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Author Topic: Spinning down usb attached hard drive  (Read 2400 times)
CqCn
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« on: September 05, 2009, 08:26:26 AM »

I know many (all?) usb attached drives do not honor (receive?) the spin down command.  There has been a lot of discussions about this on the net.  Some say it is the usb interface, in our case, the one in the Plug, that has the deficiency, although the interface in most notebook drives that come in usb cases seem to have a similar problem with the spin down.  So both the drive, and plug interfaces have to work. [However, we know almost all notebooks can spin down their drives under idle conditions, but they use ide interface.]

Does anybody know if our ShPg's usb is capable of spin down?  I have tried one drive I have, and gets the error msg with the command.  But most likely my usb drive does not respond to the command.

BTW, there has been a work around in some [rare] drives, where a timer can be configured so that it will shut down after the elapsed time of activity.  I do know that even for those drives, configuring that timer cannot be done through many usb interfaces.

Has any body here succeeded with spin down?  Is there any expert here who knows the real scoop about our ShPg usb interface.
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restamp
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« Reply #1 on: September 05, 2009, 09:27:34 AM »

Someone posted the hdparm command.  It has lots of options to control drives, like auto-spin-down after a certain period of the drive being idle.  I pulled this command down to my Plug ("apt-get install hdparm") and played with it a bit.  For some drives, I seemed to be able to control the Advanced Power Management features, and on other drives it wouldn't work.  I suspect if you can do an "hdparm -I /dev/sda" on your drive (and get useful information back), you won't have problems controlling its spin-down characteristics.  However, depending on the drive, YMMV.
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CqCn
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« Reply #2 on: September 05, 2009, 10:06:13 AM »

restamp,
Yes, it was hdparm that I had always used.  So if you have first hand data that you succeeded in spinning down a usb disk, that is very encouraging, and first time I heard that in 8+ years looking at this on and off.  So that means our ShPg's usb interface IS good for that.
  Now the critical question:  what is the exact brand model of the usb case and drive?  I have about 10 usb drives and cases, but since my previous linux (the Slug) had a bad usb interface I do not know if any of the drive is good for this particular function.  They are all in various other current use, I only tried one with ShPg, which returned error on many hdparm commands; but many other hdparm commands (non related to control and settings of this) do work fine.  BTW, I was thinking of making another thread on use of hdparm for other very useful purposes, which I shall do soon.
« Last Edit: September 05, 2009, 11:13:05 AM by CqCn » Logged

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birdman
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« Reply #3 on: September 05, 2009, 10:25:58 AM »

Hmmm....it's just occurred to me that I have an external Maxtor 160GB disk.  It's used as a very-high-latency,  but high-bandwidth way to move large amounts of file data from an attached digital PVR to another system, so it's not left attached normally.
But, when it is plugged in and hasn't been accessed for a while (10-15 mins?) the power light start to pulse, and any attempt to access it take a few seconds to get a response.  That seems to show the symptoms of having spun down.  But it doesn't appear to be related to the system - rather it seems to be a function of the drive itself?
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CqCn
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« Reply #4 on: September 05, 2009, 11:10:52 AM »

Yes, Maxtor, is one brand (the only one I know of) which has a built in spin down feaure; even that needs to be enabled thru the interface.  A method is to use an ide to get that done, and the configuration can be set to stick over power cycle.  Since I have been studying this area for a while, my view is that there has been no definite answers to any of the questions I asked; I believe the answers to most of them could be yes or no with equal chance.  At this point I am looking for first hand experience; hearsay is less useful --- internet is full of it Smiley
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restamp
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« Reply #5 on: September 05, 2009, 01:58:40 PM »

My experience has been mainly with Toshiba 250GB pocket drives.  These are 2.5" drives which come in a factory-sealed USB case; drive power comes from USB.  I have several of these drives that I've purchased over the years.  About 6 months ago, I bought one and when I plugged it in I couldn't tell that it was spinning by feel.  It was that well balanced.  Bought another one, same thing.  These new drives respond to an "hdparm -I" command.  My older ones just return an error, even though from the case they look identical.  These new drives accept the APM commands.  Haven't tried to reconfigure the old ones, which I strictly use for backups.

My guess is that the standard is out there and the newer drives -- usb or not -- will increasingly recognize it, whereas older drives will probably not.
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