Old FW enclosure problem...
July 19, 2006 8:12 AM   Subscribe

I have an external firewire CD burner that I want to repurpose as an external firewire hard drive.

It works fine with the cd burner in there, but if I swap in an old hard drive, it seems to be spinning up, but it never mounts. I am running OS X and in the hardware profiler I can see the firewire device, but no details. Is there some bus signal a cd drive gives when a disc is inserted, that is not happening on power-up of the hard drive? Is there some command-line goose that will prod the drive into mounting?
posted by mzurer to Computers & Internet (9 answers total)
Check that the hard drive is set to Master; look at the jumper assignment chart on the hard drive label and make any necessary jumper adjustments.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 8:19 AM on July 19, 2006

Assuming that the CD burner enclosure was built on open standards, this should work. The chipset in the enclosure would need to speak ATAPI to talk to the CD, and ATA to talk to a hard drive. Most chipsets that can be bought would do both. So failing some weird, home-brew proprietary format for the enclosure, this should work.

Check the jumper settings, as mentioned above. Set it to Master or Single (the drive may have a chart on it, or it may not. This information can be found online; try both if one or the other does not work: I have drives that don't care which setting is used when they are alone, and drives which require that 'single' be used).

What is the brand on the CD enclosure and the hard drive, and what model is the hard drive?
posted by teece at 8:41 AM on July 19, 2006

Response by poster: It's a Yamaha. It's pretty old - the cd burner in there is a 16-10-40.

I've tried Master, Slave, and Cable Select.

I guess I will swap in another dirve, and try the one I have in there now on an internal bus.
posted by mzurer at 8:45 AM on July 19, 2006

I have an older sony enclosure that started life as a CD-RW. In a pinch last year I stuck a 3.5" HD in there and it wouldn't mount, no matter what jumper settings I tried. In OS X disc utility didn't detect the hard drive and system profiler was only seeing the firewire connector, not the HD. I replaced the CD-RW with a DVD-RW and the enclosure worked perfectly. This sounds similar to what you're experiencing so I figured I'd pass it along.
posted by bcnarc at 9:18 AM on July 19, 2006

If it's a Western Digital drive, the jumper pins themselves are marked MA, SL, CS but the label also shows a configuration with no jumpers at all, called Master/Single. That's the one you want. The jumpering that WD simply calls Master is what other manufacturers call something like "Master with non-compatible slave".

If your drive is alone on an IDE cable, and it has the option of being jumpered Single, and you jumper it as Master, it will wait forever for its nonexistent slave partner to spin up.
posted by flabdablet at 10:18 AM on July 19, 2006

Or it could just be that your enclosure's chipset is a braindead POS that supports ATAPI but not ATA.
posted by flabdablet at 10:20 AM on July 19, 2006

What bcnarc says would seem to indicate that some vendors to ship ATAPI-only enclosures. Bummer.

But before you give up, I would try "Single" rather than master, slave, or cable select. It's not always marked if an option for single exists, but many drives support it.

For example, my WD hard drive has Master, Slave, and CS marked. But no jumper at all is Single. I have at least one hard drive that does flakey stuff if it is the only drive and it's not set to single. Often, the single setting is just no pins shorted at all, so you could try just no jumper.

But the age you suggest might mean that ATAPI-only was cheap enough for the vendor to pinch those pennies (it wouldn't make any sense today).
posted by teece at 10:30 AM on July 19, 2006

If you can't get this working and you're really hurting for an external firewire enclosure, you can grab them for about $25 at any number of places online.
posted by quadrinary at 12:32 PM on July 19, 2006

Yeah, the bridge in that case probably only supports ATAPI devices. Get a new one.
posted by kindall at 4:40 PM on July 19, 2006

« Older few words for a friend who passed   |   Washington Dermatologist? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.