Drobo S v2 with Thunderbolt to Firewire adapter on iMac 2013 10.9 Mavericks

I have my Drobo 5d Connected with thunderbolt which is fine

I have a Drobo S v2 connected to a FW to thunderbolt adapter connected to the thunderbolt adapter on my iMac.

My Mac doesn’t like the drobo on the adapter at all. It works fine with USB but connected above, finder hangs and I’ve had crashes. I really wanted to get my Drobo S on the thunderbolt port so I can free up a USB port. Is there anything I can try or any recommendations to get this working? Or is there no hope and it just won’t work.


It will be much faster on the USB port, and adapters like that are going to generally have issues (sadly).

Thanks for the confirmation :frowning: May just have to save for another 5D! :slight_smile:

hi musio,
when you say trying to free up a usb slot, do you know what type of device you were thinking of using, and what usb devices you currently have?

some devices will “play nice” when attached to a multi-usb hub (or at least one of the well known ones)

ive had usb card readers, mice, scanners, keyboards, internet hub, and midi keyboards work ok via a hub before, even an iomega external drive. maybe your device is going to be ok via a usb hub too?[hr]
there are also some USB to Fireware cables and hubs available too…
maybe another way to look at your current problem, could be to use the drobo on the usb port, and to use the new (to be confirmed) device via usb to firewire?

Actually there are no USB-Firewire converters that work! Well, none that I’m aware of at least.
At one point there were one or two DV over USB cables, but those worked only for DV camcorders (which use Firewire as the interface), when they worked at all. They did nothing for Firewire storage, Firewire Imaging devices (think webcam over Firewire), etc.

There are a few plug adapters, but those are for electrically using a USB cable instead of a Firewire cable, not for using a Firewire device on a USB bus.
The adapter needs to exist on both ends for it to work.

It’s like converting an 8P8C (aka RJ45) network plug to a 6P2C (aka RJ11) telephone plug. Sure, you can plug it into a gigabit switch on one end and a telephone on the other end, but it won’t do anything useful. It might even fry one or both devices.
Put the same converter on both ends of the cable, and it’s just a bunch of wires in between, no problem as there’s no protocol difference.

Firewire device can be supported on a Thunderbolt bus with proper adapter, yes.

Firewire device on a USB bus, is a NO.

I have to resort to unplugging things - silly things like an iPhone cable for charging. Thanks for the advice though :slight_smile:

bhiga - though my firewire is ‘supported’ on thunderbolt, playing nice is another matter! Drobo need to use the port they are designed for it seems to work correctly.

True, you’re not the only one who has run into issues with Thunderbolt-to-Firewire conversion compatibility.

On a related (not Drobo-unrelated) note RE: things that charge from USB, I have been plagued with a general lack of USB power. Things work fine for a while, then suddenly go haywire and require a power cycle of the USB hub. In particular, my Wacom tablet is the main one that “goes out” - the power/activity light starts blinking and I lose mouse.
It’s definitely a power issue… Doesn’t help that it’s being powered through a bus-powered KVM either.
So I have one of these coming: USB Charger Doctor. I suspect I’m going to see that both of my hubs are being horrible overdrawn…

For charge-only purposes, I bought an iGo MicroJuice dual-port USB charger. Will have to see how efficient it is when the tester arrives, but it was hard to pass up as it was only $10 when I got it, heh.

thanks bhiga, i sit corrected :slight_smile:

i looked at this page and it mentioned dual hubs but maybe they are just 2 self-contained, stand-alone protocol hubs combined in 1 unit.

Yeah, the hub part of the page you linked to is weird because it says[quote]Even if you don’t have a Firewire® to USB adapter cable, it doesn’t mean that your Firewire® devices are useless if you have a USB port, or vice versa. Several companies do provide dual hubs.[/quote] but then goes on to explain [quote]there is no conversion between Firewire® and USB taking place when you use one of these hubs.[/quote] which essentially says your Firewire devices are useless if you only have a USB port, or vice versa. LOL!!

My experience with Firewire has been that cable/adapter quality does matter a lot more than it does for USB and other more-common interfaces. I’m not sure if it’s a “loose” spec or not enough testing, but add that to the relatively-new Thunderbolt and there’s a lot of possible uncertainty.

So back on to practicality, looks like the 2013 iMac has 3 USB 3.0 ports and the 2 Thunderbolt ports.
musio, what USB peripherals do you have connected?

Since USB 2.0 devices only use the USB 2.0 “channel” of the USB 3.0 bus, I would definitely keep the Drobo S v2 on one of the USB ports, so you have maximum USB 3.0 transfer speed there.
I’d put a USB 3.0 hub on one of the other ports for keyboard, mouse, iPhone, USB 2.0 devices and intermittent-use USB 3.0 devices.
That leaves the last USB port “unclogged” for any random USB device that needs connection.

the iMac has 4 USB 3.0 ports and 2 thunderbolt ports. This is how I use them.

USB ports
1: Keyboard
2: External high performance soundcard (which draws USB power)
3: iPhone charger (wanted the correct voltage going to it so i’ve put it on one port)
4: Drobo S v2

5D on thunderbolt and wireless mouse :wink:

I’ve found the new lightning cables for the iPhone very temperamental. They don’t like to be plugged into 3rd party docks with the iPhone throwing up errors on charging and data transfer.

Looks like i’m all ported out!

Ahh, my eyes got confused with the 3! Yes, 4 ports… More is better!

My coworker agrees with you about Lightning being finicky about voltage and amperage.

I recommend…
[list=a][]Switch to a Bluetooth keyboard (if there’s one you fancy… I’m quite picky about keyboards so I understand if this makes you shudder)[]Put the keyboard on a USB 3.0 hub. Keyboard traffic is tiny so it shouldn’t affect the effective speed there, and keyboard requires almost no power to operate, so it won’t affect the available power either, though I always favor self-powered hubs over bus-powered ones.[/list]

maybe your sound card (usb power) connection and keyboard can share the connection.

(but you’d have to test it out in case theres any distortion heared whenever you press a key :slight_smile:

That’s also a possibility, though I share musio’s desire to keep the audio hardware on a dedicated port as audio devices, especially good ones, tend to be very finicky about timing and throughput.

Thanks guys! :slight_smile: