USB Extension Cable Problem With Portable Hard Drives – Reason & Solution

We have found people reporting that their portable hard disk drives are not working with USB extension cables. When they connect their hard drives to computer these are not detected or if detected stop working after few minutes. The reason could be that they are using excessively long or some cheap quality USB extension cables to extend the length of actual portable HDD cable.

Now, the question is why does this happen with USB extension cable? The answer lies in the fact that attaching extension cable drops the voltage, resists the flowing current and therefore makes the portable hard drive problematic. Extension cords are made from copper mostly. Copper is a good electricity conductor but not a super conductor and has resistance also. Due to the resistance, direct current with low voltage does not flow long distance because much of its power is lost during the journey. The ultimate result is what people face using extension cable.


The only solution to this problem is to stop using extension cable. Use the original data cable provided with portable hard drive without extending it as it is graded and especially designed to work flawlessly. I can understand the possible inconvenience caused by extremely small data cables of some portable hard drives but it is the only way to keep your hard drive and your data safe

If ever you need to use extension cable then use smaller extension cable made from quality copper wires. This way portable hard drive might work without making any trouble.

Portable hard drives made by Seagate, Western Digital, Toshiba etc usually have small USB data cables. I remember Maxtor used to make portable hard drives with long data cables but those required two USB ports. In those cables, there were two sub cables. One sub cable was ‘Data cable’ and the other one was ‘Power cable’. Power cable helped to maintain the constant voltage in Data cable.

If you are using an HDD/SSD enclosure to run your internal 2.5″ hard drive or solid state drive and you are suffering from frequent disconnections or drive is not getting detected at all, check that HDD or SSD is firmly connected with enclosure circuit board, cable is fine and you are not using a USB extension cable.

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