Interestingly enough, the WD via the returned USB 3 hub was able to complete a clone of my MBP SSD. But it was later in the day when idle that it kept on getting summarily ejected.
I haven't had a problem with waking peripherals so far while directly connected.
Well, maybe I'll try my USB 3 hub + USB 2 hub (one for each MBP port) and see how that goes, when I get a new USB 3 hub.
Regarding people having success backing up to external drives (as have I) it seems to me that there is (as yet) unclear conditions that cause USB peripherals to go into some form of idle (or low power) state, which can cause USB drives to disconnect.
I have had diconnects with USB2 and USB3 drives and hubs alike, so can only assume that some sort of signal (or lack of even) is being picked up by Macbook which is significant enough to make it decide whether nor not a USB peripheral is mounted or not ... I almost think that Macbook can 'appear' to be carrying out a copy/backup process etc (screen not turning off etc) but underneath, the Macbook is deciding the USB peripheral is not being used (it is perhaps unaware that a USB drive disconnecting would be a bad thing, where as powering down a mouse wouldn't necessirly be a bad thing as it isn't copying data). This makes sense, if Apple assumed that mice and keyboards etc were to be plugged in (Firewire drives would not have this issue obviously - and don't appear to), but USB drives disconnecting could have been an oversight of handling idle (low-activity) USB peripheral use.
This post has quite alot of feedback that I honestly have not read in depth, so maybe my assumptions about non-drive USB peripherals is not 100%, but so far, it is looking consistent with Apple's own suggestion of not waking the Macbook with USB 'input peripheral' (notice their omission of waking a USB drive - maybe once system is idle, USB drives simply get powered down).
Have others tested what happens resource-wise, when a USB drive is disconnected!?
Can people having USB-drive diconnects, try using trackpad/keyboard on Macbook whilst copy/pasting etc to see if a disconnect happens!? Only one drive connected though (hubs have seperate power issues to deal with that might complicate findings). I am finding the drive has no troubles, but it would be nice if we could keep grouping together to find a repeatable solution.
OK. I am really really frustrated with Apple now.
On the way home from visiting a sick friend in the hospital I stopped at Yodobashi Camera in Akihabara and bought a new USB 3 self-powered hub. It seemed to have all the best specs, and plenty of power for each port.
I connected it to my USB ports and connected both WD drives to it and yay (I thought) both drives worked perfectly.
But sometime later my Internet connection stopped!
I didn't associate the problem with the hubs, so I contacted Apple support chat. We went through a zillion tests in safe mode etc., but we couldn't solve the problem. I asked if it could be the hub and the tech support person said no.
Anyway, at the end I ejected the disks, disconnected the hub and restarted the computer. Voila. The Internet was working perfectly!
I asked for a recommendation on a USB 3 hub that would work with the MacBook Pro retina 13 inch and the tech person said they cannot provide such recommendations. Basically, I was just left on my own to solve the problem.
What wretched service!
What can I do?
I'm going to return this hub to the store tomorrow. What next?
"my Internet connection stopped"
I have also witnessed my Mabook loose internet connection (LAN too, not WIFI) when USB drives are plugged in. Might be worth a separate investigation.
I also had an issue with another third party part-USB peripheral (multi monitor device) and had headaches with that too, so this problem is clearly more a USB issue at large, than just a HUB issue. How many people having trouble are using a Firewire HUB?
Rightn now, I am getting luck whilst using Macbook trackpad and keyboard whilst copy/pasting etc ... seems stable, but needs more hours testing to feel this is 100%. It is also inline with my understanding of Apple's recommendation of not using USB peripherals if you want to ensure they stay connected (especially USB drives).
Additionally, I had a PC USB HUB die on me slowly once. It turns out a few USB drives I thought were dead, needed to be plugged into different port or directly to PC. Long-term, any USB HUB could suffer this fait, so I use mains-powered drives only plugged into a sruge-protected 8-socket. When a drive is not being used, it gets system-ejected and manually turned off. I find this helps keeps my system and peripherals in best shape ... taking as much stress off the USB HUB as possible. Highly recommended routine.
I'm surprised to hear that the Belkin Thunderbolt dock has "given you no problems". I recently purchased such a dock (it arrived on Monday this week) and I plugged in 3 USB 3.0 drives (Seagate Backup Plus 4TB, model 1DZap1-500). I can't get more than about 3hours of time prior to one or more drives disconnecting - even in the middle of file transfers between the drives. I'm about at my wits end. I buy Macs to make my life easy and normally they do - e.g. "everything just works" has been my motto about apple stuff for awhile.
Other details -
OSX 10.9.1 (mavericks)
15-inch, Early 2011 MacBookPro
Yes Doug, I was serious. Relative to life in Windows or Linux land, my macs have been tons easier. Now getting back to the problem at hand for me - I think I have my problem solved. The three 4tb Seagate drives that I bought (from the same vendor in the same shipment) were not all running the same firmware. 2 had an older version of the firmware while one had a more recent version. Once I got them all on the same version (5.0.8), the problem appears to have gone away. Prior to updating two of the drives, I was getting disconnects on a 2-3 hour time frame. Now I've gone 20-ish hours w/o problem. Through the Belkin Thunderbolt hub, I'm getting write speeds of about 100MB/s to a pair configured with OSX's software RAID and about 130MB/S to a single drive. The RAID pair has a larger block size so this is not an apples to apples comparison. I'm getting read speeds of around 150MB/s from the RAID pair and 135MB/s from the single drive. All tests were done with Black Magic Disk Speed test and I tested before and after the firmware update. The firmware update appears to have slowed the write speeds just a tad (maybe 10-20MB/s difference). My suspicion is that the disconnect error is due to a hardware communication handshake timing issue and that perhaps the new firmware adds a littlle wait state into the loop that makes it run more stably but a little slower. Regardless, the problem appears to have gone away.
Well, in my case I'm now thinking the problem wasn't the hub at all. I already returned the Anker one, but I am holding off on returning the Buffalo one for the moment. I am thinking the problem was with one of the 2 WD drives I got.
One drive, running Time Machine is fine. But when I plug the other drive into the other USB 3 port, the Internet slows to a crawl and then all Internet communication stops!
AppleCare says this is indeed possible if a USB device is demanding too much power from the USB port. It can drain power from the entire logic board, and affect the wifi connectivity. Strange sounding, but apparently true.
It wasn't an issue with that particular USB port. I tested with both ports and that drive and the results were the same.
The firmware for the WD was the latest. And neither Disk Utility nor WD's own diagnostic software found any problems with the drive, but this was 100% reproducible. The other WD drive is not having any issues like that, and there are no hubs in the equation at the moment, so the only thing I can imagine is there is something faulty with the power on this one WD drive. I sent it back to the store for an exchange and am keeping the hub in the meantime and will test when the new drive arrives. It's not my ideal hub - it's only 4 ports. But each port can support 900 mA and the whole hub can support 3600 mA, and some hubs have a total power limit that is less than the port limit x the number of ports, so maybe this is safest.
If you are worried about low power draw, then perhaps a dual-powered USB cable is a consideration. I have a device that came with this type of cable, but that device was obviously designed to simaltaneously draw power from the mains via one USB connection and connect to the computer via the other USB connection (not sure how/if this works for just any USB devices that 'semingly' gets insufficient power draw from the computer). Could be worth a try.
One thing I've been trying to get info on is exactly how much power the WD My Passport Ultra 1 TB USB 3 drives are supposed to draw. It's not written in their specs anywhere I can find. And their support hasn't answered me when I opened up a ticket about it.
If it is 900 mA or less things should be fine. And the one drive I kept seems to be working fine. But I suspect the other one was drawing too much power.
I wonder why WD doesn't show those specs.
It appears from the WD site that this drive is both USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 compatible. If it indeed has a USB 2.0 interface, then it will operate with less than 500 ma. A USB 3.0 hub or port will provide a maximum of 900 ma. As such, a good drive would not be underpowered.
If it was drawing more than 900 ma (when it needs only 500 ma) then there's a major problem. Since current times voltage equals power (and power equals heat) then the suspect drive should be running hotter than the other, assuming that they're both doing the same amount of work at the time.
5v x 500 ma = 2.5 watts (using the USB 2.0 max. current available.)
I was actually on the phone with WD now trying to get them to state flat out how much power their drives use. They didn't know! They said they would try to get back to me with an answer.
Apple suspects it was pulling more than 900 mA. And hubs generally only allow a max of 900 mA per port. But even with the hub out of the equation, when this WD drive was connected to either port, the effect would be a slowdown than halt of the Internet. Apparently, according to Apple's theory, the drive was pulling too much power and affecting the whole logic board including wi-fi.
I find it strange that the port doesn't have something to protect that from happening. It sounds dangerous for the logic board, don't you think?
Meanwhile the other WD drive (same model, different color) continues to work fine. And I have not returned the 2nd hub I bought. The new WD has already been shipped and I would like to try it. But I am curious about what the WD actual specs are supposed to be. And why it's so hard to find out!
For what it's worth, this is the first time I've ever had an issue with a WD portable drive on any of my computers.
I've been using the Belkin Express Hub for almost a month and have had no problem with it. Two 3.0 TB Seagate drives were connected, along with a . 7-Port Plugable hub. There were no problems attributable to the Dock, or the hub which had 5 drives connected.
What I did run into was that all of a sudden the two 3.0 TB drives produced Eject Error messages. In troubleshooting this it narrowed down to the MacBook Pro Retina Thunderbolt ports. I have a Buffalo Thunderbolt drive that also has a USB 3.0 Micro-B receptacle. It worked fine on USB 3.0, but not on Thunderbolt when the drive was directly connected to the MacBook Pro. I called AppleCare and was told I had to take it in to an Apple Store for a Genius to run diagnostics. I asked if an SMC or PRAM reset might work and was told no.
An apointment was made for the Genius Bar at the Apple Store within an hour. Their Thunderbolt drive wouldn't connect to my Mac either. The Genius then did an SMC reset; then he did a PRAM reset. The PRAM reset did the trick. All has been working fine since. The cause of the Thunderbolt I/O bus locking up (or whatever it did) isn't clear, but you may want to remember the PRAM solution.
Interesting if USB devices drawing 900 mA and over are a problem, being that new iPhone and iPad devices are supposedly drawing 1100 mA ... if that were so, then that would mean that the 1100 mA draw from such Apple devices is doing something with the other 200 mA and effectively making hardware problems such as in this post all the more troublesome to diagnose.
Coincidently, if drives natively draw 900 mA or more directly from USB connection to Macbook, then what happens when such USB device is actually powered by mains? Shouldn't that actually take the stress off of the Macbook (and HUB) and use the USB as just a data connection!? or is the Macbook (or even USB standard) know to draw something from USB drive cables so as to ensure that they can draw power from the Macbook should there be a problem disconnecting the drives from the mains by accident etc ... but then that would make mains-powered USB drives unneccessary.