MacBook Air SuperDrive?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by furious, Feb 18, 2008.

  1. furious macrumors 65816

    furious

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    Australia
    #1
    Would the Air Superdrive work with any mac? For example an iMac? :confused:
     
  2. LeeTom macrumors 68000

    LeeTom

    Joined:
    May 31, 2004
    #2
    No. Macbook Air support only, at least for the time being.
    It requires an above-spec USB port that puts out more voltage than standard, which the Macbook Air has.
     
  3. furious thread starter macrumors 65816

    furious

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2006
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    Australia
    #3
    What is the point of the drive then. I bet everyone of the purchases of a MBA will have another computer to do the remote installation process. It would look so cool next to my upcoming iMac to. And I could take it to my parents and burn DVD's for them. I know any external drive would work. But I want cool.
     
  4. gkarris macrumors 604

    gkarris

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2004
    Location:
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    #4
    No it doesn't. Apple used a special drive (won't work on any PC's) and wrote drivers only for the MacBook Air.

    Already discussed here:

    http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=437002
     
  5. harcosparky macrumors 68020

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    Jan 14, 2008
    #5
    I looked into this. The drive does require higher CURRENT than a standard USB device. The MBA USB port provides the current needed. It's not voltage, if the MBA put out higher voltage it would destroy other standard USB devices.

    This is why Apple has drivers ONLY for the MBA.

     
  6. gkarris macrumors 604

    gkarris

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    #6
    Bottom Line - wrong. Sorry, don't take it personally. I believe these guys:

    http://www.appleinsider.com/article...k_air_superdrive_remote_disc_and_install.html

    And their quote:

     
  7. harcosparky macrumors 68020

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    Jan 14, 2008
    #7
    Don't worry, I take nothing personal, though I do tend to look at things professionally. Test engineering is something I did at a defense contractor for over 10 years. I specialized in destructive testing where we tested units/components to their limits, many times breaking them.

    So they plugged it in, and it showed up as a device. The problem will come when they try to burn a disk with it.

    It appears they changed their opinion based on plugging it into another device and it showing up.

    I have seen that same occurance with a Western Digital Passport USB drive plugged into an extension cable to a USB port. No power error message was shown. The drive was recognized, but when access was attempted ( more current used ) it stopped responding. When the extension was removed, and the drive plugged directly into the USB port it worked as expected. It seems as there was enough insertion loss in the extension cable to cause the drive to stop responding when a file was being read from the drive. The drive showed up and you could click on it and view contents in Finder, the moment you tried to copy a file from it, it froze.

    Read the article and you will note they comment about the short cord limiting positioning of the connected drive.

    I tend to believe them as well, but their methodology for determining this is flawed.

    Of course if they wanted to do a truly definitive test, they would need to take the next logical step as follows:

    Step 1: Install the Mac Air Superdrive on a Mac Air.
    Step 2: Initiate a DVD BURN
    Step 3: Measure current drawn during the BURN on the power line.

    I'll give them the $99 to buy a drive, tear into it to measure current during a burn.

    Thanks for that URL, I wrote the author of it to inquire as to what tests were actually done with it connected to a MBA. It will be interesting to read his response.

    Later,
    harcosparky
     
  8. gkarris macrumors 604

    gkarris

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    #8
    I worked as a Computer Engineer, designing new systems for over 10 years.

    So then, why is there already talks of hacking it to work on other systems?

    http://marklima.org/1337/2008/01/macbook-air-superdrive-can-only-be-used-with-macbook-air/

     
  9. harcosparky macrumors 68020

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    Jan 14, 2008
    #9
    And still, nobody has shown the amount of current draw during a DVD burn with the Mac Air Superdrive connected to a Mac Book Air.

    Take a look at Plextors USB powered DVD Burner.

    Model number PX-608CU

    http://www.plextor.be/press/datasheets/PX-608CU.pdf

    You can see how they resolved the issue of current draw for a bus powered DVD Burner.

    They use 2 cables .... one carries data and power, the second pulls extra power.

    The unit draws 25 Watts @ 5 Volts

    Apple uses only one cable, I guess one could assume the Apple unit uses less power or maybe Apple has addressed the issue internal to the Mac Book Air.

    It would be easy to do inside the MBA, or almost any other notebook.

    So they may come up with a software hack, but they better have a "Y" cable to supply the extra current.

    It's truly not about who's right or wrong - as that cannot be determined without more data.

    EDIT: I already found someone working on one of the drives ... he's saying he has to reflash the firmware on the drive and he is also concerned about the power issue during a burn. He believes he can read from it ... but burning may present another problem.


    It looks like the Plextor unit draws 5 Watts during reads and 25 Watts during burns.
     
  10. Leon Kowalski macrumors 6502a

    Leon Kowalski

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    Location:
    Gondwanaland Reunification Front HQ
    #10
    Please re-read the spec, it says 5.25 watts typical @ 5V -- and that's pushing
    things a bit beyond the ragged edge. USB specs say 2.5 watts per device, max.
    So even with two cables, their "typical" power drain is 5% beyond the limit.

    Like many "bus powered" 2.5" USB external drives, it might work ...or NOT
    (depending on the moon and tides).

    ...good thing Plextor included an AC adapter. Does Apple?

    LK
     
  11. harcosparky macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2008
    #11
    Yeah looking at the spec it does say 5,25

    My mistake was not catching their mistake, unless it is accepted in Europe to use a comma instead of a decimal point.

    I should have caught that they *meant* to say " 5.25 " as Ohms law says 25 Watts is way to frigging high! ( it was late and I should have been in bed sleeping! ) :LOL:

    Does Apple supply an AC Adapter?

    No, they specified that the drive be used with notebook that has an " above spec " USB port.
     
  12. Leon Kowalski macrumors 6502a

    Leon Kowalski

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Gondwanaland Reunification Front HQ
    #12
    It is. Where ya been?

    LK
     

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