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Old Oct 30th, 2008, 02:48 PM   #1
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External Hard Drive - Before I start shipping parts back to LaCie

Specifics:
- LaCie 1TB LaCie 2Big Triple (2-disk Raid)
- operating in "Safe" mode where one drive mirrors the other

Problem:
About a month ago I had a little scare with my 2 month old (and first ever) external hard drive after the power went out. When the power came back on and I restarted the computer the external HD which was set on "auto" start began flashing it's lights for the next 8 hours. When the lights stopped flashing everything returned to normal and it was business as usual. Apparently from talking to LaCie staff the drives were "rebuilding". Fine.

This same scenario repeated itself again recently. This time I was working with iMovie '06 and the computer froze. Tried to restart but ultimately had to shut down the computer manually as nothing else seemed to work. Once again, upon restart, the external HD went through approx. 8 hours of "rebuilding". Once again everything looked and worked fine.

2 days later and I notice that one of the 2 drives shows a steady red LED on the back while the other LED on the second drive remains blue. I know at least "blue" = good and "red" = bad. So I contact LaCie and in the meantime use disk utility to check the drive. Disk utility showed that everything was fine. The contact person at LaCie emailed me back and asked a few more background questions. I replied and in return they replied back suggesting I try "reseating" the drive with the red LED. I did this and the light remained red. I emailed back with this information and then got a long reply with all the exacting details of how I should ship the drive and the power adapter back to them. What - that's it?

I know I'm green as can be but that seemed somewhat extreme to me. So I decided to do some more research than I did previously before buying the item (and I had already done a fair bit). Found out that there appears to be a history with power adapter failures with LaCie external HD's. Would this have anything to do with my situation? Doesn't appear to be any indication of a power adapter problem.

Right now I have the drive with red showing LED in the enclosure and the other one removed. Turned it on and all my data is there. Tried accessing some stuff and I could. Ran disk utility and it shows everything is fine. BUT THE DREADED LIGHT IS STILL RED. So what would you do at this point???

(1) Ship the drive and power adapter, at my expense, back to LaCie HQ in Toronto (I'm in Saskatoon) as suggested.

(2) Continue troubleshooting on your own, maybe try resetting the unit back to factory settings, or reformat the drive with the "red" LED.

(3) Use as is, cross your fingers until you finish the monolithic video editing job that you're trying to have done by Christmas, and then send the components back to LaCie.

Thanks and sorry for the long winded post
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Old Oct 30th, 2008, 04:34 PM   #2
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I would say if you can get the drive replaced - where'd you buy it from? COSTCO has a really good return policy if you bought it from there.

It's not worth risking it, IMHO to have the drive fail on you right before the edit's finished or something equally grim.
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Old Oct 30th, 2008, 05:08 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fyrefly View Post
I would say if you can get the drive replaced - where'd you buy it from? COSTCO has a really good return policy if you bought it from there.

It's not worth risking it, IMHO to have the drive fail on you right before the edit's finished or something equally grim.
I bought it from a local independent retailer that specializes in Apple products and accessories. When I had the original "rebuilding" scare I called them for advice and they directed me to the LaCie website. I'm almost 100% certain I would have to deal exclusively with LaCie on this.
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Old Oct 30th, 2008, 05:15 PM   #4
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Update

As I mentioned in the original post the drive that had the red LED showing at the back was left in the enclosure on it's own and I was able to access all the data.

Then I turned the unit off and returned the other drive that showed a blue LED at the back. Turned the unit back on and both LED's on the 2 drives began flashing rapidly. Did this for about an hour. Now they've stopped. Guess what - the LED's colors have switched places The one that I was supposed to ship to LaCie is now indicating "blue" = good and the other that was good is now showing "red" which is BAD - I think

I contacted LaCie and will await their reply. Feel free to chime in with a theory. Please.
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Old Oct 30th, 2008, 10:52 PM   #5
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The problem isn't with Lacie's power supplies, it's with their power supply manufacturer. I bought an external enclosure from OWC a few years ago and had similar problems to you, both related to the power supply. To prove this, the power supply manufacturer's number is the same on both the LaCie and OWC units, even though LaCie and OWC use different "part numbers" for the the power supply!

I'd suggest trying a known good p/s first before going through and sending it back to LaCie.

As for fyrefly's suggestion. If your drive is still under warranty then I wouldn't replace it yourself as you'll void any actual warranty work later. If it's out of warranty, that's a different story.
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Old Oct 31st, 2008, 03:49 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tendim View Post
The problem isn't with Lacie's power supplies, it's with their power supply manufacturer. I bought an external enclosure from OWC a few years ago and had similar problems to you, both related to the power supply. To prove this, the power supply manufacturer's number is the same on both the LaCie and OWC units, even though LaCie and OWC use different "part numbers" for the the power supply!

I'd suggest trying a known good p/s first before going through and sending it back to LaCie.

As for fyrefly's suggestion. If your drive is still under warranty then I wouldn't replace it yourself as you'll void any actual warranty work later. If it's out of warranty, that's a different story.
Yes tendim, I agree with your statements.

I was reading many comments the other night at other sites concerning LaCie external drives and the vast majority of them mentioned faulty power supplies and blamed LaCie for going cheap and staying with a known loser (the manufacturer of their power adapters). Some of these comments went back to 2006.

I'm still waiting to hear back from LaCie (they've been very prompt at returning my emails if I get them in before 12 noon). Maybe I can get them to send a new power supply. If I have to ship mine out first, I will, but in the meantime I'll go back to the store I originally purchased the unit from and see if they can hook me up. I have a feeling this will solve my problem.
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Old Nov 1st, 2008, 06:21 AM   #7
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Update

LaCie now wants me to ship the entire drive back to them again at my cost.

The store I purchased it from says that can't help me because they are not authorized by LaCie to do warranty work. Understandable.

So I emailed LaCie back essentially laying out what has transpired thus far and asked if they could ship a new power supply to see if we can eliminate it as a possible trouble spot. Likely won't hear anything until Monday.

In the meantime, I made sure everything was backed up to disk that I wanted to save and switched the drives mode from "Safe 100" to "jbod" (just a bunch of disks) which required reformatting the 2 drives. After going through process guess what? - no red lights, just clear blue

Theory #1

When the drives were in "Safe 100" mode they would spin simultaneously, I assume, when storing information etc. If the power supply isn't sufficient, then maybe only one disk at a time can spin thus causing one drive's LED to turn red which notifies this problem - maybe?

Now that the drives are operating independently, only one spins at any given time - right (I don't really know)? If true, then this is why each drive currently shows a blue light because the power supply is sufficient to spin each disk separately.

BTW, I tried switching back and forth. Each time I switched back to "Safe 100" at least one drive's LED would be red. Switch back to "jbod" and they both remain blue. I'll see what response I get from LaCie and maybe forward this info to them in hopes this will help diagnosis the problem and save me shipping costs. Stay tuned.
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Old Nov 2nd, 2008, 06:01 PM   #8
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Before I post my next theory, which I know you're all anticipating for the record I would like to state the following:

(1) I haven't given up on LaCie, I don't think they're bad guys, yet. Though I wish they'd help me troubleshoot the problem a wee bit more instead of asking to ship the whole thing back to them. A money issue with me, nothing more.

(2) Even if the whole thing is a hassle I'm starting to learn a great deal about external HD's, power adapters, warranty issues, etc. If this problem hadn't shown up then I'd be still be completely clueless but now I've got motivation

Theory #2

Did some reading on the subject at this site:
FireWire: LaCie Drives

I read someone's comments concerning "updating the firmware without destroying the mirror." Since my HD appears to be working perfectly fine in jbod mode but shows a problem (one drive shows a red LED) when switching back to SAFE 100 is it possible that somehow the "mirror" was destroyed on my HD hence the red LED when in SAFE 100 mode? I think I'm getting warm-er
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Old Nov 4th, 2008, 03:04 AM   #9
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Update

Well, I have to say I'm pleased to announce that the dudes at LaCie have agreed to send a new power adapter for me to test to at least eliminate it as the cause of my problems. If this does not get rid of the warning light on the back of the drive then I'll likely ship them the whole unit. Recently I've checked for firmware updates and everything was current. What else can I do?

So far I can say that dealing with the support staff has been pleasant but I still wish they'd give me a little more advice to try and troubleshoot the problem. Meh, whaddya do?
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Old Nov 13th, 2008, 12:31 PM   #10
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Update

The new power supply from LaCie arrived this past Monday. They didn't ask for the original in return, which surprised a few people I talked to.

Haven't even opened the box yet, but as soon as I'm done with my current project I'm going to get right on it. In the meantime, everything is working fine.

LaCie has been good to me
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