Mac Mini 2018 External Drives Disconnecting (TB3)

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by bdbolin, Feb 12, 2019.

  1. bdbolin macrumors member

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2012
    #1
    So I see OWC doesn't even support Mac Mini 2018 models for tb3 as the Mini reportedly is disconnecting users external drives.

    See product here: https://eshop.macsales.com/item/OWC/TB3ENVP10/

    Asking why - they say it's a power issue for any Bus powered drives. It will work fine if daisy chained in with another wall-powered tb3 device.

    Anyone have experience with the drives disconnecting on their 2018 Mini?
    To be clear, this is not just on their product, but would be on all drives I assume.
     
  2. Stephen.R macrumors 6502a

    Stephen.R

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2018
    Location:
    Thailand
    #2
    I’ve seen disconnects on USB-c devices, but I also saw the same disconnects on a 2018 MBP.

    I also had one (USB to NVMe) that would refuse to mount whenever it’s plugged in on the same bus pair as another bus powered device.

    I’d assumed the issue was the devices. (Cheap-ish Chinese stuff)


    This is quite interesting - I wonder if the power issue is fixable with a firmware update or if it’s a circuitry issue in the Mini...
     
  3. F-Train, Feb 12, 2019
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2019

    F-Train macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2015
    Location:
    NYC & Newfoundland
    #3
    Yet another new thread on a subject that has already been discussed repeatedly.

    So as I said the last time, I have not had a single drive disconnect.

    Now there will be people who say that they have. There will be references to all kinds of drives, some of them off the shelf and some of them DIY.

    This will resolve nothing, but it will help ensure that there are multiple threads, all saying the same things, on the same issue.

    Lord knows how Google and Bing and Duck Duck Go stay in business. Maybe MacRumors should just do away with the forum search box.
     
  4. bdbolin thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2012
    #4
    F-Train - please link me to an article that's similar. I've looked and hadn't found. No need to be rude.
     
  5. F-Train, Feb 12, 2019
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2019

    F-Train macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2015
    Location:
    NYC & Newfoundland
    #5
    There are threads, not articles. I am not being rude. I am pointing out the obvious, which is that a forum search would show links to these threads. If you looked, you sure didn't look very hard. And no, I am not going to spoon-feed you. No doubt, others now will.
     
  6. Stephen.R macrumors 6502a

    Stephen.R

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2018
    Location:
    Thailand
    #6
    Really? I've been following the Mini discussions pretty much since it was announced and I don't recall seeing any discussion about TB3 devices disconnecting due to low power.
    --- Post Merged, Feb 12, 2019 ---
    Would you be so kind as to explain what search shows you the threads discussing this?

    A search for "thunderbolt power" under the Mac mini forum level certainly does not yield any obvious discussion of this behaviour.
     
  7. dia3olik macrumors member

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2007
    #7
    I had multiple USB disconnects, with or without hubs, with USB-C and USB-A...very annoying...

    Have you guys found a solution?

    My Mini 2018 seems totally solid and stable otherwise.
    I upgraded to 32GB myself but same problem happened before when it was stock. It's an i5.
     
  8. Stephen.R macrumors 6502a

    Stephen.R

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2018
    Location:
    Thailand
    #8
    Well, I had the issues with a MBP too, and as they're 3.1-Gen2 devices (i.e. a relatively new controller) the distributor agreed their may be a compatibility issue and will refund me for their price. My 'solution' will be to replace them with some OWC TB3 gear - given this news, I'll change the way they're connected slightly, so the Envoy Pro EX will daisy-chain off the Thunderbay6, rather than direct from the Mini.

    It's not ideal, and I'll probably try to get some kind of information about the situation out of OWC/Apple (i.e. is this a design flaw or a known design constraint, and if it's the latter, why isn't it mentioned anywhere).

    It also means I'm more likely to look for a powered USB3.1(-Gen2 if I can find one that's reliable) hub (as opposed to an unpowered one) for quick/easy access on the desk. I have the 3.0 (aka 3.1Gen1) hubs in the back of the monitors for permanent stuff but they're not ideal for anything random I need to plug in for a short time.
    --- Post Merged, Feb 13, 2019 ---
    But were they powered hubs or unpowered? If they're powered that's unlikely a power issue specifically, as they wouldn't be drawing any power from the Mini.
     
  9. dia3olik macrumors member

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2007
    #9
    the hub was powered (inside a NEC PA271Q monitor more precisely) and it happens also with non bus powered USB3 raid hdds...
     
  10. Stephen.R macrumors 6502a

    Stephen.R

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2018
    Location:
    Thailand
    #10
    Ok so that is a problem but sounds like a different problem. The problem discussed above is specifically bus power provided by Mac to run the device.

    Sounds more like USB compatibility issues (which I've also had, so I feel your pain).
     
  11. Stephen.R macrumors 6502a

    Stephen.R

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2018
    Location:
    Thailand
    #11
    Ok, I spoke to OWC chat earlier tonight, who confirmed what @bdbolin said above - it's a power issue.

    I dug and dug, and found a heap of "tech news" sites reporting various little bits of info about what bus power TB3 is supposed to provide - some even claiming it provides up to 100W for bus powered devices, but then I found an infographic from the ThunderboltTechnology site (which I believe Intel runs?) https://thunderbolttechnology.net/thunderbolt-3-infographic, which says 15Watts for bus powered devices. Screen Shot 2019-02-14 at 03.17.29.png

    Anyway, so I contacted Apple support, and it took a while (From the chat transcript they emailed me: Duration 109 minutes 21 seconds) but I got a senior adviser to confirm that they don't have published documents about the power output of the 2018 Mac mini TB3 ports, and to forward a request to Engineering for more information about the issue. I was asked to check back on Friday US time for any updates from Engineering (it's 2019 but emailing me is apparently not an option).

    I forgot to ask the OWC support person how much power their drive requires, if anyone feels like getting that info from them, that'd be great. Otherwise I'll probably contact them again later in the week.
     
  12. bdbolin thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2012
    #12
    Fantasic! Good digging! I can check into OWC.
    --- Post Merged, Feb 13, 2019 ---
    OWC claims they are in discussion with Apple. Their device pulls 15w.

    It's sounding like Mac Mini is hardware is what's having issues. Very interested in your reply from Apple later.
     
  13. Stephen.R macrumors 6502a

    Stephen.R

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2018
    Location:
    Thailand
  14. Sun Baked macrumors G5

    Sun Baked

    Joined:
    May 19, 2002
    #14
    It was something we noted during the first week of the Mac Mini getting to people, they were reporting disconnects of the hard drive quite frequently.

    On the USB-C side, Your 2018 Mac Mini is saying that our ports have 500mA available, with the drives pulling 896mA, and has no extra provided.

    We did not know if it was a firmware issue, reporting issue, or actual available power issue. Still do not know what is happening (Apple hasn't responded with an firmware/OS update or published documents.)

    This contradicts Apple's long time stance on what is provided on their USB ports also. something like 500mA for USB1/2 and 900mA for USB3.

    Other Macs have been noted as supporting USB3 devices conforming to the "2008 version 1 USB 3.0 specification" have not seen Apple admit to that for the Mini yet.
     
  15. Dr. Stealth macrumors 6502a

    Dr. Stealth

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2004
    Location:
    SoCal-Surf City USA
    #15
    I bought a Cheap Chinese TB3 enclosure (no name brand) and had lots of issues with disconnects. I returned the cheap enclosure and bought a Samsung X5 and haven't had one disconnect since I put it in place 2 months ago.
     
  16. madrag macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2007
    #16
    It happened to me with an USB-C enclosure (some random disconnects), and I found out that as @Sun Baked said, it had available 500mA and required 896mA. But connecting other drives, the available current was 900mA at the same port!

    I took it to the store and after they analysed it, it went back to the supplier and they said it was faulty and they would send me a new one. I don't believe a new one will be fixed, but fingers crossed!

    I read somewhere else, that since this is a fairly new technology, there are some problems that need to be resolved. Shame if true, the USB-C enclosure that I tested was about 100MB faster R/W compared to my current USB-A 3.0 that I use.

    BTW, where are the other threads about this subject?
     
  17. Ploki macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2008
    #17
    you mean the Leidian?
    it's the cable. The cable is not the best quality.
     
  18. Stephen.R macrumors 6502a

    Stephen.R

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2018
    Location:
    Thailand
    #18
    It being the enclosure?
     
  19. dia3olik macrumors member

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2007
    #19
    Hey guys thanks for helping, I really don't know what it could be, another details is that when it happens sometimes happen to multiple devices connected at the same time...not only one...
     
  20. madrag macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2007
    #20
    Correct. It was the enclosure that was faulty.

    One thing to note is that Mojave treats the USB available current very differently than Mavericks did (which was the OS at my Mac Mini 2012), I noticed that the same drive would have 900mA available under Mavericks, and after I upgraded to Mojave it had 500mA available for the same drive! (I connected the enclosure via a USB-C to USB-A cable into the 2012 Mini).
     
  21. Stephen.R macrumors 6502a

    Stephen.R

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2018
    Location:
    Thailand
    #21
    Well they (Apple) did ask me for the version of macOS running on my Mini so possibly the current available is controlled via software (and thus may be fixable?)
     
  22. Ploki macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2008
    #22
    wierd, my dual 2.5" enclosure that also needs more current works fine both on mini and 13"
     
  23. Dr. Stealth macrumors 6502a

    Dr. Stealth

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2004
    Location:
    SoCal-Surf City USA
    #23
    No, no name on the enclosure or in the Amazon AD.

    This One

    I suspected the cable so I bought a $50.00 Active TB3 cable and it still had disconnects. So I returned both the cable and the enclosure and went to plan "B", buy a quality name brand enclosure. Seemed to me if I'm using a Samsung M.2 then a Samsung X5 enclosure should have the least amount of issues. This has proven true. =)
     
  24. madrag macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2007
    #24
    I bet you have an SSD in it, am I right?

    I almost didn't have disconnects with an SSD in the enclosure (the first time I had it was after about one week of daily use, and that raised the flag, I then tested with two different HDD, one of which consumes very little power, and with both they would only stand for about five minutes, but the SSD as I said, would last much longer).

    I also bought a propper USB-C cable just to check if it was the cable, but the same happened with the new cable.

    I also believe that the OS may solve this, but I am not very hopefull for a solution in the mean time, maybe in one or two years time.
     
  25. Stephen.R macrumors 6502a

    Stephen.R

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2018
    Location:
    Thailand
    #25
    While testing the disconnects I had with USB devices I tried about half a dozen different cables - some I bought, some I got the vendor to send me (he apparently had no issues with the device mounting on his 2016 MBP and sent me the cable he'd tested with).

    I was using SSD's: 2 different SATA models - one WD and one Crucial, and an ADATA NVMe M.2. The WD would disconnect quicker but the Crucial did eventually disconnect. If I plug them into the 3.0 hub in the back of my Dell monitors, they have less issues - but at 5Gbps.
     

Share This Page