Drobo

Drobo S not connecting via sata-esata connector

Hi All -

My Drobo-S shows up fine with USB, but not via the esata connection. I haven’t really found an answer to my problem by searching, so I’m hoping someone else has done something similar and can help.

The computer is a Dell Dimension C521 small form factor, AMD64, Win 2008 R2. There is no esata connector, so I’m using a sata to esata adapter (http://www.amazon.com/Startech-Accessory-Esataplt1lpl-Profile-Latching/dp/B004N4OAIM/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=electronics&qid=1302023883&sr=8-2). I don’t have any other eata devices to test with unfortunately, but the adapter is brand new and fairly simple. Both onboard sata ports are known good. It appears to have an NVIDIA chipset, but there is no option for configuring on-chip ATA in the BIOS (or anything remotely similar – all I can do is turn off or on the two internal sata ports).

Has anybody else tried this? Or know what is wrong, or have any other ideas?

Thanks for your help.

i suspect its simply because the drobo is a true esata device and is quite picky about what it will talk to you

you will neeed to buy an add in card which gives you a true esata port

dri do have a list of known to work cards

I suspect you are correct.

the Drobo requires port multiplier capability in order to function in eSATA mode. I don’t think you can get Port mUltiplier function out of a SATA to eSATA converter (though I could be wrong).

Secondly the port multiplier function in the eSATA of many AMD chipsets is very bad.

I have a AMD system with a 780 chipset. It has actual eSATA ports - reportedly with Port Multiplier function, yet it still fails to work due to a hardware bug in AMD’s eSATA implementation.

You - however - are in a better position than I am. My compact AMD system (Dell Zino HD) does not have any internal expansion capability. Your system should - according to the spec pages - have one free PCI express slots. You can get a rather inexpensive expansion board to install in one of those slots and get full eSATA functionality (with port multiplier).

They used to. If you go to the link on the drobo webpage there is now an error message that says “this answer is no longer available” (even if you follow the link from the Drobo S product page)

When you shop for an eSATA card, make sure it has port multiplier compatibility and you should be fine. (as long as its not an AMD chipset :stuck_out_tongue: ) These cards can be found online for as little as $20.

And now its randomly back. Maybe they were in the process of updating it or something?

Anyway, here is the link.

I have my new drobo s connected with an SATA/eSATA cable. Very handy cables to have around. Dashboard doesn’t show a connection but I’ve gotten as high as a 105 meg/sec read and writing with benchmarking software. I copied 462 GB of data yesterday and it took right at 120 minutes. As long as my math is right, that is @ 65 Meg/sec.

Received my Sonnet e2p card. Dashboard is showing up.

excellent - i think (but im not sure) that it uses the port replication function of some esata controllers to pass the control information - if the port doesnt support i then it just appears as a single standard storage device

given how old the C521 is, i wouldn’t be surprised if they were just normal sata ports onboard.

thanks for the link mattlach, i’ll give it a look for a half-height card and report back when it arrives

The Sonnet e2p ships with a half height bracket included.

From an older post that I can’t find right now, the port-multiplier functionality entails multiple LUN support, which is what Drobo uses to show more than one volume to the host. If you have a single volume, it might work without port-multiplier support.

it is a single volume, but nothing is showing when connected via esata

No, it won’t work without the right chipset which does require
port -multiplier functionality. Sorry…

I have my Drobo S connected through a Sata to esata cable and it works fine as a single drive. Dashboard doesn’t pick it up and I had to initially set it up through FireWire though.

I do have a sonnet e2p on its way though.