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View Full Version : My quest to build an external FW HD continues ... to fail!


iShater
Sep 6, 2003, 07:58 PM
If you guys recall a month ago, I posted a thread (http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?s=&threadid=33925) where I was asking about a problem I had with an external FW enclosure that I was trying to place an IDE drive in. Well, I managed to sell the Western Digital 200GB drive and get a Maxtor 200GB drive, which is supposed to be supported by the Oxford911 bridge chip.

I installed the drive yesterday in the enclosure, plugged it in, and sure enough Disk Utility launched and saw the harddrive as a healthy 189GB of real diskspace. I made one partition and it took a few seconds and it was ready, in full unlike the WD drive which used to lock up disk utility if I tried to get more than 127GB or so.

I checked the newly mounted drive on the desktop and I smiled in relief as it seemed my quest to "build" an external FW HD was coming to an end. I copied around 13.5 GB of miniDV imported video to the drive to clear up some space and it was great.

But then ... and you knew this was coming :D it was time to put the drive away and take the iBook to the family room for some work. I dragged the icon to the trash and ... waited ... the Finder started beachballing ... and waited .. and on .... until after quite a few minutes I gave up and relaunched finder (probably the first bad thing I did). The drive was nowhere in sight and finder was not happy, i think i rebooted the system and now when i plug the drive in, it doesn't show up, nothing shows up in Disk Utility (even the iBooks drive doesn't show up now) and when I unplug the FW drive, I get the two messages that seemed to be hiding while i was waitig for it to mount "bad thing you unplaugged that drive, you will lose data" as in DUH ... and "filesystem not recognized, do you want to initialize". I am fine initializing, but I can't seem to get to the drive to do it.

However, Apple System Profiler does see the drive in the FW devices.

HELP! Help? :(

crazytom
Sep 6, 2003, 08:39 PM
I feel your pain! I've been on many a quest to get FW gear all working at once. You might first start by zapping PRAM.

I haven't found the magic dance that always works 100% of the time, but I've had some luck with not having the FW device plugged in (FW not AC) at startup and then connecting FW when I'm ready to use it. That works more often than not, and things go screwy when I need to disconnect something...I've had to go as far as resetting my PMU (on my G4 MDD) to get my devices back (I also have a CD burner, scanner, digital camera, & iPod all connected to a Belkin hub).

These drives are supposed to be 'hot swappable' aren't they? It seems you can only swap them once per boot, but I haven't had the hours upon hours of reboot time to figure it all out. I hope the next few build of Jaguar and Panther make FW usage a bit easier!! Post back if zapping PRAM works or if you find something else that does!

iShater
Sep 6, 2003, 08:44 PM
Originally posted by crazytom
I feel your pain! I've been on many a quest to get FW gear all working at once. You might first start by zapping PRAM.

What is the kb combo to do that? and what will it reset? i.e. what else might I lose if I do that?

thanks!

crazytom
Sep 6, 2003, 08:48 PM
Originally posted by iShater
What is the kb combo to do that? and what will it reset? i.e. what else might I lose if I do that?

thanks!

It's <control> <apple> P R

Hold all 4 keys down at startup until your mac chimes 2-3 times. It won't hurt anything.

Here's a link (http://www.adobe.com/support/techguides/operatingsystem/macintosh/maczappram.html) to an explanation on Adobe's website.

crazytom
Sep 6, 2003, 08:50 PM
Whoops! It's <option><apple>PR!!!


Sorry for the mistake!

iShater
Sep 6, 2003, 10:30 PM
Well, I zapped the PRAM, but I guess the iBook doesn't chime like older Macs used to (does your tower do it?) but when I was holding the keys down it was resting itself until I let go.

So, i started up the drive, plugged it in. I could tell that it was being accessed because the access light was on. It sat there, I tried to launch apps and none would respond. After 15 mins, I finally unplugged the drive (I know it is bad, but the drive is already corrupted) :p

so anyways, once I did that I got these error messages in the attachment.

It seems that the drive fs is corrupted, but the system doesn't let me get to the disk utility to format it. Is there a way to do that? or do I need to shell out some $$ and get Drive 10 or Tools Pro or something?

Oh, and when I get the messages the drive is already unplugged from the system, so I can't repair it. And if I plug it back in, nothing happens.

Thanks.

crazytom
Sep 6, 2003, 10:48 PM
I got that warning when I tried to run my external FW drive for the second time. I was able to test it on another machine to verify that everything was working. As a last resort, reset the PMU on your machine.

Instructions from Apple are here. (http://docs.info.apple.com/article.html?artnum=14449)

To be safe, make sure the drive is disconnected from your machine.

(Like I said, there's a little dance you need to do...it's just figuring it out!)

If resetting the PMU doesn't work, I'm at a loss for what to do next. Hopefully someone more knowledgeable will jump in here!!!

iShater
Sep 6, 2003, 11:27 PM
Originally posted by crazytom
I got that warning when I tried to run my external FW drive for the second time. I was able to test it on another machine to verify that everything was working. As a last resort, reset the PMU on your machine.

Instructions from Apple are here. (http://docs.info.apple.com/article.html?artnum=14449)

To be safe, make sure the drive is disconnected from your machine.

(Like I said, there's a little dance you need to do...it's just figuring it out!)

If resetting the PMU doesn't work, I'm at a loss for what to do next. Hopefully someone more knowledgeable will jump in here!!!

Thanks for all your help crazytom. Since I didn't care for the data on the drive (I will reimport my DV data), I decided to take it to my Windows laptop. I am glad I got the combo enclosure, cause I managed to hook up the drive to the USB port and I repartitioned the HD on the PC. Then I brought it back to the iBook, and this time (after restarting the iBook I might add), it prompted me to initalize the drive.

Well, the partitioning worked great, and I copied some files to it to test it. HOWEVER, I am back now to square 1. I tried to Eject the drive, and now my Finder is running the beachball.

Now why would ejecting a device be so painful is beyond me. I will keep playing with different parition settings, maybe even an older HD or something until I figure something out. Oh, and I will try reseting the PMU later to see if that helps.

Thanks again.

Makosuke
Sep 7, 2003, 07:09 AM
I unfortunately don't have much useful advice, but I do feel your pain.

I cobbled a drive together for myself from a couple of old IDE drives and a dual-drive 911 FW case, and although it works 90% of the time, the other 10% it does weird things similar to what you're describing.

In my case, the most common problem is that occasionally, the drives will go to sleep and go comatose--they essentially freeze the computer unless I yank the FW cord or turn off the case, at which point I get the "Improper removal" message, and all is well. The partitions aren't damaged by this. That, and once in a while I get a kernel panic as soon as I turn the case on. On the other hand, I've been hot-plugging cameras and a built-myself CDR drive for two years without a single issue.

Anyway, so I'm not just ranting, here are a couple of things I've seen help, though they may not apply to your case:

1) Try Jaguar Cache Cleaner (search on VersionTracker). Might not help, but I've seen it do good things on occasion.

2) Resetting PRAM, or even resetting everything in Open Firmware does seem to help with hardware issues sometimes. To get to OF, hold down <option> O F at startup, then type "reset-all" at the white-screen prompt. You'll have to re-do a few things, but it doesn't reset anything major.

3) There was a really odd tip about a problem with automounting external disks described on MacOSXHints:
http://www.macosxhints.com/article.php?story=20010413024152602

It seems useless, but at one point I had a crash related to my external FW HD, and then the thing refused to mount. I tried the procedure in the tip, and amazingly enough it actually fixed my problem. Might save you some day.

Well, good luck.

Dreamail
Sep 7, 2003, 08:04 AM
I had this happen on a new disk before. The thing that seems to be happening is that some process in the background is using the drive. (Sherlock indexing? Finder checks? Filesystem initializations? Something else? Your guess). But it seems to be happening only once and then you're set.

This process is started the moment you mount your drive. When unmounting the Finder tries to quit all open processes or wait for them to finish if it cannot quit them. What seems to me is that this is one of the latter. Perhaps the file system establishing certain 'default' settings? I don't know. All I've seen is that on a big disk, whatever is happening, will take a long, long time to finish (as in hours not minutes).

I think all you need to do is give the Finder time once to finish those tasks during the very first unmounting. The next time you mount and unmount the drive this will not take as long anymore.

So my advice:
Plug the drive in, and then unmount it shortly before going to bed. And then let the Finder do its magic for the next few hours and hopefully when you're getting up in the morning the Finder is finished. On a 60Gig drive I've seen this take about an hour, so for 200Gig this might take 4 hours, but maybe longer on a slower Mac.
Give it a try.

jbouklas
Sep 7, 2003, 09:49 AM
OS X also acts funny with USB hard drives sometimes. They are not very reliable with the OS, in my opinion. The best I can say is to wait for Panther, which will invariably have better support for FireWire disks.

-Jim

iShater
Sep 7, 2003, 07:52 PM
Thanks for all the advice folks.

I tried updated the hostconfig file, I tried giving the drive a few hours to see if it works, and I am still having the problems.

I decided not to mess around with the PMU or open firmware. I think that even though the Oxford911 chip does support 200GB Maxtor drives, there seems to be a limitation within either the iBook or OSX for the iBook that prevents using such a huge file. I made a single partition multiple times of sizes 60, 100, and 150 GB, all the big ones (over maybe the 137GB limit) failed. So I guess my greedy heart that was trying to get the 200GB will now have to settle with less. I am hoping that I can keep a Mac partition with the 120GB and make a PC partition with the rest, but that might not work. Will keep you all posted.

In the meantime, any other ideas, or experiences with something similar would be great. I am very interested to know if anybody with an iBook has a 200GB external FW drive.

Thanks.

crazytom
Sep 7, 2003, 08:41 PM
Originally posted by iShater
(over maybe the 137GB limit) failed.


I think you hit the nail on the head there. Check this post here (http://www.insanely-great.com/features/020121.html)

In the * section is mentions that "The Mac OS currently has a volume size limit of 137GB".

You may be out of luck until Panther arrives (even then you might still be out of luck).

iShater
Sep 7, 2003, 09:44 PM
Originally posted by crazytom
I think you hit the nail on the head there. Check this post here (http://www.insanely-great.com/features/020121.html)

In the * section is mentions that "The Mac OS currently has a volume size limit of 137GB".

You may be out of luck until Panther arrives (even then you might still be out of luck).

Thanks for the link crazytom. It is still frustrating though that I can't create two partitions on the drive, it seems that it is only happy with a <137GB parition, and a blank partition. To think I went through the trouble of first buying a 200GB WD drive, then selling it and getting this Maxtor to go around the Oxford911 limitation and yet I am back at square one. I should have gotten that 160GB drive instead of the 200, but I would have had to wait a while to get it. :rolleyes: