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Old 11-26-2007, 06:36 PM   #1
slakmagik
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USB HD and USB PCI don't work together


This isn't Linux-specific, but there's no posting board I'd rather post it at. I've searched the web in general and specifically here and turned up several related posts but nothing precisely the same - those posts are usually about cases of the device intermittently working or never working under any circumstance. Mine consistently works or fails to work under different circumstances.

I recently picked up a free old Compaq Evo (don't even know precisely what model number) which had Windows XP on it and I put a second disk and Slackware on. It has builtin USB1 ports so I picked up a generic USB2 PCI card. I can plug a San Disk Cruzer into it and it works. And my WD external USB hard drive works in the USB1 ports or in USB2 ports on other machines. But when I try the WD HD in the USB2 PCI, it *doesn't* work.

I get something like:
usb 1-3: new high speed USB device using ehci_hcd and address N
usb 1-3: device descriptor read/64, error -71
usb 1-3: device not accepting address N, error -71

So the card works and the drive works, as long as I don't plug the drive into the card. But that's *why I got the card*. So is this fixable, or do I need to try to take the card back and try another one?

(Oh, and the reason I say it isn't Linux-specific is because it causes a little yellow balloon to pop up and complain that the device isn't recognized in Windows, either, though, again, it works in the builtin ports and the San Disk works on the PCI card. Searching on the Windows message also turned up some stuff but was even less relevant or helpful.)
 
Old 11-27-2007, 02:41 PM   #2
dracolich
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It sounds like a power issue. I had a similar experience recently with a WD Passport drive. When connected to my laptop's Cardbus USB2 card I would have to connect the USB2 card to AC power, otherwise I got the same errors. And since my desktop machine uses a PCI USB2 card and the WD Passport doesn't have a connector for AC power it only works on the builtin USB1.1 ports.

I guess my best suggestion would be to get a USB2 hub that can be connected to AC power. Plug the hub into the PCI card and the drive into the hub.
 
Old 11-27-2007, 07:46 PM   #3
slakmagik
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Thanks. That sounds more reasonable than anything I could think up but the problem is that the drive I'm trying to get working with this system is self-powered - it's an old Series II. And it's the only USB device on the system (except once when I was testing with the thumb drive and left both in). So I don't *think* it's a power/bandwidth issue.

-- Yeah, just tried plugging in a 160GB 'MyBook' and that also works, like the thumbdrive. This is weird.

I also checked the WD website and didn't see anything that looked relevant regarding firmware updates or what have you.

But thanks, again - any suggestions/things to try/idea sparkers are welcome.
 
Old 11-28-2007, 05:34 PM   #4
dracolich
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The reason I orignally mentioned power is because A) the hard drive inside the enclosure demands more power than a simple flash drive, maybe even more than the disk in the newer MyBook. You know how technology is always changing to do more in a smaller space while using fewer resources. And B) the PCI card is having to draw power for itself before providing any to the USB roots. That means the ports on the card aren't able to provide as much power to attached devices as if the ports were integrated on the motherboard. For most devices it's still enough, but for something mechanical like physical hard disks it's often not enough to both run the device and transfer data.

Maybe I'm way off, but that's my theory after my above-mentioned experience with my own PCI USB2 card and WD 120GB Passport.

My idea is that the ports will work to send data at USB 2.0 speed, but you need something to provide more power to the drive before connecting to the PCI card.

You'll also get the same errors if you use a USB1.1 cable to connect a disk to a USB2 port. I found that out last night.

Good luck
 
  


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