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Topic # 204223 22-Sep-2016 11:20
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Why do some USB flash drives work with tablets, and others don't?

 

I have a tablet (Mediatek) that will happily mount a couple of 1GB USB drives, but not an 8GB one ... both are FAT32 formatted, and using the same OTG cable.

 

I've read that some tablets with older Android versions need an app to use USB drives, but I'm on 4.4.2, and as I say it works fine for 2 drives, just not the 8GB one.

 

Is brand of USB drive the problem?


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  Reply # 1639649 23-Sep-2016 22:41
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Since both drives are FAT32 formatted, I doubt it's a software issue. My guess is that the 8GB drive requires more power and the tablet is unable to supply it. If you have a Y cable (or a powered USB hub), you could try plugging the drive to it and see if it makes any difference.

If you want to dig deeper, open a terminal emulator app and run the following commands immediately after plugging in the drive:

 

dmesg | tail
lsusb

 

and see if your drive is being detected, or if there are any errors. If the drive is detected, then try using a third-party file-browser like Solid Explorer (with the USB OTG plugin), or if you're rooted, try Chainfire's stickmount.

 

If your drive isn't being detected then it's likely that the tablet isn't able to supply sufficient power to that drive.




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  Reply # 1639714 24-Sep-2016 09:02
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The Y-cable worked!!  I never really thought of power as an issue for flash drives, more the realm of mechanical drives sealed

 

Thanks for the pointers.


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  Reply # 1639744 24-Sep-2016 10:53
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Interesting, my android tablet happily reads a 16GB stick, though it is tegra 3 not mediatek.

What bugs me about USB sticks on it though is they unmount when the screen is off and don't auto remount.

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  Reply # 1639772 24-Sep-2016 11:09
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Batwing: Interesting, my android tablet happily reads a 16GB stick, though it is tegra 3 not mediatek.

What bugs me about USB sticks on it though is they unmount when the screen is off and don't auto remount.

 

It depends on the implementation; some devices wont sleep at all with OTG as here: http://www.geekzone.co.nz/forums.asp?forumId=48&topicId=201548

 

 

 

Another thing to consider is that the USB drive's firmware can present as either a USB HDD or a USB Flash ("Removable") Drive which can be be treated differently by hosts. This commonly affects whether the drive can be booted from and it's compatibility with certain Windows applications. Tools exist for various models of USB drive to switch between the two modes. 


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  Reply # 1639776 24-Sep-2016 11:27
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mine will run a 1tb external drive no problems


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