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eosman

Macbook Pro Retina 2012 ejects 'some' USB devices.

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I currently own a 2012 Macbook Pro with the Retina display and I have a strange issue with an external USB 3 passport Western Digital hard drive. My hard drive will disconnect/ eject at times on the right USB port but never on the left port. Sometimes it will work for hours and other times it will disconnect after a minute.


I'm running OSX 10.8.3 and noticed since with this most recent OS update its gotten some what better on the right port. I don't have any issues at all with any of my AC powered USB 3 seagate drives or my USB 2 small Western Digital passport drive that runs on the power of the USB port. However the right USB port will also disconnect my USB2 card reader at times too.


Andy Ihnatko had a tip on the matter back in 2008 regarding USB ports closer to the screen being connected to the FaceTime camera, bluetooth and trackpad. This is turn would cause the port not to deliver as much power.


Though according to my system preferences the port is said to be delivering the full 900mA. The drive from my experience will get disconnected during large amounts of file transfers.


I have tried the following things with no success:


1. disabling spotlight search for the external drive

2. disabling the 'hard drive sleep' feature in the power management section under preferences

3. Formatting the drive

4. updating the firmware from western digital 'which did indicate that the update was to address usb problems'


I found numerous issues regarding USB 3 and even firewire mid file transfer ejection issues all over the net with Lion and Mountain Lion. Some people have had success with updating the firmware. One such fellow had the issue wit his Seagate USB 3 drive and a firmware update fixed his issue. Other manufacturers with the issue have been Lacie and G-Drives.


Back in 2009 M-Audio released a statement telling owners of their USB products not use the port closes to the screen as they are not equal to the other ports.


My question and maybe even a topic for the Mac Cast are USB ports still not created equal on today's Macs and have you or anyone else you know of experienced similar issues.

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sounds like a hardware failure is happening. see if you can duplicate the problem using another rMacPro 2012.

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So I have made some head way regarding this odd problem. Turns out my memory card reader is fine I think. My memory card reader will eject on the right port using a 4GB Lexar 133X professional CF card but NOT on the left USB port. However ALL 3 of my sandisk CF cards work fine in the reader on both USB ports. These 3 cards range from all different speeds from 15MB/sex to 30MB/sec. My lexar is 20MB/sec rated. Go figure!?

 

As for the Western Digital My passport USB 3.0 drive I have come to the conclusion its the drive and not the port. Reading through various forums on Anandtech, Apple Support and the Western Digital website forum many people have had issues with these drives on USB 3 ports on both Windows and on the Mac.

 

http://forums.anandtech.com/showthread.php?t=2302617

 

http://community.wd.com/t5/External-Drives-for-PC/My-Passport-2TB-USB-3-0-keeps-randomly-disconnecting-HELP/td-p/477224

 

EDIT: I picked up a 1TB seagate USB 3 portable drive the other day and it has worked flawlessly on both ports for large transfers. My lexar USB3 thumb drive also works flawlessly on both ports. I stopped using my Lexar 4GB Compact flash card due to the issue of it being dismounted. That issue has been a problem for other people over at dpreview. I have placed a link to that as well below.

 

http://www.dpreview.com/forums/thread/3191400

 

I did notice that my Seagate uses less power than my Western Digital portable drive. The WD drive is said to be using 224ma where the Seagate is only using 36ma. Big difference but I'm not sure how much of that is the factor to this issue. Some people have fixed their WD portable drive by rolling back USB drivers for their motherboard which is something you can't do with a notebook really. My WD drive was really bad in bootcamp via Windows 7 though. It would disconnect every 2 seconds. However no issues in either operating system with the Seagate drive.

 

My guess is that the right port doesn't supply the same amount of power as the left port on the Macbook Pro considering my WD drive is fine on the left port but not the right port. Though I'm not 100% sure on that as other people have had similar issues with a desktop with this drive on all ports. Hopefully my findings will help someone out on this.

 

Cheers, James

Edited by eosman

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a USB port should delivery the zact same power no matter what port it is. period. if it doesn't then it's technincally not a USB port and should be labeled this way by the company that made the computer, drive or hub. the position of it on the case shouldn't matter because all the ports are connected to the same chip on the motherboard.

 

the only time there could be a difference in ports is if a USB device was damaged because of static, shorting or over drawing power.

 

had you moved the drive to a different Mac you would have seen those symptoms follow it ruling out that the port was the issue on your MacBook.

 

of course, if you suspect power being the problem a wall POWERED USB hub will verify your theory.

Edited by johnfoster

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