Current PowerBooks have defective USB!!!

Discussion in 'Macintosh Computers' started by gammamonk, Jun 5, 2004.

  1. gammamonk macrumors 6502a


    Jun 4, 2004
    Madison, WI
    After just buying a $2800 laptop, I am amazed to find that the USB does not fuction properly on the 15" and 17" powerbooks. Apparently this has been a problem since FW800 was added. If you search apple forums you will find thread after thread about this problem that apple is apparently ignoring. I talked to apple and they say I'm basically screwed. I'm so angry I may sell my machine on ebay and go back to PC.

    We should do something about this. Start a petition for a recall maybe.
  2. mattroberts macrumors regular


    Oct 25, 2003
    I don't have the latest models but i have two friends who do (both 15in.) We've been plugging USB 2.0 External hard drives into them with no problems. While the firewire on them has worked every time (granted we only use FW400). Specifically what isn't working on them? i haven't seen this issue.

  3. LeeTom macrumors 68000


    May 31, 2004
    I have a current 15" powerbook, have plugged many different USB hard drives into it, and have had no problems.

    Lee Tom
  4. jwdawso macrumors regular


    Jan 13, 2002
  5. SuperChuck macrumors 6502


    Nov 15, 2003
    Chucktown, SC
    Calm down, they'll fix it. You don't seriously think that Apple is going to say "Oh, USB on the Powerbooks. Too bad for you."

    I'm sure it's just a firmware update away from being a non-issue.
  6. jackieonasses macrumors 6502a


    Mar 3, 2004
    the great OKLAHOMA....
    i agree....he is a pc lover wanting revenge cause the powerbooks are better!
  7. Sun Baked macrumors G5

    Sun Baked

    May 19, 2002
    Considering the USB chips and the Chipsets are the same on all the machines, it's most likely something besides defective USB.

    Or the problem would be the same in all the iMac/eMac/iBook/PowerBook machines.

    The 15/17 inchers do have a Cardbus chip on the PCI line, there may be something pulling down the 500mA power that is supposed to the USB device, resulting in a port deactivation on high draw devices.

    Or a simple software error.


    And I'm not about to read a bunch of threads on the problem.

    Does the port work with a Powered hub in front of the drive?

    This is NOT the first time Apple has run into USB problems, the last time was on the switch to OS X when the OS was looking at the devices and thinking they drew too much power -- so the OS would shut down the port/device.

    But later OS update improved the situation, but some of the older devices still had problems without Powered Hubs.

    But "Devices and Volumes" in the Utilities/Apple System Profiler will give you an idea of what the OS is reading from the devices.
  8. James L macrumors 6502a

    Apr 14, 2004
    I have plugged many different hard drives, floppy drives, burners, cameras, game pads, etc into the USB ports on my new PB... relax, they work.

    Even if there is a known issue, it will get fixed. To quote a bad 80's expresssion, "don't have a cow". Getting that upset will only raise your blood pressure.

    They are great machines, relax and enjoy. Or, go back to the problem free (yeah right!) world of the PC.


  9. virividox macrumors 601


    Aug 19, 2003
    Manila - Nottingham - Philadelphia - Santa Barbar
    just played around witha friend pbook just got it recently; seems fine to me, all ports fw, fw400, usb 2 work dandy
  10. Coolvirus007 macrumors regular

    Apr 27, 2004
    I can't believe they admitted the problem and did nothing. I have used various hardware using the USB for my new pb 15" and there aren't any problems. Get it replaced if you really have a pb.
  11. Sun Baked macrumors G5

    Sun Baked

    May 19, 2002
    The marketing stuff says nothing about the mA output for the USB port, it's in the developer section -- but most people typically do not buy based on developer information.

    Even if the port is locked at 250mA (instead of 500mA), it's not too difficult for people to use a powered hub or a power brick.

    As far as the driver issue, yes sometimes OS updates will kill a bunch of drivers. It's part of the decision on whether to update or not. And it's a little hard to recall a HW product if it's a SW problem, when Apple could easily point to the device manufacturer and tell the customer to start bugging them for a driver.
  12. Abstract macrumors Penryn


    Dec 27, 2002
    Location Location Location
    I used to go to the Support pages often to answer basic questions for people (because I went there when I thought about getting a Mac, and those people are absolutely amazing for answering my dumb questions as practically their hobby) and trust me when I say that many of the various Mac models (eMac, iMac, PM, PB's, and iBooks) have all had major problems that Apple didn't address for a very very long time. In a few instances, there were a few hundred people with the same problem from the same model computer. iBook logic board problems were around for well over a year. I posted there quite regularly for more than a year, and there were always a genuine problem that Apple didn't address. It wasn't very nice of them at all.

    I'm not going to go through each of those threads. I believe you (sort of...), but lets see if Apple addresses the problem in a short while. It may be easier to fix than you think....maybe in an update of some sort. Wait and complain later.
  13. bousozoku Moderator emeritus

    Jun 25, 2002
    Gone but not forgotten.
    Anything is possible. I remember one who wrote "All eMacs are defective!!!" so this doesn't really surprise me.

    However, it's easy enough to find USB devices which draw more power than is available and won't work. Bus powered hard drives are a perfect example of the problem. It's a great reason to use 6 pin FireWire ports (standard on Mac, mostly optional on x86 machines) and FireWire hard drives. :) 4 pin FireWire ports are less useful.
  14. titaniumducky macrumors 6502a


    Nov 22, 2003
    I seriously doubt this is more than an isolated incidence or a troll.
  15. Sayer macrumors 6502a


    Jan 4, 2002
    Austin, TX
    First of all if you "just bought" a laptop why not exercise the warranty?

    Second of all, there's only a handful of people with problems (after doing who knows what with their portable computer) out of the many tens of thousands who purchased the same product.

    It's statistically possible that some number of people will have a problem. No product is ever 100% perfect, a single bad batch of ICs sent from Taiwan would doom a run of PBooks. Is that Apple's fault? Hardly.

    Apple doesn't publicly flaunt defects for liability reasons primarily, once you admit a problem you are liable for fixing it.

    And if Apple is not responsible, but a third-party USB device is not designed/built properly there is no need for class action lawsuits or recalls or anything like that.

    This smells funny, possibly spawned by someone looking to start yet another pointless class-action lawsuit that benefits only the lawyers and smears the eeeeevil American Corporation who is just raping the world with its shoddy products.
  16. wide macrumors 6502a

    May 17, 2004
    This is just another case of Apple acknowledging a defect in their computers, not fixing it, and making me not want to buy their products because of this.
  17. mkaake macrumors 65816

    Apr 10, 2003
    aight, from what i read there, you haven't done this yourself. you've read about it, and are upset that people are having problems, so you assume you will also have this problem, so thus the 2800 you just spent on a new 'book should be given back?

    you didn't mention what book you bought, what options you have, what failed when you tried to use it (but again, it doesn't sound like you actually tried to use it) or any *usefull* information. all you did was post links to forums on apple's website of people who have obviously had problems. of course you're going to find people w/problems on apple's support forums. that's what they're there for... however, you'll notice that there aren't 20,000 with usb issues on those forums...


    if you bought the book you say you did, don't start callin for class action lawsuits and 2800 dollar refunds and whatnot before you even try to use the dumb thing... i mean really... :rolleyes:
  18. mkaake macrumors 65816

    Apr 10, 2003

    should we assume that 'i talked to apple and they said i'm basically screwed' means that they told you to wait until you got your 'book, and to let them know if you had any problems?


    just perused through your links: things like:

    "I have a 80gb ata hardrive sitting in my old PowerMac G4 but now want it for my PowerBook. I have posted other places with this questions but no one seems to have actually used one, I am looking for a specific brand or model that you recommend. I would prefer Fire, either 400 or 800 would be fine, but my USD hub is full."

    i don't think quite show the problem you're talking about.

    and the other posts are almost all unrelated w/differing problems, but one recurring theme seems to be: the port on the left can support higher power devices.

    "I have a Lexmark Jumpdrive 128mb flash memory drive (USB 1.1). When I connect it to my computer (OS 10.3.3) it takes an abnormal amount of time for the computer to finish recognizing it. At first it doesn't look like it will find it, then after a long time (20 sec) with the pinwheel spinning, the drive finally comes up.

    I have tried to format the drive, that is about it. Anyone got any ideas? "

    and one post later:

    "I just wanted those who read this post to know what the problem was in the end. I checked the activities manager to find out what was running, and it turns out a driver I had installed months before had all of a sudden started requiring 50-90% of the CPU. I ended the process now the computer recognizes the USB device in a matter of microseconds.

    The driver is for a Lexmark X73 all-in-one."

    that of course is not to say that there haven't been problems, but they're not rampant.

    try it with your book (which sorry, i see your sig now, didn't catch that earlier) before you call for the end of the world...
  19. liven2 macrumors regular

    Jan 2, 2002
    Bonney Lake, WA
    I just got a new 17" powerbook

    All I can say is I have not had a single problem on my new powerbook and I plug in a huge variety of stuff into it. So, I am sorry your having issues, but I have no doubt that Apple will resolve this. Specially if it is a wide spread as u have stated. Good luck!! :)
  20. gammamonk thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Jun 4, 2004
    Madison, WI
    Ok ok, I don't like being called a "troll" for no reason. I will tell you the whole story:

    I bought a 15" powerbook, 512meg, 128meg vid, etc. I have made NO modifications (ram etc), I have installed NO software. I cannot use my USB drives in the machine. Simple as that. So I call Apple. Talk to several people, get no results. I'm chatting with a man named Bob, and he was trying to convince me that the problem was with the drives, (which I have used in tons of other machines and never had a problem). I had to basically tell Bob he was wrong. So he finally said, well, just take it to an Apple Authorized Repair Center. And that's just what I did. I took it in, and the guy said that he gets at least one person a day coming in with the same problem, and there's nothing he can do about it. He wouldn't take my machine, he said it was a "problem with firmware or something" and Apple will have a fix soon. Well! This does not satisfy me. Yeah, I'm pissed, and no, I will not calm down.

    So, flame on that for a while...
  21. musicpyrite macrumors 68000


    Jan 6, 2004
    Cape Cod

    Maby there's something wrong with your USB cable, don't start pointing fingers at Apple before you know the whole reason.
  22. raptorhigh macrumors member

    Nov 3, 2003
    I start my post by saying that I'm a huge apple fan. I've had my tibook for a while, without incident, and I love OS X.

    But, after personally seeing, reading, and hearing about all the defective products apple puts out, I'm ashamed. I'm just glad that things don't always make it too the press, because cumulatively, this would kill apple. It seems they "rush" some products to production, while still falling behind the competition. Example, the 15 inch aluBook. They released that thing with screen, latch, and heat problems. Plus, the damn thing still isn't as fast as the pentium Ms that get better battery life. On the plus side, they did fix the screen problem fairly quickly, but it should have been caught in testing before release.

    Don't take this as a rant. I have always been an Apple supporter; more specifically, a Mac OS supporter. But, for the price, we should be getting better products.
  23. sickracer2015 macrumors member

    Apr 14, 2003
    take a look at the usb chips.. they are made from intel.. intel is making the bad chips.. and your going to trust their procs?
  24. gammamonk thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Jun 4, 2004
    Madison, WI

    I found an Apple certified shop willing to take a look at my machine, and they are currently speaking with the Apple Technical / Engineering group to find a resolution. It seems, just as I thought, there is a problem with many but not all 15" and 17" powerbooks, in which the USB does not supply the industry standard power. Thus many devices cannot communicate properly.

    I haven't seen my powerbook for 4 days now, and when I call, they say, "We're waiting on Apple." Looks like I'm out of luck, they haven't touched the thing, because Apple won't tell them what to do.


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