External portable HDD to use with a Humax HDR-FOX T2 - Can you help!?


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Hi and thanks for having a look at this!

I have recently bought a 500GB Humax HDR-FOX T2 PVR. I want to buy an external (portable) HDD to use to view films via my Humax. I possibly might record on to the HDD, but mainly want to use it to view films through.

Is there any HDD you'd recommend and would I have to specifically format it and if so which format? I have tried researching and I think the answer is FAT32 if I wanted to view from and record to the HDD. However, I wanted to check I was barking up the right tree as its all confusing!

I was thinking of either;

Plus if I went for a 3.0 USB over a 2.0 would I benefit or is it not worth the extra dosh?

Any help would be fab as its all a bit over the top of my head atm! Ha! :)

Cheers :D
The format of choice would really need to be EXT3 for the large HD files (FAT cannot store such large files) and which is also what the Humax uses on its internal HDD.
The Humax will only support USB 2.0, so you would not get any benefit.
USB 3.0 is still quite a new technology and is only really found in newer PCs/Laptops.
Remember that the Humax is quite limited about what formats/codecs it supports. Before investing, check that you really can play the material you want on the Hummy.
I currently have a Buffalo Ministation 320GB USB2.0 plugged into my Humax, so I can confirm it works. Format it (using the Humax tools) to Ext3.

If it's of any interest, I bought mine from Tesco about a week ago, for £36.
Just in case it's of any interest, instead of going for a packaged external HDD, I used the Akasa Duo-Dock. It has both USB 2.0 and eSATA connectivity, and of course allows you to put any SATA drive into it. That means you can change drives anytime you like. Having a 'bare' disc showing may not be as cosmetically appealing, if that'sthe main criteria, but it gives you the flexibility to move the drive and use it on other machines, where disc-to-disc copies are considerably quicker. One other tip, if you do wish to read the drive from anything else other than the Humax, I'd use something else other than the Humax to format it as Ext3, as the Humax uses 256b inodes, which some other systems/drivers are not keen on (may not mount it, or may only mount it read-only). I can also add my support for the excellent Splash Player Lite, as recommended by Fenlander. Also, because Ext3 journalised, try to ensure there are no outstanding writes if you ever need to unplug it, or use the USB Eject option on the hidden menu in system Info (see AF123's posts).
I currently have a Buffalo Ministation 320GB USB2.0 plugged into my Humax, so I can confirm it works. Format it (using the Humax tools) to Ext3.

If it's of any interest, I bought mine from Tesco about a week ago, for £36.
It's very interesting to me ...
A couple of questions:
1) is it cool enough to run sitting on top of the T2 or do you think that would damage the T2 finish?
2) is the mini usb connector on the side, at the back or the front of the drive?
Nobody says you have to use the cable in the package. I've not worried about putting it on top of the Humax either!

Good point about not formatting it with the Humax though, if you are running Linux somewhere use that or use GParted on the Ultimate Boot CD.
WOW thanks for all the replies! So the buffalo seems like a good choice and the way to go is to format it to EXT3. I presume this won't cause a problem uploading films I already have to it? I understand the hummy might not play them depending on the format and I assume a laptop would still play them fine too? Plus if i didn't use the hummy for format it I take it I can use a laptop? GParted has been mentioned in a forum discussion i found and by Black Hole above. Is this easy?

Oh and Black Hole you mention the Ultimate Boot CD. What is this please?

'Cuse my ignorance I really appreciate the help as new to all of this! Loving the hummy tho! :)
Google "Ultimate Boot CD" and you will find it. It is an ISO download to burn a bootable CD from, then you can use it as a rescue disk when your system fails to boot Windows.

One of the tools on it is GParted (Gnu Partition Editor), which is a stand-alone live Linux containing all the usual stuff plus (particularly) a partition manager which you can use to prepare an Ext3 drive that is more compatible with other kit than a Humax format would be (in truth, this is what I did after I had already formatted with the Humax, but I didn't realise it had a compatibility effect).

Once you have it plugged into the Humax it becomes part of the Humax' file system, so anything you do across the network or locally with the Humax controls will work the same onto the Ext3 drive as it would on the internal drive (which is also Ext3 probably), and better than a FAT32 or NTFS drive (given their limitations).

BTW: if you are worried about overheating the top of your Humax but placing a drive there, you could always put a cork mat or a piece of felt or something under it. Just a thought.
Hi, I've just bought a 1.5TB WD Elements drive from Amazon at just over £50. Looks really good. Formatted it EXT3 on Hummy over USB, took from 4pm until sometime overnight! This morning all seemed well - Data storage menu said 1.5TB with 99% free. However it does not show up as an option under Media, or as an option to Copy to.

Now when I go back to Data storage it shows as 1TB with 0% free :(

Am I missing something? Hummy's internal drive shows OK on Data Storage, until I switch to USB. Then when I go back to Internal it shows as Zero Size and capacity free!

It goes OK again if I come back out of menu, then go back into Data Storage. Also the new drive does not show up on FTP. I have tried turning Off and On a few times, in various sequences. Any help appreciated! Thanks.
Odd. Is it a "portable" drive or an "external" drive - the difference being whether it has a power brick? If it is a portable drive (attempting to draw all its power from the USB port) it might struggle. This is only a suggestion and not by any means a definitive answer.

I found my 320GB portable Buffalo MiniStation formatted really quickly. I didn't then go on to do anything with it prior to formatting it again on a Linux PC - having split it in half. You might try that: download the Ultimate Boot CD iso file, burn a bootable CD from it, boot your PC from the CD, then use the GParted utility to format the drive again.
Something wrong if it took that long to format the new drive. The Humax normally does a quick format - very fast.

I had trouble with an externally powered 3.5" drive - the Hummy didn't recognise it unless it (the drive) was powered on after the Humax. Was that one of your on/off combinations?
The humax will only format up to 1TB. For anything greater, you must use Linux.
There's your answer! Thanks for that Chris, I will add it to the collective knowledge base.

Kevin: unless you have a Linux boot somewhere, do what I said above and use GParted (a dedicated Linux distribution on a bootable CD).
Following Black Hole tip about the Buffalo ministation, I've now acquired a 1TBone of these, and it works a dream. Powers up when the T2 comes out of standby (even for timed recordings) and powers off when it goes into standby. It really is tiny and so there was sufficient space to lie alongside the T2. It does seem to run pretty cool though.
Deleted the factory FAT32 partition and reformatted the lot as Ext3 (with Paragon's HDM on Windows as it happened) and that took ~10 mins. "For anything >1Tb you must NOT use the Humax!"
Hi, a big thank you to everyone who replied to my post yesterday. I had been out for the day, and when I got home found my son had googled the problem, found this thread, taken your advice, and sorted it all out for me! :)

I am now copying a load of films off the Hummy onto the new drive. So far I am very pleased with my WD Elements drive. It is very quiet in operation, certainly no louder than the Hummy itself. My old external HDD (not the WD) was quite noisy, so only used for copying files off, not for storing and watching.

The design of the Elements HDD is very minimalist. Just the mini USB, power, and LED on the back, nothing at all at the front. The front, back and sides are the same high gloss black finish as the Hummy, so it looks good on a little shelf next to it. In terms of GB per £ it would certainly be hard to beat, for archiving quantities of HD films.

Early days yet, but so far I would highly recommend. I have a 500GB WD Elements drive which is a few years old now, and never been any trouble, also one of their 1.5TB drives as back up inside my PC. Hence my choice.
Oh yes, it does have a separate power brick. I have been contemplating whether this needs to be switched off when not in use, or whether a USB drive gets put into sleep mode when the Hummy is turned off?
I think I've answered my own question. The spec. sheet on the WD site says:

Power miser
WD Elements external drives with
WD GreenPower Technologyâ„¢
designed to save energy. They reduce
internal drive power consumption by up
to 30%, a sleep mode reduces power
during idle times, and a power-saving
feature turns the drive on and off with
your computer.