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Old 10-24-2014, 11:36 PM   #1
Registered: Dec 2012
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Question idle3-tools for WD drives

It's probably just me, but the instructions for this tool leave me scratching my head. I am trying to max out the timers at 300 seconds on my WD drives, but can't figure out what -s value to use. The example from the site says;

Set the idle3 timer to 10s

# idle3ctl -s 100 /dev/sda
My logic, looking at this example says if 100 = 10 seconds then 3000 would be 300 seconds. Obviously that's not right since the max value is 255. So what gives??? Is there a conversion chart or formula that let's you correctly set the -s value???

Again, I want to max mine out at 5 minutes but can't find strait forward instructions anywhere... Thanks...

RANT... If the default value is 8s, why give an example of 10s, which only increases the value by 2s??? Not sure how useful that is??? Shouldn't the example be something usable along with the "skinny" on how the value was derived??? And it looks like things change at -s 129, shouldn't there be some examples on how to use the tool for values above the change (129)?

It really seems to be me that's confused but I also noticed most people claim to use the -d option and just disable the feature...

Last edited by Soapm; 10-24-2014 at 11:40 PM. Reason: Make post legible
Old 10-25-2014, 10:49 PM   #2
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Location: East Centra Illinois, USA
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Please give a link to the instructions you are using so that others can read them. Someone may find something you overlooked.
Old 10-25-2014, 11:48 PM   #3
Registered: Dec 2012
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Good idea, sorry I didn't think of it...

Googling around I found a guy that said use 138. I have no idea how they figured that out but using this command does show 300 seconds.

idle3ctl -g105 /dev/sdf
Range is 1 - 255
100 = 10s
138 = 300s

Old 10-26-2014, 07:14 AM   #4
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Registered: Oct 2014
Distribution: Centos 6.5
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I cannot answer what system is behind the raw values -> second, but this thread seems to have some handy advise:

For finding out custom timer values use this tip:

Enter some random value with
./idle3ctl -s 115 /dev/sda

and then use

./idle3ctl -g103 /dev/sda

It will show your set value in seconds.

That way by changing -s value and checking with -g103 you can find what is right value for what you want.
Maybe that will help you find the right value.
Old 10-26-2014, 08:08 PM   #5
Registered: Dec 2012
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I find it interesting this guy settled on 141 which is 6.5 minutes but the max timer I believe is 5 minutes. It does confirm I'm not the only one confused with this tool or setting lol...

There was also discussion linked in that thread that smartctl polling the drive un-parks the heads. I guess there's no way to win with this feature except maybe disable???
Old 06-30-2016, 09:25 AM   #6
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Registered: Jun 2016
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These came from factory set to 138:

root@box:/home/ub# idle3ctl -g /dev/sdc
Idle3 timer set to 138 (0x8a)
root@box:/home/ub# idle3ctl -g100 /dev/sdc
Idle3 timer set to 13.8s (0x8a)
root@box:/home/ub# idle3ctl -g103 /dev/sdc
Idle3 timer set to 300.0s (0x8a)
root@box:/home/ub# idle3ctl -g105 /dev/sdc
Idle3 timer set to 300.0s (0x8a)

In case of NEW WD Red drives, at least, nothing needs to be done, I think


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