Trouble w/ LaCie Rugged portable hdd & confused about cables



LaCie Rugged portable hdd has S400, S800, usb2 & power usb ports.

I just got a LaCie Rugged portable external hdd and plugged it in via its supplied 1394 cable, first in my thinkpad, then in my Sony laptop. Neither recognized the drive. I then tried another 1394 cable w/ the Sony - nothing.

The LaCie portable doesn’t have a power cord. It does have a usb power cable and if I plug in the usb power cable and then a usb cable the drive is recognized. I don’t want the drive if the 1394 interface doesn’t work, however.

Can one power the drive via the usb power cord but use the 1394 interface? Or does the failure to recognize the drive w/ just the 1394 cable mean that interface has a problem? I seem to remember that 1394 can pull power from the port, but I don’t know how it compares to the power that can be pulled from a USB port

The drive wasn’t recognized w/ just the USB cable either. It seems to require additional power via the USB power cable.

Also, the thinkpad has a sort of double USB port on one side. The top is regular USB port which I’ve used. The bottom is supposed to be for devices that require more power than supplied by a single USB port. The port is smaller than a regular USB port but it’s not a mini USB port. Are there double usb cables for this type of double port?. Is this a proprietary ibm/lenovo port/cable or just something I haven’t come across before?


It seems that neither laptop is providing enough power over either bus to power the hard drive. Just because a device can be powered through the bus doesn’t mean that what is supplied will be enough, which is what’s happening in your case if you have to use two usb cables to get it to work. You can’t use both usb and firewire at the same time, you can use both firewire ports simultaneously though, so trying to get extra power through the usb while using firewire probably won’t work, but hey, why not try it? I haven’t seen the double usb ports on a laptop so I don’t know about the cable. As to how much power firewire can handle, I think it’s around 40 watts. If you have access to a desktop with firewire, try the drive attached to it.


Being more awake this morning I realize [I think] that the 1394 connection is not going to work w/ the Sony because it has the 6 pin to 4 pin cable and I think the 2 missing pins are for power. I don’t know why the thinkpad x41 wouldn’t recognize it - that is regular 6 to 6 cable but to a pc card port. Maybe pc card ports don’t provide power.

I connected it to my desktop via a pci card 1394 port and the lacie was recognized.

All the portables I researched - wd my passport studio, iomega something & the lacie rugged - had some serious problems - some that were mentioned multiple ports. One was getting hot and the top eventually unglued - that was multiple reviews. The rugged’s usb port fell in on one review. Hopefully, by the time mine falls off I have a better laptop and can use the 1394.



you need to feed additional power to the drive. Use an external power supply.
With Firewire, power can be supplied with a 6 pin connector, but your add-on-card for your laptop does not provide the power needed.
Similar is applicable to USB:
By spec, an USB port is designed to provide 500 mA @5V. A 2.5" HDD demands approx. 1000 mA during spin-up, so this is a heavy overload of the USB port the HDD is connected to. That said, external 2.5" HDDs without external power supply are flawed by design.



Thanks Micheal & Whappo,

The rugged doesn’t have a power cord. Unfortunately, in researching portable hdd’s I didn’t come across any professional reviews that mentioned there was an inherent problem in trying to power the drives via 1394 and USB in portable computers, which is sorta what these portable hdds are supposedly made for. I came across plenty of user reviews that did give me the impression that even the well-reviewed drives had some serious problems. But again, not that the idea of the portable drive being powered by a portable computer vs a desktop was inherently flawed.

The only “power cord” the rugged has is a usb port to power port cable. I know you can’t use 1394 & usb simultaneously on an external hdd, but I wasn’t sure if you could use usb power & 1394 data [tho I’d have been really surprised if you could]. I don’t know if the hdd controller handles the data protocols and power protocols separately but seems like it’d have to “think” usb data + power vs 1394 data+ power.

I should have remembered the 4 pin Sony 1394 connector, since the Sony has 1.1 USB and I always use the 1394 port when I connect an external hdd. Maybe macs provide enough power thru their 1394 ports. I’m headed for a mac when my Sony dies -can’t keep these pcs working.

I got the drive for its small footprint to work where desk space is limited and the lack of another power cord to trip over seemed like a nice idea [sigh]. The rugged is recognized by the desktop computer via 1394 and it does work w/ the two USB cables - data & power - on the Sony. Tho maybe it won’t work for long if it’s always being underfed . Does the USB spec allow for more power to be provided where there’s sufficient available or will the desktop USB ports stick to the 500 mA per port? Would the desktop’s 1394 do a better job of providing power to the rugged?

Wish I could still return the drive.


Hi,QUOTE=AnnieMS;2510795 Does the USB spec allow for more power to be provided where there’s sufficient available or will the desktop USB ports stick to the 500 mA per port?[/quote]No. Anything above 500 mA is not specified. Some manufacturers of motherboards design their stuff to handle some overload, some others don’t.
That said, i consider all 2.5" HDDs (and external ODD) without power supply as broken by design.

Would the desktop’s 1394 do a better job of providing power to the rugged?
6pin firewire has higher power supply specs (not necessarily valid for add-in cards), so there is some chance to get them working with computers that are equipped with that interface.



Thanks mciahel

The drive does work using USB w/ the extra usb power cord and w/ 1394 on/ the desktop [which itself is not working now]. As long as it doesn’t die an early death because it’s not really getting the power it needs I should get some benefit out if it. 'Course, if I hadn’t wanted 1394 I could have bought a WD My Passport at Walmart.

I’m going to let LaCie know it doesn’t work as advertised, and depending on their response a complaint to the BBB might be in order. LaCie was the most expensive [and ugly] of the models, but I got it because it had the best reviews. All the bad reviews [customer reviews] I found were about overheating and loose connectors - I didn’t find the ones about inadequate power.


Hi: I have exactly the same problem. Just bought a Lacie rugged FW800/400/USB2 with the intention of using the firewire connection on my laptop, HP HDX16.
The USB connection works fine and the drive can actually be powered with only the USB connection cord.
However as mentioned the FW connections doesn’t draw enough power. I only have a 4-pin FW port on my laptop(don’t really now what kind of controller the HDX16 has either), so have bought a 8-4-pin FW cable for the FW800 and a 6-4-pin FW cable for the FW400.
The drive is recoqnized in Win7 with either FW connection when I’m also connecting the USB power cord to my laptop. However it doesn’t work properly. I can see and browse the files on the drive, but when I want to copy anything to it, it just slows down and the transfer rate just continually decreases towards 0 mb/s. I can copy small files, even if it takes longer than with the usb connection, but big files just takes forever I guess as I have always cancelled the process after seing it slow down.
Don’t know what to do. I thought about connection the USB power cord to an external power adapter that will output 5V-1A, but am afraid it will fry the drive. I’m using the adapter for my cell phone and a Logitech mouse.

Any help is appreciated.