N66U recognizes 1 external HD, but not the other

ezsmallnetbuilder

New Around Here
I have a 3TB WD My Book Essential external hard drive (which has its own ac adaptor) that my RT-n66u simply won't acknowledge. When I plug it in there is no change in the usb icon in the top right corner of the router's administration menu (it stays grayed out and the mouseover says there's nothing connected) and the network map also says there is no usb device connected; basically nothing happens at all.

I spent all day yesterday trying to figure this out and have tried rebooting the drive and/or router, formatting it to ext3, formatting it to two <2tb ntfs partitions, and have gone back to formatting it to the default factory single partition ntfs system. The drive works as expected when connected to my win7 desktop.

On the other hand, I have an older ntfs 1TB WD My Book that works flawlessly with the n66u. I can just plug it in, refresh the menu and it's fully functional as my dlna media server.

I know that the large drive support for this device isn't perfect, but there are people who have connected their 3tb drives and had no issues. Should i just accept that this particular one isn't compatible with this router, or is there anything else that can be done? Could it have anything to do with the drive's usb 3.0/2.0 cord?

I am using the latest stock firmware from Asus (3.0.0.4.260) and even updated the WD drive to its latest firmware.

Thanks.
p.s. Where do the "large drive" problems start to crop up? Is it at 2TB or 3?
 
Last edited:

RMerlin

Asuswrt-Merlin dev
Part of it is related to beyond 2 TB, and part of it has to deal with large sectors.

For instance, I have a 3 TB HDD (Hitachi) that still uses the old 512-bytes sector size, and works fine with my router.

However I've seen people with 2 TB HDDs that used 4 KB sectors that had issues with their router.

That's probably part of why people get mixed results - it's not just a matter of size, but also of drive geometry.

I know someone who contacted Asus' tech support was told they were aware of issues related to large HDDs, but I haven't heard anything since then.
 

ezsmallnetbuilder

New Around Here
Thanks for the reply Merlin.

I tried 2 more things to see if it's the sectors:
1. Cleared everything and created two ext3 partitions, 1.8tb and 800gb, at 2KB. Same as before, plug it in and no response.

2. Cleared everything and created one 500gb ntfs partition at 512 Bytes, leaving the rest unallocated. Still nothing.

I powered cycled the router in between attempts as well.

The usb indicator led on the physical router does light up and the wd drive spins up when plugged in to the port, but it's still nowhere to be found in the admin page. As before, the 1TB shows up immediately.

Being able to use the n66u as a simple dlna media server was a huge perk, but 1TB isn't enough for my needs. Is there anything else to try?

Thanks.
 

idefix

Occasional Visitor
Hi,

I'm also using a 3TB WD My Book Essential external hard drive with the n66u.

Initially I had the drive factory NTFS formatted. The n66u recognized the drive but did eject the drive during use. Especially if larger files are transferred.

Log:
Jan 1 08:49:25 kernel: scsi 1:0:0:0: rejecting I/O to dead device

I than changed the format to ext3 and it worked a little bit better.
However I'm still having issues with the HD being ejected (which requires a router reboot each time) after 1 day or so :-(

I guess also here it has something to do with the file size I'm moving around as this usually happens when I copy a very large file.

I have contacted ASUS for support and so far only got a reply to update my FW (which was already on the latest version). Let's see what they come back with in round 2......
 

ezsmallnetbuilder

New Around Here
It's interesting that we have the same equipment but different problems. At least you're a step ahead in that your router recognises the drive. Did you have to do anything special to get it to do that? I tried all sorts of different formatting.
 

idefix

Occasional Visitor
No, "worked" right out of the box. The disconnects are irritating though. Will try with a different drive today.

Sent from my GT-I9300 using Tapatalk 2
 

kirvalainen

New Around Here
Do you have a virtual CD imbedded onto the HDD containing that Smartware which comes with the WD hard drives?

I have the same issue with Asus native external 2,5" HDD which contains VCD with ASUS own software (posted here). Tech support confirmed N66 may work inappropriately or not work at all with HDDs due to such hidded partitions.

Here some solutions suggested specificaly for WD drives for removing that stupidware
http://www.securitybeacon.com/?p=571
http://www.marccizravi.com/2010/remove-wd-smartware/comment-page-2/
http://www.tech-faq.com/delete-wd-smartware.html
None of them worked in my case however.. I've almost gave up...
 
Last edited:

idefix

Occasional Visitor
I did not have that i believe. At least it never popped up when i connected it to my win7 pc. In anycase i used gparted to repartition the drive and format it to ext3 so it should have killed that one if it was there.
I just prepared a 1tb toshiba to try it out instead. Lets see if this works better.

Btw, i contacted asus and was informed that it should work and that they have no reports of hdd issues.........???
I will keep at it though.

Sent from my GT-I9300 using Tapatalk 2
 

ezsmallnetbuilder

New Around Here
I also deleted all partitions and started from scratch when I tried the different file systems, although I have no doubt that a virtual cd would mess with things.

I'm getting the feeling that either this is something that will have to be addressed in a firmware update or we're just out of luck. I'm thinking of just splurging for a nas setup.
 

idefix

Occasional Visitor
I changed to a 1TB HDD now and had no trouble in the last 6 hours. So far so good.....

Sent from my GT-I9300 using Tapatalk 2
 

kirvalainen

New Around Here
Btw, i contacted asus and was informed that it should work and that they have no reports of hdd issues.........???

Ha-Ha! They must be very selective with the inquiries.. May ask them about this one ID WTM2012110715823897 or this one ID WTM201210271725517672, which I think remain unattended for over a month.

The issue with the formatting is that none of partitoning utilities (I've tried Acronis, Partition Manager, GParted..) can recognize VCD as one of the partitions of the HDD, therefore formatting does not affect it at all.. At least that is true for that type of ASUS drive I was stupid enough to buy (AN350)... Damn thing matched the unit's design just perfectly......
 
Last edited:

ezsmallnetbuilder

New Around Here
I changed to a 1TB HDD now and had no trouble in the last 6 hours. So far so good.....

Sent from my GT-I9300 using Tapatalk 2

I've been using a 1TB with no problems too. It's definitely the larger drives that it can't deal with.

I also contacted tech support and got a very encouraging reply:

>
>
"Dear Valued Customer,

Thank you for contacting ASUS Customer Service.

My name is Joe and it's my pleasure to help you with your problem.

This may be a firmware issue.I have sent your case to the related department.They are doing the test and collecting the information now.
The next firmware will solve this issue.Thank you for your feedback.

If you continue to experience issues in the future, please do not hesitate
to contact us.

Best Regard
Joe"
>
>

Maybe receiving multiple complaints has made them realize that it's not an isolated incident. If you're having problems with the n66u and a 3TB hard disk, let asus tech support know and maybe they'll bump up the priority and get a new firmware out faster.
 

Reaper666

New Around Here
I've been using a 1TB with no problems too. It's definitely the larger drives that it can't deal with.

I also contacted tech support and got a very encouraging reply:

>
>
"Dear Valued Customer,

Thank you for contacting ASUS Customer Service.

My name is Joe and it's my pleasure to help you with your problem.

This may be a firmware issue.I have sent your case to the related department.They are doing the test and collecting the information now.
The next firmware will solve this issue.Thank you for your feedback.

If you continue to experience issues in the future, please do not hesitate
to contact us.

Best Regard
Joe"
>
>

Maybe receiving multiple complaints has made them realize that it's not an isolated incident. If you're having problems with the n66u and a 3TB hard disk, let asus tech support know and maybe they'll bump up the priority and get a new firmware out faster.

My 1TB WD drive has been working fine for months now, with the stock firmware on the N66U. However, my attempts to replace the small drive with a 3TB unit (also WD) has not been very successful.

Straight out of the box, the drive was not recognized by the router. After attaching to a Win7 machine (which works fine) and then attaching back to the router, it was recognized immediately. Yep, the thing was working. For about 20 minutes. And then it was gone, never to be seen again. I'm now running Merlin's 264.22 firmware (nice work on that, Merlin!) with no changes in the state of the attached 3TB drive, so whatever is wrong must be a bit deeper in the code.

I'm going to try various formats on the drive with differnet sector sizes to see if it will come back to life. Failing that, I'll jump into the fray with Asus support to see what they have to say. I'll post any updates from support.

Now off to format my shiny new doorstop...
 

idefix

Occasional Visitor
After havin trouble with the 3tb wd I switched to a 1TB Toshiba. Works perfectly fine since weeks now.
>2TB makes problems :-(

Sent from my GT-I9300 using Tapatalk 2
 

Hothersale

Occasional Visitor
Just as another data point, I'm using a 2.5" 2TB WD My Passport with no problems (and with no external power supply).
 

agricantus

New Around Here
Several HDD try

As of today I've tried these disks (all NTFS formatted):
WORKS: Maxtor One Touch 1 TB
WORKS: Maxtor Basic Desktop 0.75 TB
WORKS: Toshiba 200GB 2.5" (usb powered)
DOESN'T WORK: iOmega 300GB 2.5" (usb powered, randomly disconnects)
DOESN'T WORK: Packard Bell Carbon 2TB (randomly disconnects)
DOESN'T WORK: Packard Bell 1TB (not recognized)
DOESN'T WORK: Lacie 1TB (not recognized)
DOESN'T WORK: iOmega 200GB 2.5" (usb powered, not recognized)
DOESN'T WORK: WD My Book Essential 3TB (just bought, on USB application tag it says ""Auto installing..." forever)

Very bad. I feel HD to USB is one of the main feature you should expect from such a good device, but it simply doesn't work in the vast majority of cases, and as far as I know there's no reliable compatibility list.

That's really a pity. I can't imagine how could I possibly find out which drives to buy, maybe I should return it to the shop, buy a cheaper TP-Link N900 and buy a cheap NAS?
 

RMerlin

Asuswrt-Merlin dev
As of today I've tried these disks (all NTFS formatted):
WORKS: Maxtor One Touch 1 TB
WORKS: Maxtor Basic Desktop 0.75 TB
WORKS: Toshiba 200GB 2.5" (usb powered)
DOESN'T WORK: iOmega 300GB 2.5" (usb powered, randomly disconnects)
DOESN'T WORK: Packard Bell Carbon 2TB (randomly disconnects)
DOESN'T WORK: Packard Bell 1TB (not recognized)
DOESN'T WORK: Lacie 1TB (not recognized)
DOESN'T WORK: iOmega 200GB 2.5" (usb powered, not recognized)
DOESN'T WORK: WD My Book Essential 3TB (just bought, on USB application tag it says ""Auto installing..." forever)

Very bad. I feel HD to USB is one of the main feature you should expect from such a good device, but it simply doesn't work in the vast majority of cases, and as far as I know there's no reliable compatibility list.

That's really a pity. I can't imagine how could I possibly find out which drives to buy, maybe I should return it to the shop, buy a cheaper TP-Link N900 and buy a cheap NAS?

Part of the blame lies in the USB external enclosure manufacturers, who don't validate their products under Linux. This is especially the case when using an HDD that uses Advanced Format (4 KB) sectors - some enclosures work, others don't.

But in the end, if sharing a large disk is the goal, nothing comes even close to a real NAS in terms of both performance and stability.

For your USB-powered drives, make sure you use an Y-shaped cable. These tend to help with stability when the host is struggling to provide enough current. It might help a bit even with a router that has only one internal HUB (AFAIK).
 

CheapNetStorage

New Around Here
For those that are using external enclosures for 3.5" drives with the RT-N66U without issues could you list the model of the enclosure please. I have 2 Eagle Tech (ET-CSNPSU2-BK) 3.5" SATA to USB 2.0 External Enclosures that disconnect from the router while writing files to the hard disks and i've tried 4 different 3.5" drives inside the enclosures. Everything works fine when connected directly to a computer over USB.

I also have a LaCie Porsche Design P'9220 500 GB USB 3.0 Portable External Hard Drive that works with no issues.
 

linkmaster

Regular Contributor
I use 2 enclosures fine with no issues...

freecom classic 500 GB USB 2.0

And a 1.5 TB seagate drive put in a sumvision Sata / USB 2.0 HDD Docking station , also had various other drives up to 2TB inserted in there working fine.
 

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