Windows 10: USB-C problems powering older external disks Solved

  1. Posts : 18
    Windows 10 Home
       18 Jun 2018 #1

    USB-C problems powering older external disks

    Recently I bought a very nice and impressive HP Spectre x360 Convertible. 8th gen core i7-8550U (1.8GHz). 512GB SSD with 8GB DDR3 RAM. It has 1 'standard' USB3 port and 2 USB-C Thunderbolt ports.

    My problem is that I can't run my older ext. USB disks. I bought a j5create hub with 3 USB3 ports, which is connected to one of the type C ports. Flash drives work perfectly, but not my large capacity (250GB to 4TB) powered ext. USB 2 & 3 disks. They work OK in the sole 'standard' USB port.

    I tried disabling the enhanced power management option on the hub and ext. disks in their respective properties via Device Manager, but to no avail.

    The new hub does have a 5v connection point, presumably for additional power. Maybe this will solve the problem, but at present I can't find a source in order to buy one!

    I believe the C type ports are backward compatible, so my question is, do I need additional power through the hub, or is there another solution to my problem?

    Thanks and kind regards.
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  2. Posts : 925
    Windows 10 Home x64 and Pro x86
       18 Jun 2018 #2

    Do you have a USB female to USB-C male adapter so you can test the external drives without the hub involved? That would allow you to pin down the source of the problem more precisely.

    This link is intended to show you some illustrations and is not a product recommendation USB C Type C Type C USB 3.1 A USB 3.0 Type A Male to Female Converter Adapter

      My ComputerSystem Spec

  3. Posts : 18
    Windows 10 Home
    Thread Starter
       18 Jun 2018 #3

    All I have is the hub. Being new to C-Type I assumed this would be all I needed. However, following your excellent suggestion, I will now check out the alternatives.
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  4. Posts : 925
    Windows 10 Home x64 and Pro x86
       18 Jun 2018 #4

    I suggested the adapter just to assist you in diagnosis.
    - I have USB-C connections on my newest phone, my newest computer & my only tablet so I find it handy to have an adapter handy in addition to my USB-C hub [from PowerAdd].
    - If I am just connecting a single external drive, I find it convenient to use the adapter.

    By the way, I have bought USB-USBC adapters from different suppliers at prices ranging from 0.61 to 3 and the cheaper ones do not seem to be any worse than the more expensive ones [the 3 one is still going & 2 of the 3 very cheap ones are still going]. I have now wrapped a bit of strong tape around one and tied it to my keyring with a lanyard so hopefully I will not misplace any more of them.

      My ComputerSystem Spec

  5. Berton's Avatar
    Posts : 5,392
    Win10 Home and Pro, Win10 Insider Preview, WinXP Home Premium, Linux Mint
       18 Jun 2018 #5

    I have a small adapter cable for the small port to the standard port called OTG/On The Go, got it from Dell when I got the 8" Venue tablet. It was necessary as the tablet doesn't have a standard USB port.
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  6. Posts : 18
    Windows 10 Home
    Thread Starter
       19 Jun 2018 #6

    Today I visited the retailer, along with the hub, my laptop, flash drive and 4TB ext, disk. There, the hub was demonstrated not to work with the 4TB, but OK with the flash drive. We tried a new, replacement hub of the same make and this worked for both, so now I am back home, hoping the hub will continue to work. Currently, there are 2 large capacity ext. disks running on it.
    Notwithstanding the existence of a 5v power socket on the hub, several retailers have confirmed the relevant adapter is not available, even from the hub manufacturer!
    I will monitor the situation for a day or two. My thanks to those who responded.
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  7.    19 Jun 2018 #7

    Hi there

    even with powered hubs sometimes large capacity external HDD's still need their own separate power supply.

    Remember also especially for smaller form factor computers it's not the hub that has the problem but what the computers bus can allow as max power.

    Just because the computer has an i7 CPU doesn't mean that the bus is capable of driving several 4 TB large HDD's concurrently or even at all. The problem here isn't with defective hardware but simply of basic physics / electrical engineering.

      My ComputerSystem Spec

  8. Posts : 18
    Windows 10 Home
    Thread Starter
       19 Jun 2018 #8

    Thanks for the explanation Jimbo. I am not at all knowledgeable in these matters, so your wise words throw a new light on my situation. Anyway, all seems OK at present. I live in hope!
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  9. Posts : 925
    Windows 10 Home x64 and Pro x86
       19 Jun 2018 #9


    You are more knowledgeable than you say.
    - You are using external drives that have their own power supply so that the power demands on your computer are minimised
    - You have demonstrated that your computer can provide enough power through the USB-C connection for your external drives through the [replaced] hub

      My ComputerSystem Spec

  10. Posts : 18
    Windows 10 Home
    Thread Starter
       22 Jun 2018 #10

    Having monitored my replacement hub for a short period, all seems to be working very well. I can only assume the original hub was faulty in some way. Again, thanks to all who assisted with this, for which i am most grateful.
      My ComputerSystem Spec


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