Hard Drives: LaCie
Jan. 6, 2009
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Jan. 10, 2009
Feb. 19, 2009
Mar. 27, 2009
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Apr. 18, 2009
Apr. 21, 2009
May. 9, 2009
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May. 19, 2009
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May. 27, 2009
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Jun. 25, 2009
Jun. 30, 2009
Jul. 1, 2009
I have a dead LaCie enclosure. The external power supply works with other enclosures, but the enclosure will not power up. It's a nice enclosure with FW800, eSATA, and USB and I would rather not pitch it. Any suggestions?
"I have a dead LaCie enclosure..."
I replaced a failed drive (a 75gig DeathStar, IIRC) in a D2 case many years ago. The 180gig drive I put in it is still running.
I wasn't experiencing a power problem with the case at the time, so no idea whether this would work for you. If you've got a spare drive and are willing to void your warranty, it's not a big deal (or wasn't) to open the case and swap drives.
It's a nice, quality case. It's a shame LaCie has had so many problems (mostly power supply related). It's kept me away (currently using G-tech and Newer Tech).
I dunno. It sounds like a bad component on the board. If you find you can't figure out which part is bad (burned, charred, broken) put it on ebay. There are plenty of folks like me that like to tinker. I'd pay $25 for it even broken.
Gerry Van Zandt
To DV Henkel-Wallace: Pack the entire unit up with power supply, and a detailed note explaining the issue, and send it to LaCie USA headquarters in Hillsboro, Oregon. You can get their address from their web site. They should test the unit and send you a new or refurbished one to replace it. I am hoping that you did register the unit with LaCie when you first purchased it. Good luck !
Beware of just returning a drive to any vendor. You should get a return
authorization first -- or risk that the drive won't be accepted on their
This story has to do with my purchase of the Sonnet Tango card because I
sensed there was something unusual about the way my LaCie drives were
behaving. I ha]ve two LaCie 2Big Triple drives on my system. One is for
Time Machhine, the other for Data storage. I had daisy chained one into
the other via FW800. I learned that if I had the second one in the chain
powered on when booting up, my system would stall and not complete boot
up. So then I went to using the FW400 port on my G5 for it as a work
around but was disappointed that I could not operate two FW800 devices.
The Sonnet card offered the opportunity to have them be independent of
each other and allowed for more USB ports at the same time. But after
installing it, I could not get my LaCie drives to stay on my desktop.
After dealing with a very cooperative support person at Sonnet, I was
instructed to remove the ShortCut button from my directory. That was not
as easy as you might think, But after finally getting that done, my drives
now sit on the desktop as they are supposed to. But Sonnet support says
that there are many thousands of error lines coming from the LaCie in my
system log. I never suspected that a feature (the blue button back up)
offered by LaCie could be the problem. The card now is doing what it is
supposed to and the drives are doing what they are supposed to also from
my initial observation. But what do I do about the error lines? Are they
irrelevant now that I have trashed the ShortCut button? "Plug and Play"
must remain a Platonic ideal, I suppose.
Brian Steere's solution worked for me. I had a cranky G Raid drive that I
just couldn't mount. Depriving all devices of power for 10 minutes did the
I just learned that LaCie uses Linux in their NAS units. I have a LaCie
NAS device (d2 Ethernet Disk Mini) with a Seagate 400GB IDE drive that
failed. In the LaCie enclosure, the on/off button was unresponsive, with
the light staying on, and the drive vanished from the network. No joy from
the USB interface, either. So I reasoned that perhaps the drive itself is
OK and it was LaCie's electronics at fault. I put the drive into a
USB/Firewire 400 external enclosure. The drive now seems to power up
normally, but neither my iMac (OSX 10.4.11) nor my PC (Win2K) will mount
the drive, offering to reformat it for me, which I decline.
After a bit of Googling (which is how I got here BTW), I learned from "Joe", chief data recovery engineer at Data Recovery, Inc. in South Orange, NJ ("Thanx, Joe!") that the NAS units run Linux, and therefore the bare drives are unreadable by Windows or OS X (AFAIK). LaCie offered no help on an out-of-warranty unit, of course. I tried a new power supply first; no joy. So I guess I chalk this one up to experience, take a deep breath, and reformat my "new" Seagate Barracuda 400gB drive in an Acomdata enclosure.
Doug Pocius wrote:
"I just learned that LaCie uses Linux in their NAS units. ... and therefore the bare drives are unreadable by Windows or OS X (AFAIK)."
I wonder what, exactly, that means.
If they drives are formatted with the ext2 or ext3 file systems (the FS used by most Linux distributions these days), then you might be able to install software to let you mount the volumes.
A quick google for "mac ext3" finds many discussions and references to a few open source projects that allow this. I don't know if any of these are any good, but it might be a worthwhile starting point before you go and reformat the drives.
There are similar programs for Windows users.
If you have Parallels or VMWare, you might want to try installing a free Linux distribution in a virtual machine and see if it can mount the volumes. (I have no clue if this will work, but it might be worth a try.)
Doug Pocius, before you format that drive! You have a PC, so you can use the free program called Explore2FS, available here:
I've used it to copy files from an ext3 filesystem. Very handy.
LaCie d2 Ethernet Disk Mini: the saga continues. I learned from
[MacInTouch editor] Ted Silveira (Thanx, Ted!) about a Mac OS X
implementation of the Linux Ext2/Ext3 filesystem at Sourceforge.net (ext2fsx.sourceforge.net/).
I installed it and sure enough, the drive connects over Firewire in the
new enclosure, confirming to me that the drive itself is OK. But, there
are several partitions on the drive in various formats. The only one that
actually mounted seems to contain a complete Linux implementation (I
think: I know little about Linux.). Two of the others appear to be where
my data are, and they are formatted FAT32. Apple's Disk Utility shows the
whole thing laid out nicely, but try as I might, I can't figure out how to
get the FAT32 partitions to mount. I am under the impression that modern
OSX implementations should mount FAT32 partitions OK, so I'm left with
poking disktool at it to figure out what's going on and perhaps fixing it.
I have four D-series LaCie drives here. All of them have experienced power
failure. In fact, in the past couple of years I have replaced six failed
power supplies. The power supply model number is ACU057A-0512.
The failed supplies were all plugged into a high grade UPS and see an average temperature of 75 degrees. Average time to fail seems to be six months. No supply has lasted more than one year.
Now I purchase these supplies in bulk and keep three of them on hand at all times. It is easier to simply order more cheap supplies on-line rather than wait for LaCie tech support.
It is astonishing to me that this site shows that these power supplies have been failing at a high rate since 2005 yet LaCie has clearly done nothing to resolve the problem.
I am thinking of purchasing a regular PC power supply and wiring it up
to power multiple LaCie disk drives. With this in mind I have been
chopping off the power supply cords so that I will have connectors on
We had to give up on *all* LaCie external hard drives about 2 1/2 years
ago after experiencing the same problems you've described - and *more*!
External power bricks lasting 1-6 months, internal drive controllers
failing after 1-2 years, etc. Quite a let down after all the money we had
invested in their drives. In the end we settled on removing the drives
from the Lacie cases and placing them in some excellent (and so far *very*
reliable) cases from Other World Computing (macsales.com). Our favorite is
their "Mercury Elite-AL Pro". We have since added many of their
pre-configured external solutions as well and have never had a failure of
any sort ant any level. Our drives run 24/7 and have done so for years.
A follow up question to Doug Pocius:
Any success recovering data from the drive you pulled from your LaCie Ethernet Disk? Seems like I may need to try and recover data of of mine as it stopped working with what seems like a cooked enclosure motherboard - the drive itself seems fine.
In regards to many of the problems listed here with LaCie power supplies (which I also recently experienced) here's an interesting exchange with LaCie tech support in regards to their claim that my UPS is the culprit. I wish they would mention this in their documentation, it could probably have saved us a lot of money and heartache.
"While we do not generally have problems with the power supplies, they can be subject to failure in the event of a power surge or outage. I've also seen certain models of APC/UPS battery backup units cause the power supplies to fail. If you're using such a system, you might want to move the LaCie drives to run off a regular surge protector instead.
There are a lot of people using UPS and APC systems, as well as a lot of people living in places where power outages and lightning strikes are common. As a result, you will probably see a number of people in forums online relating stories of this kind.
As with anything you read online, it's usually best to take these reports with a grain of salt. It is NOT normal for our power supplies to fail. If you continue to experience failures with our power supplies, you may wish to examine your local power situation to make certain there is nothing in your environment that may be contributing to this problem. Many of the people who write about this online are not doing this for themselves, and they could probably spare themselves some aggravation by doing so...
...the problem is that APC/UPS units are designed to protect larger devices than our drives. The level of power variance that these units consider to be acceptable is still sometimes enough to damage our power supplies.
We do not have any kind of list or keep track of specific models of battery backups. There are simply too many different varieties of these, and the local power conditions you use them in can also have a big difference on the performance.
The LaCie employee's comment (quoted yesterday) makes no sense. How can the power from an uninterruptable power supply, which usually is filtered for both voltage and current, cause LaCie's power bricks to fail while unfiltered power does not cause failures? I'd love to hear the supposed science behind that theory.
I had two LaCie power bricks fail in 2007. One was connected to an APC Back UPS RS 800 while the other was connected to a wall outlet. LaCie sent replacements (both drives were still under warranty), but never mentioned a possible problem with UPS power. My third, older LaCie power brick failed a few months later. About a year after that, one of my replacement power bricks died. Power fluctuations are common in my area, but no power bricks have failed except LaCie's. This looks like a LaCie manufacturing problem.
I relegated my three LaCie external hard drives to intermittent backups or archives. I cannot trust them for daily use. I currently use a WiebeTech 1 TB drive that has worked flawlessly.
I've had similar problems with my Lacie d2 500gig quadra. I'm on my second power brick in less than a year. It seems that with all these complaints, there might be some legal action that can be taken. I'm no lawyer. Anyone know something about a class-action suit?
[One really has to wonder how much benefit a class action suit would be to *customers* vs. lawyers. Surely, LaCie is hearing the issue loud and clear at this point and will have to respond to it in an effective way for the sake of its own long-term business, if it hasn't already addressed the quality problem with component changes. (I also wonder if there are any U.S. companies making appropriate, high-quality power supplies.) -Ric Ford]
While it might not be common for LaCie power supplies to fail for everyone, it's a pretty good chance that they will fail for me. Of the 200+ original d2 model drives I've installed, I have had more than 50 power supplies fail. Most are NOT attached to UPS devices. I have purchased more than 25 replacements, and received more than 25 replacements under warranty. Repeated failures were also common.
In all cases, these drives were left on 24/7, and were used for intensive disk copy/backup operations on a daily basis.
I would say that the newer d2 power supplies have not had problems, and the longer warranty is also helpful in this regard. I've switched to mostly using Seagate external drives though.
I've had 6 LaCie power supplies fail both at work and at home. All appear to be the same kind of failure - drive light is on with rapid blinking and drive will not mount. Exchanging for a known-good power supply fixes the problem. All were on surge protectors but not any kind of UPS.
I've completely given up on LaCie. OWC enclosures and power supplies
seem much more robust, as so far none have failed.
Ari Kissiloff credited the following statement to LaCie:
"While we do not generally have problems with the power supplies, they can be subject to failure in the event of a power surge or outage. I've also seen certain models of APC/UPS battery backup units cause the power supplies to fail...the problem is that APC/UPS units are designed to protect larger devices than our drives. The level of power variance that these units consider to be acceptable is still sometimes enough to damage our power supplies.["]
This claim simply does not impress me as credible, and it would seem to me that the APC company would want to respond to it. I've purchased and installed several dozen APC standby power supplies (SBSes) over the last two decades, and I have never seen any evidence that they reduced the life expectancy of the connected equipment.
If you use SBSes (and especially if you use they with some systems while using simple surge protectors or raw power with others), ask yourself whether you've experienced higher rates of failure with the Macs, PCs, monitors, network gear and other brands of external drives that are connected to the SBS units. I think you'll conclude that the SBSes are at worst harmless to the connected equipment, and at a minimum they've probably spared you from data loss from unexpected power disturbances.
I've replaced many failed power supplies and specified them for custom equipment in thirty-five years of designing, building and maintaining broadcast systems. Experience has taught me (and many, many colleagues) that an oversized power supply will be more reliable and will generally offer better performance, in part by providing better-voltage regulation under dynamic load conditions.
"While we do not generally have problems with the power supplies, they can be subject to failure in the event of a power surge or outage."
Of course! That's why we use surge protectors or other devices to preclude this.
"I've also seen certain models of APC/UPS battery backup units cause the power supplies to fail."
"Certain"? NAME THEM please!
"If you're using such a system, you might want to move the LaCie drives to run off a regular surge protector instead."
I tried that, as well as moving them to unregulated, unprotected wall outlets. Several still failed over time.
"It is NOT normal for our power supplies to fail."
I disagree. Over three years I experienced failure of 11 out of 13 LaCie power supplies, some of which had been supplied under warranty replacement for the original units that died. By my experience, 85% is pretty well defined as normal.
"...the problem is that APC/UPS units are designed to protect larger devices than our drives. The level of power variance that these units consider to be acceptable is still sometimes enough to damage our power supplies."
Sounds to me like your power supplies are inherently prone to failure, if the nature of the AC power grid is as unstable as they would suggest, and your devices are as sensitive to fluctuations in the AC supply.
Why is it virtually any other brand / size / configuration of similar power supply I've used has been fine when powered by the same AC grid and/or UPS as the failed LaCie units?
"We do not have any kind of list or keep track of specific models of battery backups."
How is it then that you suggest "certain" models of one brand of UPS are most at fault?
"There are simply too many different varieties of these, and the local power conditions you use them in can also have a big difference on the performance."
Right. So if you provide devices that are inherently sensitive to line fluctuations the users can expect them to fail without warning.
Buy a $200 hard drive but required to spend $2,000 for a power management system... to protect a $3 component.
What a crock of #hi*! I'll NEVER buy another LaCie product. Ever.
Never will suggest anyone else should, either.
Interesting response from LaCie. How do they explain the fact that their drives seem to generate a substantially greater number of posts about power supply failures than do other brands?
Just had another client bring me a "dead" La Cie drive, one of the newer ones commonly found on the shelves of your local Apple Retail Store. This one's external brick power light would glow, but the drive would not spin up, nor would the case's front power/activity light glow. Placing the enclosed SATA drive in a different case and testing showed the drive to be 100% OK. Guess the bridge board inside the case could have been the faulty component as I don't keep good La Cie power bricks around for testing. I don't seem to have any problems with the no-name USB/FW cases I've placed in use with other clients & myself, so I don't recommend La Cie. This particular one "got away from me" as the client was responding to an Apple Store recommendation before she checked with me.
One of my clients has a powerbrick nightmare: 45 or 50 LaCie, Maxtor, Seagate, GTech and Glyph drive units. After a number of failures we now pair bricks to each drive and label the brick with the date it goes into service and unplug the bricks from the UPS or powerstrip when the drive is offline. The labels keep us from losing our minds; removing the bricks from the mains seems to reduced brick failure and makes us more green. I do wish we'd started with Wiebetech's trayless SATA kits a little sooner..
To the LaCie support technician who wrote the following to Ari Kissiloff:
"...If you're using such a system, you might want to move the LaCie drives to run off a regular surge protector instead."
I would ask the LaCie tech: so what will happen to your data when your drive shuts down and your computer does not? what will happen to all those open files that suddenly have the rug pulled out from under them while they are open?
Isn't one of the primary reasons for using a UPS to give you a bit of time to properly shut your system down in the event of a power outage? I can see the point of only using surge protection for things whose sudden shutdown doesn't wreak havoc on data... but, sorry, I cannot accept the risk to my work by leaving my hard drive without battery support.
If the power supplies of external drive manufacturers are affected by power fluctuations from the UPS that don't affect other connected items, I can only think that they need to put a few more pennies into their component costs to beef them up to tolerate those fluctuations. I suspect it's yet another instance of watching costs that confirms the "penny-wise, pound foolish" adage.
There seems to be a lot of misunderstanding about UPS and surge protection. UPS systems do provide power when the line power fails. As far as surge protection is concerned, most UPSs are mediocre at best. Warning: The components used for the surge suppression wears out after many surge hits so eventually the surge suppression fades away.
For best surge protection, follow the UPS with surge protector that specifies a "let thru" of less than 50V or a "line conditioner" which has a custom made transformer that does an even better job of isolating the surge. Typically the line conditioner let thru is about 20V with a 6000V surge.
APC has a model of surge protector that has a low let thru spec and ONEAC makes excellent line conditioners. (I am not connected with either company.) I have tested many surge suppressors and found that some were good and others were very poor. The line conditioners always performed well.
It is difficult to know if the problems experienced is a LaCie problem or a UPS problem.
Not enough data to match which level of APC UPS might have issues with LaCie but I find it hard to believe whatever level of voltage swing occurs at a power strip is better than what comes out of a UPS.
And I would expect that having power go all the way off when writing to an external drive would be a bigger risk to your data than anything LaCie cites.
To say that La Cie power supplies do not fail cannot be completely
truthful. In most cases that a LaCie (and in the past, APC drives) device
fails, we have found in our experience that removing the drive mechanism
and placing it in another box recovers the drive. While there are reasons
that the power supply might fail that are not the direct responsibility of
the design, it should not be considered normal if the percentage is very
high as the percentage we see in La Cie Drives. While there are some
reasons that the output of a UPS may be more likely to damage some
circuits more then standard power. That should be considered a design flaw
in the power supply not a situation in the UPS.
RE: LaCie/APC power issue?
I bought about 5 LaCie drives for our developers to run backups and VMs. These are the solid metal design 500G drives with eSata, USB2, FW 400 and FW 800. Unit after unit stopped working, and we isolated it to the power supplies. Some of the power supplies even started making noise. I'm not kidding, with only one drive still alive, an 80% death rate after a little over a year of use.
Never two in a row, so I don't suspect our office's power was the issue. We don't have any UPSs.
Symptoms ranged from random lockups, infinite clicking, to not powering up at all.
Rather than bother with warranty (at this point I'm never trusting their hardware again), I've been swapping the drives into new APC drive cases. The drives inside have all been good, so if you have one of these die on you, you can likely recover the data by swapping cases.
I had a LaCie external CD burner many years ago (1997 maybe?). It worked very unreliably, and I went through many different SCSI cables & terminators, even sending it back to LaCie for replacement, but no success. I eventually pulled it out of the case and put it a drive bay in my Mac, and it worked fine. I subsequently started reading about the power supply problems others had, and I assume that was the case with my drive.
This was over 10 years ago, and there seems to be no improvement. I have avoided LaCie drives ever since, based on the many complaints about the power supplies. LaCie are fools if they can say they have no power supply problems. Reading the comments here from the past couple days, any sensible person would conclude that they either have 1) a power supply problem or 2) a serious public relations issue. In either case they should take steps to remedy it.
Fred Kawabata said:
"... It is difficult to know if the problems experienced is a LaCie problem or a UPS problem."
No, it's quite easy. As I stated in a previous post, I had two LaCie external drives. One was connected to a high quality UPS, the other was connected to an outlet. Both LaCie power bricks failed at almost the same time. This doesn't look like a surge problem or a UPS problem. LaCie is just grasping at straws trying to blame other vendors for its piece-of-crap power bricks.
Ric Ford interjected a comment that LaCie will [have to] address this issue. I disagree. The problem has existed for two years. The replacement power bricks are just as bad as the originals. LaCie outsources them to a Chinese factory that apparently uses the cheapest materials and no quality assurance. LaCie's power brick connections are unique (a circular plug with four prongs), so you cannot get a generic power brick replacement. I agree with other commenters that the best option after power brick failure is to move the drive to a third party case.
Perhaps it's no coincidence I caught this thread... The external power supply on my LaCie 300GB drive failed a couple of days ago. I'm trying to have it replaced by LaCie. The faulty power supply doesn't provide enough power for the drive to operate (though the light comes on), and - more alarming - the power supply emits a fairly loud continuous hissing/buzzing noise when plugged in.
This didn't come as a great surprise to me, as I had the same model 500GB drive at work which had exactly the same problem. After a year of continuous use, the power supply failed and emitted the same hissing noise. LaCie replaced that one without too much trouble.
I've owned several LaCie drives over the years, and in addition to the power supply failures noted above, I had one other drive fail under warranty (cause unknown). To have two drives of the same model fail in the same way seems to indicate a disturbing pattern with the power supplies. Personally, I leave the power supplies plugged in 24/7 and power up the drives when needed. I guess this advances the aging process, but surely they need to last longer than the drive mechanism?
My current faulty LaCie power supply is made in China by Sunfone, model
In the place where I work, we purchased 20 units of "Bigger Disk Extreme", 2 TiB each. All of the disk are in use in a mixed escenario of units connected to surge protector, directly to the power line and/or in a regulated line. Some of them are used 24/7, others are used intermitently.
All of the power supplies have failed (twice) in a two year period. All have been replaced when failed for the first time, but the replacements have failed also.
Simptoms? failure of the disks to start and the computer can not recognize them. if the disks are operating they can suddenly disconnect (with the risk of losing information that implies), and in a few cases, a buzzing sound from the power supply itself.
We tolerate such insane failure rate only for the good operation of the disks up until now (even when the disks got disconnected from the computer when the power brick failed there have been no damage to the data.)
Actually we have stocked four extra power bricks to cover ourselfs while we get replacement units (that's the number of simultaneuos failures we have had.) When time comes to replace those disks is a sure bet that we no longer buy from LaCie (at least not while there are such nasty failures like this reported continuously.)
They should feel embarrased to have a good product going bad just for such "low tech" device (power supplies have been all around us for decades, so there should be no excuse not to have a reliable unit already.)
I think that's enough rantong for today.
Greetings from Mexico.
I couldn't stop laughing as I read the post which cites that LaCie blames UPS for the problematic power bricks.
All of the failures that I encountered did not involve UPS units, because none of them were mission critical.
I bought two LaCie 320GB Big Disk Extreme drives in Dubai while I was living there. Within 2 years, both had failed... and one had failed twice. Additionally, one of the power supplies failed as well.
Getting them replaced required me shipping them to France and waiting about a month... and having to pay shipping both ways, plus customs duty.
I scrapped all of them and bought a OWC Guardian Maximus and have had no
trouble. I'll never buy a LaCie product again.
I have had LaCie Porche 80g and 40g (swapped out with the original 80 used as an internal) drives for quite a few years, swapping them out for several years without a single failure.
I have added a Mybook 250g drive to handle video (it didn't mount once, but with a disconnect and a reboot, it came back) and will add a 500g video drive very soon.
I can understand that certain drives can fail. As to a class action lawsuit, it requires that LaCie knowingly used bad power supplies. I see a lot of failure evidence , but I do not see the same when mine have worked flawlessly for years.
Remember that if this is truly grounds for a lawsuit of any kind, I think individual efforts might be better and demonstrate the size of the problem. I think LaCie has a large problem here and if 80% failure is just the power supply, the cheapest solution for all of us is to spend $9 and purchase a new external case
The UPS scapegoat can't be blamed in my case, as I don't use any form of power supply protection; nor am I subjected to power outages or surges. But the power supply for my LaCie d2 Quadra was faulty, not that I realised it immediately. A few weeks after purchase, I couldn't mount the drive on any of my computers, using a variety of connection methods and cables. It also developed a clicking noise which I couldn't trace. LaCie UK asked me to send the drive back (without power supply or cables) and they returned it to me a couple of weeks later with a "no fault found" report. But it still wouldn't mount. I got hold of a LaCie technician who said it sounded like the power supply was faulty and he sent me another one which has, more or less, fixed the problem. It still misbehaves occasionally by suddenly dismounting itself when dormant but it can be brought back by removing the FW cable and re-connecting. It scares me.
I have used LaCie drives of various types over 20 years. This will be my
Same here. I've had Lacie power bricks regularly fail regardless of whether they were connected to a UPS or wall outlet. Now I purchase the replacement power bricks in pairs, so that I will have one ready when the active brick inevitably fails.
In my darker moments, I suspect that they are less substantial by design, to ensure a steady stream of very high margin replacement revenue for Lacie. The Lacie "no problem here, it must be your fault" attitude reinforces such suspicions.
This has been an ongoing situation for years, in my experience, and I found out about this via web queries when my first one failed, so it has clearly been a problem for many years.
Aside from the worthless power bricks, I have found the Lacie products to be good, but the ongoing expense of replacing a power brick or two every year makes them one of the most expensive drive manufacturers out there.
LaCie - never again. Since 2005, at my last job and at my present job, almost every LaCie 3.5" drive we bought died the power supply death. Sometimes taking the data with it, sometimes not. Since about 2007 I've not bought a LaCie 3.5" drive, relying instead on raw drives and housings. With the exception of a cheapie housing I bought at a local discounter, I've had good results. I see no reason to give LaCie another chance until these reports of power supply failures disappear. I vote with my boss's money
I've experienced four LaCie PowerBrick failures, two within the warranty period and two beyond the warranty period.
All four presented the same symptoms. The unit received enough power to spin the drive and display the power-on lights but the unit remains invisible to the host regardless of whether I used FireWire 400 or 800. The power-on light flashes very quickly throughout.
No UPS was involved.
We have external drives from other vendors that are older and haven't failed in this way. Thus, it would appear that LaCie saved a few cents per unit and passed the subsequent pain onto their customers.
I know that they've lost our business. Not a big deal I suppose, as we
only purchase 4-5 of these a year.
After reading about the ubiquitous failures of LaCie power supply bricks, I feel obligated to chime in.
About a month ago the power supply on my almost 2 year old LaCie d2 500 GB Quad failed. I called LaCie, they arranged to send me a replacement.
A few weeks later it had not arrived so I called LaCie again. The next support person apologized and said that the former support person had made an error in the order and so he over-nighted the replacement power supply brick to me.
A few seconds after I plugged in the new brick, it made a pop sound and died.
I called a third time. This person sent me another replacement brick, but normal shipping time. A week later, I plugged it into the same robust surge protector I've been using... and it worked!
Proof: LaCie power supplies work! You just need to keep replacing them, that's all.
Of course as soon as my warranty is up...
Question to LaCie: Why the devil don't you address this obvious widespread problem with your power supply manufacturer? Is it because it's more cost effective to do nothing? Do you have any idea how badly your reputation is getting effected by this?
I've been debating upgrading my interior hard drives and my back drives to larger capacities. I was checking out their brand new small footprint 2 TB external drives. I would have liked to continue using the LaCie rackmount I have.
This reminds me of the repeated failures and denial of a company who made Syquest drives many years ago that kept failing by a company named APS. I stuck with them for years because they had a so-called great reputation. Obviously they were deaf, dumb and blind to product reliability problems... just like LaCie is now experiencing... as I believe APS disappeared or morphed into oblivion.
I'm beginning to think LaCie is about to destroy their reputation as an affordable reliable brand name... and lose all its loyal customers like me. When I leave a brand name I never go back.
My question to Apple: Why do you still carry LaCie hard drives in all your stores if they are so unreliable?
We too have experienced many failing LaCie powerbricks but LaCie are now
using a different chassis. The newer drives which are housed in a similar
enclosure but which now have "cooling fins" use a smaller powerbrick. This
powerbrick which provides only 12V DC (?) to the chassis, seem to get less
hot than the one for the older drives.
I think it's a known fact that most powerbricks, other powersupplies and drives which get hot and/or doesn't have sufficient cooling will expire much sooner than neccessary.
Some components like capacitors are "quality rated" according to what heat they can operate in so what goes into a product surely matters. I also try to not "bunch up", put on top of each other drives/enclosures and powerbricks so they can pick up heat from each other.
David Thall comments:
"This reminds me of the repeated failures and denial of a company who made Syquest drives many years ago that kept failing by a company named APS. I stuck with them for years because they had a so-called great reputation. Obviously they were deaf, dumb and blind to product reliability problems... just like LaCie is now experiencing... as I believe APS disappeared or morphed into oblivion."
No joke: They were acquired by LaCie. The degradation in product quality and customer service happened almost immediately after that, although they kept using the APS name for quite a while.
I gave up on LaCie several years ago when they were the manufacturer of Apple-branded external drives. The one I bought was in their hands - or in transit to or from them - for more than 4 months of the 6 I ostensibly owned it. Despite a change in ownership and several years to turn things around, I haven't heard anything that makes me rethink that position.
MacInTouch Reader wrote:
"My current faulty LaCie power supply is made in China by Sunfone, model 706479."
I've got one of those on a nearly-5-year-old LaCie d2 Firewire drive that still runs, but the Firewire cable doesn't boot up the drive when the Mac starts. I have to push the blue power button. It's been doing that for a couple of years. and I've just lived with it. (It's now a secondary backup drive, not the primary backup) Have others seen similar things? Or are the power supplies totally dead?
APS was acquired by LaCie.
David Thall wrote:
...a company named APS. I stuck with them for years because they had a so-called great reputation. Obviously they were deaf, dumb and blind to product reliability problems... just like LaCie is now experiencing... as I believe APS disappeared or morphed into oblivion.
LaCie bought APS, I think maybe in 1998 or so. In fact, APS had *earned* that reputation, and before they were bought I had many good experiences with them. Unfortunately, I think they managed to also go bankrupt and LaCie bought them (it was a while ago so I may have some details mixed up). The APS name continued on for a few years while they were owned by LaCie, though, and perhaps that is why you have bad memories of them.
Just as a contrarian word, I personally own four LaCie drives of various
types, and have bought maybe six or eight others at my former job. All
have worked flawlessly, some of them for many years. Three are USB bus
powered, though I'm not really sure if that makes any difference.
The college I work for has used LaCie drives as long as I can remember. We used the original D2 drives in our Retrospect array, with hardly a blip in performance. We did have some power brick problems with the Porsche drives. But since moving to the D2 Quadra drives, we have not had any power brick failures. We recommend the Rugged drives to incoming Freshmen as backup drives, and have had no complaints.
I have always appreciated that LaCie has recognized Macs users as
important, and their drives come formatted for Macs. For what it's
worth, we will continue to use LaCie drives. That said, I encourage
LaCie to "speak up" and respond to their faithful users, even if it only
to acknowledge that there may be problem. And *please*, LaCie, keep
making Mac drives with Firewire!
So, on reading this thread since the quoted reply from a LaCie representative on May 15, I have to wonder about the two amazing statements he or she made: one, that the UPS could be at fault, and two, that LaCie has no issues with its power supplies.
Who on earth is this person? Has anybody tried contacting someone in LaCie management to confirm or comment on these statements? Surely at least the UPS thing can't be official company policy? I imagine what we have here is an overenthusiastic new employee, or something.
Personally, I am *so* over LaCie. Used to be a good company, now their drives are just overpriced disasters waiting to happen. And why they can't fix a problem with something as simple as power bricks boggles the mind.
David Thall wrote:
"This reminds me of the repeated failures and denial of a company who made Syquest drives many years ago that kept failing by a company named APS. I stuck with them for years because they had a so-called great reputation. Obviously they were deaf, dumb and blind to product reliability problems... just like LaCie is now experiencing... as I believe APS disappeared or morphed into oblivion."
Actually, LaCie bought APS (http://db.tidbits.com/article/4748).
I have good memories of APS. Still have 3 or 4 of their SCSI drives, both disk and MO, though they haven't been used in years. Rock solid construction. Great design (for the day). But too expensive for the general market (like Apple). APS used multiple technologies from different vendors, Syquest being only one.
I've only got 1 LaCie drive. That died due to no fault of theirs (it contained an IBM DeathStar). I replaced the drive, voiding the warranty. It's running right now, on the orignal power brick. Go figure.
APS Tech /was/ a great manufacturer. I still have several of their SCSI
products (tape drives and hard drives, both internal and external,)
which still work great after many years. Then APS was bought by LaCie.
That's when their products became garbage. Knowing LaCie's reputation
for low quality, even then, I stopped buying APS products the minute I
heard about their acquisition by LaCie and haven't ever looked back.
David Thrall wrote: "...as I believe APS disappeared or morphed into oblivion."
LaCie bought APS; to this day apstech.com redirects to LaCie.
I was saddened when I learned of the acquisition, as APS's hard drive enclosures were second to none. I never used the SyQuest drives you had problems with. I was a Bernoulli guy; Bernoulli disks were dead reliable.
(I had a brief fling with the SyJet in the late 90s, but the disks failed even more frequently than the Jaz drive! I've still got some rattling around my basement somewhere...)
David Thall referred to a company named APS and wondered what happened to them
"...I believe APS disappeared or morphed into oblivion."
APS was acquired by...LaCie.
I was also a big fan of APS and purchased numerous drives and cases for myself and for clients. I became aware of the power supply issues shortly after the acquisition by LaCie. Over the intervening years I have continued to see complaints about reliability issues, particularly relating to power supplies. Consequently I have never considered buying LaCie hardware, though I have purchased or recommended dozens of external drives in that time. It's always seemed curious to me that they continue to survive, perhaps to thrive, while selling persistently problematic hardware at premium prices.
I hesitated to submit this comment because I don't want to merely pile on, but I'm hoping this might add some ammunition to those people within LaCie who must surely be in favor of remedying their situation. Or perhaps their business model is "There's a sucker born every minute." Meantime I'll just keep purchasing from vendors who seem to care about quality and reliability.
I've been working in professional audio/video (primarily Avid/Final
Cut/Pro Tools) support for about fifteen years now, and seen a large
number of LaCie failures. The D2/Big Disk series suffer from an inordinate
number of power supply failures, which have been going on for a couple of
years now. The smaller Porsche-designed enclosures have no cooling, active
or passive heatsink, and fail rapidly when used for editing work.
However, I've had quite good luck with their smaller 2.5" based "Rugged Disk" drives for transferring projects around, and shipping them to other facilities. The 3.5" products have acquired a really bad reputation in my industry, and for good reason.
I usually recommend purchasing G-Technology or OWC external drives - at least for any application requiring frequent, high-volume disk access - and the associated heat buildup.
I've had similar heat problems with the Wiebetech drives overheating and failing when used with Time Machine. Drives with fans in them (like [some from] OWC) [can be] annoying loud, but they keep working.
[OWC sells fanless drives/enclosures (e.g. Mercury Elite AL), plus quiet enclosures with fans (e.g. dual drive Mercury Elite AL-Pro) and the miniStack series (which can be fairly quiet with its thermal-sensing fan circuit). -Ric Ford]
Instead of supporting La Cie's Power Supply Profit Center, why not use a generic power supply or an orphaned one that's kicking around your office (from Sony or somebody)? Just match the specifications to the La Cie specs of the dead power supply. Check:
physical plug for fit
AC vs DC
wattage or amperage
(anything I missed?)
[Plus polarity/pin-outs of the plug (which could potentially differ even though the physical plug was identical). -Ric Ford]
What about Rocstor? I have had good luck with their enclosures into which I put my own drives. I use the ones with a built in power supply. It makes is easier to move them from computer to computer as all that is needed is a power cord with the IEC connector that is so ubiquitous.
Most of their enclosures already have the hard drive installed.
[A quick glance at the site shows some interesting features, including hardware encryption (with FireWire hardware key) and some anti-shock features in the mounting system. -Ric Ford]
APS Technologies had some great products and stood behind them with some pretty solid support. That support was one of the things that contributed to their demise.
As far as an unreliable APS Syquest drive, it likely had more to do with Syquest then APS. APS did the cases for the drives, but they just purchased the actuall mechanisms. And APS made some great cases.
It was one of their drive mechanism vendors that started APS death. Micropolis went into bankrupcy and then liquidation. That left APS in a rough spot where they were replacing failed drive mechanisms out of their pocket when Micropolis should have been covering the cost. Essentially, if your Micropolis based APS drive failed, APS was had to buy a new mechanism from a different manufacturer to replace it.
To make matters worse for APS, they also got hammered by Apple. APC was a licensee (or actually sub-licensee from Motorola) to manufacturer Apple clones. Orginally based in Independence, MO, they set up shop in Kansas City to assemble their APS M*Power branded systems. That was an investment they made and kept in their "home town".
Unfortunately when Steve Jobs killed the licensing, APS got slammed again. In the little over a year APS sold clones, it wouldn't have come anywhere near to covering their investments.
APS used to sponsor the TidBITS Newsletter, and they've got a small
article with info at http://www.tidbits.com/tb-issues/TidBITS-415.html
MacInTouch also had a post from a from a former APS employee on the Micropolis issue back in 2006.
Not to be too defensive of them, but it seemed like a good company and I was always happy with the products. They had a really neat little SCSI connector you could use to chain a stack of their drives together instead of having to manage cables between each drive. Things just weren't the same after Lacie bought them.
I have experienced the same 'dying' power supply units with all 6 of our LaCie BigDisks and have replaced about 9 in total in 2 years.
These drives were purchased by our central IT division. If I had my way, I would have chosen any other brand.
I had worked in Apple retail and saw no end to problems with LaCie
products over the 6 years I sold them. Highly recommend staying away
Just got off the phone with LaCie tech support. They offered to send me a 2-pack of power supplies for my Big Disk Extreme without even asking for a serial number. This would lead me to think that these failed power supplies are a significant problem. I've had a lot of LaCie drives over the years. I still have a positive view of the company and their products but they need to find new suppliers for power supplies.
I agree about LaCie drives. But my problems go back to even earlier. I always found their formatting software, Silverlining, buggy and error-prone. I don't remember how many 'un-recoverable' drives I've fixed simply by updating the driver to a non-Silverlining type. Of course, that was when I was easy to replace drivers!
Obviously, LaCie is mostly a repackager of hard disks, adding value either with external enclosures or with added software (remember when they gave you a ton of shareware?). The drives themselves were various brands, and mostly fine. And I don't recall many power supply failures, most of my calls resulted in driver replacement. It could have been worse. I recall when most Quantum drives failed out of the box. I refused to sell them when I was the manager of MacEmporium in NYC. They had such a good rep from their famous 40 megabyte drives, but resting on their laurels only postponed their inevitable fall.
But I have seen some nice drives from LaCie, I like the Porsche-designed case but I'm partial to that marque. But I still wouldn't choose them if there were alternatives.
So those of you who have had the power supplies fail, once you have received the replacement, did your drives just start right up as before and never miss a beat? Was all of your data still intact on the drive?
I am a bit confused about the discussions regarding the enclosures. Forgive my complete ignorance of how these drives actually function, but in addition to the power supply problems (I am understanding this to be the cords) is there also a problem that occurs with the actual metal case that the hard drive is installed in?
I'd be curious to know what you ended up doing. I also have a Lacie, though the 500GB safe drive, also with a failed power supply. I called Lacie, now almost two weeks ago and they said it sounded like a failed power supply and that they would send a new one right out. I offered to pay extra for shipping as I desperately needed to access some of my files on the hard drive, and the agony of not knowing if it was in fact a power supply problem, or drive issue was just makin me crazy. They said they could not take payment to upgrade shipping but could expedite it for me. As I mentioned that was two weeks ago. I spoke to them on a Monday, three days after reporting the problem, to see if they could email me tracking info so that I could make certain to have my dogs restrained the day of the delivery. I was told that the power supply had not yet shipped, as they were building it!
What?!? Building it?!? The CS person told me that once it was built, he
would email the tracking info. Still have not heard a peep. I managed to
find an acquaintance with a spare power supply that he was not using,
and was able toplug mine in, and that did solve the problem. Now I am
just waiting to see how long it takes LaCie to resolve this issue.....
building the power supply... hmmmm aren't they a worldwide company?!
MacInTouch Reader writes in part:
"...building the power supply... hmmmm aren't they a worldwide company?!"
Yes, but electrical voltages and outlet configurations also vary widely worldwide, requiring completely unique designs to be fabricated. Excess inventory requires excess money no one worldwide has right now, so it's understandable LaCie didn't have your specific replacement part available for immediate shipping. Inconvenient, yes, but that's the cost of a worldwide economic depression.
I have purchased 25 of the LaCie d2's in the past year and 6 of them have had failed power supplies.
You know a company has a problem with one of their products when you send them a troubleshoot ticket their response is we'll send you a replacement and they don't care about the broken one.
Another reader said,
"You know a company has a problem with one of their products when you send them a troubleshoot ticket their response is we'll send you a replacement and they don't care about the broken one."
I agree there are some serious problems with certain LaCie power adapters, and I'm sure they're aware of it too. However, I had to send them my 2 failed adapters before they would send me replacements under warranty.