View Full Version : USB HDD's

16th June 2009, 18:51
Hi guys, i'm having a problem and its starting to p*ss me off.
I have a 2.5" (laptop) 60Gb Sata HDD that i removed from my PS3 when i upgraded it so i went and bought a USB enclosure.
However when i connect the 2.5" 60Gb Sata to the USB all i get is the power light on and the HDD clicking but never spinning up.
The drive works fine connected directly to the sata ports on my motherboard though.
I have tested it on my wifes laptop and my spare laptop and it spins up and works fine on them via USB.
My motherboard is an ASRock Conroe1333 DVI/H and i have a 64bit P4 with 2Gb Ram and Windows XP Pro.
I was advised it may be a power issue so i tried plugging in a 5v adaptor directly into the usb enclosure as advised in the manual but then i don't even get the power light or clicking.
It's really annoying that it seems to work on every machine but my main desktop.
I have 2 other 2.5" USB HDD's and they both work fine on my desktop with the only difference being they're for 2.5" ide drives.
Can anyone recommend anything?


16th June 2009, 19:09
Either the enclosure is faulty or it is a power issue.

I know you have looked at the power issue already but this is exactly the problem that I have when using an external sata bridge that I have - I very often plug the usb in and forget the power one.

If the enclosure comes with a usb lead that splits into 2 at one end then make sure both of these are plugged in to usb.

??did the 5v adapter you used have the correct polarity ??

Also try using a different PC to test the enclosure as sometimes windows mucks things up.

Sorry I cannot help more than that


16th June 2009, 19:24
I have an Asrock 775Dual VSTA board in my machine and I have found that the onboard USBs can be a bit weak, especially when items that draw power directly from the port are involved. Webcams and card readers are OK, but start plugging scanners and USB drives in that don't have separate power and you may find that the power trips out; in extreme cases it will shut the machine down.

Drive clicking is a sign that one of the 5v or 12v voltage rails on the USB port is weak. What wattage is the current power supply feeding the PC?

16th June 2009, 19:40
Hey guys, the PSU in my desktop is a 450W.
That power supply is powering a P4 64bit 3.2Ghz Cpu, 2Gb DDr2 667Mhz Ram, an 80Gb 3.5" internal Sata and a 500Gb 3.5" Internal Sata and a IDE DVDRom.
I don't use any VGA cards or PCI Cards, all on board VGA and sound.
I don't think i'm stressing the PSU at all.
I have no other USB devices connected at the moment.
My other 2.5" USB HDD's don't have a power socket on them and work perfectly.
The 5v adaptor i tried is from an electric shaver and is a 5v 200ma but doesnt say whether its AC or DC.
The Sata drive works perfectly fine on my wifes Emachines laptop and my Toshiba Equium Laptop but just won't work on my desktop.

16th June 2009, 20:14
If it works fine in other computers then it almost definitely needs an external power supply. From what I've been able to tell, the power output of your ATX power supply will not necessarily determine whether or not your USB will output enough power for these devices. You may want to verify the external power adapter you are trying is DC and also try one with higher MA. This is all just what I've seen from my experience.

Good luck!


Kin Hell
16th June 2009, 20:41
@ Scrappy

Have a look in Device Manager & go to the USB Controllers Section. There are Power values in there & you might be able to pin-point the issue! :wink:

Also consider the Wattage on ur PSU & the number of devices hanging off it. It really could be that simple.
Power consumption on 3.5" Hard drives is crazy. I've killed how many PSU's over the years by hanging 5 Hard drives off Antec 550W PSU's before now. 4 HD's can kill a PSU this big if you're doing other naughty things like Fast Graphics & Over Clocking CPU's. You could be on the edge with what you're already trying to run & the 2.5" affair is just pushing it over the edge. If your using a Mickey Mouse PSU that isn't switched as well, you don't stand a chance & the USB power wont get enough juice.
Whilst 4 hard drives only pull about 15 WATTS each, hard drives just "hammer" the hell out of any PSU. If you can tell me every electrical device you have on ur puter & ur brand of PSU with model #, I might be able to do some calculations for you! Alternatively, go here. What Size PSU do I need? (http://www.extreme.outervision.com/psucalculator.jsp)

Single Rail PSU's are the best & you need as many AMPS as you can afford on your 12V Rail.

*HOT Tip* On multi Rail PSU's, dont do things like hanging 3 hard drives on a Single cable from the PSU with say, 3 Molex connectors on it. Spread the load! :wink:

Good luck,


16th June 2009, 21:05
@SDG, i have a 6v 500ma DC and a 7.5v 700ma DC adapter and both adapters work perfectly. However when i plug them into the USB HDD the drive doesn't even light up never mind click.


I have a 450W Win Power ATX-450 Switching Power Supply.
Output section states:

+12v 20A Max
+5v 40A Max
+3.3v 28A Max
-5v 0.5A Max
-12v 0.8A Max

+5V/SB 2.0A Max

I have 1 IDE DVDRom attached to a single molex connector.
No Floppy Drive
I have an 80Gb 3.5" Sata HDD using a Sata power connector and a 500Gb Sata HDD using a molex to sata power converter.
I have no PCI Cards at all, No VGA Card (On Board).
Case does have a side fan with LED's and some front LEDs buth they've been disconnected.
No overclocking going on.
No other USB devices attached at the mo. (The only other ones i use is a 2.5" ide USB HDD and a printer).

I have tried two external PSU adaptors with the USB HDD and with the external PSU's it doesn't even click and no lights.
No External PSU and just a straight USB cable then i get the blue power indicator light on the USB HDD and just clicking.
I know the drive works as i have connected it direct to the Sata connections on the motherboard and i know the enclosure works as i have tried it on an Emachines and a Toshiba Equium laptop.
I did get the drive to spin up and sound fine when the pc was shut down and turned off but when i turned it back on it just started clicking again.

Thanks for your help


Kin Hell
16th June 2009, 21:57
Definitely a power Issue. You just gotta find out "where?"

Can you swap PSU's out? - If you can & you're still dead, it could be the USB Power on the Mobo being dodgey.

If you can or can't swap out, you could also try to take devices off the PSU like the DVD & the non Bootable Hard drive. If it's still dead, take the second hard drive off & just see if the external USB Unit spins up. As I said earlier, Hard Drives hammer PSU's really hard. Swapping PSU's or putting a PSU Tester onto the 24Pin ATX Block is the best plan to confirm the PSU is the issue, should you get a result for removing devices from the PSU Rails.

In all honesty, WinPower PSU's are not the best! :wink:


16th June 2009, 22:02

Are you connecting to the USBs at the rear of the motherboard, or via a USB connected to a motherboard header, e.g. a front USB port on the case?

It may be something as stupid as having the + and - power cables swapped accidentally on the motherboard header; on cases with extra USBs with the cables all as loose single wires, it's easily done. Other than that or a dead short in the USB socket, I'm struggling to think what else could be wrong.

Can you test the drive by connecting to the motherboard directly, to see if the bios detects it? We can't rule out failure of the hard drive's controller board, and so far you haven't said if the drive is detected in other hardware.

16th June 2009, 22:27

Can you test the drive by connecting to the motherboard directly, to see if the bios detects it? We can't rule out failure of the hard drive's controller board, and so far you haven't said if the drive is detected in other hardware.
In My First post

The drive works fine connected directly to the sata ports on my motherboard though.
I have used it to install Windows 7.
I have also tried both front and back USB ports. The front ports don't work with any of my External HDD's but the back work with all but this sata one.


I don't have another P4 capable PSU (I have a psu but doesn't have the extra square connector). As i said though when the machine is shut down and switches itself off the drive spins up (but none of the other devices are on then).
I will try removing the extra drives and DVDRom and just leave the bootable HDD.

20th June 2009, 12:48
@all, i swapped my 450W Win-Power psu with my fathers 650W Right-Tec Same as this (http://web-systems.co.uk/?page=Products&pid=4578) and tried the USB HDD again. Still no go, just clicking.
However i just put the 60Gb HDD from this external case directly to my laptop, which needed formatting anyway, and took the 120Gb HDD from the laptop and put it in this external case and the 120Gb HDD works fine as a USB HDD with both PSU.
I think i'll just keep the 120Gb External and leave the 60Gb in the laptop which only gets used for browsing and some torrenting.
Thanks for all suggestions though guys.