USB 3.0 drops connection with hard drives


#1

We have several Plugable products working on 2 separate Thinkpad Carbon X1 Touch PCs:

USB 3,0 4-port hub
USB 2.0 4-port hub
USB 3.0 Gigabit Ethernet Adapter (plugged into the USB 3.0 hub)

When we have a USB 3,0 external hard drive plugged into the 2.0 hub, it works fine; each PC does its Acronis backup just fine.

When we plug the external hard drive into the 3.0 hub, it drops connection once in awhile, like once every day or two on either PC – quite annoying during nightly backups!

I did a bit of research into this, and it may not be the problem with the hubs. After all, our 3.0 Ethernet Adapters work fine continuously in the 3.0 hubs. The problem may be with hard drive connections (voltage, kind of connection??) with 3.0 devices? I have found several places where to set that the USB 3.0 driver should NOT sleep, but this has not helped.

Any advice?


#2

Hi Lester-

Thanks for posting with your issue, I’ll be happy to help.

There are at least 3 different updates that could be relevant here, all covered in our 7 port hub troubleshooting post (I know you have the 4 port ones, but only the firmware mentioned in step 3 is different- the overall process is the same).

I’d recommend checking first to see if you have recent (mid-late 2012 or newer) USB 3.0 host controller (xHCI) drivers for these systems (the latest from Intel, which I think this model uses are 8/13, only a month old). This is step two in the link below- if you need help with figuring out the driver versions, please shoot a mail with a link to this thread and the output from our support tool mentioned in the troubleshooting guide below to support@plugable.com.

If the host controller update doesn’t help or isn’t relevant, this sounds similar to another issue I had with my personal WD passport external hard drive, which I found was resolved on a firmware update available for that drive. I’ve seen other similar issues on Seagate (and other brands of drives) as well. These are covered in step 4.

http://plugable.com/2013/06/07/troubl…

Please let me know of any other questions.

Best wishes-

Jeff Everett
Plugable Technologies


#3

Jeff:

Hi, We just got these Thinkpads a few weeks ago, and I regularly check for updates via Microsoft and Lenovo, so I’m fairly sure we are current.

The external hard drives we are using are 320 “D” drives from our previous HP dv8t PCs, which were also regularly updated.

The external case we got from Amazon is my prime suspect,
Ineo Technology 2.5-Inch SATA I/II External Hard Drive Enclosure with Built-In USB 3.0 Cable (I-NA217U PLUS)
Note that some reviewers had similar problems.

I just ordered from Amazon
Sabrent USB 3.0 To 2.5-Inch Sata Aluminum Hard Drive Enclosure Case for 9.5mm, 12.5mm 2.5-Inch SATA-I, SATA-II, SATA-III HDD and SSD Black (EC-TB4P)
and perhaps this will help.

I was just curious if your hub somehow keeps such connections “active.”

Thanks.

Lester


#4

I just noticed that Plugable also has hard drive USB 3,0 devices. Are there plans to produce any that do not need extra charging ports or additional AC-DC adapters, e.g., that would simply plug into your 3.0 hubs thereby cutting down the cost of the hard drive units?


#5

I cam across your page
http://plugable.com/2013/04/22/usb3-s…

I just ran your utility AsmShowFwVersion.exe on my PC. I got
F/W version: 110922110000

I then ran your utility UASP1-130107.exe, and saw that my external drive was listed OK When I clicked to start the upgrade,
I got red FAILs under three columns, Config Update, FW Update, and ReLink?

I did this plugging in my drive to both your USB 2.0 and 3.0 hubs, as well as directly into my PC’s USB 3.0 slot.

I see that the problem of USB 3,0 hard drive connections dropping is common, and the intent to protect the drives from running hot 24/7? However, once the drive disconnects, is there some simple software solution to reconnect. E.g., if I do a nightly rsync, it would be OK if I could first test and reconnect the drive before the rsync command?

Lester


#6

Hi Lester-

Thanks for the additional details, however please understand that I really need more system specific details than we will be able to trade in conversation to be able to be helpful- this is why we have the PlugDebug tool. Being able to read the complete details in a standard format also greatly accelerates the troubleshooting process.

So I can provide the right steps, please send a copy of your PlugDebug report to support@plugable.com with a link to this thread. Running the tool when the devices that you are seeing disconnects with are connected will ensure that the most relevant detail is collected. Instructions to download and use PlugDebug are here:
http://plugable.com/support/plugdebug

While I don’t want to ignore the other questions you raised, I hate to say and don’t mean to be rude, but none seem likely to be relevant in my opinion, and I fear explaining further at this time would only confuse things.

Based on what you’ve said, I am nearly certain that device specific firmware updates for your enclosures are needed, but applying different firmware updates for our devices to those of other manufacturers is NOT advised, and may ruin your devices.

Once I’ve had the chance to review the PlugDebug report I expect to be able to recommend the right steps.

Best wishes-

Jeff


#7

This case is now closed. Jeff was extremely helpful via emails, verifying that the hard drive case I was using had too-old firmware to use on Windows 8. I ordered two Plugable docks.

Thanks.

Lester


#8

Hi Lester (and for public record)-

Marking solved, and closing this thread. For anyone having similar issues with a particular USB 3.0 mass storage device like an external hard drive, flash drive, or drive dock/enclosure, checking for firmware updates for the unit may be helpful.

We’ve provided links to check for updates for Seagate and Western Digital drives at the link below, however please feel free to contact support@plugable.com or start a new thread with any questions:
http://plugable.com/2013/06/07/troubl…

Best wishes-

Jeff Everett
Plugable Technologies


#9