Portable Hard drive USB power

  soldatengrab 14:14 21 Jul 2007

I've just bought a Freecom toughdrive 250gb, and am using this while connected to a laptop, which is powered through the mains at all times.

I'm using the hard drive to store music, which I'm reading from using a DJ program (Traktor, dont know if thats even relevant) to play from whilst working as a club DJ. The drive is 4800rpm, and it is USB powered (Something I saw as a strength- one less plug to worry about). IS the USB power from my Laptop going to be sufficient to run this drive without any power failures during operation?

Thanks in advance, you guys are always the ones in the know


  Totally-braindead 14:19 21 Jul 2007

It depends on 2 things, how much power your laptop is able to provide to the USB ports and how many other things are connected to the USB which also take power.
I have an external USB hard drive for my desktop and it is mean to work from USB alone (usually) the instructions say, but mine won't theres just not enough juice there are I have to use the adaptor. On the plus side it just means you need one more plug if it doesn't work - try it and see.

  soldatengrab 14:22 21 Jul 2007

so ALL USB devices, are powered from the same pool of electricity and then divided between however many outputs? Does the fact its plugged in make any difference?

  Totally-braindead 14:51 21 Jul 2007

As far as I know this is correct, I am unsure about if devices are still plugged in but not switched on, thinking about it they might use a tiny amount of power but if they do I think its umlikely it would be enough to make any disernable difference.
Willing to corrected on this guys but this is my understanding of it.

Have you actually tried the hard drive yet soldatengrab to see what happends?

  soldatengrab 17:19 21 Jul 2007

yes, there was one point when I wasnt using the drive, that it seemed to disappear from my computer, however it was still visible in the "safely remove hardware" window. Aside from that it worked all night without issue. I'm not familiar with what would happen were the power to not be sufficient, as in whether it would just refuse to work, or cut out when under load, or even if I'd get any warning.

I'm more worried about relying on it, then finding it doesnt work at a later date, when I've not brought the drive I've upgraded from :P

  Totally-braindead 18:10 21 Jul 2007

To be honest with you my concern would be it failing in use, if it did do that some of the files may become corrupted, the safe as just pulling out the plug when its in use. This is the main reason for the "safely remove hardware" thing, its to make sure you don't unplug the drive when in use.

  soldatengrab 18:27 21 Jul 2007

and thats why I'm a little worried when relying on it. Its not the fact its failed, its more that risk. Is there some kind of equation or program I can use, to work out the draw from the USB, and the power provided by my laptop? (its a toshiba Satellite a100 451)

  54david27 18:38 21 Jul 2007

Hi soldatengrab, be very careful using the USB port to power your external drive, I found out the hard way that if the USB drive draws to much power it can destroy the power requalater on the mother board so rendering your lap top un-usable. So now I always use an external power supply for my external drives. By the way the laptop I destroyed was an acer travel mate.

  soldatengrab 18:40 21 Jul 2007

ouch. just....ouch.

I really dont know what to say to that. Painful.

  paul€ 18:49 21 Jul 2007

The maximum power consumption from either of your 4 usb2.0 ports will be 500mA.

So using the laptop with the power lead connected should give sufficent power to work the external drive.

the problem may come when the external power is disconnected and the laptop runs on pure battery power. It might go into a " power saving " mode that channels the power to more important components.

Check the power settings of the laptop so it runs as home office / desktop. This should give full power to all your peripherals.

  soldatengrab 19:18 21 Jul 2007

The laptop is permanently powered Paul. From purchase I have never once used the laptop battery, it remains disconnected and sat on my dressing room table.

So you are confident that I have no worries re: powering the drive?

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