
Small drive:

WD Elements
Desktop



So, here's the question: I know that you can daisy chain FireWire drives that have more than one port together, like this:
A cable from FireWire port on Drive A to FireWire port on Drive B, then a cable from another FireWire port on Drive B to the FireWire port on computer. I know this works (right?).

But I don't want to have to spend more money on Drive A (the backup drive) so that it has a FireWire port. Since Drive B (the main drive) has a USB port, I thought I would run a USB cable from Drive A to Drive B like this:

*Setup 1*:A cable from the USB port on Drive A to the USB port on Drive B, then a cable from the FireWire 400 port on Drive B to the FireWire 400 port on the computer.

Will setup 2 work? Will the data from Drive A make the crossover from USB to FireWire? If not, I suppose I could also use this setup:

*Setup 2:* A cable from the USB port on Drive A to one of the FireWire 800 ports on Drive B, then a cable from the FireWire 400 port on Drive B to the FireWire 400 port on my computer. Will this work better? Do USB to FireWire 800 adapters really work?

So, basically, all I really need to know is whether or not Setup 1 will work, and if it doesn't, whether or not Setup 2 will. Also, if anyone has any info/reviews/stories about the two drives I've selected, I'd love to hear that as well.

Thanks so much in advance for any help I get. Sorry about the long post; I hope it made sense.

Thanks again.
Nate
MacBook 2.4 ghz 4gb ram, Mac OS X (10.5.6), AirPort Extreme base station, networked printer and WD hard drive. iPod Nano 3G
  • Templeton Peck Level 9 Level 9 (57,695 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Apr 6, 2009 7:27 AM (in response to nate12345)
    You cannot daisy chain USB to Firewire.
    iMac 2.66Ghz, 2.4Ghz MacBook Pro, iPhone 3G, Mac OS X (10.5.5)
  • y_p_w Level 4 Level 4 (3,550 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Apr 6, 2009 8:35 AM (in response to nate12345)
    nate12345 wrote:
    Thanks for the response!

    What about Setup 2, though? Does someone sell a USB to FireWire Converter?


    Nobody has heard of a USB to FireWire converter that works.

    The first example you gave would require a USB B to USB B cable or perhaps a "gender bender". Both of the drives you're looking at seem to still use the original full-sized USB B port, while many have gone to the mini-B. It wouldn't work anyways since both are USB slave devices. USB was never designed to daisy-chain.

    Why can't you just connect the USB-only device to the USB port. If you're strapped for ports, then maybe a USB hub. You wouldn't even need a powered hub if you have a few low-powered devices and this external drive which doesn't use bus power.
    13" MacBook 2.2 4GB (200GB Travelstar 7K200), 14" iBook G4 1.42 1.5GB, Mac OS X (10.5.6), 12" iBook G3 600 (10.3.9)
  • enrique r grullon Calculating status...
    Currently Being Moderated
    Apr 16, 2009 6:32 AM (in response to nate12345)
    Hi,

    If your using FireWire 800 there is a USB to FW800 cable.
    The WD my passport studio compact drive and WD My Book studio desktop both come with these cables:
    Fw800 to fw800
    Fw800 to fw400
    Fw800 to usb

    Hope this helps,
    Enrique
    macbook pro 2.4GHz, Mac OS X (10.5.6)
  • y_p_w Level 4 Level 4 (3,550 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Apr 16, 2009 8:44 AM (in response to enrique r grullon)
    enrique r grullon wrote:
    Hi,

    If your using FireWire 800 there is a USB to FW800 cable.
    The WD my passport studio compact drive and WD My Book studio desktop both come with these cables:
    Fw800 to fw800
    Fw800 to fw400
    Fw800 to usb


    That's not FW800 to USB. That's mini-USB-B to USB A.

    http://www.wdc.com/en/products/Products.asp?DriveID=569

    Package Contents

    My Passport portable hard drive
    FireWire 800 cable, USB 2.0 cable
    FireWire 800 to 400 cable
    Drawstring bag
    Quick Install Guide
    13" MacBook 2.2 4GB (200GB Travelstar 7K200), 14" iBook G4 1.42 1.5GB, Mac OS X (10.5.6), 12" iBook G3 600 (10.3.9)
  • y_p_w Level 4 Level 4 (3,550 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Apr 16, 2009 5:51 PM (in response to nate12345)
    nate12345 wrote:
    I see, then.


    http://www.wdc.com/global/images/products/img4/wdfMyPassportStudioMT.jpg

    It's got a FireWire 800 port and a mini-USB-B port in the back. It's a USB to USB cable. It doesn't need a FW to USB converter since it's got its own USB port.
    13" MacBook 2.2 4GB (200GB Travelstar 7K200), 14" iBook G4 1.42 1.5GB, Mac OS X (10.5.6), 12" iBook G3 600 (10.3.9)

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