Can't mount any external 2.5" drives on PB, WHY?

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by spider, Apr 5, 2007.

  1. spider macrumors newbie

    Jul 29, 2005
    I wrote this post a while back, and a couple of people chimed in saying that they've never been able to mount 2.5" USB external drives on their PB. WHY??? Is this a well documented thing?

    I just tried a Western Digital Passport today because I was convinced that my previous problems were caused by the dodgy cases I had been using, but no, the light blinks to show that there is some kind of connection, but the drive never mounts.

    The most likely explanation is that there is not enough juice to power the drive (WD Passport is USB powered) Is this the case with all PB's? Ibooks too? How about the Intel laptops?

    I suppose one solution would be to use a Y cable, but how does that work on a PB seeing that the ports are on opposite sides, if it works at all?

    Thanks for any insight.
  2. live4ever macrumors 6502a

    Aug 13, 2003
    Not enough juice use an AC adapter, a Firewire port or a USB cable that plugs into 2 ports.
  3. blodwyn macrumors 65816

    Jul 28, 2004
    Portland, Oregon
    I have a 2.5" external that works fine in my 12" G4 PB powered just from the USB cable. Your disk is formatted I take it? If not then try the disk utility to format it. You could also try the System Profiler to see if it shows up on the USB bus.
  4. spider thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 29, 2005
    That's the problem, OSX never recognizes that a device is connected so I can't see them is system profiler, disk utility or finder!
  5. panoz7 macrumors 6502a


    Nov 21, 2005
    Raleigh, NC
    I assume you're using a 15" powerbook. This is a documented problem, and unfortunately there's no solution. For some reason the 15" powerbooks don't provide the proper voltage to the USB ports even though they're capable of it.

    I haven't run into this problem on any other macs.

    A possible solution is to buy a 2.5" bus powered firewire enclosure. I know laCie makes a really nice FW800 triple interface one. The firewire ports provide enough voltage to power a 2.5" drive.

    I gave up on trying to use my USB enclosure. The whole idea was to be able to use it on the road which isn't possible. I'd be happy to use the two USB port method except that the USB ports are on opposite sides of the computer forcing you to carry a USB extension cable as well. It all worked out for the best though... firewire, with it's higher sustained speeds, seems to be the better interface for the kind of work I do.

    Hope that helps.
  6. spider thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 29, 2005
    Really helpful indeed panoz7, thanks a bunch for your explanation.

    You're right, I'm using a 15, and I have to say that I'm a bit stunned that this problem exists. What was Apple thinking when they made the PB?

    Anyway, FW it is then, thanks again for your help.
  7. Marky_Mark macrumors 6502a


    Sep 30, 2005
    Same on an iBook G4 12", too. Happily not an issue on my new MBP! :D Yeah, if you're asking, I am feeling smug and self satisfied! :p ;)

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