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I have a brand new external hard drive which frequently ejects itself on a regular basis (every ~20 minutes or so), seemingly only when I have Aperture open (my Aperture library is located on the external hard drive). The disk works perfectly fine for long periods of time when I am not using Aperture.

I have read many places online that this could be related to disk inactivity sleep, disk journaling, Spotlight indexing, faulty Firewire cables, faulty Firewire ports, hard drives which are about to die, etc. However, the disk seems to work perfectly fine when I am not using it for Aperture and none of the many forum threads I have found have pointed me in the right direction.

Does anyone have any ideas on how to identify and fix this issue?

Thanks in advance.

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3 Answers 3

A book was just released by SCSC called "Hard Drive Troubleshooting," which mentions disk ejection in numerous places. The book is free and you can get it by going to:

http://www.scsc-online.com

Go to the downloads section and click on the book to download it.

I would think that if the drive is failing over a specific region, the disk will issue I/O errors and MAY timeout causing the system to think the drive is no longer connected. I believe the book mentions something like a 60 second timeout. To me, that would sound either like bad sectors on the drive OR corrupt data on the drive that the system can't make sense of. For example, if your file xyz.dat is either corrupt or unreadable and it just happens to be read by Aperture (and ONLY Aperature) then the problem would occur only when Aperture in use.

If you haven't tried Disk Utility on the drive to verify/repair it, I would do so.

...If you're using Mountain Lion, all bets are off.

Hope this helps.

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up vote 1 down vote accepted

After long conversations with Apple tech support and also LaCie tech support, we managed to figure out what the issue was. I figured I would add it here, for completeness sake, in case anyone else is experiencing the same issue.

Basically, the external hard drive was powered through the Firewire port; it didn't have an external power source. The problem was that I was trying to import a lot of pictures (around 20 thousand .raw format images) into an Aperture library on the external hard drive, from the external hard drive itself (the pictures were also located on the same drive). This would cause the device to not have enough power, which would force it to "eject" itself.

After moving the pictures onto a different hard drive and then importing them from there, I no longer experienced this problem. Just make sure the pictures you are trying to import and the Aperture library live on different hard drives, basically.

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I think what you're really saying is that when the LaCie drive is under load, it can't handle it and the power supply faults, or the Mac can't supply the amount of power it needs to the unit over a sustained period of time. This is either, IMHO, not a good design on the part of one or the other, or a faulty unit, on the part of one or the other. That simply shouldn't happen. I'd be willing to bet that one or the other is faulty. You might be able to get some power consumption specs from Apple regarding how much power the FireWire port is capable of delivering, vs. how much your LaCie is capable of consuming.

I think you should list the drive model number to see if others are running into the same problem. Power supplies have thermal shutdown circuitry that kicks in if they detect overheating, which is typically due to current load (as in too much load). Unfortunately, the thermal sensors have high variation and aren't really that reliable. Whether it's on the Mac or the LaCie is something I can't determine, after all I have no access to your units.

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Thanks for the info! I'll see if I can find out exactly what's causing it. Interestingly, after I switched to USB 2.0, I haven't seem the issue anymore. –  Leif Oct 7 '12 at 15:31

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