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  1. #1

    MrNeon8's Avatar
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    Apple PowerBook G4 1.67 15" (DLSD/HR - Al) M9969LL/A A1138 2GB Ram 80GB HDD. iPad 64GB 3G. iPod 64G
    Question Powerbook A1138 G4 1.67ghz 15" will not power any External HDD???
    Hi all im new here and new to OS X even though i have iPod, iPad etc my problem is that i bought an old Retro Powerbook G4 A1138 1.67ghz 15", it has the 2 USB 2.0 Ports and is running OS X Leopard 10.5.8 with 2gb RAM and 80gb Original Apple HDD, everything runs fine apart from when i plug in an external USB Hard Drive 2.5" form factor it does not push enough power to it to run for it to see it?
    I have tried 3 different drives as follows:
    Seagate 250gb USB 2.0 to micro USB.
    Samsung 500gb USB 2.0 to Y Splitter USB.
    Samsung 500gb USB 3.0 to USB 2.0.

    None of these work! All run fine on my Windows Rig as expected and all NTFS.
    I know USB Ports can be made to push more power as i have to use Ai Charger on my windows 2.0 Ports to charge up my iPad so is there something similar for Mac OS X Leopard?
    Also i do not want to spend nearly 30 for a HDD Caddy that has FireWire 800 function on it either as it defeats the object of having USB? If USB 2.0 works for all on Windows ( apart from iPad ) then why does USB 2.0 not work for most on OS X? Is it a different type of USB Socket than Windows?
    I know its an old system but even an old Windows rig running 2000 etc can be made to run an External HDD of 250gb upwards!
    If we are able to keep these Retro Laptops running there must be a way of keeping them portable with me having to buy a Powered USB Hub thus making my once portable Powerbook into a Desktop PC with no portability at all without using its small 80gb HDD that is nearly Full!
    I have over 37gb of music and over 48gb of photo's and 20gb + of movies so you can see where i am going and why my internal HDD is getting packed out!

    Any help at all small or large would be very greatly appreciated indeed to keep my loving Retro Powerbook running like new!

  2. #2

    MrNeon8's Avatar
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    Apple PowerBook G4 1.67 15" (DLSD/HR - Al) M9969LL/A A1138 2GB Ram 80GB HDD. iPad 64GB 3G. iPod 64G
    Powerbook A1138 G4 1.67ghz 15" will not power any External HDD???
    Also my Powerbook is set to Auto Load any External HDD and sees all Flash Drives just fine including my new 8gb Sandisk Flash Drive, Disk Utilities does not see the drive either!
    The sounds coming from my External HDD is one that sounds like it not getting enough power to run them as it spins up but then retracts in power if that makes any sense at all, even using the Y USB Splitter Cable it seems to power up but does no Reading sounds like you get when plugged into a Windows PC/Laptop?
    Would FireWire 400 make any change without me going out to buy one and find it does not work leaving me at a loss of outlay in ? Or is it down to just being FireWire 800 to solve it? I would rather be able to use USB like all other computers to be honest as i have spent out over 140 so far on 2.5" Portable SATA Laptop HDD's.

  3. #3

    harryb2448's Avatar
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    Imac 27" Retina 5K, 512GB flash memory, 3.3GHz, 16GB memory, macOS Sierra beta.
    Maybe a mains powered caddy will be the shot. Older PowerPC machines will not boot via USB, must be Firewire. Shame spending that much on an older G4 alas.
    Hang on to those original install discs like grim death! Using OS X.7 or later make a bootable USB thumb drive before running Installer!

  4. #4

    MrNeon8's Avatar
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    Apple PowerBook G4 1.67 15" (DLSD/HR - Al) M9969LL/A A1138 2GB Ram 80GB HDD. iPad 64GB 3G. iPod 64G
    Powerbook A1138 G4 1.67ghz 15" will not power any External HDD???
    Hi there harryb2448 and thanks for the reply and input, I have looked into a powered USB Hub but it means I can only use the Power Book connected to an external HDD whilst at home or via a mains power socket elsewhere thus rendering the Powerbook as a Non portable device whilst out and about!
    I just cannot figure out why the so called USB 2.0 on the powerbook is not the same as a Windows operated Desktop or Laptop that Can Power an external HDD via USB 2.0?
    If a Windows computer has 2.0 USB functions and power to run an external HDD then so should a Powerbook with 2.0 USB has it not? or is the Powerbooks G4 USB 2.0 NOT 2.0 as it shows as powering at 500mA the same as my Windows PC and Laptop at 500mA?


    All input is greatly appreciated.
    Cheers
    MrNeon8

  5. #5

    dtravis7's Avatar
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    iMac 2010 27" QuadI7 OSX10.11, iMac 2008 OSX10.11, MBP Late2011OSX10.11 , iPad Air, iPhone 3GS
    What happens when you plug in one of your drives? Any error message? Anything at all happen? Do remember NTFS drives on Native OSX will not write, but will read just fine.

  6. #6

    MrNeon8's Avatar
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    Apple PowerBook G4 1.67 15" (DLSD/HR - Al) M9969LL/A A1138 2GB Ram 80GB HDD. iPad 64GB 3G. iPod 64G
    Powerbook A1138 G4 1.67ghz 15" will not power any External HDD???
    Hi there dtravis7 my Powerbook shows and does nothing with no error messages etc, basically I plug in any USB 2.0 External HDD and the light it has powers up and the drives sounds like its trying to spin up but does not continue to do the normal sounds of reading the HDD Disc like it would when connected to any other PC or Laptop run via Windows, i dont have any newer model Macs with Intel CPU as i cannot afford them right now otherwise I would have gone for one but its just nice to keep the old Retro PC's and Laptops used and running as there is nothing wrong with it at all apart from no way of connecting an external HDD and running it?
    I have looked for drivers etc but found none and looked for other software like Ai Charger that I had to use to charge my iPad via my Windows based PC as that was the Only Hardware that my USB 2.0 would not charge but Data passed through just fine on my Windows PC, my Powerbook runs Flash Drives just fine etc and has a Mighty Mouse that runs fine too as well as many other little USB Gadets but nothing for external USB Powered HDD 2.5" format?

    Cheers
    MrNeon8

  7. #7

    dtravis7's Avatar
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    iMac 2010 27" QuadI7 OSX10.11, iMac 2008 OSX10.11, MBP Late2011OSX10.11 , iPad Air, iPhone 3GS
    That almost sounds like a power issue if Flash drives mount in OSX. Do any of your external USB drives have an external Power Supply? Not sure if you said that or not.

    I have a last generation iBook G4 1.33Ghz and every external 2.5" drive mounts with no problem. None of my 2.5" drives have external power either. No drivers are needed for any USB drive on your Macbook.

    I should mention this also. Not sure why but way back a friend handed me his external at his house and it would not mount but mounted on his Netbook! It was something strange with his Mini USB to USB cable. I plugged in one of my many cables and it fired right up. I never figured out why that one cable did that on my machine but not his, but figured I would mention it just in case.

  8. #8

    MrNeon8's Avatar
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    Apple PowerBook G4 1.67 15" (DLSD/HR - Al) M9969LL/A A1138 2GB Ram 80GB HDD. iPad 64GB 3G. iPod 64G
    Powerbook A1138 G4 1.67ghz 15" will not power any External HDD???
    Hi again dtravis7 None of my External drives have any Power source other than USB I have tried both the USB Ports on my Powerbook and Both have the same result in not powering up my external HDD Discs? The discs are near new as two where bought only tow days ago and both power and work fine on my Windows PC and Laptop as mentioned earlier on, the Powerbook USB Reports 500mA for all connected devices and secondary like keyboard etc using 40mA etc as does BlueTooth etc which is pre installed like Air Port Card. Even when I plug in the Power AC Charger Cable to give it all the juice i can it still makes no difference to the USB Ports?

    Cheers
    MrNeon8

  9. #9

    MrNeon8's Avatar
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    Apple PowerBook G4 1.67 15" (DLSD/HR - Al) M9969LL/A A1138 2GB Ram 80GB HDD. iPad 64GB 3G. iPod 64G
    P.S. dtravis7 I have tried many cables that i have and all show the same end result in not powering up the external HDD to its Full Power for Running, all i get is a Weee Whoo Weee Whoo sound like the Disc inside is trying to Spin up but not getting that extra Power to Spin up continuously!

    Regards
    MrNeon8

  10. #10

    dtravis7's Avatar
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    iMac 2010 27" QuadI7 OSX10.11, iMac 2008 OSX10.11, MBP Late2011OSX10.11 , iPad Air, iPhone 3GS
    You might have mentioned this, but do any of your cables have 2 USB plugs on the one end and if so are you plugging both into both ports? I have never needed to do that with my iBook or Macbook,, but some Windows machines I have owned needed both plugged in or not enough power.

  11. #11


    Member Since
    Apr 24, 2009
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    MacBook Pro 15" 2.8 GHz
    Many of my external USB2 drives won't mount on older Powerbook G4's. They will if I use a USB cable with 2 USB connectors for extra power. The same drives mount normally on newer intel MacBooks and MacBook Pro's. A friends 17" Toshiba Windows laptop behaves just like the old G4's. Unfortunately manufactures of external USB2 hard drives seem to no longer support Apples vintage products with 2 headed USB leads. Firewire 400 or 800 doesn't have problems with power.
    Steve
    UK

  12. #12

    MrNeon8's Avatar
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    Apple PowerBook G4 1.67 15" (DLSD/HR - Al) M9969LL/A A1138 2GB Ram 80GB HDD. iPad 64GB 3G. iPod 64G
    Hi again dtravis7 i have a couple of Y Cables as you state with 2 USB one end and another one splitting off the other like a 3 way USB Cable and yes I have tried both and no luck but if I plug any of these into my Windows PC i can actually just use 1 USB rather than both of them plugged in at the same time if that makes sense!
    1 HDD I bought came with a Double USB Adaptor Y Cable but it only needed 1 USB Socket to the PC and 1 to the HDD to power it up just fine, I then connect to the Powerbook and the smae way and get the Whee Whoo sound so I then used the Y Double USB Cable and Get Whee Click Whoo and then Silent but with a steady light instead of blinking like i got with just one USB Cable connected! All very strange to me as i know USB 2.0 should be the same acroos the board with any Personnel Computer regardless of its Operating System?

    Cheers
    MrNeon8

  13. #13

    MrNeon8's Avatar
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    Apple PowerBook G4 1.67 15" (DLSD/HR - Al) M9969LL/A A1138 2GB Ram 80GB HDD. iPad 64GB 3G. iPod 64G
    Powerbook A1138 G4 1.67ghz 15" will not power any External HDD???
    Hi techiesteve and thanks for the reply and input I cannot see why anything no matter how old if it uses USB 2.0 at 500 mA should be any different than Windows system using the same at 2.0 at 500 mA?
    If a PC/Laptop can use USB 2.0 and run an external HDD then so should any Mac device with a USB 2.0 Port should it not?

    Cheers
    MrNeon8

  14. #14

    dtravis7's Avatar
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    iMac 2010 27" QuadI7 OSX10.11, iMac 2008 OSX10.11, MBP Late2011OSX10.11 , iPad Air, iPhone 3GS
    I am starting to wonder if there is an issue with your USB ports on that Machine. I have used many Powerbooks with external drives as well as iBooks and never had that issue. A Flash drive takes very little power compared to a Rotating hard drive. The sound you say it makes on the Mac sounds like what I have seen when there was not enough power.

  15. #15

    MrNeon8's Avatar
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    Apple PowerBook G4 1.67 15" (DLSD/HR - Al) M9969LL/A A1138 2GB Ram 80GB HDD. iPad 64GB 3G. iPod 64G
    Powerbook A1138 G4 1.67ghz 15" will not power any External HDD???
    Hi again dtravis7 and how would that happen being the Powerbook has two seperate USB Boards 1 Left and 1 Right? Sounds a bit srange that only the USB Power has gone from both boards as the powerbook has 1 port on the left and 1 port on the right but both are working fine for every thing else I plug in and both are showing the 500mA Power to the device that is plugged in? I have also Switched off BlueTooth and AirPort card whilst plugging in the external HDD's too! The Powerbook since i have owned it has never shown any errors etc of any sort other than when it starts it always asks me to allow 2 types of connections to the internet via my Wireless and once I click Allow everything runs fine even if I dont allow it still runs fine just no internet unless i allow the Strings for conection.

    Regards
    MrNeon8

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