MacAlly hard drive enclosure doesn't work

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by dmelgar, Feb 15, 2009.

  1. dmelgar macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2005
    #1
    Hello,
    I have an G-S350SUA MacAlly hard drive enclosure with a 1TB drive in it. Periodically, the hard drive will stop responding. The only way to revive it is to either unplug it from USB/Firewire and replug it in, or worse, power it off and back on. Each time I do this, I risk corrupting the file system on it.

    MacAlly tech support says that sometimes the powersupply is not strong enough to support large capacity hard drives. Other than saying it may not work, MacAlly support is of absolutely no help.

    I am personally a little shocked that "support" from a company will just shrug and say it may not work. No attempt to correct the problem, no concern to fix it.

    Any suggestions on how to deal with this situation? My only alternative at the moment seems to be to buy different enclosure and ditch the MacAlly enclosure.
     
  2. drlunanerd macrumors 65816

    drlunanerd

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2004
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    UK
    #2
    I had a similar problem with enclosures from OWC. Their support was appallingly bad and I now no longer purchase anything from them as thanks.

    I believe it is the cheap unregulated power supplies they bundle them with - on spin-up the drives can draw more current than they provide.
     
  3. dmelgar thread starter macrumors 68000

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    Apr 29, 2005
    #3
    Thats exactly the problem I'm having. And MacAlly support themselves said it maybe the powersupply isn't strong enough. How can you sell a product then say it may not work and not offer to do anything about it? Its appalling.

    So what did you do about it? Did you find some brand which did work? Or is it trial and error?
     
  4. drlunanerd macrumors 65816

    drlunanerd

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    #4
    I don't have a definite fix for it I'm afraid. I just put up with it - setting drives not to spin down helps.

    If you have a photo of your power supply I'd be interested to see it - especially the electrical information label and the connector type. For example my PSUs are rated for 2A max output, which isn't enough when some drives can need 3A on spinup.
     
  5. dmelgar thread starter macrumors 68000

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    Apr 29, 2005
    #5
    The power supply says the following:
    JenTec Technology Co., LTD.
    Input 100-240v 50-60hz 0.5A
    Output: +12V/2A

    Outer conductor -, inner +.

    Looks like you're right. It only rated for 2A max.

    That gives me something to look for as I search for a working enclosure.

    I checked two other enclosures I have and both of their power supplies also only output 2A at 12V.

    I have a Hitachi Deskstar 1TB hard drive. On its label it says it needs 5v 680ma, 12V 850ma. So from that perspective, it sounds like it should be enough.

    But I looked at the datasheet from Hitachi for the drive http://www.hitachigst.com/tech/techlib.nsf/techdocs/67A68C59B27368FC862572570080FC70/$file/Deskstar7K1000_010307_final.pdf

    It says that at startup the drive needs 2A at 12V and 1.2A at 5v. Since the enclosure is internally serving both 12v and 5V from the single 12V input, its obvious that it cannot meet the startup requirements for the drive. The power supply just barely meets the 12V need without having anything left over to provide 1.2A at 5V.

    Geez. This is horrible. Why bother to sell an enclosure with inadequate power?!
     
  6. drlunanerd macrumors 65816

    drlunanerd

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    UK
    #6
    A-ha! Mine is a Jentec too! :(

    I know, what a pile of steaming ***** that these cowboys ship PSUs that don't have enough juice :rolleyes:

    I note that LaCie sell replacement PSUs with higher outputs but none have the stupid proprietary connector my enclosures have.
     
  7. maestrokev macrumors 6502a

    maestrokev

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    Location:
    Canada
    #7
    I have 3 OWC enclosures with the Jentec power supply and no problems here. I also have the Hitachi Deskstar 7K1000.B 1TB hard drives.
     
  8. Cave Man macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    #8
    I have that Macally enclosure with a 1.5 TB Seagate drive in it and it works just fine. In your Energy Saver System Preference pane, do you have spin down the hard drive enabled?
     
  9. drlunanerd macrumors 65816

    drlunanerd

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    #9
    I have 3 Jentec 2 amp PSUs. All work perfectly on an OWC PATA FW/USB enclosure with an old 160GB Maxtor PATA drive.

    However, all 3 PSUs when used with 2 OWC quad-interface SATA enclosures give problems. Periodically (seemingly randomly actually) if a hard drive spins down it ain't getting back up again. If you listen closely it sounds like the motor is trying to start up but can't :(
    Both SATA hard drives work perfectly in a Mac Pro. Maxtor even replaced one with a different model to test if it was faulty, but it wasn't.
     
  10. maestrokev macrumors 6502a

    maestrokev

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    #10
    That's strange, can you isolate which one is defective? Using same Jentec power supplies for the OWC enclosures.

    I have 4 OWC quad interface SATA external hard drives and 1 Maxtor OneTouch II FW800 SATA external hard drive daisy chained and never had this power problem, but I know what you're talking about. I get it with USB external hard drives if the USB port is underpowered.

    I've even daisychained a further LaCie Rugged FW800 external hard drive and there was enough power for all the devices.

    Power saving mode set to sleep hard drives.
     
  11. dmelgar thread starter macrumors 68000

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    Apr 29, 2005
    #11
    Are you saying that you have an external enclosure with the same power supply which can only supply 2A 12V, and have the same Hitachi 1TB drive in it? It is set to spin down when not in use and you have NEVER had an issue where the drive will not spin up?

    Maybe its just random luck. It seems pretty clear that the startup power requirements for the Hitachi 1TB drive is well beyond what the JenTec power supply can provide.

    I should also mention that the original complaint is against an MacAlly enclosure.
     
  12. drlunanerd macrumors 65816

    drlunanerd

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    #12
    Thanks for the info. To be honest I was startled that the OP was having the same problem as me and that Macally had admitted their PSUs were to blame. I've complained about this before but no-one else seemed to have had the issue, so I thought it was just me.

    I need to talk to an electrical engineer friend about this. If the drives spin-up OK sometimes then I suspect the PSUs can provide enough transient current some of the time, even though it's outside their spec. When mine fail, I have to unplug the PSU and leave it a while before it will work again.

    It may be something to do with the input voltage - I'm running on 240VAC in the UK. Peeps running on 100-120VAC may find that their PSUs can output higher transient current reliably - I think it depends whether the PSUs are regulated or not. I could be talking utter tosh though.

    What disappoints me though is the attitude of vendors like OWC and Macally, who have shown no interest in helping their customers find a resolution to this problem (even if it is rare).
     
  13. Val-kyrie macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2005
    #13
    I have a few questions then.
    Which OWC enclosures are you using?
    Did you purchase the Hit DS 7K1000.B HDDs separately or did they come inside the enclosures?
    If separately, did you purchase Retail or OEM? If Retail, where?

    I ask because I am interested in going this route and Hitachi's pdf brochure stated a 5 year warranty for these HDDs but another site listed them at 3 years. Does it matter if they are OEM or Retail?

    Thanks in advance for your response.
     
  14. maestrokev macrumors 6502a

    maestrokev

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    #14
    I'm using this OWC quad interface for $75 and bought the Hitachi 7K1000.b OEM - was on sale for CDN$100. Compare if you have the same Firewire chipset (OXUF934DS).

    OEM has 3yr warranty, I believe only the retail comes with 5yrs but it could also have been downgraded as well. Retail used to just mean you get a nice box rather than an electrostatic bag but warranty might still be a differentiating factor.

    Personally 3yrs is good enough for me as I'll have upgraded by then. 5yrs is really long in the computer world.
     
  15. maestrokev macrumors 6502a

    maestrokev

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    #15
    Not sure if exact same enclosure but OWC doesn't change much. Same power supply 2A 12V and 7K1000.B 1TB drive. Never had an issue, but I do believe it can happen. I've had faulty OWC enclosures before and after a bit of arguing I get them to replace - often it's those works on one system but not another problems.
     
  16. maestrokev macrumors 6502a

    maestrokev

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    #16
    I haven't dealt with Macally before, in fact, I was about to and found this thread. OWC is usually pretty good, but I've had to fight with them before on a new enclosure that gave me problems. Ask to speak to the manager and keep pressing it.
     
  17. thinkpink macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2009
    #17
    I think I am having a similar issue with my Vantec NexStar SX. I am not very tech-savvy and so when I bought mine I trusted that the sales person would get me one that would work. (mistake) My problem is that when I plug it into the USB it says that that port is drawing too much energy and the computer is going to disable that port. Oddly enough, the external drive wasn't even turned on. I tried to plug it in again with the charging cable attached and it didn't give me that message, but it didn't show the hard drive either. Any ideas? I have no idea what is going on.
     
  18. California macrumors 68040

    California

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2004
    #18
    Somewhere else on MR we were discussing MacAlly enclosures and I thought I had read that there was a hard drive limit of 250gbs that I read somewhere on some of their products. I would also play around with the actual configuration of how the drive is standing -- upright or flat down. I think there are some mechanics to get the discs spinning?

    Since I have never put more than a 200 gig drive in either of my MacAlly enclosures, I can't speak to this problem. My only problem with the 3.5" enclosure is that the power cord sometimes gets loose from the case and I still can't figure out a way to make it stay plugged in securely.

    Also, doesn't having them plugged in with the firewire help since firewire carries some electrical current itself? My other non MacAlly laptop drive firewire enclosure doesn't even need a power source.
     
  19. maestrokev macrumors 6502a

    maestrokev

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    Canada
    #19
    It depends on the drive 2.5" vs 3.5" that you have in the enclosure. Most 2.5" hard drives can run off USB but 3.5" hard drives typically need additional power.

    Next time you plug it in (with the charging cable attached), open up Disk Utility and see if it is listed but not mounted.
     
  20. maestrokev macrumors 6502a

    maestrokev

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    #20
    250GB limit would be very low and old tech for a 3.5" enclosure. 2.5" hard drive typically don't need an additional power source. All hard drives should operate fine vertically or horizontally. From browsing the Macally website and seeing what chipset is used, I get the feeling they are lower quality than OWC enclosures.
     
  21. harry454 macrumors 6502

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    Sep 13, 2007
    #21
    I have a newertech V3 external 750 gb from owc works perfectly fine
     
  22. maestrokev macrumors 6502a

    maestrokev

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    Apr 23, 2007
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    Canada
    #22
    WD Maxtor OWC NewerTech LaCie - you name it, I've used it

    Yes, yes and yes.

    Here is my setup:

    WD MyBook Pro II dual RAID 0 1TB (FW800)
    Maxtor OneTouch II 320GB (FW400)
    3 x OWC Mercury Elite-AL quad interface, Hitachi 7K1000.B 1TB (FW800)
    WD MyBook Home 1TB (FW400)
    OWC Mercury Elite Al dual drive JBOD, 2 x 7K1000.B 1TB (FW800)
    NewerTech Voyager Q quad interface for SATA drives (FW800)
    LaCie Rugged 250GB (FW800)

    The OWC's use the same Jentec 2A power supply. I've had all FW800 and FW400 devices powered on at the same time and no problems, but as I mentioned I don't doubt people can have problems if there is a faulty power supply. I have 2.5" USB hard drives that don't draw enough power from the USB keyboard and makes that clicking sound.

    I love the Hitachi 7K1000.B 1TB drives as they have a great balance of low power/noise to throughput. I'm selling my WD and Maxtor units as the drive capacity isn't enough for me. Since I got the Voyager Q I've been buying bare hard drives and store in Pelican cases when not in use.
     

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  23. dmelgar thread starter macrumors 68000

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    Apr 29, 2005
    #23
    Looks like the power supply is definitely too weak

    I'm running 120VAC so I don't think that is the difference.

    I have conducted an experiment which provides very strong evidence that it is in fact that the power supply does NOT meet the published hard drive startup power requirements.

    I rumaged around and found that I had a mess of 12V 2A power adapters. I modified two of them so that they are wired together making a 12V 4A power source.

    I have my Hitachi 1TB drive hooked up to it and it has not failed for 48 hours.

    I'll update over the next few days to see if it keeps working reliably.

    The MacAlly enclosure and power supply with the Hitachi 1TB drive has been so unreliable that I could rarely get more than a few hours of spinning up and down before it would fail to spin up. I was forced to leave the hard drive disconnected from the system otherwise it would lockup access to other external devices.

    Since I haven't had any problems over almost 2 days when I used to barely get a few hours, it seems clear that the stock power supply does not meet the startup requirements for the Hitachi 1TB drive. It may work sometimes with only 2A, but not reliably, and it doesn't indicate anything wrong with the power supply nor the hard drive. It simply indicates that the power supply shipping with the MacAlly enclosure is not designed to provide sufficient power to spinup the Hitachi 1TB drive.

    To me that is unacceptable. There is no warning, caution or disclaimer on the MacAlly enclosure to indicate that it may not work with common drives which clearly state that require more power. If they continue to ship 2A power supplies, they need to indicate that is a limitation and to check with your drive to make sure it will work. Otherwise they need to ship 3A power supplies.
     
  24. dmelgar thread starter macrumors 68000

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    Apr 29, 2005
    #24
    I've now had my franken powersupply running for almost a week with not a single failure to spin up.
    2 amps seems to be too little for some hard drives to reliably spin up. 4 amps is clearly enough. Specs on the drive say 3A.

    MacAlly seems to know their power supply isn't strong enough for some drives.

    Response from their tech support,
    Some large capacity hard drives may consume more power than what enclosure power adapter can provide, which may cause such issue as you indicated.

    Sincerely,

    Michael Huang, Tech Support
    Macally USA​

    I'm still amazed that a company can sell a product that they know may not work, and doesn't offer to fix it or replace it, nor does it ever warn the prospective customer that it may not work.
     
  25. Bentov macrumors regular

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    #25

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