View Full Version : FW/USB2 External Combo Drive Problems

24th January 2005, 07:02 PM
I recently bought a Prolific PL3507 chipset-based 2.5" external hard disk case from a swap meet, and installed a 20GB drive into it.

When used under both Mac 10.3.7 and a PC running WinXP SP2, the drive has problems with writing files, and powering down for no reason. Thinking it was the 20GB drive, I tested that in a notebook, but it's fine with no errors or spin problems.

My problem brings me to the PL3507 chipset - Googling around, it appears many have the same problem. I tried updating the firmware (http://member.newsguy.com/~siccos/PL3507%20Firmware.htm), many times and different configurations, but it refuses to do so.

So I'm just wondering, has anyone else had problems with this PL3507 chipset, how do you upgrade the firmware, or did you get around the problem some other way?



24th January 2005, 07:08 PM
I had the same chipset drive and had the same problem :(
I tried flashing it, but all the firmware I could find said I had the wrong version, so it couldn't be flashed.
All I can put it down to is being a total piece of crap it. Next time I'll stick to the Oxford chipset.

24th January 2005, 07:14 PM
Bugger :(

The brand is "Hi-Speed" 2.5" external enclosure - it comes in a classy red box. Of course, there is no web site for this brand.

Tried another older flasher just before, with a slightly older revision 'A' firmware (my firmware is dated mid-2003 :(). Apparently it worked, I'm trying to give it a hammering as we speak copying gigs of data onto it to see what happens.

Mind you, it's doing this under USB2.0 on my PC - did you have the same problem using Firewire Anthony?


25th January 2005, 07:41 AM
OK, last night I dumped 20GB back and forth over the drive, and it had no problems. I used the 'A' original firmware for the PL3507 drive.

Tried it on my iBook, FW port seems fine too.


25th January 2005, 09:04 AM
I used it on Windows with Firewire and USB 2.0 and it worked fine, on Mac it wouldn't mount every now and then with Firewire, but would with USB 2.0. Does yours mount automatically when plugged in on every occasion?

25th January 2005, 09:20 AM
Yep it does, but previously used to spin down after copying 1 - 2GB of data onto the drive. Was both the same on Mac/PC with USB/FW.

Now it doesn't do this after the 'mystery' firmware flash :), but it might be a fluke, as it's never really worked that well.


26th January 2005, 08:00 PM
OK, the bloody thing spins down when I copy large files to it, such as a DivX movie. This is on the FW400 port of my iBook running 10.3.7. Smaller files are fine, and when I scan the drive there is no data corruption - pulling out hair on this one.



28th January 2005, 02:23 AM
My step-brother took delivery of a new firewire case & drive today, turns out it has one of these shitty controllers in it. We couldn't unmount the drive! Tried using disk utility, dragging into trash, ejecting from Finder window, Cmd-E, different cables, different computers. It's going back. Boring!

28th January 2005, 06:45 AM
I've got 2 of these enclosures. Got them very cheap. One of them works (almost) perfectly. Mounts via FW, copies, unmounts without problems. I even partitioned it, and put a clone the internal HD on it. I used the USB2 once, but it was slower than FW, so I didn't bother much.

I say almost perfectly, because I can't boot my PowerBook off it, using the cloned partition. Oh well.

The other enclosure -- doesn't mount under FW. Mounts with USB2, but slow. I've put it on the shelf until I get time for troubleshooting.

Both have different brands of HDs in them. The one that works is 200GB. I thought that was the problem at first, until I read the problems online.

Oh well, it was cheap. I Must say the enclosure doesn't look unattractive. Not too noisy too.

11th July 2005, 04:16 AM
I recently made the mistake of purchasing two different BlueEye 3.5" drive enclosures, both featuring the Prolific chipsets, one was a combo, the other a straight USB2-only box. And I'd bought them under recommendation that they used the Oxfords. Turns out they may have in the past but they don't now.

These would have to rank as, well, the rankest pieces of hardware I've had to deal with in many many years of fiddling with technology. The drive mounts directly onto the elongated PCB, which fits very loosely and unsecured into grooves in the extruded aluminium case. Bulbous power-pack connector, a switch that loves to pop out of its hole, and one of each USB and FW connectors, so no FW daisychaining. Nor could I run the BlueEye with any other FW hard drive at the same time. The case itself doesn't look too bad, but the seriously dinky stand for vertical use is ugly, and keeps falling off.

I almost lost 150 GB of data to these cheap-and-nasties.

First thing Monday morning, they're going back to Umart for a refund, and I'll go find a nice and simple-looking case elsewhere that uses an Oxford set.

If you value your data, folks, under no circumstances buy a cheap Prolific based case!


11th July 2005, 07:56 AM
i have got approx. 10 firewire cases all with the prolific chipset. They are combo firewire & usb2 models 5 1/4 inch models. They all have been 100% so far (upto 12 months old) they run everything from CD burners to hard drives (copying files from 100kb to 2gb+) i have never had a problem with them. :thumbup:

I still wouldn't recommend buying them thou, because of the amount of people having problems. they are usually cheaper (got mine for about $50) but any i buy for home will be oxford based such as welland.


20th November 2006, 02:22 PM
but any i buy for home will be oxford based such as welland.


Sorry to drag up an old thread, but I bought a Welland combo case (ME-740N) today, intending to use it on a MDD PowerMac. As is usually the case, I soon after buying it I *then* read about the Oxford chipset.

Now, I can't find any indication on Welland's website that this case uses the Oxford chipset, and I've found other posts on other forums indicating they use Prolific chipsets.

I'd like to find out categorically what chipset this Welland uses, as booting off it was a major reason for buying an external case.

Can anyone point me to how to find out what chipset this case uses?

20th November 2006, 02:25 PM
Can anyone point me to how to find out what chipset this case uses?

Plug it in, power up the drive.

Then goto about this mac, more information. Find the section relating to firewire, then look at the output in the window to determine. Paste it here if it makes no sense.

It should show the chipset of the firewire bridge installed in the case as part of the output above.

20th November 2006, 02:33 PM
Plug it in, power up the drive.

Then goto about this mac...

Thanks for a quick reply, purana! I was thinking about how to determine it before assembling and using it, so I could return it unused if required.

Since planning ahead doesn't seem to be my strong point at the moment, I posted here and THEN thought to actually look at the flimsy user manual that's in the box. No tech specs there, but the instructions for installing some software seem to indicate it may have an INTIO chipset. Now searching to see if that's a good thing or a bad thing, from a bootability point of view.

20th November 2006, 02:39 PM
I had a Welland case previously and it was prolific chipset from memory.. and it worked okay on OSX. Infact I could boot from it, so didn't see a issue from that.

20th November 2006, 03:36 PM
I had a Welland case previously and it was prolific chipset from memory.. and it worked okay on OSX. Infact I could boot from it, so didn't see a issue from that.

OK, well, I probably have the same chipset as you had then - the INITIO reference I found in the manual was just for the USB driver for older versions of Windows.

Glad to hear you could boot from it - I guess I'll give it a go.


21st November 2006, 12:35 PM
Well, I assembled the drive and case, and tried it out. I followed purana's instructions to find the firewire chipset, and it was reported as Initio after all.

I made a copy of the PowerMac's boot disk to the new drive using CCC, and was able to boot from it, so I'm very happy.

Thanks for your help.

21st November 2006, 04:37 PM
I am a little worried about my new enclosure. It appears to me to be spinning, when it should be asleep and it is a bit laggy when I navigate around it. Having had a prolific 3507 chipset in Macpower 2.5" case (it was eventually replaced under warranty by a Oxford) I am a little worried. It is a SataExpress dual bay (http://www.streetwise.com.au/product_info.php?cPath=28_136&products_id=5104)

I cannot determine from the System profiler if it has the Oxford 924DSB spexcified when I bought it. Can anybody decipher this info-

FireWire Bus:

Maximum Speed: Up to 400 Mb/sec


Model: 0x0
GUID: 0x30E002E0610024
Maximum Speed: Up to 800 Mb/sec
Connection Speed: Up to 400 Mb/sec
S1 Unit:
Unit Software Version: 0x10483
Unit Spec ID: 0x609E
Firmware Revision: 0x101
Product Revision Level:
Capacity: 931.52 GB
Removable Media: Yes
BSD Name: disk2
OS9 Drivers: Yes
S.M.A.R.T. status: Not Supported
Capacity: 931.4 GB
Writable: Yes
File System: Journaled HFS+
BSD Name: disk2s10
Mount Point:

kim jong il
24th November 2006, 09:36 AM
Vic', I'd be fairly confident that you got what you paid for. The Oxford 924BSD chipset seems to be the controller for SATA enclosures and the 'maximum speed: 800mbps' tells you that FireWire 800 is supported. As the Prolific site make no mention that any of their chipsets support FireWire speeds above 400mbps I feel you are safe. As for the performance issues you described I'd be reluctant to speculate.