Unfortunately I think it's the MBP itself. Even with my new replacement WD drive, even though it has been working fine all day, the problem hit again just now. Internet connectivity suddenly vanished until I unmounted and disconnected the external drives. Then Internet connectivity immediately returned.
Something is just wrong.
This relates to my SoundStick issues as far as internet connections. When my old USB Soundsticks were connected to my new 27 inch iMAC and I cponected to an internet source that showed videos, like You Tube, after about 5 minutes the computer would freeze. Not the same as your issue but may be related.
FYI, I am using an Anker® USB 3.0 9-Port Hub + 5V 2.1A Smart Charging Port with 12V 5A Power Adapter [VIA VL812-B2 Chipset and updated Firmware 9081] and have two WD 3.O drives connected without any issues. However, I connected the same computer to another 2.0 hub with a WD 2.0 HD and a card reader and it caused the computer to not shut down when commanded to do so. Seems like everyone has a different experience.
In an earlier posting you'd referred to an Apple article on power but didn't give the reference. I googled the information you'd provided and found what I believe to be the article. It was referred to in my reply to you. There was some good information in the Apple article and I provided a link to it. That was in a January 29 posting. Please refer to:
Apple Computers and Displays: Powering peripherals through USB
Of interest is that USB 3.0 ports have a max current output of 900 ma. Apple boosts this to 1,100 ma on the Mac or Apple display ports, but it's usable only for Apple peripherals. If you need to charge a device of a different brand you have to settle for the lower current.
Note that the 1,100 ma only applies to devices (e.g. iPads) made by Apple. That was a proprietary bit of oneuppsmanship they played on other manufacturers. Where does the extra 200 ma go? If needed by the device, it may go to charge iPad batteries faster than those of other brands.
My iPhone 5 comes with a 5-watt power adapter. The iPad Mini came with a 10-watt charger, and the iPad 2 came with a 12 watt wall wart. Those translate to 1A, 2A, and 1.2A respectively that they're capable of providing. However, the device being charged is current limited/ regulated, otherwise I'd fry my phone by plugging it into a USB 3.0 port on my MacBook Pro Retina which are capable of supplying up to 1,100 ma.
The wye connector on older portable drives was to increase the power available to the drive because they were more inefficient than today's drives. I've never had a situation where I've needed the second USB Type-A Connector. The 500 ma available from USB 2.0 ports has been sufficient for my four different portable drives when they've needed to be powered by USB 2.0.
Doug, One of your concerns was addressed in that same posting.
My current (pun not intended) concern is exactly what power do my WD drives draw? I still have not been able to get an answer. It's not listed in the WD specs. I called their tech support and they could not answer. I posted at their forums and somebody emailed back saying they would call to help.
In the meantime, since the "Internet outage" incident last night, the two WD drives connected directly into the MBP's two USB 3 ports have been working without incident.
I'm going to try the USB 3 hub I bought soon. It's not cool like the Plugable I see advertised, but it is self-powered with 4 ports each capable of providing 900 mA and a total of 3600 mA, which is actually more than the total the Plugable says it can provide.
On the one hand, I'm worried I have some defect in my USB ports or bus or something wrong with the MBP itself. But I really don't know at this point. What I'd like to be able to ultimately do is connect the 2 WD drives via the new hub to one port, and my older USB 2 hub to the other port for non-USB-3 devices, like my printer, headset and iPhone.
Technically speaking, I believe you mean current instead of power since the voltage should be constant at 5VDC. The WD drive has to be designed to draw a max. current of less than 500 ma to be compatible with USB 2.0 standards — and it is.
Could there be a defect that could be causing it to draw more than 500 ma? Not likely. Other than running hotter, the only way that I can think of to tell would be on a test bench where the power conductor would be availble to measure the actual current. That's not something that you should need to worry about, however. If you thinik the drive is defective, contact WD about exchanging it if still under warranty. If not, consider another drive to verify. If you still have the problem with the new drive, return it. If you do this, then you can be fairly certain it's the Mac.
Anyway, it sounds like a 3rd drive for a redundant backup would be good insurance with the problems you're having. It would also verify the source of the problem if it works. Regardless, a reliable backup of the suspect drive sounds like a good move, whether it's for the Time Machine, or a CCC clone.
I don't know what your access to an Apple Store with a Genius Bar would be, but if available they might be able to run diagnostics to isolate the problem to the drive or to the Mac. This would be free. If you are under warranty, or have AppleCare, then you may have recourse to a repair, or an exchange of the MacBook Pro and they may be able to accommodate you by phone.
I recall you returned the Anker hub. It would help if you'd fill me in on:
- The make and model of the USB 3.0 hub that you currently have?
- Which chipset and firmware version does it have?
You'd mentioned plugging the USB 2.0 hub into the MacBook Pro port and use if for your iPhone. This is not a good idea because this hub will only provide 500 ma. The iPhone should have 1A (1,000 ma) for charging. Check the power adapter that came with your iPhone. it should be labeled with an output of 5V @ 1A which would be 5 watts. The USB 3.0 port on your MacBook Pro will do that, but not the ports on a hub.
If you look at the specs for the hubs, they state that the ports are not intended for charging. To accommodate the need for charging, some provide a separate port for charging only. It provides only power and can't be used to sync or transfer data. I seem to recall your Anker had a charging port.
Again, I recommend plugging your USB 2.0 hub into the USB 3.0 hub and use it for your printer, headset, mouse, or whatever. Save the USB 3.0 on your Mac for charging your iPhone.
Perhaps this hub listed below would meet your needs, although I'd suspect that Anker or others may have something similar. The chipset, revision, and firmware are the key to compatibility and avoiding problems with Macs and are the most current version I'm aware of. The link to Amazon is included. The red port will charge either an iPhone of an iPad, or most Android devices.
Plugable Aluminum 4-Port USB 3.0 Hub Plus 2A Charging Port with 30W Power Adapter (VIA VL812 Rev B2 or later chipset)
This is getting quite complicated.
Anyway, let me try to answer as best I can.
First, since the incident yesterday, I have not had any wi-fi or drive problems with both WD drives working in separate ports on the MBP, and it's been over 24 hours now. I don't know the significance of that (like maybe it was a "first time after cloning when Spotlight was busy" issue), but they are currently working.
I'm still waiting for WD to get back to me with regards to the power draw of these drives.
I returned the Anker hub because it didn't work from the get-go. I could tell it was flaky from the start because some of the port indicators were not showing anything when a USB device was connected. It seemed cool, and the charging port was attractive, but it really didn't seem to be working. Plus maybe it was too many ports, because while each port could theoretically support up to 900 mA, the total hub could not support 900 x 7 = 3600 mA, so you still had to be careful about overloading it. Since I only have 2 USB 3 devices, the 4 port hub I ended up getting seems maybe ok because it specifically states that it will power all 4 ports up to 900 mA each.
The make and model of the hub I got is a Buffalo (a major Japanese maker) BSH4A05U3 4 port USB 3 self-powered hub. As to the chipset, that is still unknown. They swear it is compatible with a MacBook Pro late 2013 model running OS X 10.9.1 but their home page does not list the chipset. I was just on the phone with them, and an engineer will call me back tomorrow and let me know. In the meantime, I have left it all packaged up since my incident with the previous WD drive and can still return it to the store if I change my mind.
I could just return it and orde the 4 port Plugable if I wanted to. It means a trip to the store to return the Buffalo and then ordering online, but I could do that.
About charging my iPhone via the USB 2 hub I have, that's how I've always done it on my older iMac. It is slower charging than using the 5 V "box" adapter, but basically charges fairly quickly. I am not dead set on doing it this way, but it is convenient for synchronizing with iTunes, because it is much faster doing that than syncing wireless. Not to mention backups and restores. (Yes, I realize that syncing and charging don't have to be done though the same connection.)
There are only two USB ports on my MBP, so if I use one for the USB 2 hub, I need to use the other for the USB 3 hub so I can connect the two WD drives to it. Unfortunately there are no other ports for directly connecting the iPhone. I would much rather have had 3 USB ports and one thunderbolt port, since I don't know when or if I am ever going to have a thunderbolt device.
I've already returned one WD drive. Right now I'm taking a wait-and-see attitude about this replacement WD drive pending further info, or another problem like yesterday. I think a 3rd backup drive is overkill since I already have 3 drives: the MBP's own SSD, the WD for Time Machine and the WD for CCC. I think if I were going to go for even more redundancy, I would be more afraid of earthquakes (this is Tokyo) than 3 simultaneous drive failures and would go for a cloud backup solution, like Mozy.
Everything is still new - the MBP is less than 1 month old and the WD drives are less than 2 weeks old. I could bring the MBP over to the Apple store in Ginza and have it checked out. But before traipsing down to Ginza it would be good if there were other tests or hardware checks I could do myself. It's not all that far, but it's always so crowded there I hate going over there. Before dealing with Apple I always feel like I need to take a diazepam.
By the by, I will definitely purchase AppleCare. So far 100% of all Apple products I have owned have ALL needed repairs either right away, or during the first year, or during the extra protection period. I'm talking 100%. I either have very bad luck with Apple products or their manufacturing QA has issues.
But it's wait and see now. Though I am tempted to unpack the hub box again and try the 2 WD drives with that hub.
AWMarine, I did read your reply, thanks.
In keeping with others feedback pertaining to the USB/HUB issue with Macbooks, I was mulling over the following facts:
USB3 sockets are supposed to be 900 mA as standard.
Apple devices can draw 1100 mA.
Some people have mentioned Macbooks can draw more than 900 mA from non-Apple devices.
With these facts, I wondered if the differential of approx 200 mA is a problem for non-Apple USB devices (and in particular, USB drives - particularly when used through USB HUB).
After reading your following response to Doug, I am still wondering if USB drives (and HUBS too) are somehow not supported properly by the Macbook implentation of USB, hence my reference to the Apple article you were able to find and cite (thansk for that by the way).
As with others, I am feeling that even if an alternative USB hub works better with Macbook, Apple themselves are carefully referring to USB input devices from my reading of that article ... so even if we think we have found the right USB HUB and/or USB drives, there could be reason to be prepared for this to be a short-term solution that is waiting for problems somewhere down the line with USB drives either way. And that, I think has us all worried. Recommending backing up to a second external drive is advisable (especially if it is physically disconnected regularly and suffers no auto-disconnects we all seem to have experienced - othrerwise, who knows what corruption could be happening to these backup USB drives).
One might even think larger iCloud backup accounts might be something Apple is forcing on us.
By the way, I also have experienced USB HUBS not indicating a drive has connected, but this only happened until the drive connected and then the indicator would light up. This has been my experience with multiple HUBS with USB2 and UBS3 drives, and even with drives plugged straight into USB connector on computer (no HUB). If no light came on, it would either be because the HUB channel was degrading and thus failing to be reliable or the drive was failing ... not had anything in between.
Well, this is getting depressing. Since the WD drives have been working without problems for two days now I decided to plug them in to the new Buffalo USB 3 hub.
The Internet immediately stopped working. Sigh.
So I guess I will go back to Akihabara and return this hub to Yodobashi Camera. They don't have the Plugable for sale, and any other which do show the chipset say they are the VL 811 chips. So I'm just going to waste time and train fare going over there.
Amazon.co.jp only seems to have this Plugable for sale - http://www.amazon.co.jp/Plugable-Technologies-USB3-HUB7A-SuperSpeed%E6%8E%A1%E7% 94%A87%E3%83%9D%E3%83%BC%E3%83%88%E3%83%8F%E3%83%96-%E3%83%96%E3%83%A9%E3%83%83% E3%82%B7%E3%83%A5%E3%83%89%E3%82%A2%E3%83%AB%E3%83%9F%E3%83%8B%E3%82%A6%E3%83%A0 %E4%BB%95%E4%B8%8A%E3%81%92%E3%80%81VIA%E7%A4%BE%E8%A3%BDVL812%E3%83%81%E3%83%83 %E3%83%97%E3%82%BB%E3%83%83%E3%83%88%E6%8E%A1%E7%94%A8/dp/B00D7P6176/ref=sr_1_3? s=computers&ie=UTF8&qid=1391658204&sr=1-3&keywords=plugable+usb
Even if you can't read Japanese, you can see it's the 7 port hub. But it does specifically say it's the VL812 chip set. I guess I can try that next. At least returning stuff to Amazon is easy.
The 7-Port Plugable has been working well for me and I'm considering adding the 4 port to extend my layout by daisy chaining the two hubs. The 7-Port has the VL812 chipset with the 9081 firmware. The new ones come with the VL812-BL chipset, a revision.
A couple things I like about the Plugable is that:
- It uses a Type-A Connector on the USB cable to connect to the hub. This is larger than the Micro-B, but it is a much more solid and reliable connection. (I'd never buy another hub with a Micro-B connector as I've had too many fail. It's bad enough I have to have them on the drives.)
- The USB plugs engage to the hilt. Most I've tried have left a significant gap between the receptacle and the "hilt" allowing for greater lateral movement which could affect the connections. These are solid and tight.
- It has an on-off switch. I don't use it often, but it is nice to have available.
- The ports have indicator lights to indicate they're connected, or they flash if there's an error.
- The cables to the devices come off the top of the hub thereby reducing the footprint or space taken up on the desk. That and I use 1 ft. cables to minimize the distance, and reduce cable clutter.
- The brushed aluminum case with white trim looks nice with my MacBook Pro, but then it's among a battery of black drives so maybe that's not a big deal.
- Their support desk has been responsive and helpful. (What that'd be outside the US isn't known.) I'd expect that buying through Amazon would assure good support from the Marketplace vendor. These guys want your business and work to earn it.
I'm not concerned about the capacity of the power adapter as there are few devices that will pull the full 900 ma. If they only use 100 ma then there's that much more for other devices and the total won't be exceeded. The designers take that into consideration.
I'd never buy an unpowered hub unless used only for devices with low power requirements such as a USB mouse and/or keyboard. USB 2.0 compatible USB 3.0 drives are not going to need more than 500 ma. Your printer is going to get it's own power and won't draw much from the hub. Same for Desktop drives with power adapters. Add it up and the likelihood of exceeding the capacity of a hubs power adapter is slim to none. I don't believe I've ever seen a negative review because of insufficient hub power from a brick.
You seem to have an aversion to daisy-chaining a USB 2.0 hub to a USB 3.0 hub. Why is that? With most hubs you can daisy chain up to 127 devices. I plan to do it to reach distant peripherals to keep the cable length from exceeding 10 ft. to minimize line loss and revitalize the power and signal. For more information I Googled "daisy chain usb 3 hubs". Give it a try.
Another reason I use a USB 2.0 hub connected to my USB 3.0 hub is to maintain separation between the hubs. Plugables (and most other hub vendors) state in their compatibility specifications that:
"- 2.4Ghz wireless devices, such as wireless keyboard and mouse adapters, may not work in close proximity to USB 3.0 devices or hubs. Connecting to a USB 2.0 port is recommended."
Good luck whichever direction you go. Just ensure that you get the upgraded chipset! That is a big deal if you have a Mac with USB 3.0; not very important if used on a PC as they generally got it right early on.
After you get a new hub check the manufacturer, model, and firmware version. Go to Plugable's article on firmware upgrades. A few pages down they tell how to check for this information on a Mac. It's at:
Have you considered the Belkin USB HUB from Apple's own website? http://store.apple.com/uk/product/HD988Z/A/belkin-4-port-usb-30-powered-hub?fnod e=51
I did, but the Apple Store people here in Tokyo said it didn't work well!!!
Anyway, I've already ordered the Plugable from Amazon and it should arrive tomorrow or the next day. If it doesn't work I'll return it and ask Apple what to do again.
Note that at the Apple Store online it says they have no control over whether 3rd party stuff sold there works or not.