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Need USB card with enough power for external hard drive

Discussion in 'PC Hardware' started by Carl, May 23, 2010.

  1. Carl

    Carl Guest

    I have an HT-Link Cardbus/PCMCIA USB 2.0 2-port card (NEC / 32-bit).
    My external hard drive w/USB adapter won't work with it, and it will
    work plugged directly into a USB port on a different laptop. (My USB
    ports got fried.) I got the card off E-Bay. My MP3 player works
    plugged into that card. The drivers for the card say "Known
    limitations: High Speed Isochronus, USB Composite Devices." (No other
    details provided.) I don't know if the hard drive adapter is
    "isochronous" or "composite." I've read there are problems with too
    little power being supplied to the drive. The cable to the drive has
    two USB plugs on one end, and it doesn't make any difference if I plug
    both of them into the Cardbus card.

    What card should I get? I see many different brands on E-Bay. I need
    one that supplies sufficient power for an external hard drive, and
    doesn't have any "known limitations" in the way.
    Carl, May 23, 2010
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  2. Carl

    Roger Mills Guest

    The cardbus card probably *can't* supply enough power unless there's a
    way of getting power to it from another source. I have a 4 x USB2 port
    cardbus card made by Pluscom which has a little power socket on the
    front in addition to the USB ports. It comes with a lead which plugs
    into a normal USB port just for the purpose of supplying power to the card.

    Do you have any other source of power for USB devices, such as a
    USB-based mobile phone charger? If so, you could try plugging one of the
    drive's plugs into *that* - which may solve the problem.
    Please reply to Newsgroup. Whilst email address is valid, it is seldom
    Roger Mills, May 23, 2010
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  3. Carl

    Paul Guest

    If you used an external 3.5" USB drive enclosure, they come
    with their own power adapter. That is another way to solve the


    Paul, May 23, 2010
  4. Carl

    Carl Guest

    The card has a hole in between the two USB port for a plug, but the
    card didn't come with a cable. I checked E-bay. I could get a new
    card that comes with a cable for the same price as just a cable.
    Carl, May 23, 2010
  5. Carl

    Carl Guest

    Carl, May 23, 2010
  6. The alternative is to get an enclosure for the ext. hard
    drive. The Samba brands include a transformer to
    supply drive power separately from the USB port.
    Don Phillipson, May 23, 2010
  7. Carl

    Jan Alter Guest

    In that case move the hdd to an external drive case that has an additional
    power plug recepticle on it. Make sure you find out what the internal
    connector is for your 2.5" hdd (IDE or SATA)

    As an example. With these drives you would need to purchase an additional
    power to USB cable, but it should certainly work if you have two USB ports
    available and one to use for a mouse. This one has an internal SATA

    Jan Alter, May 24, 2010
  8. Carl

    Dan Guest

    Some 2.5 inch ext drives cables are y-shaped, with one arm of the "y"
    much longer--this gets into the gadget. The shorter arm contains Vcc
    and GND only, no data. I've thought all along if you have device not
    being detected properly because of insufficient power you could double
    the shorter "y" arm and plug it into adjacent unused USB port to boost
    the Vcc to gadget.
    Dan, May 24, 2010
  9. Carl

    J G Miller Guest

    Good advice, but if the PC has an eSATA connector, then even better,
    get an external case with an eSATA connection.

    USB 2 allows transfer speeds of up to 480 MBytes per second.

    eSATA allows transfer speeds of up to 3 GBytes per second.
    J G Miller, May 24, 2010
  10. Carl

    Carl Guest

    It's a 2.5" USB drive enclosure. It doesn't have a plug for a power
    That page says "There's no external power necessary either, since the
    drive gets its power from your computer." I already have an external
    drive case - that's how I'm accessing my 2.5 " IDE drive via a USB

    I don't see any listing on E-Bay matching "wall wart USB socket" as
    someone else here suggested (0 listings), and I don't see anything
    relevant when searching for "power usb cable." What EXACTLY is it
    called - a transformer you plug in the wall, and it has a cable with a
    USB socket on the end of it. Thanks.
    Carl, May 24, 2010
  11. Carl

    Carl Guest

    The drive is a 2.5" IDE.
    Carl, May 24, 2010
  12. Carl

    J G Miller Guest

    What is the brand and capacity of the disk?
    J G Miller, May 24, 2010
  13. Carl

    Carl Guest

    Seagate 80GB
    Carl, May 24, 2010
  14. Carl

    Carl Guest

    I found some on E-Bay searching with "usb ac power supply."
    Carl, May 24, 2010
  15. Carl

    J G Miller Guest

    So the maximum fastest transfer rate for that will be 100 MBytes per second,
    will it not?

    Have you considered upgrading to something newer? ;)

    500 Gbyte 2.5 inch Western Digital Caviar Blue SATA perhaps,
    or Seagate equivalent?
    J G Miller, May 24, 2010
  16. Carl

    Carl Guest

    No. That's a lot faster than USB 2.0 can do, and I don't have an
    eSATA port on my laptop.
    Carl, May 24, 2010
  17. Carl

    Paul Guest

    There are other ways to get power to the drive. And you have to be
    careful with the various adapter routes, because some of them are
    *still* using the USB cable for power.

    To start with, I think this adapter is key to success. It converts
    IDE 2.5" 44 pin, to a separate 40 pin IDE and a power connector. $8
    This allows you to *prove* how the drive is getting power.


    Once you're using that adapter, the resulting interface looks like
    a 3.5" drive. The purpose of me converting to 3.5" drive format,
    is to guarantee the wall wart adapter is used to power the drive.

    Now, buy one of these kits. Plug the Kinamax Molex plug, into the
    AC adapter in this kit. Connect the Kinamax 40 pin data, to the Vantec
    adapter dongle 40 pin (3.5") interface.

    VANTEC CB-ISATAU2 SATA/IDE to USB 2.0 Adapter $20

    The reason that song and dance is necessary, is because the Vantec
    is set up to power 2.5" drives via the USB bus (which you don't want,
    since you've already proved the laptop doesn't have the power).
    By converting the drive interface to 3.5" IDE style connector,
    there is an opportunity to power from the AC adapter.


    Another alternative, is to combine the 2.5" IDE drive, the Kinamax
    44 pin to 40 pin adapter, plus a larger enclosure. The enclosure
    should be large enough to completely contain the goods inside.
    The only thing missing, is a method to fasten the drive to the
    housing. If you want a method of doing that, you can buy small
    adapter "sleds", to convert from one drive format to another.

    I use one of these for my DVD burner. I share it via USB, so that
    it can be connected to any of my USB2 computers, without having
    to fit every computer with its own new burner. This has IDE 3.5"
    interface, so the Kinamax adapter can be used to allow
    connecting a 44 pin 2.5" drive. This has a power switch on
    it as well, which I find convenient.


    View of back, showing barrel power input


    Paul, May 24, 2010
  18. Carl

    Jan Alter Guest

    Here is a macally 2.5" external enclosure. It comes with the power cable I
    mentioned in the first post.

    The link below will show you a picture of the cables that come with it.

    Looking at the center cable is the one you would want for power to the
    external enclosure from the USB to computer end

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Image...S250CC 2.5" USB 2.0 & 1394 External Enclosure

    Looking up the name of this cable in one of their manuals they call it a
    'USB power cable'.

    By the way, the Macally enclosure I used as an example is for a SATA hdd,
    and you would need an IDE internal connector enclosure.
    Jan Alter, May 24, 2010
  19. Carl

    Carl Guest

    Thanks. That's good info. Maybe you know something about this- The
    reason my drive is external is because my newer Thinkpad has a smaller
    capacity hard drive than my older Thinkpad. (I upgraded the old one's
    drive, and it's actually newer than the newer Thinkpad.) The drive
    doesn't fit it the newer thinkpad - it's the same size, and the pins
    line up, but there's this piece of plastic/metal just after the end of
    the pins that keeps it from fitting. (I was thinking - Drimmel tool
    - but I wouldn't dare.) My DVD-Burner from my older Thinkpad (also
    an upgrade) won't fit either, it's too big. My newer Thinkpad just
    has it's CD-Writer/DVD reader. There's a Thinkpad adapter that allows
    you to plug in the DVD-Writer into the PCMCIA slot, but it's $60, and
    too rare to find cheaper on E-Bay. I'd be interested in getting my
    DVD-Burner connected to the new (working) laptop, if it was cheaper
    than just buying a new burner. (It's called an UltraSlimBay Drive or
    something like that - different stuff can go in the same slot.)
    Carl, May 24, 2010
  20. Carl

    Paul Guest

    Do you have model numbers for the old and new Thinkpads ?
    I'd like to find a picture first, of what the adapter looks like,
    to offer a comment.

    I'm not a laptop repair guy. I've just seen the odd picture
    of laptop components. I know they use adapters for hard drives,
    even in cases where it doesn't make a lot of sense. That's
    probably what you're seeing, is an adapter that is removable.

    Paul, May 25, 2010
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