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Best USB2 to Ultra ATA 100 adapter card or external HDD?

Discussion in 'PC Hardware' started by Knack, Oct 31, 2005.

  1. Knack

    Knack Guest

    I just set up what I thought was the mostly robustly constructed portable
    3.5" HDD external enclosure for USB 2.0. The case has an extruded aluminum
    shell with cooling ribs on two faces and vented openings on the ends for air
    circulation. It also has an external power adapter for converting 120 VAC to
    the required DC voltages. It is a KingWin KM-H31-U2-01 (sometimes called a
    MAP-H31 by other brands).

    Last night I used it for the first time and did a backup with it. But today
    it won't spin up either of two brand new Ultra ATA HDDs that I've tried in
    it.

    Here are the voltages at the HDD's power connector:
    black #1 +5.11 vdc
    black #2 +5.11 vdc
    yellow -6.91 vdc

    Is the external power supply adapter bad, or is there something wrong with
    the enclosure's circuit card?

    BTW, the transfer rate last night was terrible: averaged only 3.17 MB/sec
    over a period of 24 mins.

    Does anyone know of the best make & model card for the external enclosure?
     
    Knack, Oct 31, 2005
    #1
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  2. Knack

    Impmon Guest

    You got the meter on wrong way. Red should be around +5v and yellow
    at +12v. Black are ground (0v) and usually are tied together in the
    power supply.

    Adjusting for that, the reading does look OK to me so it could be the
    IDE interface, loose cable, or something else. Did you unplug the USB
    cable, shut the drive off, power it back up, and then plug the cable
    back?
     
    Impmon, Oct 31, 2005
    #2
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  3. Knack

    Knack Guest

    OK. Thanks. I've now remeasured the red black, yellow wires across ground
    (instead of across red as before), and have got the same correct values that
    you replied with.

    The drive normally spins up as soon as I flip the enclosure's switch 'ON';
    regardless of whether or not the USB2 cable is connected. That function
    should have nothing to do with USB2.

    Since posting, I momentarily got the drive to spin up. Now nothing again.
    Looks like I definitely need a replacement card to go inside the enclosure,
    because the card in there now must have some sort of bad switching component
    (bad solid state relay chip?). Like to know who makes the best card, and
    where to buy it.
     
    Knack, Oct 31, 2005
    #3
  4. Knack

    Arno Wagner Guest

    Sorry, but that is extremely hard to say and nobody here does
    extensive electronics testing for this type of adapter.

    However if the drives do not spin-up, it is very likely a power issue
    and not an interface issue. Warranty replacement may be a solution,
    there is variation in semiconductors and you might just have been
    unlycky.

    Arno
     
    Arno Wagner, Nov 1, 2005
    #4
  5. Knack

    mike Guest

    If you dig around on the forums, you'll read many horror stories about
    reliabiltiy of these devices.
    First thing I'd do is replace the power supply. It may be fine with no
    load, but folding up under load causing the drive to shut down.

    I'd be interested to hear what data transfer rates people are really
    getting with USB2. I'm only capable of about 3MB/S to a usb2 flash card
    that's spec'd at 10MB/s write speed. I only get 6MB/S over a 100Mb
    ethernet connection. My 100MB/S disk drive benchmarks at 1/3 that.

    Bottom line is that each device is specified under ideal conditions.
    A system of two such devices rarely achieves that rate.

    mike
    --
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    Return address is VALID but some sites block emails
    with links. Delete this sig when replying.
    FS 500MHz Tek DSOscilloscope TDS540 Make Offer
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    mike, Nov 1, 2005
    #5
  6. Knack

    Knack Guest

    The fact that 2 new unused identical HDDs mounted in the same enclosure are
    experiencing the same problem points to a fault of the enclosure's circuit
    card.

    As with almost all cheap electronics from Asia, no replacement parts for the
    enclosure are available. My web searches have turned up various such cards,
    but they are not designed for mounting inside enclosures, but instead come
    as part of a kit with USB2 cable and ATA 100 connector attached to them for
    use as enclosureless benchtop work (marketed for technicians and hobbyists).
    The replacement card that I need should have a very short ATA 100 cable
    coming out of it with a connector for mouting to a HDD, and a USB2 device
    connector, and should either have a small metal flange on it (for mounting
    to an enclosure end) or be cabable of being fastened to such a flange.
     
    Knack, Nov 1, 2005
    #6
  7. Knack

    Healthnut Guest

    Solved. I had the HDD jumpered incorrectly. Master is the correct jumpering
    for this particular enclosure. Couple nights ago I did a successful backup
    to that external HDD when it was
    configured as Cable Select. I jumpered it that way because the HDD was
    labeled with an instruction to do it that way if it is to be connected with
    an Ultra ATA cable. Unfortunately since then I couldn't get reliable spin-up
    of the HDD. I guess I was just lucky that night. I was beginning to think
    the enclosure's adapter circuitry had somehow failed since then because the
    HDD is very new, and I also tested another identicle HDD in the same
    enclosure and it also was not spinning up. So since rejumpering the HDD as
    Master I can now switch it off/on repeatedly and it spins up, and with OK
    partition detection by the laptop's WinXP.

    The low transfer rate must be due to the bottleneck of CardBus, because the
    computer is a laptop with a CardBus-to-USB2 adapter card being used in the
    data stream to the external HDD.
     
    Healthnut, Nov 2, 2005
    #7
  8. That remains to be seen. It could also be the particular HDs in use.
    In your case.
    Which it shouldn't have if your conclusion is to be true.
    It is a preference, not a requirement.
    Which sounds like an intermittend hardware problem.
    Lucky, it that a hardware term?
    Which is 30MB/s or so.
    Your conclusions are obviously your own and that's what they should stay.
     
    Folkert Rienstra, Nov 2, 2005
    #8
  9. not an enclosure just get a plain adaptor. This one infact...

    in thread "IDE -> USB cable (w/o) enclosure" alt.comp.hardware

    I posted

    graet tool, but

    avoid that make/model pictured there. I bought one like that once. It
    worked in my maxtor but not my seagate. The adaptor doesn't fit
    securely into the seagate. i guess seagate is less deep.


    This one is far better. I always iuse it. I bought 2.. 'cos i'm afraid
    of losing it!
    (ok, i admit, i bought 4 ;) )
    http://www.mc3llc.com/prodimages/USB2-IDE_LR.jpg


    available here
    http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/item-details.asp?...



    and cheap, less than $20
     
    jameshanley39, Nov 24, 2005
    #9
  10. what do you use to measure those transfer speeds?
     
    jameshanley39, Nov 24, 2005
    #10
  11. <snip>

    That's weird. My experience has been that any jumper position works.
    And others too have found that. Maybe you have a slightly funny HDD or
    funny adaptor.
    Try other HDDs as an experiment.
     
    jameshanley39, Nov 25, 2005
    #11
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