External USB 2.0 HD not recognized


I just bought a new G4 Powerbook and was hoping to transfer files from my PC using an external USB 2.0 portable hard drive formatted in FAT32. But when I plug it in to my Mac, I get nothing. It does not mount to the desktop, nor do I see it listed in the Disk Utility or System Profiler. It automatically mounts when I plug it into a friend's G4 iBook, and I've tested the USB ports by plugging in a USB 2.0 flash drive, which reads perfectly.
I've read other similar threads on this board, but have found nothing that works in my situation. Any suggestions are appreciated.


I have the same problem. According to another post on this forum. the cause is the USB port doesn't have enough power to support an external 2.0 USB drive that draws more than 500ma(according to poster this is a known limitation of the Powerbook. If it is true. Which I suspect it is. I'm not real happy with the Apple sales people as they assured me that any external USB 2.0 device would be supported. I even described my nifty USB powered external 80gb hard drive I use for backup purposes. Guess I should have went to the Apple store. As a matter of fact I'm going to do just that and confront them on the issue today. I'll keep you posted on outcome.
I actually bought the 3yrs support so I have a right to ask tough questions.
$2700 for a laptop should get me a personal assistant!

Lt Major Burns

"Dicky" Charlteston-Burns
i think this is definately a power-thing.

i have an 80gb usb2.0 external laCie drive, which works fine on my desktop g5, and it is also externally powered (the drive has a power-brick)


Some of the USB external drives come with a dual USB adapter for low power use. You plug into 2 USB ports, and the drive should work fine. Using an external power adapter, plugging that into the USB drive case, should also work.


Power was definately my issue. Apparently the USB bus on the Powerbook doesn't give enough power, but the one on the iBook does! Well, that makes sense. Anyway, since my two cables are together, they couldn't reach opposite ends of my 15", so I acquired a powered USB 2.0 PCMCIA card and was able to read the drive. Now I know...