News Archive for Friday Dec. 18, 2009     Goto Current News Page

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More reports on 2009 Mac Pro/Pioneer BDR-205 'disappearing drive' (drive sleep) issue
Latest mail on this subject that came up here last month (ref: More Tests on Mac Pro/Pioneer BDR-205 "Disappearing Drive" issue which also had related console/log messages) - not every owner had the problem and disabling drive sleep wasn't a fix for everyone. And regardless for a 2009 Mac Pro at least, an LG BR drive seems a better choice. (I've got an older model (BR burner w/HD-DVD rom support) in an 09 Mac Pro for several months and have had no issues like this.)

"Just bought a Pioneer 205BK (Firmware v1.03) and installed it in my Mac Pro (2009). I'm seeing the sleepy drive problem. Doesn't seem to be related to the Energy Saver "drive sleep" settings, nor to a clash with the existing SuperDrive.
The drive worked fine for a while, then ejecting a disk in the drive failed; it had fallen asleep. The Eject menubar widget hung when pressed. A Terminal command: "drutil tray eject 2", eventually unhung the system but the drive stayed missing in System Profiler, even after a restart.
Next, I tried disconnecting the stock drive and leaving just the Pioneer connected. It appeared and worked for a time, but eventually fell off too.
Now, they're both back connected. While the machine seems OK and both drives eject and function appropriately, I expect the Pioneer to eventually become unresponsive. After last time this happened, a shut down and restart brought them both back. I can live with an occasional restart when I need to use Blu-Ray, so it's probably not going to be returned, at least for now. It's much faster at ripping DVDs than the stock drive.

Happy to do tests to help out. Might try switching the two drives in the chain as a quick test, but the cable is short and I'd have to physically swap the drives. :)
Finally, if it helps narrow anything down, I've seen very similar problems with a Samsung hard drive installed. The drive would fall asleep and not wake up, locking the system. Returned that for a WD and all is good. At least this drive doesn't kill the system when it sleeps.
Cheers, Iain"

The old FAQ item on this issue (going back many years) had some other old tips (including a 'no sleep' script and some have used "drive tickler" type scripts that are used to periodically access drives to prevent them from sleeping). Personally I'd prefer to have a drive that doesn't have this issue of course.
(FYI See Monday's news for Lain's follow-up including an applescript he used to periodically access the drive to prevent it from going to sleep.)

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More on Superdrive firmware update 3.0 (specific drive models affected)
The night that the SuperDrive Firmware update 3.0 was released (Dec 8th news post) I mentioned that it updated an (early 2009) MBP Matshita UJ-868 drive to firmware version KB19 (was KA19). As usual apple didn't list what specific drive brands/models the update was for, but here's a mail today from an LG drive owner on the update:

"I know that the SuperDrive firmware came out around the 8th, but I thought it was noted just for Matsushita drives.
(Apple didn't note what specific drive model(s) it was for, I think he was just referring to my post/FYI.)
I just got the update (today) for my Macbook pro (Unibody, late 2008)... mine is a HL-DT-ST DVDRW Model GS21N. Now updated to SA18.
-Ed S."

I asked if he remembered what the firmware version was before the update. (And assume it stopped the drive clicking/noise after waking from sleep. Update doc also noted boot noise fix, but as most have noted, there's still some (low-volume) noise at boot. Perhaps normal drive seek/check for media.)

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Craftsman Auto Switch (AC outlets with auto power off feature)
(FYI - see my comments and his reply on my concerns over using this sort of device with computer connected ext. HDs, USB devices, Printers, etc.)

"I wanted to share with you a discovery that makes it easy to power down accessory devices such as monitors, printers, sound system components etc. when you either shut down or put your computer to sleep.

The Craftsman Auto Switch senses when your computer is in a low or no-power mode and shuts off power to anything plugged into the two additional outlets. $20 at Sears.
-Larry K."

BTW - with my Safari settings that link didn't work (repeatedly redirecting) but did work in FF (where I have cookies, etc enabled - but set to clear on exit). There's 10 reviews of the product there (with the usual mix of good and bad experiences).
FYI - I might use one of these on something like a TV (to power off DVD player, receiver, etc. when TV in standby), but there's some devices used with computers that I would not want connected to those outlets - such as ext drives I have mounted (my ministack already sleeps and wakes its HD when I sleep/wake the iMac it's connected to) and my printer - which goes though a long/noisy initialization at powerup. As often as I sleep/wake the main work machine, I'd never want my printer going through that every time I wake the mac (dozens of times a day). And I've seen the mac wake from sleep if some connected devices (especially USB) are power cycled when in sleep. I asked Larry about that and he later replied:

"Hi Mike, I first started to use this to power-off my dual monitors since the switches were hard to reach. I have one on my wife's computer because she so often forgets to power-off the printer.
You're right though, when I tried using it to power down a Seagate usb hard drive when sleeping the computer the computer cycled back on. (That's what I thought may happen and again I'd not want to connect my ext HDs nor my printer to one of these.-Mike)
My sound system is switched off when I sleep the machine.
But it depends how the each device's internal switch works. The monitors once switched on stayed switched on, but the sound system once de-powered has to be switched back on manually after system sleep.
-Larry"

I prefer a manual method (for years using switched outlet strips) and back in the 90's bought one of those bases (for CRT displays back then) that has a row of power switches to power on/off various devices (main, computer, printer, etc.). And I mentioned earlier this year had I bought a Belkin Conserve that has 2 always on outlets and either 6 or 8 (depending on model) outlets that can be switched on/off with an included remote control. (Mine is the 8 outlet model, bought at local store as "last one" for $29.xx IIRC.) As I mentioned in that earlier post, some had reported the remote had failed after some use, although mine is still working (and is a different PN remote than original models IIRC - not sure if they changed the design/improved it).
Although I also have a DVD player, Receiver, etc. on the switched outlets, one of the main reasons I bought mine was for the Apple TV, which has no off switch and (based on a post on the Apple TV page when they first shipped) draws 25 to 28 Watts in 'standby' mode. Some may feel that's not a good thing to switch off power to the AppleTV, but I'd been doing that since day 1 (years now). YMMV.

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Apple Support/How-To/Troubleshooting Doc Updates

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Recent Articles and Reviews
Listing/links to recent articles and reviews you may have missed.
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