proper way to turn on and off, daisy chaining ok?

My reseller told me to keep my drobos powered on at all times, except when leaving for an extended period of time, like a few weeks. But Jennifer says she powers down every night after working. What do other people do?

Also, Is it ok to power up the drobo, THEN connect the fire wire cable to the MAC? Does the order matter? It certainly is more convenient (since there is no on/off switch on the drobo 1st and 2nd gen), to power up, then plug in the firewire cable, but I don’t want to compromise my data either.

Thirdly, my drobos occasionally just switch off. Are they overheating? I noticed that especially when I have a rugged lacie plugged into my 400 firewire port (it is powered by the computer, no external power source), and my drobos daisy chained and plugged into my 800 port. is that a problem

Actually I keep my drobo on all the time here at work.

You always want to do DATA cable first then power. Regardless if that is plugging in or unplugging.

If the drobo is overheating, the power light would turn RED. Is it doing that?

Is the drobo the first device in the daisy chain?

Sometimes too many devices can overload the FW bus on the computer. I know my mac can only handle 2 devices daisy chained off the FW bus.

Not sure on the Firewire configuration on your system but… if the Firewire 400 and Firewire 800 ports are on the same Firewire bus, then having the 400 device plugged in will throttle the entire Firewire bus down to 400 speed.

If they’re separate Firewire buses, then that shouldn’t be an issue. Bus contention, however, can be an issue regardless. If a device (storage devices are often offenders) bursts data onto the bus, then data from other devices can be blocked or delayed.

Once upon a time, I crazily had 16 hard drives daisy-chained off one Firewire bus. It didn’t work well. After some amount of traffic, one or more of the drives would “fall off” the bus and required resetting the Firewire bus to fix - either disconnect and reconnect, or rebooting the computer.

So yes, while Firewire is supposed to be able to handle a large number of daisy-chained devices, in practice, I think more than 2 or 3 gets hairy.

I’m working on a 17" macbook pro. I don’t know if the the 400 and 800 firewire inputs are on the “same bus”… Right now I have 2 drobos daisy chained and going into my 800 fw port. I’d like to add a lacie drive to the 400 port… Not a good idea?

I don’t think the red lights went on when this happened… but the blue lights and green lights suddenly turned off…

Good to know that the fw cable needs to be plugged in first before power gets turned on, and that it needs to be unplugged first! I would have thought the opposite…that you should turn the power on first, then connect the fw cable. It seems more intuitive: that a burst of power through the fw cable would not be good…

While I’m not certain, it’s quite possible that it’s a single FW800 bus, with a FW400 port for convenience (so you don’t have a buy an adapter cable).

The simple way would to do a performance test on the Drobo, then connected the Lacie drive to the FW400 port and do the same performance test on the Drobo again.

If you see significantly slower speed on the Drobo with the Lacie drive connected, then most likely it’s the same bus and it’s being throttled down because the Lacie drive is FW400.

If you don’t see slower speed on the Drobo with the Lacie drive connected, then either they’re separate buses, or the Drobo isn’t exceeding FW400 speeds.

Another test you can do, since you have two Drobos, is to do a Drobo-to-Drobo copy without the Lacie drive connected, and with the Lacie drive connected. If the copy is significantly slower with the Lacie drive connected, then it’s the same FW bus, and having the Lacie drive connected will slow down Drobo-to-Drobo performance. Maybe not an issue for you, all depends. But it’s good to know. :slight_smile:

I run a shell script to keep the disks spun up at all times, so I don’t have to wait to access the Drobo waiting 30 seconds for the disks to spin up. I also never turn off my computer (not even standby), which means 24/7 access for the Drobo. Runs great.

[quote=“Jennifer, post:2, topic:699”]
You always want to do DATA cable first then power. Regardless if that is plugging in or unplugging.

Hi Jennifer,
But what if you want to connect another drobo (I have 3). Do you have to actually put the first drobo into standby, disconnect the cable, turn the computer off, then plug in the cable for the new drobo, then turn your computer back on?

you can leave the computer on

If you have one drobo attached already, you just plug in the FW cable from the 2nd drobo into the 1st drobo then plug in the power to the 2nd drobo.

Sorry for being a dimwit about this, I just can’t wrap my head around the unplugging and plugging in process–so if I put my drobos in standby because I’m going out for an hour, but I don’t feel like shutting my computer off…do I disconnect the firewire cable? When I come back in an hour, can I simply replug in the firewire cable, or do I have to power down my drobos first, then plug in my firwirecable? The computer has been on for the whole hour, but in sleep mode…
Or is it better, if I know I’m coming back in an hour or two, NOT to put the drobos in standby…?
In other words, when the drobos go into standby, the only way to get them back on my desktop is by reconnecting the firecable, but the instructions seem to imply that you need to be powered down before plugging in the firewire cable–get my point?

Maybe this will help:



Especially on a Mac, always plug/unplug Firewire devices with the device powered off. My employer sells Firewire peripherals and a number of them have been damaged by hot-plugging on the Mac’s firewire port.

quote=‘bhiga’ pid=‘3852’ dateline=‘1259195360’]
Especially on a Mac, always plug/unplug Firewire devices with the device powered off. My employer sells Firewire peripherals and a number of them have been damaged by hot-plugging on the Mac’s firewire port.

Wow–really? That’s such a pain since there is no on/off switch on the front of the drobo. (I guess they changed that on drobo pro). That means anytime you shut down your Mac, you have to power down the drobo as well? Because it would be unsafe for the drobo to keep it plugged into the Mac? When you turn the Mac back on the surge of power could damage the drobo?

Hi Nora,

A wise man once explained to me that it often has something to do with ground differential, though there’s more to it than just that.

Long story short, things should be fine as long as the connection remains connected, as it’s much like building static walking on a carpet, then touching the doorknob. Once you touch the doorknob, you don’t get shocked by either until some other foreign-charged object comes into contact.

So as long as you keep them connected, should be fine. Just be careful when doing the initial connection.


Thanks so much Brandon, that’s a lovely way to explain it!!

[font=Arial][size=large][color=#C71585]Ola Peoples[/color][/size][/font]

Just been reading this post, I’m a Drobo V2 newbie. Fired it up late last night for first time.
I’m kinda surprised at some of the little things here that seem to be off/missing. One being the power on/off standby scenario we’re having.

I’m using Mac osx snow leopard.
Drobo dashboard : 1.5.1
Drobo firmware : 1.3.5

First question I have is if I drag the Drobo hard disk icon from my desktop to the trash it unmounts it. But I can still see it in Dashboard. But I can’t figure out how to mount the Drobo again through the Dashboard/finder menu. Can it be done?
I’ve just tried to map to it, but it’s not showing or can’t be seen. It needs to make a connection again.
I understand if I unplug the either the power cable or data cable it will then reboot it self on the system and pop up on the desktop because that’s in my preferences for it to do so. This seems daft for something that’s supposed to be on the cutting edge.
No power on/off button seems backwards in the light of this scenario. So, how about putting a switch on the cable?
I’m no expert here, but that seems kinda obvious to me.
No switch…Then put in a switch.(or lean down and switch it on/off by wall)
Someone explain to me if that’s a good or bad idea, where ever on the power lead.

Pulling out the cables to power cycle the thing on and off is rubbish. I’m gonna post this, then restart my Mac without touching cables to see if it becomes mounted. Not really ideal, just seeing what the parameters are here.

[font=Trebuchet MS][size=large][color=#32CD32]mutley[/color][/size][/font][hr]
[font=Arial][b][size=large][color=#800080]Ok Boppers

Just restarted Mac, and the Drobo does indeed mount itself back onto the system.

I dunno whats worse, pulling the leads out the back, or having to restart ones computer.
Anyway, if I’m wrong here about anything, then let me know people.

Can it be remounted from dashboard? or some other way?
Trouble is, I’ve just made the jump from Pc to Mac. So I’m not as clever yet on the Mac.

So any Mac enthusiasts out there, let me know. Will be a great help to me.


Honestly the only reason you want to put the Drobo into standby is if you plan on moving your Drobo or need to shut it down. Once it’s in standby mode the only way to remount is to either restart your computer or unplug and replug the cables.

In the Finder to to Application --> Utilities --> Disk Utility
Select your volume (called “Drobo” unless you renamed it) then click the Mount button.

[font=Arial][size=large][color=#C71585]Hello ajspencer[/color][/size][/font]

Thanks for your reply, and in fact it does do that. Thats what I needed to hear. Having just made the switch from PC to Mac, whilst computer literate, I’m not up to speed yet on Mac.

And to Ms Jennifer, I liked your choice of words. [color=#DDA0DD][font=Courier][size=medium]“Honestly”[/size][/font][/color]

Made me laugh.


Wow, glad I’m not the only one a bit mystified by the whole on/off thing on the drobo 2nd gen…

I have another question that relates to all of this: As I understood when I bought my drobos, one of the advantages is that it cycles through the files periodically refreshing them (or some such thing) which keeps them in good health (not sure what the technical language is)… but when the drobo is in standby (power on), is it still doing that? Or does it have to be mounted to a computer for that “advantage”?

2nd question: As I have found that the drobos are a bit slow for video editing (and definitely too slow for capturing), I plan to use my drobos only for back up of my video files and edit from a faster eSata drive. Now, everyone says to keep 2 backups of everything–since the drobo is redundant, does it amount to 2 backups? In other words, do I need yet another drive fro the 2nd back up or is my drobo sufficient, since if one drive goes, I can just replace it and my files will be restored (hopefully two drives won’t fail simultaneously…)

Thanks for any clarifications!