While on the subject of external disk drives (see the previous post on LaCie power supply issues), problems with data corruption are also often caused by drive cables. There’s a few ways to cure them.
The most obvious problem is a bad cable. The free cables that come bundled with drives are often chosen because they’re the cheapest, not because they’re the best. For mission-critical applications, we like cables from Granite Digital. They were pioneers of higher-quality cable in the SCSI days, and we feel comfortable continuing to use them with FireWire.
Before you rush out and buy new cables though, there’s a chance they’re not bad – they just live in a bad neighborhood. Make sure you route all of your cables away from any power supplies. Those “wall warts” and “power lumps” create electromagnetic interference which can corrupt the data signal.
Also make sure your cables are passing along all the signal they possibly can. Applying a common audiophile technique to computers, we always apply contact cleaner to the connectors on drives or computer cards when we install them. Something as simple as “TV Tuner cleaner” from your local Radio Shack may help. We personally prefer the CAIG DeoxIT products, available from places such as Amazon and Markertek. These cured many a drive problem for us back in the bad old days of SCSI drives.
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