Spoon et al,

I was tearing my hair out the past day or so trying to figure out why a couple of new drives I'd placed into my robots kept giving me very odd behavior when:

1. Using iTunes with Error Correction.
2. Using dbpa cd ripper's secure settings with the options set to the lowest feature requirements (e.g. no c2, no fua, etc.).

After trying several additional drives in those units that I knew previously worked fine, and seeing the problems continue, I sort of slapped myself on the head and realized I'd run into this problem several times before. It was the bridge, not the drive...

Lots of USB<->ATA{,PI} chipsets have problems with all but the simplest transactions. On the other hand, some do a pretty good job of handling the more rarely received CDBs that are used to work with C2 pointers, FUA flags, etc.

So, I swapped them out and it's all working swell now.

Amusingly, the two bridges that caused me the most trouble were sold by ACARD, a duplicator maker*. Even more amusingly, the replacement bridges I settled on, after finding I only had firewire bridges left over in my collection of centronics-bracket style bridges, were a pair of no-name bridges in transparent plastic pods that require no additional power other than the 5v/500ma USB power. IIRC, I paid ~$7 each to computer geeks for them a couple of years ago.

Anyway - I propose that, like the DAE Features web database ( here -> http://www.daefeatures.co.uk/ ), there should also be a database of USB bridge chipsets capabilities. I'm starting to keep a list myself, and am willing to share what I find.

EDIT: also, if one already exists, I'd appreciate a pointer to it!


* I do have to mention that I believe the original intent of these bridges was to allow you to switch a hard drive between the internal duplicator controller and an external computer (for updating image files in your standalone duplicator tower). However, they do also mention they can be used to swap one of the optical drives, and I suppose that works ok for data disc reading/writing. And due to the (unique?) jumper that allows the bridge to be bypassed for internal-only (cable-pass through) use by wiring a SPST switch to it: even if I found a firmware updater for the bridges, I'd probably end up ruining them.