I just encountered essentially the same problem with a new LaCie "USB 3.0" 3-terabyte d2 drive (part of their new "v3" series). Although it's called the "USB 3.0" drive, it actually has ports for eSata, USB 2.0, USB 3.0, and Firewire 800 -- I use Firewire 800.
The manual says you can turn off Eco Mode using the LaCie Desktop Manager. I want it turned off because I have several drives and waiting for them to spin up one by one every time I use my Mac is unacceptable. Desktop Manager's Eco tab has a single button that takes you to the Energy Saver pane of System Preferences, where I always have the 'Put the Hard Disk to Sleep..." option turned off. The manual says this will stop the drive from spinning down in Eco Mode.
Nevertheless, the drive always spins down after a few minutes of inactivity. Worse, it will NOT spin back up when I open the drive's window or drag a file onto it. Instead, it freezes the Finder so that I can do nothing on my Mac -- among other things, I can't drag the drive icon to the trash to dismount it. I have to turn the drive off using its power switch, which of course brings up an alert telling me that doing this might damage the drive and instead I should dismount it first -- and then the Finder comes back to life. According to Desktop Manager, I could also set up the button on the front of the drive so that pushing it will cause the drive to spin back up. I haven't bothered to try that because I am unwilling to have to turn my devices on and off by pushing hardware buttons all the time.
LaCie tech support just sent me a message telling me that the drive is designed so that you cannot turn off Eco Mode. That is directly inconsistent with the manual, so I assume tech support means that they still don't have the firmware in the drive working right. They released a firmware update in late August that supposedly fixes a wake/sleep problem, but reading between the lines of the tech support messages I received, that apparently relates only to a problem when your Mac goes to sleep -- I have mine set so that it never sleeps.
Bottom line: unless and until LaCie revises the firmware to allow the drive to keep spinning all the time -- as advertised -- this product is essentially unusable to me.
We're experiencing the same problem over here.
Using the LaCie "USB 3.0" 2TB drives. Our preference is the Firewire 800 port.
Recurring problems with the drive spinning down and not coming back up.
We have one of these drives networked and have constant problems with user access. When we try to browse files on that drive several hours after mounting it, we get the spinning beachball and a finder crash. When it hasn't been previously mounted it often just fails to form a connection.
We do a lot of Final Cut work and have used the previous versions of this drive with rave reviews. After a few moments of non-use, the new version of the drive "turns itself off" and crashes FCP when we try to get back to work.
Not to mention the fact that the blue light is never on - even when the drive is "working" - so most the time we can't figure out if the drive is powered or crashed.
Our best guess is that this is all a result of the new ECO mode. Just downloaded the USB 3.0 firmware update from Lacie that claims will address this. Fingers crossed.
Really making us reconsider Lacie despite years of great results...
I just discovered that LaCie issued a new firmware updater for the v3 "ECO" drives on October 16, 2011. Their website says the firmware updater is intended to "Disable ECO mode by default." This sounds promising, and I have installed it. Based on my extensive testing of this drive over the last 2 weeks on 3 different computers running 3 different versions of Mac OS X, it will take a few days before I can be sure it actually works. Download it here: <http://www.lacie.com/support/drivers/driver.htm?id=10248>.
I'm afraid the drive failed again overnight despite applying the new October 16 firmware update that turns off ECO mode by default. The same old problems: it spins down, the light goes out, and from then on nothing gets it to spin up except unplugging the power to the drive.
I have this drive connected to the Firewire 800 port on the front of my Mac Pro, with 6 other LaCie drives connected to the two Firewire 800 ports on the back of my Mac Pro. The only further test I can think of is to disconnect all of the other external drives and try the new v3 drive by itself on one of the back ports.