connect 2-3 external harddrives to 1 USB port

mr108

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Sep 23, 2014
9
0
Hello,

I'm planning to buy a MacBook Air soon. My biggest hesitation is related to connectivity. I need to connect 2-3 external USB hard drives to one of the USB ports and to the second external keyboard and mouse + a USB modem.
Is that all possible to do?
 

Blackstick

macrumors 6502a
Aug 11, 2014
684
2,855
Sunny South Florida
I'd surmise if you use an externally powered hub and at least some externally powered disk drives, it's possible. If you run it all bus powered... I highly doubt it on the drive side. For keyboard/mouse, bus power is plenty.
 

mr108

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Sep 23, 2014
9
0
Are there any other options if I don't have any powered external hard drives? I'm not familiar with Thunderbolt or FireWire ports but is it possible to connect to them 2-3 drives?
 

ashman70

macrumors 6502a
Dec 20, 2010
950
1
Are there any other options if I don't have any powered external hard drives? I'm not familiar with Thunderbolt or FireWire ports but is it possible to connect to them 2-3 drives?
Thunderbolt is designed to daisy chain devices, so yes you could connect several thunderbolt drives together.
 

motrek

macrumors 68020
Sep 14, 2012
2,428
150
Are there any other options if I don't have any powered external hard drives? I'm not familiar with Thunderbolt or FireWire ports but is it possible to connect to them 2-3 drives?
The person who replied to your post initially meant a powered USB hub.

You need to buy a USB hub that is powered, i.e., you plug it into your computer AND the wall. It has to have enough power to power 3 hard drives, but most powered hubs probably would.
 

motrek

macrumors 68020
Sep 14, 2012
2,428
150
You can daisy chain quite a few Thunderbolt devices: http://www.macworld.com/article/2146360/lab-tested-the-mac-pro-daisy-chain-challenge.html

Not sure if USB devices can be daisy chained at all, only Thunderbolt and FireWire (can someone confirm this?).
You can definitely chain USB devices. Think about being able to plug a USB mouse into a USB keyboard, or monitors that have built-in USB ports, etc.

Hubs themselves are an example of chaining USB devices. A USB hub is a USB device.

But being able to chain stuff doesn't necessarily mean that all those things will get enough power to run. I don't know how much 2.5" portable external drives require but I'd be surprised if you could power two of them off a standard USB port, much less three.

For a powered hub it should be no problem, though.
 

26139

Suspended
Dec 27, 2003
4,315
373
Yes

You can definitely chain USB devices. Think about being able to plug a USB mouse into a USB keyboard, or monitors that have built-in USB ports, etc.

Hubs themselves are an example of chaining USB devices. A USB hub is a USB device.

But being able to chain stuff doesn't necessarily mean that all those things will get enough power to run. I don't know how much 2.5" portable external drives require but I'd be surprised if you could power two of them off a standard USB port, much less three.

For a powered hub it should be no problem, though.
I should have said "you can't daisy-chain USB hub-powered devices, usually" instead of what I did.

For me, daisy chaining means plugging one HD into another, into another, into another, with only one connection to the computer.
 

AppleDApp

macrumors 68020
Jun 21, 2011
2,410
42
I currently use a USB HDD dock with 4 HDD in it and a USB hub to connect an external keyboard and iPhone charge cable.

This is connected to a 13" MBA
 

motrek

macrumors 68020
Sep 14, 2012
2,428
150
I should have said "you can't daisy-chain USB hub-powered devices, usually" instead of what I did.

For me, daisy chaining means plugging one HD into another, into another, into another, with only one connection to the computer.
You can. If you plug a USB mouse into a USB keyboard, they both get power. Obviously. The mouse doesn't run on magic.

The question at hand is, how MUCH power is available to all the devices on the bus. With USB 2.0 it's something like 2 watts. Enough for two keyboards/mice. Not enough for 2 hard drives, I don't think.
 
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