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Why Does My External HD Randomly Disconnects and Reconnects.

Posted on 2009-04-22
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Last Modified: 2012-05-06
I have an external  Hitachi hard drive that randomly disconnects and reconnects.  I'll hear the audible tone every now and then and in a couple of seconds a F: Drive window will pop up, as if I just plugged the drive in.  Any help would really be appreciated!
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Question by:cwilliambrown
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by:rslangen
ID: 24212200
Can be that the drive has some kind of standby modus. Should be in the documentation then.
Otherwise I would think that there is a cable problem or a problem with the drive itself.
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by:
nobus earned 1600 total points
ID: 24212342
it sounds like a power problem (power falling away)
can be caused by the cables : check or swap them
or by the other hardware : external case hardware, or the drive.
check also the energy settings of the drive; set them to never disconnect
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Assisted Solution

by:skywalker39
skywalker39 earned 400 total points
ID: 24218208
It could have faulty or bad ports on the enclosure itself. It could also be a faulty or bad usb port, on your motherboard or computer. I would try plugging it in into another port and see if the problem still occurs, or even try another computer.
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by:cwilliambrown
ID: 24240947
NOBUS...Im leaning towards a power issue too.  Can you tell me how to set the drive to never disconnect?
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by:nobus
ID: 24242223
control panel>> energy settings
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by:cwilliambrown
ID: 24242446
NOBUS....just so I am clear....are you referring to the setting that says turn off the hard drive after x amount of minutes when inactive?  
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by:nobus
ID: 24242546
yes, that's the one, select disk drive settings
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by:cwilliambrown
ID: 24308408
Just an update: I temporarily do NOT have access to this drive.  And it may end up being replaced before I have access again.  I'm going to leave the question open because I really believe it is a power issue and I would like to reward the points, if this can be verified.  Thanks for understanding.
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by:nobus
ID: 24313242
no problem, just take your time, and post back the results
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by:cwilliambrown
ID: 24426044
I may get the chance to take a look at this drive again in the next day or so.  I just received a call from the same customer reporting his computer was shutting down again.  I wonder if these two things are related.  Please take a look at my other question titled "How does a UPS handle dirty elctricity?"
Thanks!
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by:nobus
ID: 24438484
please post the link to it...
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by:cwilliambrown
ID: 24455887
Seems the owner was mistaken about the PC shutting down again.  That issue seems to be solved.  I brought the backup drive home with me but forgot the power supply.  I should be able to get it this weekend and test this drive at home.  Thanks for bearing with me on this issue.
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by:cwilliambrown
ID: 24478499
OK, i have this drive with me.  I've connected it to my laptop and it appears it is dropping in and out, just as it was in the owners setup.  I forgot to mention that this drive is externally powered.  Would this eliminate the possibility that it was a power issue?
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Expert Comment

by:nobus
ID: 24480321
wwell- it can be the external power that fails; can you put a voltmeter on it to monitor?
otherwise, it 's just a bad disk -  replacing the logic board can help then (if you want )
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by:cwilliambrown
ID: 24481817
Nobus...looks like it is a "known issue"...by users but not admitted to by Hitachi.  I've read several reviews where users have taken it out of the enclosure and installed it internally and had no more problems??  Possibly problems with the housing?  The owner told me he bought it over two years ago but for the heck of it, I checked and it is still under warranty, until the end of June.  So, I'm going to have it replaced and hope the new one doesn't have this problem.
BTW, I ran Hitachi Drive Fitness Test (DFT) and it was unable to see the drive.
If no one objects, I'd like to continue to leave this question open until the new drive arrives, so I can report back with the final outcome.
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by:nobus
ID: 24484417
most diags don't see drives in usb enclosures; they miss th e usb driver
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by:cwilliambrown
ID: 24540997
Nobus...is there a third party diag that can see and test drives in USB enclosures?  If not, how would you go about testing one?  Or would you have to narrow it down to the drive using basic logic/trial and error and make an educated "guess" that it is bad?
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by:nobus
ID: 24544034
if possible, take the drive out of the enclosure, and connect it directly to the ide/sata
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by:cwilliambrown
ID: 24552829
I thought that's what you might say...LOL.   Since this drive was still under warranty, I guess its a good thing I didnt do that but I will definitely keep that in mind the next time.
Thanks for all of the info so far and thanks for being patient.  I had to return the drive to CA (Im in SC) but hopefully I will have the new one back next week!
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by:nobus
ID: 24553811
take your time, and don't forget to close the question when done !
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by:cwilliambrown
ID: 24651956
well, I finally got the replacement drive yesterday.  And...guess what...it is bad!  It can't be seen in XP or Vista.  You can hear a very distinct repetitive clicking, which is usually a giveaway.  The more I read/research, the more I find that these Hitachi drives are well known for having serious problems.  
Exactly what is causing the problem(s), I'll probably never know.  I've already spent too much time on this issue.  I'm going to recommend that the owner simply buy a better replacement drive.  I'll leave it up to him, if he wants to fight the company for a refund.  
I'm going to divide the points between Nobus and Skywalker.  Both could possibly be correct but I'm giving 4/5  to Nobus for sticking around and answering followup questions.  Thanks for all of your help!
 
***BEWARE HITACHI 1TB EXTERNAL BACKUP DRIVES PART #: H31000U-WTYFRU: 0A35779***
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by:nobus
ID: 24654958
tx for the feedback !
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by:cwilliambrown
ID: 24658106
FOLLOWUP NOTE:  I called Hitachi technical support and they agreed (no hassle whatsoever) to email me a prepaid return shipping label.  The phone call lasted no more than 5-6 minutes!
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by:nobus
ID: 24658281
at least one manuf is doing the right thing in support !
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