GAP
Posts: 125
Joined: Thu Apr 12, 2018 9:18 am
Location: New South Wales Australia

(Solved) Is using a non powered USB HDD possible with a Pi3B+ ?

Sun Aug 12, 2018 7:22 am

Is it possible to get a definitive answer from the Raspberry Pi Foundation engineering people or another authorative source on whether it is possible to use a non separately powered USB HDD (powered from the USB port) with a raspberry Pi 3B+?

If this sort of question is posed on multiple fora and via Google the number of yes/no answers is mind boggling.

Seems everybody who has a PI has an opinion and for a new user it is so confusing.

If this answer has been provided previously then some direction to it would be greatly appreciated.

I have been struggling with booting from a self powered HDD and my frustration levels are now through the roof, it may be the case that I have the worng type of HDD, but before I spend money on buying something else I would like to know that I am not wasting my money.

I am fully aware of the "Pi Drive" existence but its capacity of 375GB is not enough and I would a 1TB one , which according to Google exists, but cannot find one online.
Last edited by GAP on Tue Aug 14, 2018 9:29 am, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
rpdom
Posts: 12945
Joined: Sun May 06, 2012 5:17 am
Location: Ankh-Morpork

Re: Is using a non powered USB HDD possible with a Pi3B+ ?

Sun Aug 12, 2018 8:10 am

It seems to depend on the drive. I have a Pi 3B+ (running headless) that boots and runs happily from a 2TB USB drive using just the official Pi power supply. I also have a Pi 3B and a Pi 2B that use similar 2TB drives for storage, but boot from SD cards. I couldn't get the 3B to boot directly from HDD, but it did work from a USB stick.

In all those cases the HDD gets its power from the PI USB. No extra power supplies.

achrn
Posts: 326
Joined: Wed Feb 13, 2013 1:22 pm

Re: Is using a non powered USB HDD possible with a Pi3B+ ?

Sun Aug 12, 2018 8:31 am

What do you consider a definitive answer?

If at least one person on the planet is running a USB-powered drive on a Pi3B then you've got a definitive answer that it's possible in some situations. Conversely, I think it's self-evident that you're not going to get the response that every possible configuration is going to work.

Anyway:

Pi3B+:

Code: Select all

[email protected]:/mnt/foobar# cat /proc/cpuinfo
processor	: 0
model name	: ARMv7 Processor rev 4 (v7l)
BogoMIPS	: 38.40
Features	: half thumb fastmult vfp edsp neon vfpv3 tls vfpv4 idiva idivt vfpd32 lpae evtstrm crc32 
CPU implementer	: 0x41
CPU architecture: 7
CPU variant	: 0x0
CPU part	: 0xd03
CPU revision	: 4

processor	: 1
model name	: ARMv7 Processor rev 4 (v7l)
BogoMIPS	: 38.40
Features	: half thumb fastmult vfp edsp neon vfpv3 tls vfpv4 idiva idivt vfpd32 lpae evtstrm crc32 
CPU implementer	: 0x41
CPU architecture: 7
CPU variant	: 0x0
CPU part	: 0xd03
CPU revision	: 4

processor	: 2
model name	: ARMv7 Processor rev 4 (v7l)
BogoMIPS	: 38.40
Features	: half thumb fastmult vfp edsp neon vfpv3 tls vfpv4 idiva idivt vfpd32 lpae evtstrm crc32 
CPU implementer	: 0x41
CPU architecture: 7
CPU variant	: 0x0
CPU part	: 0xd03
CPU revision	: 4

processor	: 3
model name	: ARMv7 Processor rev 4 (v7l)
BogoMIPS	: 38.40
Features	: half thumb fastmult vfp edsp neon vfpv3 tls vfpv4 idiva idivt vfpd32 lpae evtstrm crc32 
CPU implementer	: 0x41
CPU architecture: 7
CPU variant	: 0x0
CPU part	: 0xd03
CPU revision	: 4

Hardware	: BCM2835
Revision	: a020d3
Serial		: 000000009d887436
USB drive:

Code: Select all

[email protected]:/home/pi# lsusb
Bus 001 Device 006: ID 2c99:0001  
Bus 001 Device 007: ID 1058:10b8 Western Digital Technologies, Inc. Elements Portable (WDBU6Y, WDBUZG)
Bus 001 Device 005: ID 0424:7800 Standard Microsystems Corp. 
Bus 001 Device 003: ID 0424:2514 Standard Microsystems Corp. USB 2.0 Hub
Bus 001 Device 002: ID 0424:2514 Standard Microsystems Corp. USB 2.0 Hub
Bus 001 Device 001: ID 1d6b:0002 Linux Foundation 2.0 root hub
running:

Code: Select all

[email protected]:/mnt/foobar# df -h
Filesystem      Size  Used Avail Use% Mounted on
/dev/root        15G  1.7G   13G  12% /
devtmpfs        434M     0  434M   0% /dev
tmpfs           438M     0  438M   0% /dev/shm
tmpfs           438M   17M  421M   4% /run
tmpfs           5.0M  4.0K  5.0M   1% /run/lock
tmpfs           438M     0  438M   0% /sys/fs/cgroup
/dev/mmcblk0p1   43M   22M   21M  51% /boot
tmpfs            88M     0   88M   0% /run/user/1000
/dev/sda1       1.8T  662G  1.1T  39% /mnt/foobar
[email protected]:/mnt/foobar# ls -lR /mnt/foobar | head -19
/mnt/foobar:
total 24
drwxr-xr-x 26 1001 1001 12288 Jul  2 05:28 archives
drwxr-xr-x  2 1001 1004  4096 Aug 12 00:05 dbs
drwxr-xr-x  6 1001 1001  4096 Apr 13 12:38 live
drwx------  2 root root  4096 Sep  7  2017 lost+found

/mnt/foobar/archives:
total 7168
drwxr-xr-x    9 root root    4096 Apr 27  2015 acheron_archive_latest
drwxr-xr-x 1106 root root   36864 Aug 11 23:55 acheron_archive_previous
-rw-r--r--    1 root root    2020 Aug 11 23:55 _acheron_changed_file_list
-rw-r--r--    1 root root     190 Aug 11 23:55 _acheron_deleted_file_list
-rw-r--r--    1 root root     332 Aug 11 23:12 _acheron_exclude_auto
-rw-r--r--    1 root root    1201 Jun 18  2017 _acheron_exclude_manual
-rw-r--r--    1 root root 2136905 Aug 11 23:55 _acheron_file_details
-rw-r--r--    1 root root      56 Feb  3  2017 _acheron_include
-rw-r--r--    1 root root     213 Aug 11 23:55 _acheron_new_file_list
-rw-r--r--    1 root root      36 Aug 11 23:12 _acheron_start_backup_at
That's a 2TB spinning-rust USB HDD running on a raspberry Pi 3B+ with no power supply except to the Pi through the standard micro-USB power connector and just a single USB cable (the one that it came with) from Pi to drive with no other connection to the drive. Indeed, the drive has no connector for any power input. There was no clever config on recent Pis, just buy drive, plug it in (though I did reformat it to ext4 and sometimes add a relevant entry to /etc/fstab if it's going on one Pi semi-permanently). It's a 'WD Elements' portable USB drive. The part number on the enclosure is WDBU6Y0020BBK-05 but the part number on the drive inside the enclosure is WD20NMVW. This seems to be the current version: http://www.argos.co.uk/product/8239842 (though that's presumably not useful outside the UK) and might even be exactly the same - it looks the same externally from the pictures, but the externals is just an enclosure for a standard form factor HDD, and I bought mine years ago so might be differently internally.

I've used this drive on several Pis, from an early B onwards. Early ones needed the USB port current setting in /boot/config but newer ones are happy without. It needs a good power supply to the Pi.

I don't boot from it.

drgeoff
Posts: 8747
Joined: Wed Jan 25, 2012 6:39 pm

Re: Is using a non powered USB HDD possible with a Pi3B+ ?

Sun Aug 12, 2018 8:39 am

You need to clarify what "using" means,

A 2.5 inch external USB powered drive should not require more power than a RPi 3B+ can supply through one of its USB ports, provided the PSU is adequate and the other USB ports are not heavily loaded. With a RPi booted from SD card the hard drive will provide extra storage.

The 3B+ has the capability to boot from USB drives. Whether it will boot from a particular model of USB hard drive is more difficult to say.

k-pi
Posts: 646
Joined: Sun Feb 12, 2017 1:46 pm
Location: Upper Hale, Surrey, UK.

Re: Is using a non powered USB HDD possible with a Pi3B+ ?

Sun Aug 12, 2018 9:06 am

I have found that with my 2 RPi3B & my RPi3B+, using the official power supply, that none of my HDD nor SSD drives would boot from the power supplied through the USB ports.

I have to power them all individually, however they all boot up, (on both my RPi3B the OTB is set).

I have no problems booting from pendrives, or from SDHC cards in an adapter, powered only by the USB port.

I do not use microSD cards on any of my RPi3B units.

drgeoff
Posts: 8747
Joined: Wed Jan 25, 2012 6:39 pm

Re: Is using a non powered USB HDD possible with a Pi3B+ ?

Sun Aug 12, 2018 9:35 am

k-pi wrote:
Sun Aug 12, 2018 9:06 am
I have found that with my 2 RPi3B & my RPi3B+, using the official power supply, that none of my HDD nor SSD drives would boot from the power supplied through the USB ports.

I have to power them all individually, however they all boot up, (on both my RPi3B the OTB is set).

I have no problems booting from pendrives, or from SDHC cards in an adapter, powered only by the USB port.

I do not use microSD cards on any of my RPi3B units.
Possibly it is the spin-up time of the HDD drives that is the issue, rather than the power they require. If you externally power up a drive before powering up the RPi the drive is more likely to be ready in time for the RPI to boot from it.

But I am surprised that the SSDs would not boot.

GAP
Posts: 125
Joined: Thu Apr 12, 2018 9:18 am
Location: New South Wales Australia

Re: Is using a non powered USB HDD possible with a Pi3B+ ?

Sun Aug 12, 2018 10:13 am

achrn wrote:
Sun Aug 12, 2018 8:31 am
What do you consider a definitive answer?

If at least one person on the planet is running a USB-powered drive on a Pi3B then you've got a definitive answer that it's possible in some situations. Conversely, I think it's self-evident that you're not going to get the response that every possible configuration is going to work.

Anyway:

Pi3B+:

Code: Select all

[email protected]:/mnt/foobar# cat /proc/cpuinfo
processor	: 0
model name	: ARMv7 Processor rev 4 (v7l)
BogoMIPS	: 38.40
Features	: half thumb fastmult vfp edsp neon vfpv3 tls vfpv4 idiva idivt vfpd32 lpae evtstrm crc32 
CPU implementer	: 0x41
CPU architecture: 7
CPU variant	: 0x0
CPU part	: 0xd03
CPU revision	: 4

processor	: 1
model name	: ARMv7 Processor rev 4 (v7l)
BogoMIPS	: 38.40
Features	: half thumb fastmult vfp edsp neon vfpv3 tls vfpv4 idiva idivt vfpd32 lpae evtstrm crc32 
CPU implementer	: 0x41
CPU architecture: 7
CPU variant	: 0x0
CPU part	: 0xd03
CPU revision	: 4

processor	: 2
model name	: ARMv7 Processor rev 4 (v7l)
BogoMIPS	: 38.40
Features	: half thumb fastmult vfp edsp neon vfpv3 tls vfpv4 idiva idivt vfpd32 lpae evtstrm crc32 
CPU implementer	: 0x41
CPU architecture: 7
CPU variant	: 0x0
CPU part	: 0xd03
CPU revision	: 4

processor	: 3
model name	: ARMv7 Processor rev 4 (v7l)
BogoMIPS	: 38.40
Features	: half thumb fastmult vfp edsp neon vfpv3 tls vfpv4 idiva idivt vfpd32 lpae evtstrm crc32 
CPU implementer	: 0x41
CPU architecture: 7
CPU variant	: 0x0
CPU part	: 0xd03
CPU revision	: 4

Hardware	: BCM2835
Revision	: a020d3
Serial		: 000000009d887436
USB drive:

Code: Select all

[email protected]:/home/pi# lsusb
Bus 001 Device 006: ID 2c99:0001  
Bus 001 Device 007: ID 1058:10b8 Western Digital Technologies, Inc. Elements Portable (WDBU6Y, WDBUZG)
Bus 001 Device 005: ID 0424:7800 Standard Microsystems Corp. 
Bus 001 Device 003: ID 0424:2514 Standard Microsystems Corp. USB 2.0 Hub
Bus 001 Device 002: ID 0424:2514 Standard Microsystems Corp. USB 2.0 Hub
Bus 001 Device 001: ID 1d6b:0002 Linux Foundation 2.0 root hub
running:

Code: Select all

[email protected]:/mnt/foobar# df -h
Filesystem      Size  Used Avail Use% Mounted on
/dev/root        15G  1.7G   13G  12% /
devtmpfs        434M     0  434M   0% /dev
tmpfs           438M     0  438M   0% /dev/shm
tmpfs           438M   17M  421M   4% /run
tmpfs           5.0M  4.0K  5.0M   1% /run/lock
tmpfs           438M     0  438M   0% /sys/fs/cgroup
/dev/mmcblk0p1   43M   22M   21M  51% /boot
tmpfs            88M     0   88M   0% /run/user/1000
/dev/sda1       1.8T  662G  1.1T  39% /mnt/foobar
[email protected]:/mnt/foobar# ls -lR /mnt/foobar | head -19
/mnt/foobar:
total 24
drwxr-xr-x 26 1001 1001 12288 Jul  2 05:28 archives
drwxr-xr-x  2 1001 1004  4096 Aug 12 00:05 dbs
drwxr-xr-x  6 1001 1001  4096 Apr 13 12:38 live
drwx------  2 root root  4096 Sep  7  2017 lost+found

/mnt/foobar/archives:
total 7168
drwxr-xr-x    9 root root    4096 Apr 27  2015 acheron_archive_latest
drwxr-xr-x 1106 root root   36864 Aug 11 23:55 acheron_archive_previous
-rw-r--r--    1 root root    2020 Aug 11 23:55 _acheron_changed_file_list
-rw-r--r--    1 root root     190 Aug 11 23:55 _acheron_deleted_file_list
-rw-r--r--    1 root root     332 Aug 11 23:12 _acheron_exclude_auto
-rw-r--r--    1 root root    1201 Jun 18  2017 _acheron_exclude_manual
-rw-r--r--    1 root root 2136905 Aug 11 23:55 _acheron_file_details
-rw-r--r--    1 root root      56 Feb  3  2017 _acheron_include
-rw-r--r--    1 root root     213 Aug 11 23:55 _acheron_new_file_list
-rw-r--r--    1 root root      36 Aug 11 23:12 _acheron_start_backup_at
That's a 2TB spinning-rust USB HDD running on a raspberry Pi 3B+ with no power supply except to the Pi through the standard micro-USB power connector and just a single USB cable (the one that it came with) from Pi to drive with no other connection to the drive. Indeed, the drive has no connector for any power input. There was no clever config on recent Pis, just buy drive, plug it in (though I did reformat it to ext4 and sometimes add a relevant entry to /etc/fstab if it's going on one Pi semi-permanently). It's a 'WD Elements' portable USB drive. The part number on the enclosure is WDBU6Y0020BBK-05 but the part number on the drive inside the enclosure is WD20NMVW. This seems to be the current version: http://www.argos.co.uk/product/8239842 (though that's presumably not useful outside the UK) and might even be exactly the same - it looks the same externally from the pictures, but the externals is just an enclosure for a standard form factor HDD, and I bought mine years ago so might be differently internally.

I've used this drive on several Pis, from an early B onwards. Early ones needed the USB port current setting in /boot/config but newer ones are happy without. It needs a good power supply to the Pi.

I don't boot from it.
Definitive "a conclusion or agreement done or reached decisively and with authority", perhaps I should have used authoritative.

Providing an example of a process being successfully in operation (used) is not an authoritative yes or no answer.

A definitive/authoritative answer would be; Yes if these parameters are met or No it is not possible.

Perhaps I did not frame my question correctly.

How about I rephrase it as "can I buy a USB HDD off the shelf and be able to run it off a Pi with no issue of power problems using only an official Raspberry Pi Power Supply connected to my Pi?"

The responses so far are indicative of what I am being confronted with every time I search for an answer and for a brand new Pi user with an old HDD this is becoming off putting about my going any further with my Pi.

The answer provided does give me some hope that what I would like to do is possible, but it really does not help me make any definite decision of whether to go and buy a HDD or not.

Unfortunately for me the code provided is way beyond my comprehension and I do not understand any of it, sorry I'm a new very inexperienced user.


I apologise in advance if this seems confrontational but after messing around with my Pi for months now getting help from the forum I have now entered frustration territory.

drgeoff
Posts: 8747
Joined: Wed Jan 25, 2012 6:39 pm

Re: Is using a non powered USB HDD possible with a Pi3B+ ?

Sun Aug 12, 2018 10:32 am

@GAP

You've had authoritative answers to the question "Is using a non powered USB HDD possible with a Pi3B+ ?"

Same as "Is winning the lottery possible with a ticket?"

Furthermore, you have not clarified what you mean by "using".

No has (yet) said that they were unable to use a USB powered drive with a RPI 3B+ that booted from SD card, used the official PSU and did not have other heavy current USB peripherals plugged in.
Last edited by drgeoff on Sun Aug 12, 2018 10:38 am, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
PeterO
Posts: 4292
Joined: Sun Jul 22, 2012 4:14 pm

Re: Is using a non powered USB HDD possible with a Pi3B+ ?

Sun Aug 12, 2018 10:35 am

GAP wrote:
Sun Aug 12, 2018 10:13 am
How about I rephrase it as "can I buy a USB HDD off the shelf and be able to run it off a Pi with no issue of power problems using only an official Raspberry Pi Power Supply connected to my Pi?"
You can rephrase it how ever you like, it won't make any difference to the answers you get.

If the answer given is "YES" and you buy one that doesn't work , you are going to complain,
If the answer given is "NO" you are going to complain because some people have ones that do work and thus you were given the wrong answer.

It's a loose-loose situation.....

The answer (that you don't seem content to accept) is "It depends on the particular drive". Some work, some don't.

The question you need to ask is "Which models of drive do work when connected directly to the PI". That way you might get some useful answers.

PeterO
Last edited by PeterO on Sun Aug 12, 2018 11:09 am, edited 1 time in total.
Discoverer of the PI2 XENON DEATH FLASH!
Interests: C,Python,PIC,Electronics,Ham Radio (G0DZB),Aeromodelling,1960s British Computers.
"The primary requirement (as we've always seen in your examples) is that the code is readable. " Dougie Lawson

jbudd
Posts: 716
Joined: Mon Dec 16, 2013 10:23 am

Re: Is using a non powered USB HDD possible with a Pi3B+ ?

Sun Aug 12, 2018 10:46 am

You cannot expect that just any off the shelf USB hard drive will work with your Pi 3B+ without some effort.

There are (at least) two problem areas:
The Pi's USB port may not be able to provide enough power for the initial spin-up of the drive.
The Pi may try to boot before the drive is up to speed.

You can address the first by powering the drive through a powered USB hub with a high power output, or possibly with a Western Digital Pi-Drive cable. That provides power to the hard drive first, then from the drive to the Pi. It can be used with any USB3 drive. Unfortunately WD have discontinued the Pi-Drive products.
Alternatively find a drive with low start-up power requirements. No I don't know of one but it's a fair bet that a mainstream manufacturer's product designed for USB is better than an internal laptop drive in a caddy.

To address the second you have to tell the Pi to wait a little time before booting.

Edit: Although the Pi-Drive had a USB3 interface, the Pi has USB2. I suspect that the USB3 specification is higher power and you are better to consider a USB2 drive.

lewmur
Posts: 354
Joined: Sun Dec 25, 2011 3:20 pm
Contact: Website

Re: Is using a non powered USB HDD possible with a Pi3B+ ?

Sun Aug 12, 2018 3:41 pm

GAP wrote:
Sun Aug 12, 2018 7:22 am
Is it possible to get a definitive answer from the Raspberry Pi Foundation engineering people or another authorative source on whether it is possible to use a non separately powered USB HDD (powered from the USB port) with a raspberry Pi 3B+?

If this sort of question is posed on multiple fora and via Google the number of yes/no answers is mind boggling.

Seems everybody who has a PI has an opinion and for a new user it is so confusing.

If this answer has been provided previously then some direction to it would be greatly appreciated.

I have been struggling with booting from a self powered HDD and my frustration levels are now through the roof, it may be the case that I have the worng type of HDD, but before I spend money on buying something else I would like to know that I am not wasting my money.

I am fully aware of the "Pi Drive" existence but its capacity of 375GB is not enough and I would a 1TB one , which according to Google exists, but cannot find one online.
You can't get a "definitive answer" because one doesn't exist. :( Not all HDD's have the same power requirements. Some will work and others won't. In general, you will have a better chance with newer 2.5" drives. I have a 1tb drive, rated at 850 ma, connected to a 3B with a 2 A PSU. It works fine. But I don't have any other USB devices draining power. And even though it is working, I get an "under voltage detected" message during boot. And, I'm booting from the SD card and not the USB drive.

lewmur
Posts: 354
Joined: Sun Dec 25, 2011 3:20 pm
Contact: Website

Re: Is using a non powered USB HDD possible with a Pi3B+ ?

Sun Aug 12, 2018 3:57 pm

jbudd wrote:
Sun Aug 12, 2018 10:46 am
You cannot expect that just any off the shelf USB hard drive will work with your Pi 3B+ without some effort.

There are (at least) two problem areas:
The Pi's USB port may not be able to provide enough power for the initial spin-up of the drive.
The Pi may try to boot before the drive is up to speed.

You can address the first by powering the drive through a powered USB hub with a high power output, or possibly with a Western Digital Pi-Drive cable. That provides power to the hard drive first, then from the drive to the Pi. It can be used with any USB3 drive. Unfortunately WD have discontinued the Pi-Drive products.
Alternatively find a drive with low start-up power requirements. No I don't know of one but it's a fair bet that a mainstream manufacturer's product designed for USB is better than an internal laptop drive in a caddy.

To address the second you have to tell the Pi to wait a little time before booting.

Edit: Although the Pi-Drive had a USB3 interface, the Pi has USB2. I suspect that the USB3 specification is higher power and you are better to consider a USB2 drive.
Two points. One, USB3 has a higher power rating for the host, not the device. The Pi-Drive requires no more power than a USB 2 device. Two, Linux will wait for USB drives to ready before starting the boot process. So spin up time is not relevant.

User avatar
rpdom
Posts: 12945
Joined: Sun May 06, 2012 5:17 am
Location: Ankh-Morpork

Re: Is using a non powered USB HDD possible with a Pi3B+ ?

Sun Aug 12, 2018 5:16 pm

lewmur wrote:
Sun Aug 12, 2018 3:57 pm
Linux will wait for USB drives to ready before starting the boot process. So spin up time is not relevant.
If booting from the external drive, Linux hasn't even been loaded at this point.

I understand that the internal boot ROM on the 3B+ is slightly different from the one in the 3B. Drives that wouldn't boot on my 3B will happily boot on my 3B+. I suspect some of that may be due to allowing for longer spin-up times, and possibly support for more types of devices.

User avatar
HawaiianPi
Posts: 3028
Joined: Mon Apr 08, 2013 4:53 am
Location: Aloha, Oregon USA

Re: Is using a non powered USB HDD possible with a Pi3B+ ?

Sun Aug 12, 2018 10:18 pm

GAP wrote:
Sun Aug 12, 2018 7:22 am
Is it possible to get a definitive answer from the Raspberry Pi Foundation engineering people or another authorative source on whether it is possible to use a non separately powered USB HDD (powered from the USB port) with a raspberry Pi 3B+?
Is it possible to "use" a portable, USB powered HDD? Absolutely!

However, using a drive and booting from one are different questions. The reasons the answers are confusing is that the answer is complicated.

The SoC used in the Raspberry has a limited amount of mask ROM space, and because of that the boot-loader code is small, simple, and not compatible with all USB drives. Some drives work as expected (boot and reboot). Some only partially work (boot, but not reboot), and some USB drives will not work as a boot device at all (but will work fine as a storage device after the system is booted). As rpdom said above, the boot-loader in the newer 3B+ model has been improved, but it doesn't completely solve the problems with all drives.

Mechanical hard drives tend to be the most problematic, due to the time it takes them to spin-up and get ready (contrary to what some have posted above, power should not be a problem). There are some workarounds, but they either involve starting the boot process from a micro-SD card, or setting some additional One Time Programmable bits.

The simple solution is to try the bootcode.bin only method. Grab the latest Raspbian image and use Etcher to write it directly to your USB HDD (caution, this will erase everything on the HDD, so backup any important data before writing an image). Next, format a micro-SD card with the FAT32 file system and copy just the bootcode.bin file from the "boot" partition of the Raspbian imaged USB hard drive to the FAT32 micro-SD card (you can also download bootcode.bin by clicking here).

Now try and boot your system with the micro-SD card and hard drive. If it still doesn't work, then try adding an empty file named "timeout" to the micro-SD card to increase the wait time for the USB drive to get ready. If even that doesn't work, you likely have a drive that is not compatible with the Raspberry Pi boot-loader.

I have successfully run my Pi3B and 3B+ computers from a variety of SATA SSD models using SATA-USB adapter cables or external enclosures.

Image

Image

An SSD will usually work better because it takes less time to get ready than a hard drive. However, some of the really cheap non-name-brand SSD models have still caused trouble for some (I've had good luck with the Silicon Power A55 models, if you're looking for something affordable).
My mind is like a browser. 27 tabs are open, 9 aren't responding,
lots of pop-ups...and where is that annoying music coming from?

GAP
Posts: 125
Joined: Thu Apr 12, 2018 9:18 am
Location: New South Wales Australia

Re: Is using a non powered USB HDD possible with a Pi3B+ ?

Mon Aug 13, 2018 8:51 am

By way of explanation;
@drgeoff - I interpret “using” as being able to plug in, read from, write to, share over a network, possibly boot my Pi from it etc.

@ PeterO – “If the answer given is "YES" and you buy one that doesn't work , you are going to complain, If the answer given is "NO" you are going to complain because some people have ones that do work and thus you were given the wrong answer. “

If I received either answer; the next logical question would have been to ask is what type/model people using and how they get it working or what alternative methods are available? I would not go and buy one blindly.
Bit of background I do technical assessment/procurement of aviation electronic equipment for a living, so I would not habitually go down the blind purchase path rather I would seek informed alternatives if they are available.

I already have a powered HDD which is having issues with Pi and requires substitution hence the looking at the suitability of a USB powered device as an alternative.

@achrn - “That's a 2TB spinning-rust USB HDD (new term I have not heard before) running on a raspberry Pi 3B+ with no power supply except to the Pi through the standard micro-USB power connector and just a single USB cable (the one that it came with) from Pi to drive with no other connection to the drive.”
This is exactly the type of information I was seeking and mostly answered my question.

I am surmising that this is the HDD being used “Western Digital Technologies, Inc. Elements Portable (WDBU6Y (2TB), WDBUZG (500GB)”, I had the code explained to me as I have limited exposure to code, so another step in my Pi learning process.
I plan on investigating the WDBUZG0010BBK which is 1TB but considering you have a 2TB one working extrapolating that it should work for me.
I would appreciate it if you could provide a guide for me to follow on how to get the HDD working keeping in mind that I am totally new to this.

The whole point of the question asked in this thread was to determine if my Pi3B+ had the capability to power a USB HDD from the USB port and after reviewing the answers here I feel that the answer is Yes it feasible and it should be possible to power a HDD from my Pi USB port albeit with selected HDDs.

I will now move onto the next step in the project I am undertaking (making my Pi into a desktop replacement) and will be asking “Could I please get an indication of which models of drive do work for people when connected directly to the PI? I am trying to boot from a HDD.” (Already have 1 candidate in mind).

The methods of how boot from a HDD aspect of the project have been suggested a number of times from other people on the forum in other threads, but hardware incompatibility seems to be the root cause of failure for me.

I now have a way ahead that may allow me to achieve my final objective of using my Pi as a desktop booting from a HDD rather than an SD card (another thread covers this).

Many thanks to all who answered I now have an answer to my original question.

GAP
Posts: 125
Joined: Thu Apr 12, 2018 9:18 am
Location: New South Wales Australia

Re: Is using a non powered USB HDD possible with a Pi3B+ ?

Mon Aug 13, 2018 8:54 am

HawaiianPi wrote:
Sun Aug 12, 2018 10:18 pm
GAP wrote:
Sun Aug 12, 2018 7:22 am
Is it possible to get a definitive answer from the Raspberry Pi Foundation engineering people or another authorative source on whether it is possible to use a non separately powered USB HDD (powered from the USB port) with a raspberry Pi 3B+?
Is it possible to "use" a portable, USB powered HDD? Absolutely!

However, using a drive and booting from one are different questions. The reasons the answers are confusing is that the answer is complicated.

The SoC used in the Raspberry has a limited amount of mask ROM space, and because of that the boot-loader code is small, simple, and not compatible with all USB drives. Some drives work as expected (boot and reboot). Some only partially work (boot, but not reboot), and some USB drives will not work as a boot device at all (but will work fine as a storage device after the system is booted). As rpdom said above, the boot-loader in the newer 3B+ model has been improved, but it doesn't completely solve the problems with all drives.

Mechanical hard drives tend to be the most problematic, due to the time it takes them to spin-up and get ready (contrary to what some have posted above, power should not be a problem). There are some workarounds, but they either involve starting the boot process from a micro-SD card, or setting some additional One Time Programmable bits.

The simple solution is to try the bootcode.bin only method. Grab the latest Raspbian image and use Etcher to write it directly to your USB HDD (caution, this will erase everything on the HDD, so backup any important data before writing an image). Next, format a micro-SD card with the FAT32 file system and copy just the bootcode.bin file from the "boot" partition of the Raspbian imaged USB hard drive to the FAT32 micro-SD card (you can also download bootcode.bin by clicking here).

Now try and boot your system with the micro-SD card and hard drive. If it still doesn't work, then try adding an empty file named "timeout" to the micro-SD card to increase the wait time for the USB drive to get ready. If even that doesn't work, you likely have a drive that is not compatible with the Raspberry Pi boot-loader.

I have successfully run my Pi3B and 3B+ computers from a variety of SATA SSD models using SATA-USB adapter cables or external enclosures.

Image

Image

An SSD will usually work better because it takes less time to get ready than a hard drive. However, some of the really cheap non-name-brand SSD models have still caused trouble for some (I've had good luck with the Silicon Power A55 models, if you're looking for something affordable).
This the sort of thing I am trying to do but with mechanical HDDs, I have no exposure to SSDs and where I am they are rather expensive, not that I won't look at them as a possible solution.

User avatar
RaTTuS
Posts: 10119
Joined: Tue Nov 29, 2011 11:12 am
Location: North West UK

Re: Is using a non powered USB HDD possible with a Pi3B+ ?

Mon Aug 13, 2018 9:00 am

in general all 2.5" drives will work via a usb adaptor , providing you are using a good quality PSU for the RPi, [no brown outs - stable 5V at the pi end]
newer drives will be better
in practice you may find issues with some , though those will probably be older ones
How To ask Questions :- http://www.catb.org/esr/faqs/smart-questions.html
WARNING - some parts of this post may be erroneous YMMV

1QC43qbL5FySu2Pi51vGqKqxy3UiJgukSX
Covfefe

GAP
Posts: 125
Joined: Thu Apr 12, 2018 9:18 am
Location: New South Wales Australia

Re: Is using a non powered USB HDD possible with a Pi3B+ ?

Mon Aug 13, 2018 9:06 am

RaTTuS wrote:
Mon Aug 13, 2018 9:00 am
in general all 2.5" drives will work via a usb adaptor , providing you are using a good quality PSU for the RPi, [no brown outs - stable 5V at the pi end]
newer drives will be better
in practice you may find issues with some , though those will probably be older ones
Thank you the HDD I am using is one of the very brick like Wester Digital HDDs and I am now convince that it is what is causing my frustration with this project.

ejolson
Posts: 2155
Joined: Tue Mar 18, 2014 11:47 am

Re: Is using a non powered USB HDD possible with a Pi3B+ ?

Mon Aug 13, 2018 10:20 am

GAP wrote:
Mon Aug 13, 2018 9:06 am
Thank you the HDD I am using is one of the very brick like Wester Digital HDDs and I am now convince that it is what is causing my frustration with this project.
While it's possible the drive is a problem, I've never had trouble plugging an externally powered 3.5" USB drive into a Pi.

I would suggest starting with a fresh install of Raspbian on an SD card. Boot the SD card then plug your old drive into the Pi. If it works, the problem is only with USB booting.

I think very few people boot their Pi computers directly from USB. The standard Raspbian distribution consists of two partitions: a boot partition and a root partition. What you want to do is to keep the boot partition on the SD card and copy the root partition to the USB drive. After copying the files, edit the /boot/cmdline.txt on the SD card to change the root=XXXXXX directive to specify the USB hard disk. Similarly change the line for the root mount in the copy of etc/fstab which appears on the hard disk. After these two changes, the Pi will boot from the SD card and mount the root filesystem from the USB drive.

User avatar
HawaiianPi
Posts: 3028
Joined: Mon Apr 08, 2013 4:53 am
Location: Aloha, Oregon USA

Re: Is using a non powered USB HDD possible with a Pi3B+ ?

Mon Aug 13, 2018 11:31 pm

I'm sorry you find the answers frustrating, but no matter how many times (or how many different ways) you ask, it will always be the same.

The definitive answer is:
  • Raspberry Pi computers simply cannot boot from all USB drives. No matter how you configure them, or what power supply you use, some USB drives will not be boot compatible.
  • Asking for specific makes/models may be helpful, but there is no guarantee that external drives of the same model will have the same internals and firmware.
Is there some reason you MUST boot from the HDD (booting from SD is faster, and much easier)?

Have you tried the bootcode.bin only SD card method with your HDD?
My mind is like a browser. 27 tabs are open, 9 aren't responding,
lots of pop-ups...and where is that annoying music coming from?

GAP
Posts: 125
Joined: Thu Apr 12, 2018 9:18 am
Location: New South Wales Australia

Re: Is using a non powered USB HDD possible with a Pi3B+ ?

Tue Aug 14, 2018 9:07 am

HawaiianPi wrote:
Mon Aug 13, 2018 11:31 pm
I'm sorry you find the answers frustrating, but no matter how many times (or how many different ways) you ask, it will always be the same.

The definitive answer is:
  • Raspberry Pi computers simply cannot boot from all USB drives. No matter how you configure them, or what power supply you use, some USB drives will not be boot compatible.
  • Asking for specific makes/models may be helpful, but there is no guarantee that external drives of the same model will have the same internals and firmware.
Is there some reason you MUST boot from the HDD (booting from SD is faster, and much easier)?

Have you tried the bootcode.bin only SD card method with your HDD?
The frustration did not come from the answers, it came from my trying to get something that was working for another person but not for me and my futile attempts to get it working were all in vain.

I don't care where I boot my Pi from either the HDD or the SD card works for me, I just want my desktop and documents folder(files?) to be on the HDD so that I do not suffer the read/write failures of the SD card that I see regularly on my searches, if I could find out how to move them in the file structure from SD to HDD I would be happy/grateful, this is the crux of the matter.

Trying the bootcode.bin only SD card method with my current HDD what led me to this point mostly, because I believe that my HDD is not capable of doing that.
I tried this in so many combinations before I posted it was not funny, bootcode.bin on SD cards and on USB sticks.

People have no idea of the level of frustration I was at when I first posted my question, all I wanted was a simple yes it can be done but with limitations or no it is not possible, that has now been answered.

I had no intention of getting the kind of reaction I got and it really took me by surprise that I had started something that this has turned into.

If I have in any way insulted/ offended or upset people then I whole heartedly apologise.

I now have my answer and would like to consider this subject closed.

User avatar
RaTTuS
Posts: 10119
Joined: Tue Nov 29, 2011 11:12 am
Location: North West UK

Re: (Solved) Is using a non powered USB HDD possible with a Pi3B+ ?

Tue Aug 14, 2018 10:00 am

in that case,
get your HD partitioned up and formatted as ext4
find the UUID of the partition you want to use
mount it to /mnt
mount /dev/sda1 /mnt #[or whatever it is]
rsync -va the contents of /home/pi to /mnt
make sure it is owned by pi
add an entry to /etc/fstab
UUID=whatever /home/pi ext4 errors=remount-ro 0 1
reboot

but personally I'd just take good backups ....
How To ask Questions :- http://www.catb.org/esr/faqs/smart-questions.html
WARNING - some parts of this post may be erroneous YMMV

1QC43qbL5FySu2Pi51vGqKqxy3UiJgukSX
Covfefe

Return to “General discussion”