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HR21 won't use eSATA (SIL5744, RAID1)

2724 Views 6 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  Riot Nrrrd™
I'm trying to put together an eSATA RAID1 disk system for my new HR21. I've used an AMS DS-312 enclosure, 2 * Seagate DB35.3 750GB SATA 3Gb/s disks, and a 2m SIIG eSATA cable (though I've also tried the cable that came with the enclosure). The DS-312 uses a SIL 5744 chip, which is the same chip that is in the DS3RPRO that some folks have working. (So I thought this solution would have a good chance of working also.) I don't use any jumpers on the disks, so they are in 3Gb/s mode. The DS-312 also runs 3Gb/s on the eSATA port.

So, I restart the HR21, and disconnect power when the lights go out. I connect the eSATA and power up the DS-312. A short delay after the drive lights indicate they are up to speed, I reconnect power to the HR21. Then the "Almost there...a few seconds more" (yeah, right) screen comes up. During this screen, the DS-312's drive-activity LEDs light up 4 times, like this:

...about 5 seconds go by...
both drive activity LED's flash once (about .5 seconds long)
(a second later, I can hear the internal drive start up)
...another 5ish seconds go by...
both drive activity LED's flicker for about 1 second
...another 5ish seconds go by...
both drive activity LED's flash once (about .5 seconds long)
...another 5ish seconds go by...
both drive activity LED's flash once (about .5 seconds long)
(the internal drive starts making lots of seek noise)
(after a short delay, the screen switches to the "step one of two" screen)

I've tried a 2m SIIG cable and the 1m cable that came with the enclosure. Both seem to fit perfectly in the HR21 and DS-312, and both behave as described above. I've also tried reversing both cables, though both ends are identical.

I have connected the enclosure to my PC, though I can only do so with USB. :-( So, I cannot verify the eSATA is working this way. Ignoring that, the rest of the functionality works perfectly. The PC shows a 698GB RAID1 disk. I can partition it, format it, and check for errors (finding none). The PC likes it via USB.

(EDIT: bogus stuff about firmware deleted. The box already has the latest firmware for the DS-312.)

Does anyone have any idea what could be wrong? At this point, I'm thinking about moving to a DS3RPRO since someone has that one working, and it is almost the same feature-wise. It seems like the eSATA connection is working, due to the LED flashes, but there's no way to be sure. I wish the HR21 gave some feedback on what was going on...

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Things are somewhere between "aw come on" and a fully functioning eSATA port. There are many, many drives that work as long as you use the Antec MX-1 enclosure. Even the notorious FAP 750 will work with the HR21 if and only if you pull the drive and use it with the MX-1. There is obviously a compatibility issue between the HR21 series and some interfaces, particularly the FAP series.

Remember all the compatibility issues with HDMI early on? Same process, just a much lower priority given the number of users the feature affects.

So, at this stage of development, for the HR21 series get an MX-1 enclosure for any compatible drive (and there are many), and have fun.

To say there is no support for eSATA on the HR21 is neither fair nor accurate. There is limited support, it does work within those limits, and works very well, and the support is not all that limited in terms of drive type or even size, as long as one uses the Antec MX-1 enclosure.

If the goal is to get eSATA working on an HR21, it is easily obtainable. If the goal is to get true plug and play with any eSATA drive/enclosure, then yes, we are very far from it.

If one wants and needs eSATA for the HR21, it's there and not expensive. Lots of people have done a ton of experimenting (and paid the price) to find the "solution" to eSATA on the HR21 series. We shouldn't throw the baby out with the bath water and not take advantage of all the hard work and money people invested in making eSATA practical for HR21 users.

It's far from perfect, but choosing the right drive and especially the MX-1 enclosure is a one-step, and virtually 100% successful solution to those who need eSATA on the HR21.

Consider priorities. How long have we been fighting (with D*'s active and considerably efforts) to get Media Share to function? It is still limping along. The fact that eSATA is attainable, with stability in the face of it being low priority says a lot about the efforts others have gone through to make it so, and those truly in need have a solution at hand.
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