AEBS and external USB disk redux

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by renault4, Mar 19, 2008.

  1. renault4 macrumors regular

    Jul 5, 2007
    OK, I have been searching this and other forums (fora?) for an answer to whether or not one can mount an external USB hard drive to an Airport Extreme Base Station and have that drive available to (i.e., mounted on) a mac using that AEBS as it's primary router; I have not come across a definitive reading (can anyone point to a good thread that gets to the root of the issue?), but here's what I understand so far:

    One cannot use such a mounted disk as a TimeMachine disk; there may be some hacks that allow this, and maybe some day Apple will update the firmware, that may frustrate some, but I dont really need this, I have a dedicated FW800 disk that I will connect directly.

    There are many threads that point to more difficulty involving LaCie disks

    Apple talks about making sure that such disks must be formatted as HFS+, have only one partition (no RAID settings) and use 512 sized blocks

    Many posts indicating that the current AEBS Firmware is flaky in this regard and some have rolled back to a previous version to solve the problem.

    All I wish to do is mount a drive and use it to free up some space on my MBP drive by moving iTunes and iPhoto/Aperture main databases there; I can do that now with a USB drive connected to my MBP but would prefer to have these files available via wireless, so I can roam about the house.

    A lot of folk seem to be returning their AEBS purchases because of inability to set this up.

    bottom line, is there a definitive answer on whether one can mount a USB drive on a AEBS?
  2. TEG macrumors 604


    Jan 21, 2002
    Langley, Washington
    The APEBS (n) has AirDisk. I love AirDisk and use it on my PowerBook G4 with great success. I'm using a 500GB MyBook USB formatted in HFS+. I have had a few problems with passwords not being recoginzed, but that has only been twice in 3 weeks, and it was solved by restarting the router.

    I love AirDisk.

  3. err404 macrumors 68020

    Mar 4, 2007
    I tried AirDisk for a few months and ended up moving the disk to an old windows box for sharing. The PC was 5-10x faster and much more stable. For me the AirDisk was slow and I had to restart the router at least once a week. The throughput was unable to for smoothly stream SD movies. On a few occasions the disk became corrupted and I had to attach it to my MBP to do a repair before it would work again with the AEBS. Admittedly I had high expectation for it, probably beyond most users. If you want it for just casual remote disk access it might be fine.

    I really liked the AirDisk interface automatically discovering and mounting the disk in finder. I wish there was a way to do this with a regular AFP share.

    This is with the older AEBS w/o the gigabit ports. The current model may vary.

    BTW-I am happy with my AEBS as a router and print server.
  4. renault4 thread starter macrumors regular

    Jul 5, 2007
    I should say that I did have all this working fine some time back; a 500GB LaCie Quadra drive attached to a Extreme Base Station. showed up relatively flawlessly. Kept a lot of media files there. The connection was robust enough that I could stream movie files to the DVD player, or move files to the MBP HD for offline viewing; the latter was by no means super fast, but workable. Then something changed in between an upgrade to Leopard and AEBS firmware and I have never been able to restore that setup, gave up and just do a direct connect.
  5. renault4 thread starter macrumors regular

    Jul 5, 2007
    well ok I saw that and applied the firmware update. I also have a new disc, a LaCie 500GB USB 2.0 drive. I reformatted the drive using Disk Utility, one partition using GUID, ran the disk utility repair on it to be sure it was clean.

    shut down everything, hooked up the drive to the AEBS, re-started everything. No disk in finder; disk utility does not see it. Airport Utility does see the disk. I think I have set everything right, including file sharing, but nothing gives!

    I am missing an obvious setting or something--it feels so close!

  6. renault4 thread starter macrumors regular

    Jul 5, 2007
    I guess it is a case of duh!

    after bouncing around different firmware versions, I could get to the point where Airport Utility could "see" the USB disk connected to the AEBS. I could also see it and see files on it in a finder window as a shared (sharepoint) drive, but never get the mounted disk icon on my desktop.

    here's where the duh moment came in, thanks to a discussion group member over at apple.

    Go to Finder -> Preferences -> General and make sure "Connected Servers" is checked in the list of "Show these items on the Desktop" items.

    and thar she blows!

    thanks for input folks.

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