can i power an external hard drive using a us

March 10, 2011 at 07:18:43
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I want to hook up an external hard drive to my Dish Network 622 DVR. The USB port has been activated. However, the external drive does not have an external power source. It is powered by the USB connection. The DVR USB port does not supply power for the drive. My question is, if I use a USB "Y" cable, plugging one part of the "Y" into the DVR port and the other part of the "Y" into an AC-USB power adapter, will it work?

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#1
March 10, 2011 at 07:31:50
Sounds like a Rube Goldberg rig to me. If you can even get the port to record you will most likely not be able to migrate the drive to a PC. The content providers make sure the format used in the DVR is not compatible with your PC.

If you just want to expand the capacity of the DVR then get a 3.5" USB external hard drive which will have its own power supply. Getting it to work at all is a crap shoot.

My cable provider has activated the USB port but I am told you can't choose where the file will be written. I was told it would go to which ever drive has more space available. Totally useless if your intent is even to just move files from one DVR to another.

Perhaps Dish is more flexible but I am sure the files will not be in a format that you can use on a PC.


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#2
March 10, 2011 at 08:06:18
READ the manual for the DVR. It probably tells you whether you can connect an external hard drive to it.

I have a recent VCR with a USB port that can't be used with an external hard drive. It can only recognize *.jpg files.

If the external hard drive has no external power adapter that came with it, it has a 2.5" hard drive (or a solid state hard drive) inside of it and was designed to get all of it's power via the USB port. The USB port must be able to supply 500ma, or if it came with a USB Y cord with two male plugs on the end intended to be connected to a computer, two USB ports must be able to supply 500ma total.
Some such external "portable" hard drives have a jack on the external enclosure you can plug a 5v D.C. external power adapter into, if yours has that that may allow you to get the external hard drive to work with the DVR if you plug such an adapter into it, but that usually has to be purchased separately.

OR - if your external hard drive has no such jack, if it came with a USB Y cable, or if it didn't and you purchased one, it may work if you plug in one of the male type A connectors on the cord into a 5v adapter with a female USB port meant to be used for charging USB devices with an internal battery.


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#3
March 10, 2011 at 08:31:11
Thank you for your reply. However, I guess I wasn't clear. I only plan to use the portable drive for additional DVR storage. the question is, can I use the USB "Y" cable to both attach the drive to the DVR and power the drive using a wall plug to USB converter, attached to the second pigtail of the "Y" cable?

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#4
March 10, 2011 at 08:53:10
"can I use the USB "Y" cable to both attach the drive to the DVR and power the drive using a wall plug to USB converter, attached to the second pigtail of the "Y" cable?"

See response 2.
That will work with a computer for sure if one USB port cannot supply 500ma - e.g. some laptops cannot supply 500ma per built in USB port when more than one device is plugged into it's built in USB ports - but the DVR has to be able to use external hard drives.


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#5
March 10, 2011 at 09:19:04
OtheHill

FYI

Does a USB external optical drive that has an external power adapter still need 500ma from the USB cable connection ?

I think response 2 in this recent Topic confirms that it does, at least in his case:
http://www.computing.net/answers/ha...

The same probably applies to USB external hard drives that come with an external power adapter, at least in some cases.


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#6
March 10, 2011 at 10:37:13
Tubes

I read the thread you linked to. I honestly hadn't thought about any power requirements prior to this thread.

I would guess the information supplied by foodguru concerning the ability of the DVR USB port to supply any current may be incorrect. I can't see how any USB device could work without some current . That said, I did speak with techs from my cable provider and was informed that the USB ports included in many DVRs may or may not even be functional. They are provided for the purpose foodguru wants to use it for and possibly as an access port to access the DVR firmware.

As there may not be any menu item to select where the recording will be placed you couldn't select which drive to send the file to. In foodguru's case this may not matter. In my case, I wanted to be able to move files from one DVR to another. I have 3 in my home. All are leased from the cable provider. I can't do what I wanted to do.

I still don't think supplying current from an external power adapter is a good idea. I think that there is a strong chance to damge the DVR or possibly the external hard drive.

In the case linked in #5 above, the reason for the recording failure can be attributed to the hub downgrading the USB to 1.1 speeds. Even with buffer underrun technology USB 1.1 couldn't fill the buffer fast enough and the burn would stop. DVD burners can slow the burn down but once stopped, you have made a coaster.


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#7
March 10, 2011 at 11:19:54
"I still don't think supplying current from an external power adapter is a good idea. I think that there is a strong chance to damge the DVR or possibly the external hard drive."

I have seem some accessory power adapters that are voltage regulated - have a voltage regulator that ensures the output voltage is an accurate +5v - and as far as powering the portable external enclosure itself with one is concerned, there is probably a voltage regulator in the circuitry.


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#8
March 10, 2011 at 11:21:55
OtheHill,

Fortunately, Dish Network model 622 & 722 DVR's do have the capability built in that once activated by the satellite company (for a one time fee), an external hard drive can be plugged into the USB port and recorded programs can be copied to the external hard drive for storage until you want to move them back onto the DVR for viewing or moved to other 622 or 722 DVR's on the same household account.

As far as the port not having power, apparently there is some power in the port but not enough to power a drive. Dish Network states on their website that the external hard drive needs to have it's own power source, probably because the DVR's port just isn't strong enough. The reason I am asking about using a USB "Y" cable is that I have a 2.5" external drive that I want to use. My thought is that what I am trying to do is similar to using a self powered USB hub.

For readers of this thread that do have Dish Network and pay to activate the capability, keep in mind that the DVR re-formats the external drive and formats it for exclusive use on Dish DVR's. It can not be used on a normal computer until you re-format it to its original state, which looses any programs stores on it.


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#9
March 10, 2011 at 11:43:20
My concern would be that the current fed to the drive from the AC adapter may somehow feed back into the USB port itself because the Y adapter can back feed the USB port on the DVR. Maybe it isn't a concern but it is not the most elegant arrangement.

I am not sure how you would utilize the Y adapter anyway. How would that work? The normal cable has a plug to the drive and two A connectors on the other ends of the Y adapter.

A better method might be to use one of the adapters in the link below instead. Very useful when not in use on the DVR too.

I have that exact part and it works, at least on PCs.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produ...


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#10
March 10, 2011 at 12:13:37
"My concern would be that the current fed to the drive from the AC adapter may somehow feed back into the USB port itself because the Y adapter can back feed the USB port on the DVR."

Doing that has not caused a problem for me when a laptop's USB port could not supply 500ma via one USB connection. However, I've only fiddled with a few laptops.


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#11
March 10, 2011 at 12:31:15
I didn't bother to read all the above, but I enjoyed the Rube Goldberg reference. :)

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#12
April 7, 2011 at 11:58:33
GOOD NEWS. It worked. I hooked up a USB "Y" cable. I plugged one end into the portable hard drive another end into the Dish Network 622 DVR and the third end into one of those AC to USB wall power adapters. The DVR USB does not have enough juice to power the hard drive. As soon as I plugged the USB charging adapter into the wall, the drive powered up and the DVR immediately saw it. I have beat the system and was able to use a less expensive 2.5" portable drive rather than a more expensive 3.5" external drive that has a separate built in power supply. Dish Network insisted that it wouldn't work. Well, they were absolutely WRONG. To everyone that reads this, don't let anyone ever tell you you can't do something that you think can logically can be done.

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#13
April 7, 2011 at 12:09:14
Glad you got it working. You are fortunate that the USB post is active at all. Local cable installers tell me that many of them aren't. Just because a port exists doesn't mean it works.


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#14
April 7, 2011 at 12:25:40
The port is normally not active until you pay Dish Network a one time fee of $39.95 to activate the port. After they activate the port, you can plug in an external hard drive to transfer recorded programs to and from it, thus increase your DVR storage capacity. You can can then copy the programs back from the external drive to any model 622 or 722 DVR you have on your Dish account. Basically transferring programs from one DVR to another. The activated USB port can also be used to copy music (MP3) and photo (JPG) files from a flash drive to the DVR. However, it is important to understand that any external hard drive you use for this purpose is a dedicated drive. When you plug it in the first time, the DVR does a special format on it and it can not be used on a PC again unless you re-format it and loose all the programs stored on it. Hope this is useful information.

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#15
April 7, 2011 at 12:38:38
With my cable company the external just adds storage space. They told me that you can't choose where to send the file. That the file would be recorded on whichever disk had more room. That is useless to me. I wanted to use an external because sometimes there are more than 2 shows on at the same time so I record the additional shows on a second DVR which is in the bedroom. I may not want to watch the recording in the bedroom but there is no way to transfer the file.

I am aware the format is propitiatory. That is due to the content providers, not Dish or the cable companies. They are too worried that folks will get the file to their computer and do something with it once it is there.


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#16
April 7, 2011 at 13:46:57
Unfortunately, I have no experience with cable company DVR's, just the Dish Network ones I have. I am fortunate that they let me completely move recordings from the DVR to the external drive. I still cannot record directly to the external drive. I need to record programs to the internal drive then move them to the external, but I can then move them to one of my other DVR's, so I can record something on the DVR in the living-room then move it to the external drive and then move it again to the DVR in the bedroom.

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