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Old 09-05-2008, 10:20 AM   #1
Registered: Sep 2004
Distribution: Slackware-14.0
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How can one get USB external disk drive to "sleep"?

I have recompiled my kernel to include CONFIG_USB_SUSPEND but I do not see it sleeping.

My BIOS does not handle USB devices so I am relying on acpid to handle the drive - is that correct?

So far, using hdparm -B 1 -S 1 /dev/sda has not worked though hdparm -y /dev/sda does.

Is there something else that I should be changing?

Last edited by harryhaller; 09-05-2008 at 10:30 AM.
Old 09-05-2008, 10:50 AM   #2
Registered: Sep 2007
Location: Folsom, California
Distribution: Debian 4.0 (Etch), Debian 5.0 (Lenny), Ubuntu 8.04
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I'm sorry, I don't know the answer to your question, but I am curious. Why do you want it to sleep?
Old 09-05-2008, 11:00 AM   #3
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The drive itself can be commanded to sleep, but exactly how depends on the USB chipset that is providing the interface between the drive and the computer. You would do best to execute an lsusb command, then google on the chipset to find the answer that is appropriate to your system.

I make one of my drives spin down with this command (I had to install the relevant package first):

/usr/sbin/sg_start 0 --pc=2 /dev/sdf

I have another one that responds to the command:

sdparm --command=stop /dev/sdh

So, you just have to investigate it a bit.
Old 09-05-2008, 01:50 PM   #4
Registered: Sep 2004
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Thanks Jim for the info on sg_utils (which I have downloaded) but they don't seem to offer power management such as spinning down and going into standby after a period of inactivity.

I've discovered this and it seems to do the trick.

After you've found your usb device in /sys/bus/usb/devices you change the autosuspend and level files as described in that link.


Autosuspending USB devices
To attempt to autosuspend your USB device, first use lsusb as root to find out the bus number and device number of your usb device:

# lsusb
Bus 005 Device 014: ID 04b3:4485 IBM Corp.
Bus 005 Device 001: ID 0000:0000
Bus 004 Device 009: ID 0483:2016 SGS Thomson Microelectronics Fingerprint Reader
Bus 004 Device 001: ID 0000:0000
Bus 002 Device 001: ID 0000:0000
Bus 003 Device 001: ID 0000:0000
Bus 001 Device 008: ID 04b3:310c IBM Corp.
Bus 001 Device 007: ID 050d:0121 Belkin Components F5D5050 100Mbps Ethernet
Bus 001 Device 001: ID 0000:0000
Then find your device's directory in /sys/bus/usb/devices/. Look in directories that are named with two numbers separated with a dash:

/sys/bus/usb/devices# ls
1-0:1.0  1-1  1-1:1.0  1-2  1-2:1.0  2-0:1.0  3-0:1.0  4-0:1.0  4-2
4-2:1.0  5-0:1.0  5-6  5-6:1.0  usb1  usb2  usb3  usb4  usb5
/sys/bus/usb/devices# cat 1-1/busnum
/sys/bus/usb/devices# cat 1-1/devnum
/sys/bus/usb/devices# cat 1-2/busnum
/sys/bus/usb/devices# cat 1-2/devnum 
We know the USB to ethernet device's directory is 1-2 because the device and bus numbers match the lsusb output. Now we can tell the kernel that it should suspend this device automatically if it is not being used. First we set the idle timeout to 2 seconds:

/sys/bus/usb/devices# echo 2 > 1-2/power/autosuspend
The timeout can be set to any integer number of seconds. If set to -1, the device will not autosuspend. Then we make sure the kernel will automatically suspend the device, and resume the device if data needs to be transferred:

/sys/bus/usb/devices# echo auto > 1-2/power/level
Other options to echo to this file are "on" and "suspend":

* "on" will force the device to be on all the time.
* "suspend" will permanently suspend the device until the user echoes "on" or "auto" to this file.
(Note that this is a simplification, since the value of the power/wakeup file may allow the device to signal a remote wakeup.)

Checkmate, the reason for doing all this is to conserve power and save on wear and tear of the devices.
Old 09-06-2008, 01:55 AM   #5
Registered: Sep 2007
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oh... makes sense. I get curious from time to time - thank you for answering my question.


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