External HDD always spinning?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by StephenAndrew, Dec 22, 2012.

  1. StephenAndrew macrumors member

    Dec 12, 2009
    Connecticut, USA
    Hi all - looking for a bit of advice regarding my new setup...
    I just got a 27" iMac, loving it so far, but curious about a possible issue with my external HDDs. I connected two external HDDs to it, one set up with Time Machine, and the other set up with Carbon Copy Cloner to back up once a day.

    These are the HDDs I bought:

    And they're connected with these docks:

    The issue is that the external drives are constantly spinning - not constantly reading/writing - just spinning non-stop. They're not 'working' drives, simply backups, so I figured they would only spin up when a backup is being performed, but that's not the case. It seems that it's an issue with the docks, because even with the drives ejected and the computer shut down, they still spin as long as the docks are powered on. They get pretty warm (borderline hot), so I've manually powered them off when I shut down - does anyone have any advice, or is this just a case of "it is what it is"?

    My old setup was a late '09 21" iMac with two external Western Digital HDDs, and they didn't constantly spin like these new drives. Is this something I should worry about and/or return the docks and get different docks?

    Also - somewhat unrelated question about the HDDs and the docks - since there are circuit boards exposed, should I worry about dust and other elements? They're in a fairly clean environment, but they're not enclosed in a case like a standalone external drive.

    Thanks for any help or advice :)
  2. StephenAndrew thread starter macrumors member

    Dec 12, 2009
    Connecticut, USA
  3. swee5420 macrumors member

    Feb 10, 2010
  4. Gav2k macrumors G3


    Jul 24, 2009
    Go into settings and then the energy saving section and check the put hdds to sleep when possible
  5. iWaiting macrumors regular

    Dec 10, 2012
    Op stated that they still spin with the mac shut down so its nothing to do with settings
  6. Fishrrman macrumors G5


    Feb 20, 2009
    "or is this just a case of "it is what it is"?"

    I think that's it.

    It could be the drive, or it could be the dock. I'll -guess= that there's considerable variation between the controllers on various USB/SATA docks. Perhaps this depends on the controller card.

    I use an Other World Computing "Voyager Quad" dock with my white iMac. I have Lion installed on a partition on the drive, and boot from the docked drive. Generally, the drive remains spinning. However, if I put the computer to sleep, the drive spins down with it.

    Do you have "put hard disks to sleep when possible" checked in the energy saver preference pane?

    One thing to try that might work (or might not) is to drag the drive icons to the trash (i.e., eject them from the desktop). Will the "unmounted" drive then spin down? If you do this, I believe to RE-mount them, you must either:
    a. unplug and then re=plug the USB connector, or….
    b. launch Disk Utility and re-mount the drive that way.
  7. StephenAndrew thread starter macrumors member

    Dec 12, 2009
    Connecticut, USA
    Thanks for the replies, guys. I do have the "Put hard disks to sleep when possible" option checked, but it doesn't seem to make a difference. I've dragged the drives to the trash, but they still spin even though they're unmounted. Whether the computer's on, sleeping, or completely shut down, it doesn't matter - in order for the drives to spin down I have to manually press the power button on the dock. And I do have iStat installed - I'm not sure how that's helpful in this situation though. I think I may just try getting some different docks and seeing if that helps at all...

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