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I am at a loss here. I have an external 512G USB disk (Western Digital Elements 1042). My main pc runs Arch linux, while my raspberry pi 2b runs raspbian. Under Arch I have no problem mounting this disk, under raspbian there is no way I can get it recognized. The filesystem is ext4, cleanly formatted. Initially it was NTFS, didn't work (after installing ntfs-3g of course). Then formatted with gnome disk utilities to ext4, again no luck, then redid it manually with fdisk & mkfs.ext4, again no luck.. I don't know what else to try.

Even worse, upon connecting the ext HD, it appears to corrupt other USB ports, dropping my wifi connection (every time..), for which a nano USB dongle is connected to the adjacent USB port.

However, I can mount a simple USB stick without any problems.

Here is the log output on the Pi upon attaching the drive

[Sun Oct 11 12:18:23 2015] usb 1-1.4: new high-speed USB device number 6 using dwc_otg
[Sun Oct 11 12:18:23 2015] usb 1-1.4: New USB device found, idVendor=1058, idProduct=1042
[Sun Oct 11 12:18:23 2015] usb 1-1.4: New USB device strings: Mfr=1, Product=2, SerialNumber=5
[Sun Oct 11 12:18:23 2015] usb 1-1.4: Product: Elements 1042
[Sun Oct 11 12:18:23 2015] usb 1-1.4: Manufacturer: Western Digital
[Sun Oct 11 12:18:23 2015] usb 1-1.4: SerialNumber: 57584B31453332414644544B
[Sun Oct 11 12:18:23 2015] usb-storage 1-1.4:1.0: USB Mass Storage device detected
[Sun Oct 11 12:18:23 2015] scsi host0: usb-storage 1-1.4:1.0
[Sun Oct 11 12:18:24 2015] rtw_cmd_thread: DriverStopped(0) SurpriseRemoved(1) break at line 482 
[Sun Oct 11 12:18:24 2015] scsi 0:0:0:0: Direct-Access     WD       Elements 1042    1016 PQ: 0 ANSI: 6
[Sun Oct 11 12:18:24 2015] sd 0:0:0:0: [sda] Spinning up disk...
[Sun Oct 11 12:18:24 2015] sd 0:0:0:0: Attached scsi generic sg0 type 0
[Sun Oct 11 12:18:25 2015] ....................................................................................................not responding...
[Sun Oct 11 12:20:17 2015] sd 0:0:0:0: [sda] Read Capacity(10) failed: Result: hostbyte=0x00 driverbyte=0x08
[Sun Oct 11 12:20:17 2015] sd 0:0:0:0: [sda] Sense Key : 0x2 [current] 
[Sun Oct 11 12:20:17 2015] sd 0:0:0:0: [sda] ASC=0x4 ASCQ=0x1 
[Sun Oct 11 12:20:19 2015] sd 0:0:0:0: [sda] Test WP failed, assume Write Enabled
[Sun Oct 11 12:20:21 2015] sd 0:0:0:0: [sda] Asking for cache data failed
[Sun Oct 11 12:20:21 2015] sd 0:0:0:0: [sda] Assuming drive cache: write through
[Sun Oct 11 12:20:21 2015] sd 0:0:0:0: [sda] Spinning up disk...
[Sun Oct 11 12:20:22 2015] ...................................................................................................not responding...
[Sun Oct 11 12:22:08 2015] sd 0:0:0:0: [sda] Read Capacity(10) failed: Result: hostbyte=0x00 driverbyte=0x08
[Sun Oct 11 12:22:08 2015] sd 0:0:0:0: [sda] Sense Key : 0x2 [current] 
[Sun Oct 11 12:22:08 2015] sd 0:0:0:0: [sda] ASC=0x4 ASCQ=0x1 
[Sun Oct 11 12:22:12 2015] sd 0:0:0:0: [sda] Attached SCSI disk

This is the log on Arch:

[Sun Oct 11 03:56:25 2015] usb 3-6: new high-speed USB device number 9 using xhci_hcd
[Sun Oct 11 03:56:25 2015] usb-storage 3-6:1.0: USB Mass Storage device detected
[Sun Oct 11 03:56:25 2015] scsi host10: usb-storage 3-6:1.0
[Sun Oct 11 03:56:26 2015] scsi 10:0:0:0: Direct-Access     WD       Elements 1042    1016 PQ: 0 ANSI: 6
[Sun Oct 11 03:56:26 2015] sd 10:0:0:0: [sdb] Spinning up disk...
[Sun Oct 11 03:56:27 2015] ..ready
[Sun Oct 11 03:56:28 2015] sd 10:0:0:0: [sdb] 976769024 512-byte logical blocks: (500 GB/465 GiB)
[Sun Oct 11 03:56:28 2015] sd 10:0:0:0: [sdb] Write Protect is off 
[Sun Oct 11 03:56:28 2015] sd 10:0:0:0: [sdb] Mode Sense: 47 00 10 08
[Sun Oct 11 03:56:28 2015] sd 10:0:0:0: [sdb] No Caching mode page found
[Sun Oct 11 03:56:28 2015] sd 10:0:0:0: [sdb] Assuming drive cache: write through
[Sun Oct 11 03:56:28 2015]  sdb: sdb1
[Sun Oct 11 03:56:28 2015] sd 10:0:0:0: [sdb] Attached SCSI disk
[Sun Oct 11 03:56:29 2015] EXT4-fs (sdb1): mounted filesystem with ordered data mode. Opts: (null)
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    How is the external drive powered? Is it plugged into a USB hub? Is the hub powered? – Steve Robillard Oct 11 '15 at 10:44
  • Ah, I see what you might be getting at. It's powered by USB. Is the Pi's USB port of too low power? (edit: I don't use a USB hub, it's of the 4 main ports) – jaap Oct 11 '15 at 10:52
  • That would be my first guess. I would try plugging the drive and WiFi dongle into a powered hub. momentary low voltage would explain both the disk formatting/reading issues and the dropping WiFi. – Steve Robillard Oct 11 '15 at 10:53
  • @SteveRobillard Ok, thanks a lot. This must certainly be it, it makes sense. if you would add your comment as answer I can mark it as solved. I'll have to get a power USB hub first to actually try. – jaap Oct 11 '15 at 10:59
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    If it's a model 2 see here. It probably won't power an external drive otherwise. – goldilocks Oct 11 '15 at 13:54
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Two options (see comments for details):

  1. add max_usb_current=1 to /boot/config.txt. This may be "at the limit" for RPI power supply still so you may have relaunch some devices.
  2. buy a net-powered USB hub (i.e. thepihut.com has a nice one).
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