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Thread: XDrive - do you worry?

  1. #1
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    Default XDrive - do you worry?

    i've been using XDrive (the old version w/o LCD) for 3 years now. since the day i bought it (the XDrive II was not out then) i have been worried about it failing to copy the files (as i m unable 2 c the # of files copied). just stare at blinking LEDs & pray. anyone out there have had any problem with it so far (hope not)? should i continue worrying or save some bucks to get one with LCD?

  2. #2

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    Quote Originally Posted by ndroo
    i've been using XDrive (the old version w/o LCD) for 3 years now. since the day i bought it (the XDrive II was not out then) i have been worried about it failing to copy the files (as i m unable 2 c the # of files copied). just stare at blinking LEDs & pray. anyone out there have had any problem with it so far (hope not)? should i continue worrying or save some bucks to get one with LCD?
    I have not had any problems with my X-Drive II so far although of course, I do worry whether if the file transfer has been successful. To be a little bit more kiasu, the CF cards which I deem more "precious" (likely to have more keepers) are usually transferred at least twice. Also, I make it a point not to erase/format my CF cards unless I really have to (because of lack of space), especially nearing the end of a trip: just in case if the drive dies, at least I still have about 1Gb of files salvagable from all the CF cards I have, better than having nothing at all!

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    i have that problem. While i would love to double-copy my files like what Eng Loy suggested, battery capacity is a premium on the XDrive. i get only 4 full copies of my 1GB cards before the thing dies.

    Also, while i also see (and sometimes use) the wisdom of not erasing my cards until the last minute, it is sometimes not a viable option. Like when shooting weddings - sometimes have to change cards and go, w/o much time to erase/format.

    My solutions:

    - i sold my XDrive II and got a Nixvue DA Lite. Wonderful improvement; with file verification and a lot of other nifty 'insurance' features.

    - While i was still using my XDrive, i always carried a laptop for copying and verifying files. Sorry, just cannot trust the XDrive when on assignment. i still carry the laptop for weddings and assignments. BTW, i bought the laptop just for backup purposes. A cheap 2H one.

    - Stock up on memory. An expensive solution, but arguably the best one. i'm at 4GB and counting. Probably stop when my memory far outstrips my camera's battery capacity. It'll a real luxury to be able to shoot for at least a full 12 hours without worrying about backing up or plugging in a socket.

    My 2c.

  4. #4

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    Hi ndroo,

    My X-drive I works perfectly most of the time. The only major problem I had with it was when I tried to "overstuff" it. That is to say, if I have a 20Gig harddisk installed, and after the 20th copy of 1Gig CF, the next one will be a major disaster ! The X-drive actually corrupts the whole harddisk !

    e905591s

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by ndroo
    i've been using XDrive (the old version w/o LCD) for 3 years now. since the day i bought it (the XDrive II was not out then) i have been worried about it failing to copy the files (as i m unable 2 c the # of files copied). just stare at blinking LEDs & pray. anyone out there have had any problem with it so far (hope not)? should i continue worrying or save some bucks to get one with LCD?
    I understand how you feel. But you have to look at the weakest link in this equation, and that would be your harddisk itself. The XDrive is mostly electronics, which is extremely reliable. But the HDD, being mechanical, can fail. Thus, you should worry NOT about the copying of the files, but about the drive failing, which it will eventually.

    File verification features and whatever fancy features of higher end digital wallets, apart from a "feel-good" factor, are useless when the drive fails. The only reliable alternative is to take a page from the computer world : backups. Have 2 XDrives, and copy your files into both of them. Statistically, both could fail, but that's extremely extremely unlikely. If that's not a good option, then you'll have to live with the risk, just like millions of people take the risk of not backing up their computer harddisks.

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    I have been using the X-drive I for 2 trips so far, choking up 7GB on the 1st trip and 3GB on the 2nd. I did lost a couple of photos (about 3 ?) on the first trip, due to the file fragmentation bug that has been fixed on firmware version 1.04 for quite a while now. Besides that, I have not lost any other shots. How can you verify that that, you may ask. Simple, I have the camera image counter set to not reset so I have a serial counting of the all the shots and have verified that all are there.

    OTOH, I meet a Nixvue DA Lite user that say that he has lost images from his unit even when he gets the copy successful confirmation. How far is that true, I can't verify, but it is a bit chilly to face that..........

    That being said, I agree with chriszzz's point that the hard disk is probably the biggest thing that you have to worried about.

    Some suggestions to increase your chance of not losing your shots :

    1) Ensure your X-drive I is patch to v1.04 (no issue for X-drive II)
    2) Make sure you have sufficient hard disk space to cater to your storage requirement.
    3) Avoid deleting individual files off the flash card, esp. if you are using an unpatched X-drive I
    4) Protect the X-drive (& flash card) from the enviroment and shock.
    5) Set you camera not to reset frame counting when you reformat the card.
    6) Some X-drive I has a problem of auto-activating, net result is you often run out of battery way before you should be facing the problem. A ring or similar object around the power button to prevent accidental activation will solve this problem.
    7) Ensure that your flash card don't have a compatibility problem with your camera and X-drive before you HAVE to use the setup.
    8) If you shoot together with another person you trust, you might wanna arrange it such that each of you carries a portable storage device, and you cross save your files on each other's portable storage device. So that a hard disk crash will not destroy all your 'eggs'. Might be a good idea to use 2 different storage device if feasible.

    Hope that helps.

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    thanks everyone

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    I'm using Nixvue DA Lite got it from East Gear, with addition external AA battery pack. I put in a 40GB HDD. have been using it almost everyday for the pass 3month, it had never fail me,the only catch is you must buy the external AA battery pack, coz the internal battery can only last max 3GB transfer.
    with the external pack you could get about atleast 15 GB transfer, this is the max that i have transfer, battery level still at half.

    Well with these kinda of storages around i am now be able to shoot mostly in RAW and don't need to carry a laptop around

    transfer speed is about (approx)15min for 1GB microdrive. which is ok for me as i have 3 cards to rotate around.
    the only problem is the heat from the DA lite, can be very hot. i'm am still figuring out on how to solve this.

  9. #9

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    The heat is from your rotating HDD, it's not a good idea to use those 5400rpm or faster drive on the DAs.

  10. #10

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    Hi Frisky, thanks for the details! Btw, how do you get the v1.04 update? And how do I use it? Thanks!

    So far after 3 trips overseas, I have no major probs with the XDrive 1 as far as copying of files is concerned. BUT! I encountered corrupted last few images. Was told it's inherent cos of the deletion of images from my CF cards.

    But the battery drains real fast. I did like only 40 over downloads and recharges and now it's completely flat. Meaning I can't run my XDrive anymore without using an A/C power. So I no longer bring it out to the field. Anyone with this experience?

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    Quote Originally Posted by kiwi2
    Hi Frisky, thanks for the details! Btw, how do you get the v1.04 update? And how do I use it? Thanks!

    So far after 3 trips overseas, I have no major probs with the XDrive 1 as far as copying of files is concerned. BUT! I encountered corrupted last few images. Was told it's inherent cos of the deletion of images from my CF cards.

    But the battery drains real fast. I did like only 40 over downloads and recharges and now it's completely flat. Meaning I can't run my XDrive anymore without using an A/C power. So I no longer bring it out to the field. Anyone with this experience?
    u can find the firmware here http://www.vosonic.com.tw/index.php?php_mode=downloads (got it from frisky too)

    as for the battery, u mean it can no longer hold it's charge? maybe just get a replacement battery. but i think gotta send in to the shop though. the company who originally sold it (firefish or something is gone), but i tink can get it done at eastgear.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kiwi2
    So far after 3 trips overseas, I have no major probs with the XDrive 1 as far as copying of files is concerned. BUT! I encountered corrupted last few images. Was told it's inherent cos of the deletion of images from my CF cards.
    This is THE problem that 1.04 fixed. If you don't have 1.04, just don't delete individual files.

    Quote Originally Posted by kiwi2
    But the battery drains real fast. I did like only 40 over downloads and recharges and now it's completely flat. Meaning I can't run my XDrive anymore without using an A/C power. So I no longer bring it out to the field. Anyone with this experience?
    If the battery fails to charge, then apparently it has died. You will need to replace the battery. I believe the accidental activation thing has a part to play in killing the battery, so you might want to take note of that as well.

    If you know how to change a wireless phone battery, and know how to change the x-drive hard disk, you should be able to change the x-drive battery yourself. I believe Eastgear should be able to supply and change the battery for you.
    Last edited by frisky; 30th November 2003 at 03:17 PM.

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    I have used the X-drive II for a few times now, mostly during weddings/ROMs, and yesterday I took it out for a wedding shoot, came back home with >1GB of shots. Everything was fine and good.

    I've put the X-drive II into my bag whilst copying and I ran to take shots, after copying the images were all copied and there were no problems whatsoever.

    I was using Trascend 25X CFs and if you ask if I'd take it out for any more shoots? Yes!! Of course!

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    An additional notes : some users have reported copying fail issue when the copying is done on the move with vibration etc going on. While I have not face that myself, I would suggest have somewhere stable to do the copying......

  15. #15

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    I have an X-Drive II - no problems for the last 5 months but I wonder if anyone knows if this fella has any external power pack for emergencies when I'm overseas or outdoors.

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    Now there is this X Drive Pro, looks better in design. Wonder when EastGear is bringing in.....

    Anyway, check out the Archos Gmini 120 at www.archos.com Small, last 10 hours of audio (or near there from users at www.futurelooks.com) and can copy about 6GB+ on one charge. But cannot view the pictures coz it is an MP3 player by default. Selling at Memory World I heard.

  17. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by espn
    I've put the X-drive II into my bag whilst copying and I ran to take shots, after copying the images were all copied and there were no problems whatsoever.
    This is a dangerous thing to do. While I believe the XSDrive is reliable, the harddisk is however vulnerable to knocks and vibrations while operating. If you were to hold it and run around, it wouldn't be so bad because your hands act as a simple stablelizer absorbing most of the impact. But if its just in your bag, then all the jostle and shakes go directly into the contents of the bag. You are asking for trouble. Either get more CF cards, or wait for the copying to complete before running around. What can be worse than to discover you've lost all your shots because the disk head crashed into the platter while you were running around ?

  18. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by theITguy
    Now there is this X Drive Pro, looks better in design. Wonder when EastGear is bringing in.....

    Anyway, check out the Archos Gmini 120 at www.archos.com Small, last 10 hours of audio (or near there from users at www.futurelooks.com) and can copy about 6GB+ on one charge. But cannot view the pictures coz it is an MP3 player by default. Selling at Memory World I heard.
    Cool, except that the Archos costs more than $1000. I would rather buy a cheaper device and use the extra money to buy more useful stuff, like another flash or lens for my 300D

    The XSDrive Pro is an MP3 player with storage capability. I don't expect it to be less than $700 or so, around the price range of other MP3 players. That's a bit steep for secondary storage, unless you are already looking for an MP3 player. I can buy 2 x 2.2GB MagicStors for that price. And there's the way it is used. It's meant to be an MP3 player, so would you want to listen to MP3 and carry ALL your photos on you while you run around shooting ? IMHO, increases the risk of crashes and getting stolen. I use my XDrive for travel. I already have 1.5GB of CF storage, so I don't need to use it for 1-day shoots in Singapore. When travelling, I leave the XDrive in the hotel, and rely on my CFs. At the end of the day, I dump the lot into my XDrive in the safety of the hotel room, free from vibrations and shakes and pickpockets. But its still too early to tell I guess, until I actually see one in action. Who knows ? It might be worth a second look.

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    Quote Originally Posted by chriszzz
    Cool, except that the Archos costs more than $1000. I would rather buy a cheaper device and use the extra money to buy more useful stuff, like another flash or lens for my 300D

    The XSDrive Pro is an MP3 player with storage capability. I don't expect it to be less than $700 or so, around the price range of other MP3 players. That's a bit steep for secondary storage, unless you are already looking for an MP3 player. I can buy 2 x 2.2GB MagicStors for that price. And there's the way it is used. It's meant to be an MP3 player, so would you want to listen to MP3 and carry ALL your photos on you while you run around shooting ? IMHO, increases the risk of crashes and getting stolen. I use my XDrive for travel. I already have 1.5GB of CF storage, so I don't need to use it for 1-day shoots in Singapore. When travelling, I leave the XDrive in the hotel, and rely on my CFs. At the end of the day, I dump the lot into my XDrive in the safety of the hotel room, free from vibrations and shakes and pickpockets. But its still too early to tell I guess, until I actually see one in action. Who knows ? It might be worth a second look.

    Hi, I have a check with MemoryWorld last week, the Gmini 120 costs "just" $520, not too much more than the XS Drive Pro for similar function other than having only the CF Type I/II card. The AV 340 costs $1450....


    Edit:
    About that MagicStors, although it looks promising, yet it lacks the reliability of Hitachi's MD and having problems under hot/cold weather. It also drains the battery faster and "only" 4.4GB compared to a 20GB storage device (or more capacity with change of drive). Just my thoughts.
    Last edited by theITguy; 2nd December 2003 at 09:12 AM.

  20. #20

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    Thanks ndroo and Frisky!!! Great help from you both. Yah, think I'll bring it down to Eastgear to get a new battery. I'm just surprised it went dead so soon.

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