BVLog Bryan Voss’ mental synchronization point

21Feb/110

Losing connection to USB drive when attempting to sync iPod

I ran into a weird issue recently and thought I would document it here in case others (or myself in the future, hi me-to-be!) can benefit from it. My wife and I bought an iPod Shuffle for our daughter. We already have a couple of iPod Touches, a couple of Nanos, and an older Shuffle in the household, so adding another newer-gen Shuffle shouldn't be a problem, right? So you would think.

We have an older Windows computer in the living room that over time has seen its interactive usage drop as it increasingly became less useful due to age and requirements of newer software. It now primarily acts as an iTunes jukebox/syncing station, Picasa photo storage appliance, and a digital picture frame. It has a 1 TB USB drive attached, where all the content is stored. We regularly connect my wife's iPod Touch via USB to charge it. We also occasionally connect the other iPods in the household to sync new content.

I connected my daughter's new Shuffle and went through the registration process. After getting it all set up as I liked, I tried dragging a song to it to check syncing. A few seconds later, I received an error dialog stating that the song could not be synced because the media file could not be found. I tried another song and got the same error. iTunes stores it's media on the USB drive. Yikes! Is the drive failing? I shut down iTunes, reset the USB drive, and tried to access it via Windows Explorer. Unable to access anything. Uh-oh.

After rebooting the PC, the drive was again available and I could randomly access various directories & files. I restarted iTunes and tried syncing another song to the Shuffle. Same error. Hmm. I rebooted and connected my wife's iPod. It was able to sync without problems. The error only occurred when the Shuffle was connected and I tried to access anything on the USB drive.

It turns out that even though the USB drive has its own power supply, the Shuffle was drawing so much power from the USB bus that the drive could no longer function. We purchased a powered USB hub at OfficeMax and I tried again. I left the drive connected to a USB port on the PC and connected the Shuffle to the new USB hub. Works fine now.

My daughter is now happily jamming to our library of Christian music and is happy to have an iPod of her own like her big brother.

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