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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

    Tecknomage Guest

    To all on this thread...

    I cam in late but you have 3 choices on this subject:

    1) An external USB HD with its own power adapter.

    2) A USB HD *designed* to use USB2 power
    (note your system's USB port must be USB2, see your BIOS Setup)

    3) A USB Adapter with its own power

    I can suggest you checkout offerings at Acomdata


    One example is their "2.5" Samurai USB/eSATA" which is "Bus Powered"
    (aka via your USB2 power).

    I have an older version which even includes "Nomad Mobile Desktop" OS
    that I use for temporary backups for clients.

    Also, if their newer external drives are like my old one, you can
    order and external AC Adapter if you wish. This would be an option
    required if the client system does NOT have USB2 support.

    Note, Seagate (I think) also carries and external USB HD that powers
    via your USB2 Port.
    Tecknomage, May 25, 2010
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  2. Carl

    Carl Guest

    The old one is a 600E. The new one is a T42.

    The older Thinkpad uses the "UltraslimBay." The newer Thinkpad uses
    the "Ultrabay Slim." The model #'s (& more) associated with these
    Ultra bay types (& several other Thinkpad bay types) is found at:
    http://www.thinkwiki.org/wiki/Ultrabay - This page also has a
    "Compatibility Matrix" at the bottom which shows no adapter is
    available for those two bay types.

    If you search on E-bay you will find many page's that say their HDD
    works on every (apparently) model of Thinkpad:
    (read the compatibility in the description)
    You will also find pages that show the drive is compatible with only
    the 600 series. The drive in my T42 will fit in the 600E. The drive
    in my 600E will not fit in the T42 because of that piece of metal/
    plastic just past the pins. I don't know why that piece is there (on
    the drive), or why the T42 also has a piece their inside the slot
    which blocks it (it's inside the width of the drive - not
    It looks like this | x - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
    | - where x is the plastic metal piece on the drive just past the
    pins, but inside the drives width, that keeps it from fitting in the
    T42. So - if it fits in a T42 then it fits in a 600E. But not
    necessarily vice-versa.

    Maybe you can make sense of this quote from
    "The adapter has a black plastic grommet at the back that
    restricts its use to the 60 series ThinkPads. Some people have
    successfully removed this grommet with a pair of channel lock pliers,
    or sliced it off with a Dremel after which it will fit into older
    ThinkPads like the T40 series. This works because the adapter actually
    bridges the SATA HDD to PATA as those older machines have no SATA

    This has been tested with the following ThinkPads, although this is
    obviously not supported!

    * ThinkPad T40, T40p, T41, T41p, T42, T42p, T43, T43p
    I don't know what SATA and PATA are - only that the spec says the
    HDD is an IDE. Regarding the above quote - note that the T42 is newer
    than the 600 series - the quote makes it look the other way around.
    Also, the article is about the "Ultrabay Slim" - which is relevant to
    the T42. The "Ultraslim Bay" is for the 600 series. So why does this
    part work correctly in the 600 series, but needs modified (Dremel
    tool) to work with a T42? Maybe you can make sense of this.
    I quoted the above as someone besides me thought "Dremel tool"
    regarding that darned piece of metal/plastic - if we're talking about
    the same thing.
    Carl, May 25, 2010
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  3. Carl

    Paul Guest

    I tried looking at pictures of the adapters.

    My first comment would be, about electronic adaptation.

    PATA, IDE, EIDE - parallel data bus, 16 bits wide.
    40 pin connector for 3.5" hard drives or optical drives
    40 pins for signals plus 4 for power on 2.5" drives = 44 pins total


    SATA - serial data bus at very high speed.
    - TX differential pair, RX differential pair
    - three ground signals for crosstalk isolation and shielding
    - results in a total of 7 pins on the data plug
    - separate 15 pin power plug, sufficient for five groups of three power pins

    USB - four pins, D+, D- for data, +5V and GND for power. 500mA limit.
    Higher power limit on the new USB3 standard (irrelevant to this discussion). .

    Now, each of those standards is completely different. But
    they make single silicon chip solutions, for going from one
    to the other. USB to SATA, USB to PATA, SATA to PATA, PATA to SATA

    For example, I have an adapter next to me right now, in its original
    cardboard box, that uses a Marvell 88SA8040-TBC1 to convert from PATA
    (parallel ATA, ribbon cable bus) to SATA (serial ATA).

    In the case of one of your adapter types, there is a rectangular region
    next to the drive, large enough to hide a printed circuit board with
    one of those 1/2" x 1/2" adapter chips.

    The various bay types, have two connectors on them. The "public" connector
    inside the bay, must adhere to an industry standard. For example, the
    IDE to IDE kind of bay adapter, would use a standard 44 pin connector
    inside the bay. That is so it will easily mate with an IDE 44 pin drive
    (9.5mm thick or 12.5mm thick drive, depending on generation).

    On the outside of the bay, I see a custom connector, and it looks to me
    like it has more pins on it (50 pins perhaps?). Since I could not find
    a pinout, it is hard to say whether the extra pins are for carrying power,
    or for some other function.

    In the case of the SATA drive adapter bay, the SATA drive has power
    provisions for 3.3V, 5V, 12V. The extra pins on the proprietary bay
    connector, could be used to make connections for those.

    Each bay, will have a particular bus on the proprietary end connector
    on the bay. Adapter chips would be used, to go from that standard,
    to whatever standard the drive is using. It is always possible,
    that they could overlay two I/O standards on the same pins, and
    switch in the kind of I/O they want on demand (based on sense pins
    indicating device type). But that would drive up the cost of the

    If your thinkwiki has info suggesting some item inter-works, you'll
    have to take that on face value. If there was more documentation,
    it might be possible to comment on what is going on there. If they
    add plastic bits, to prevent the bay from plugging in, that probably
    wasn't an accident. Some engineer did that, after examining their
    hardware portfolio, and deciding what parts would be dangerous to
    combine. While a business case could be made for having them
    all different, such that every application was custom, that could
    also drive away customers from their concept. I've seen at
    least one computer drive enclosure idea, that was so foreign
    and obnoxious that it got no traction whatsoever. So when
    pissing off customers, it *is* possible to go too far.

    There are other hardware interfaces, which are "dual personality".
    For example, the ExpressCard interface on newer laptops (a kind of
    PCCard), actually has two sets of hardware pins. It has a PCI
    Express x1 lane interface. But it also has pins for USB2. And
    people making ExpressCard devices, can choose to use either interface.
    For example, I could plug in a Wifi ExpressCard that has a USB2 interface
    on it, and it just use the USB2 pins. The PCI Express interface
    supports 250MB/sec, while the USB2 is only 60MB/sec theoretical.
    For a lot of slower I/O applications, either is sufficient.

    They could be doing that on the bay concept, but I don't have
    any proof that more than one interface exists.

    Paul, May 25, 2010
  4. Carl

    ~misfit~ Guest

    Note "Ultrabay Slim". *Not* UltraSlimBay. Miles (and 10 years) apart.
    It doesn't. It works on the systems listed, the x60 series (which ironically
    includes the x60, along with the R60, T60/61 and Z60). This is a line of
    laptops that was manufactured between 2005 and 2008.
    You're not talking about the same thing at all and I don't know how you can
    say that 'the above quote' makes it seem like the 600 series is newer than
    the T4x series. It's about the Ultrabay slim, not the ancient UltraSlimBay.
    The article states which laptops it is [factory] compatible with and it most
    certainly doesn't list the 600 there. It includes the T60, such as this one
    I'm using, which was made in 2007. The 600E was introduced in 1998. You are

    Also, the 'grommet' that is referenced in the article is nothing to do with
    your protrusion problem.
    ~misfit~, May 27, 2010
  5. Carl

    ~misfit~ Guest

    I can shed some light on this particular issue Paul. The SATA Ultrabay Slim
    adapater that Carl is talking about (for some reason, he seems confused...)
    is designed for, among other machines, this T60 I'm using. In fact I have
    one of those adapters in the T60 by my left elbow (the best specced T60 I
    have, running Win 7 Ultimate which I'm still learning).

    The line of machines that adapter is designed for are natively SATA but use
    a bridge chip on the planar to give a PATA connection to the bay port to
    accomodate a PATA ODDs. Therefore, when you're using one of those adapters
    to use a SATA drive in the bay you are in fact going through two bridge
    chips. A SATA > PATA on the planar and then a PATA > SATA in the adapter.
    Clumsy I know. Later ThinkPads used a SATA ODD but I believe that this
    approach was used as a transitionary measure so that all the PATA ODDs /
    PATA HDD adapters / Ultrabay slim batteries from T4x machines in circulation
    could be re-used in the newer range. An Ultrabay Slim DVD multi-drive which
    can read and write to any CD / DVD format (including DVD-RAM) wasn't a cheap
    option so not being able to use it in a new machine might have put potential
    ugraders off.

    T4x are natively PATA, lacking the bridge chip of the later x6x machines. It
    seems that the bridge chip in this adapter was designed to work in
    combination with the bridge chip in the x6x machines, essentially going SATA
    Now, while removing the grommet allows the use of the SATA Ultrabay Slim
    adapter in T4x laptops I would guess that perhaps the testing that IBM /
    Lenovo did during their pre-release stage threw up problems, perhaps with
    certain combinations of HDD models in the adapter with the native PATA T4x
    interface, causing them to add the (easilly removable) grommet to
    essentially say "use in T4x machines at your own risk". It seems that
    registered users at ThinkWiki (I'm one) haven't reported any problems with
    Indeed. The ThinkPad line is pretty much the opposite, using the same
    accessories for as long as possible across different generations of machine.
    Their clientele were / are largely corporate / educational (especially in
    the USA) so having common 'plug-in' parts for as long as possible is a big
    plus. An ODD from a 2003 T40 will fit in a T61 from early 2009 and work
    perfectly well. After that they changed to the 'Serial Ultrabay Slim', doing
    away with the need for the SATA > PATA bridge chip on the planar of the
    laptop. However the Ultrabay slim *battery* for that 2003 T40 will still
    work fine in the latest ThinkPads, and any for the foreseeable future. I
    think that's pretty damn good.
    ~misfit~, May 27, 2010
  6. Carl

    BillW50 Guest

    Carl typed on Mon, 24 May 2010 11:17:37 -0700 (PDT):
    Even if your laptop doesn't have an eSATA port, you can buy them in
    Cardbus or ExpressCard versions.
    BillW50, May 27, 2010
  7. Sorry for delayed reply, I had no PC for about 2 weeks and am catching
    up as fast as I can.

    This may be more than what you want, but I have a StarTech adapter that
    will allow just about any HD to a USB port and supplies power to the HD
    with a wall wart. It takes 2.5", 3.5" or 5.25" IDE or 2.5" or 3.5" SATA
    drives. No model # on the box, just "USB 2.0 to IDE or SATA Adapter
    cable. See www.startech.com. Cost was $30-35.
    Rich Greenberg, Jun 8, 2010
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