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Ideapad Miix 310 USB ports can't power external HDD (faulty or by design)?

2016-11-14, 0:01 AM

Can anyone answer why the USB ports on my Ideapad Miix 310 don't have enough power to run external HDDs and DVD player? USB memory drive works fine so as I can charge my smartphone at 460mA (Ampere App).


When I plug my external HDD (that works fine with my other laptop), the light blinks and you can hear the click-click noise as the disk is trying to spin but can't. External DVD player does the some..


Is this by design or are the ports faulty?


I have updated Win10Pro, all the drivers from Lenovo website and disabled automatic turn off of the USB ports in Power Management. Nothing works..


Thank you for any advice.


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Re: Ideapad Miix 310 USB ports can't power external HDD (faulty or by design)?

2016-11-15, 9:24 AM

It is by design as this specific product does not support external HDD due to insufficient power.


We can try usb Y cable and power the hdd through other usb with 1 amp and 5 volt. Hope it works.


I am yet to try and will update this once I try.



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Re: Ideapad Miix 310 USB ports can't power external HDD (faulty or by design)?

2018-11-17, 21:44 PM

It's a bit late for an answer (2 years later), but I worked it out using an USB meter, so in case anyone was wondering: the USB ports on the Miix 310 have limited power output.


It means peripherals that require a decent amount of power (external HDD, disc players) will NOT work on this device. It is likely the same with the rest of the Miix series.


I tested it out with a Drok USB meter (~25-30 bucks on Amazon), here are the results:


Power consumption (indicated in Amps here, multiply by the USB's 5V to get the wattage):


  • Corsair Voyager USB 2.0 key: 0.06A on the Miix / 0.06A on a desktop computer


  • Sandisk Extreme USB 3.0 key: 0.11A on the Miix / 0.12A on a desktop


  • Samsung smartphone (J5, 2017): 0.42A (left USB port), 0.47A (right USB port) on the Miix / 0.90A on a desktop


  • Maxtor M3 external HDD (2.5" slim form): 0.18A - 0.24A (fluctuating) on the Miix / 0.48A (idle) - 0.62A (load) on a desktop


What to make out of this?


1) The Samsung smartphone has a modern charging chip capable of working with very little amperes (as low as 100 mA if I recall correctly), that will ramp it up progressively, increasing the load as long as the port can handle it. It will stop ramping up as soon as the Voltage (5V) starts dropping.


Here, the Samsung J5 (2017) was able to reach 0.42A on the left port, and 0.47A on the right port. It is very likely the maximum these ports can achieve.


2) The Maxtor M3 external HDD that only uses a single USB port to power itself (no extra power cable) seems to require 0.60A to run normally, and will idle at 0.48A (lowest measured amp).


3) Given the left and right USB ports seem to max out at 0.42A and 0.47A respectively, neither are capable of reaching 0.60A to allow the external HDD to run.


Any solution?


a) Only use USB keys (aka dongle) for data transfers


b) Get a powered USB hub ($17 for 4 ports on Amazon, go for an Anker/UGreen), that comes with its own power supply.


c) Get a special cable (Y splitter) that combines a standard male USB socket, with a micro-USB one, to dual power the peripheral, using the tablet's micro-USB port simultaneously. Tutorial video available here (not mine, try at your own risk). Search for "Micro USB Male to USB Female Host OTG Cable + USB Power Cable Y Splitter).




PS: It is rather normal the USB ports are underpowered: the device itself is a small tablet, it was never meant to power big peripherals. The fact it can power 2 peripherals at once (USB keys, mouse, charging a smartphone) is already a good performance for a tablet. Still, it would have been better if Lenovo had told us this information right from the start.

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