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External hard drives not getting detected

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filmguy

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Hi all,

I have a x96 mini amlogic s905w Android tv box.

I've had issues playing large size (50-60gb) high bitrate hevc movies from external 2.5" 1tb HDDs connected to the box.

The movies would buffer/stutter randomly. Similar movies on a 500gb 2.5" hdd & 1tb 3.5" powered hdd worked fine. Even smaller size samples of those movies worked ok from the 2.5" 1tb hdd.

Tried the movies in question on a laptop & a friend's Android box and it would stutter there too.

After some googling & diagnosing it seems the only possible fix was more power for the 1tb hdd (though I don't understand why a 500gb works ok & not a 1tb, it's the same bitrate that needs to be played??).

Had some missteps with a few powered USB hubs i bought which didn't help, & then last week, long story short, while trying yet another hub I ended up bricking the x96 mini's original 5v2a adapter (I think it was caused by reverse polarity on the power adapter I connected to the hub). I had a spare 5v2a adapter lying around but now I find none of the 2.5" HDDs are being detected by the box leave alone playing anything from them. Even the 500 gb hdd isn't being detected.

First I thought I had fried the usb ports in the mishap but flash drives & the powered 1tb hdd are detected.

So I'm thinking the replacement 5v 2a adapter isn't delivering the power it is rated for. Googling the issue, some have suggested getting a 5v 3a adapter for their box also helped them with various issues. Would it be safe to get one for my box? Would that also help me with my 2 issues (ie detecting external unpowered 2.5" HDD'S & buffering of large size hevc movies from 1tb 2.5" hdds)?

Also if I can get my hands on a 5v 5a adapter would that be more helpful or would that extra power be pointless? Do these boxes have some limitations on how much power the usb port can draw? I was reading somewhere that the raspberry Pi could be reconfigured to send more power to the usb port. Is there something like that in Android boxes? Would a higher ampere adapter be better or a powered USB hub? The really good hubs are not cheap & I only rarely watch the movies I was having issues with so was reluctant to spring for one.

Would a USB y cable where I connect one end to a mobile phone type charger & the other ends to the hdd & the tv box help? I've seen conflicting responses about how safe y cables are with some saying usb protocol doesn't really recommend using them?

Tldr - a higher ampere adapter than the original adapter and/or a usb y cable and/or a powered USB hub, which would help my tv box/laptop detect & play large size hevc movies from unpowered 2.5" external HDDs?
 

jsmithe

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Hi all,

I have a x96 mini amlogic s905w Android tv box.

I've had issues playing large size (50-60gb) high bitrate hevc movies from external 2.5" 1tb HDDs connected to the box.

The movies would buffer/stutter randomly. Similar movies on a 500gb 2.5" hdd & 1tb 3.5" powered hdd worked fine. Even smaller size samples of those movies worked ok from the 2.5" 1tb hdd.

Tried the movies in question on a laptop & a friend's Android box and it would stutter there too.

What brand/model is the problematic 2.5" 1TB HDD?

Is the HDD itself OK (i.e.) no bad/weak sectors in the SMART report seeing as you indicate that the problem happens even with a laptop / another Android box.

Does the video buffer/stutter when copied to the laptop's internal disk and played from there?
 

filmguy

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its a samsung, hdd is fine, smart reports no issues & everything else plays fine

i havent copied the whole file to the laptop but trimmed some parts that were stuttering & they played ok.

its too much of a coincidence that the only movies that have issues are the ones that are 50-60gb on a unpowered 2.5" hdd, that is why i suspect it is a power supply issue.
 

jsmithe

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CPU/GPU to decode HEVC will consume power. RAM could impact initial file load time depending on how the source file is encoded. File size will not have an impact on power needs.

If the entire file plays correctly on the laptop but not on the external hdd then you've eliminated file corruption. What if you try to play the entire file from the laptop with the USB powered HDD connected? Does it stutter then? You will have to go through a process of elimination to isolate the issue for sure.

If you still suspect power issues and the X96 allows powered USB devices to be plugged in and you have an external powered USB enclosure and can remove the HDD from the USB powered enclosure, you can trying removing the HDD, putting it into the external powered USB enclosure and then connecting it to the X96. Lots of conditions and dependencies with this approach, but this will eliminate power as the issue.
 

surfatwork

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Is the port usb 2 or usb 3? The former can deliver a max of 500mA. The latter 900mA. You can try using a powered usb 3 hub
 

filmguy

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thanks for your assistance @jsmithe & @surfatwork

actually now the issue is 2-fold as even the unpowered hdd's which were being detected by the x96 earlier are not with the replacement 5v2a power adapter.

i have just ordered a 5v5a adapter - even though the original was just 2a - in the hopes that it fixes both the issues. i just hope the dc connector pin is the right size as the seller didnt reply.



CPU/GPU to decode HEVC will consume power. RAM could impact initial file load time depending on how the source file is encoded. File size will not have an impact on power needs.

If the entire file plays correctly on the laptop but not on the external hdd then you've eliminated file corruption. What if you try to play the entire file from the laptop with the USB powered HDD connected? Does it stutter then? You will have to go through a process of elimination to isolate the issue for sure.

If you still suspect power issues and the X96 allows powered USB devices to be plugged in and you have an external powered USB enclosure and can remove the HDD from the USB powered enclosure, you can trying removing the HDD, putting it into the external powered USB enclosure and then connecting it to the X96. Lots of conditions and dependencies with this approach, but this will eliminate power as the issue.

yes, playing the entire file from the laptop with the USB powered HDD connected, movies do stutter then. this happens with 3 different movies

the external powered USB enclosure i have is for 3.5" HDD & the issue is with 2.5" so that won't be possible.

does a 500gb 2.5" HDD have different power requirements than a 1tb 2.5" one, would you know?

Is the port usb 2 or usb 3? The former can deliver a max of 500mA. The latter 900mA. You can try using a powered usb 3 hub

the x96 is usb 2, the laptop is usb 3.

powered hubs? that is a whole other story. 3 hubs advertised as usb 2/usb 3 which i bought turned out to be usb1.1 ! then i bought this hub -


which supposedly allows to connect a power adapter but it's socket is so small i doubt such a adapter exists. i tried with multiple adapter pins i had but none fit. finally a older multi-voltage adapter had a pin that fit. it was a 1.5a adapter & had a setting for 4.5v so i hoped that would be ok. but as soon as i connected it to the hub which was connected to the x96 it blew out the box's adapter (that is the damage i have found so far, fingers' crossed that is the worst of it).

unfortunately off late amazon has stopped allowing returns of products which they would earlier so i really wouldnt want to try another hub especially since i said it is really for occasional use.
 
Last edited:

jsmithe

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thanks for your assistance @jsmithe & @surfatwork

actually now the issue is 2-fold as even the unpowered hdd's which were being detected by the x96 earlier are not with the replacement 5v2a power adapter.

i have just ordered a 5v5a adapter - even though the original was just 2a - in the hopes that it fixes both the issues. i just hope the dc connector pin is the right size as the seller didnt reply.

yes, playing the entire file from the laptop with the USB powered HDD connected, movies do stutter then. this happens with 3 different movies

the external powered USB enclosure i have is for 3.5" HDD & the issue is with 2.5" so that won't be possible.

does a 500gb 2.5" HDD have different power requirements than a 1tb 2.5" one, would you know?

2.5" drives whether 500 GB or 1 TB connected via USB usually don't need external power unless the USB port does not supply at 5V, 500mA.

What is the model number (SMART utility should show this) of the drive and the enclosure (should be on the casing). It is possible that the 2.5" drive in your USB enclosure needs a bit more mA than the USB standard (rather unlikely) but that can only be Google'd if the model number is known.

From a quick search on Amazon, here's a powered USB to SATA adapter https://www.amazon.in/Storite-SATA-USB-3-0-Adapter/dp/B08DC9B3YD/ that will work with either of 2.5" or 3.5" drives. There probably are more expensive ones too.

While it is possible that the Android box may not be supplying the USB spec V/mA it is rather unlikely that your laptop USB port is not supplying power per the USB spec. The fact that the video stutters when played off the USB drive connected to either the laptop or the Android box points in the direction of this not being a power issue.

What if you copy the problem file(s) to an SD card (or a USB pendrive) and play them on your mobile? Do they stutter then too?

which supposedly allows to connect a power adapter but it's socket is so small i doubt such a adapter exists. i tried with multiple adapter pins i had but none fit. finally a older multi-voltage adapter had a pin that fit. it was a 1.5a adapter & had a setting for 4.5v so i hoped that would be ok. but as soon as i connected it to the hub which was connected to the x96 it blew out the box's adapter (that is the damage i have found so far, fingers' crossed that is the worst of it).
That is not good, you never know what has been damaged but not visible. Ensure you match voltages when getting powered hubs / adapters. A bit more mA(A) is not a problem as the equipment will only draw what it needs current wise, but more/less voltage will do harm.
 

filmguy

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2.5" drives whether 500 GB or 1 TB connected via USB usually don't need external power unless the USB port does not supply at 5V, 500mA.

What is the model number (SMART utility should show this) of the drive and the enclosure (should be on the casing). It is possible that the 2.5" drive in your USB enclosure needs a bit more mA than the USB standard (rather unlikely) but that can only be Google'd if the model number is known.

From a quick search on Amazon, here's a powered USB to SATA adapter https://www.amazon.in/Storite-SATA-USB-3-0-Adapter/dp/B08DC9B3YD/ that will work with either of 2.5" or 3.5" drives. There probably are more expensive ones too.

While it is possible that the Android box may not be supplying the USB spec V/mA it is rather unlikely that your laptop USB port is not supplying power per the USB spec. The fact that the video stutters when played off the USB drive connected to either the laptop or the Android box points in the direction of this not being a power issue.

What if you copy the problem file(s) to an SD card (or a USB pendrive) and play them on your mobile? Do they stutter then too?

i'll look into this. it's a head scratcher that's for sure.


That is not good, you never know what has been damaged but not visible. Ensure you match voltages when getting powered hubs / adapters. A bit more mA(A) is not a problem as the equipment will only draw what it needs current wise, but more/less voltage will do harm.

i was taking a shot that 4.5v was not too far off from the required 5v. i think the problem was that the multi voltage adapter's pin could be inserted one of 2 ways & i used the reversed polarity.

so the 5v5a adapter should be fine to use on the 5v2a x96, correct? i am hoping the extra juice solves both the issues (or at the very least gets the hdds detecting again).
 

jsmithe

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so the 5v5a adapter should be fine to use on the 5v2a x96, correct? i am hoping the extra juice solves both the issues (or at the very least gets the hdds detecting again).

The extra amps won't hurt as the X96 will only draw what it needs. Whether all that extra current makes it's way to the USB port is a question mark since it depends on the X96 main-board circuitry. If it was built to deliver less than the USB spec or the USB port delivers less than the USB spec due to a QC issue or a fault, then no amount of increasing input power is going to help.
 

filmguy

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thanks to your earlier post @jsmithe i remembered i had a sata to usb converter lying around. i thought it was for ide / 3.5" hdds only but it seems it can be used for 2.5" sata hdds too (pic 1).

only issue is its power adapter's label has come off so i cant know the specs for sure though the manual states that it has a "5v & 12v double channel output" (pic 2), so that should be ok to use with a 2.5" hdd right? the adapter seems similar to the one i have for the case for my 3.5" hdd which also says it is capable of 5v & 12v (pic 3). didnt know that there were these dual voltage adapters. if this is safe to use on the 2.5" hdd then i can try it & hopefully it will tell me whether the power supply to the hdd is the cause of the stuttering.



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jsmithe

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SATA power and data pins on HDD's are the same for both 2.5" and 3.5" HDD's unlike the older IDE drives.

You can use the adapter for your 2.5" USB HDD since the adapter has a 5V / 1.5A output section via separate pin outs (see highlighted version of your picture
 

filmguy

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Firstly, thank you so much for your help @jsmithe , much appreciated.

sorry for the confusion but that photo you've highlighted is actually the adapter for a external case for another 3.5" hdd. The label of the adapter for the sata to usb converter has come off (see pic attached here). I'd only put the other photo as it is a similar looking adapter so I thought specs might be same too. But there aren't any separate pin outs in either of the adapters. It just has the regular 2 pins which cannot be detached.
 

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jsmithe

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Firstly, thank you so much for your help @jsmithe , much appreciated.

sorry for the confusion but that photo you've highlighted is actually the adapter for a external case for another 3.5" hdd. The label of the adapter for the sata to usb converter has come off (see pic attached here). I'd only put the other photo as it is a similar looking adapter so I thought specs might be same too. But there aren't any separate pin outs in either of the adapters. It just has the regular 2 pins which cannot be detached.

The photographs above only show the AC input pins which aren't of much interest. The DC output pinout at the output of the adapter is what is of interest. That is because without the label on the adapter, if the the DC output pinout is such that it can be measured with a multimeter then it maybe possible to determine the DC output voltage, current of the adapter. This would need you to have a multimeter and know how to use it or know someone who does.

I would not use the power adapter without being absolutely sure it is the actual power adapter for the USB to SATA adapter and/or knowing what the output voltage is in the situation where unsure if the power adapter is for the device in question or is actually for something else and just happens to be in the same box as the USB to SATA adapter.

With these unknowns, if you take that chance and plug in you could end up damaging your USB to SATA adapter and/or the HDD. On the other hand it might work fine. I'd say don't take that chance unless you can afford losing that HDD, SATA adapter and the data on the HDD.
 
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