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Question

My Simpletech 320GB External HD won't recognize as USB 2.0

by jesusofchicago / February 5, 2013 12:59 PM PST

I have a Simpletch 320GB exterhal HD. It's a USB 2.0 Drive. I have it plugged into a Sony laptop that only has 2.0 ports. There are NO drivers issued by Simpletech as they consider this 'plug and play'.

However, I cannot get this device to transfer at 2.0 speeds. When I plug it in, I get the 'This device can perform faster' alert. But I've never been able to resolve this.

The HD is formatted NTFS, and no other external drive has given me issues. Furthermore, I've used other cables, and THEY haven't helped.

I don't think this is a hardware problem because the HD works fine - just really slow. It's a couple years old and past its warranty, so I'm hoping someone can help me with this issue. If I can't get it up to 2.0 speed, I'll have to ditch the drive and find a manufacturer that can.

Thanks.

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All Answers

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Answer
Look at...
by Willy / February 6, 2013 12:06 AM PST

Did you read/review the Simpletech manual or get it from its support website? That way, you know more about it, etc.. Next, just what are your Sony USB ports, etc., are they actually USB 2.0. If there any possible s/w provided by Simpletech to help resolve this? Are there any red/yellow flags at "device mgr." area for USB device or that device?

tada -----Willy Happy

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Answer
Thoughts
by bob b / February 6, 2013 12:20 AM PST

Did this ever work?
Tried it with the laptop on AC power?
Does the Hd have an AC adapter?
Using a nice short usb cable?
Tried it with one of those usb "y" cables?

Ya I know....I'm a pita.....no answers just questions.

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Answers to the Questions -
by jesusofchicago / February 6, 2013 12:51 PM PST
In reply to: Thoughts

First off, thanks for the prompt reply and offer to help. Here are the answers.

Willy-
1. I reviewed the manual and it says you only need to plug it into a USB 2.0 device and it should be recognized automatically.
2. My laptop has 4 USB ports, all 2.0 according to the Sony product specs. Also, my 1.5TB external HD is USB 2.0, and it works fine in all 4 ports.
3. Simpletech offers little customer support in this matter. I've contacted them, but they haven't replied.
4. Yes, my device manager considers the 320GB HD to be an 'unknown device'. However, it still works, only much slower than it should.

Bob B-
1. I don't actually know, but my feeling is that it has always been slow. I don't think it ever transferred at 2.0 speed.
2. Yes, I actually keep my laptop plugged in about 98% of the time.
3. The external HD does not have an AC power supply.
4. The HD came with a Y cable, and I've plugged in both cables, then plugged the drive in (which is suggested by simpletech's FAQ section), which did nothing.

I understand if this one boggles you. The device manager thing upsets me, and simpletech doesn't make drivers. I've also run driver detectors to see if it's a driver issue. It could just be that this HD isn't compatible with Vista, although simpletech would say otherwise. Sadly, this is past the warranty.

It also doesn't work on XP systems at 2.0 speeds as well. And on Linux, it's not even recognized.

Ok, hopefully you guys might see something I'm not. Again, I appreciate the effort :).

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Try it on a different computer ...
by Edward ODaniel / February 6, 2013 4:42 PM PST

to see what happens (unless "It also doesn't work on XP systems at 2.0 speeds as well." means you have already done so.)

If you haven't done so try it with a DIFFERENT USB CABLE and since you indicate that the split cable came with it you should use a different split cable because that generally means that the manufacturer knows that a single USB port doesn't offer enough power for the device. Especially with USB, I have often found that the weak link is the cable itself and a quick replacement with a good cable does the trick.

You might also, if nothing else works, get a replacement external drive case that is powered such as this as an example (you would need to know if your drive is 3.5 inch or not and whether it is IDE or SATA to get the correct enclosure) -
http://www.ebay.com/itm/3-5-INCH-IDE-HARD-DISK-DRIVE-BOX-EXTERNAL-USB-2-ENCLOSURE-CASE-BLACK-/281061887835?pt=US_Drive_Enclosures_Docks&hash=item4170980f5b

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What I've tried -
by jesusofchicago / February 7, 2013 8:01 AM PST

I tried it on two different XP computers - both transferred at 1.0.

I tried a couple of different USB cables as well - no luck.

HOWEVER - I haven't tried an alternate Y cable. So that's a good suggestion Edward.

If the cable doesn't work, I'll look into the new case.

Great suggestions Edward! thanks!

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RE: Hardware
by mchainmchain / February 7, 2013 7:51 PM PST
In reply to: What I've tried -

Glad Ed could help you get going in the right direction.

How does hardware affect expected results?

Example: External USB hdd drive case from windows 98 days, not so fast (USB 1.0) and just found it would not recognize a 400 GB IDE drive when I put it in. I got a flashing red error output light and drive would not even start spinning. When I figured out why that was, it was duh!

Just a point to make about the Simpletech USB drive enclosure: You are limited as to what you can do with it: You need a Y-cable to supply sufficient power to run it, just as I am limited to 137 GB drive capacity and an ancient PROM. Limitations are built-in, no way around it.

That's a hardware design or configuration issue.

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Look at...
by Willy / February 8, 2013 12:56 AM PST

USB devices sooner or later get a problem and some just don't cut it. While your ext. HD is working it just isn't fast enough. That can lead one to think the pcb on the HD is possibility an old one or it has a minor problem in firmware. If you crack open the Simpletech, you'll probably find a Hitachi drive. Locate its model# and run any diags they supply at the support website or for that type drive. You may want to use Hirens or UBCD discs after burning as a rescue or testing setup and checkout the HD, one way or another as stated below by itself(outside of case). I suspect you have a 3.5in. drive in there.

Your ext. HD could be the victim of damage from power demands. Get you hands on a satellite USB power hub and use a plain "singular" power cable and see if that changes things. If you remove the ext. HD from it's case, then mount on a PC and see how it acts.

tada -----Willy Happy

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Hitachi Drive
by jesusofchicago / February 8, 2013 9:41 AM PST
In reply to: Look at...

Yes Willy, it's a hitachi drive. I'll check out support through hitachi as well, good idea.

I think a case swap and cable swap are good, cheap first steps if I can't find support.

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