View Full Version : Connecting an external HD to a PDA?

06-06-2006, 12:31 PM
I'm thinking of getting a PDA, like a PalmOne LifeDrive or similar. Is it possible to connect an external HD (like those 250G beasts they sell at Dick Smiths and you can use with your standard laptop) to a PDA?
The LifeDrive can be connected to a computer via a USB, so why not an external HD to save and retrieve files from? Please tell me your expert opnion in language a computer illerate like me can understand. Thanks... Aporosa

06-06-2006, 02:37 PM
** bump **

Graham L
06-06-2006, 03:11 PM
You have answered your own question, if you stop and think about it. :cool:

"A PDA can connect to a computer through a USB connector" (or through a serial port if it's a bit older ;)

In that connection the PDA talks to a programme on the computer. A USB disk is not a "computer"; it's a device which receives and executes commands from a computer.

If the PDA can work with a USB memory stick, it should work with a USB hard disk ... but I don't expect that NTFS would be welcomed. ;) There might be a problem with a very big partition, too. Are there any such PDAs?

06-06-2006, 04:32 PM
I think I am now more confused??

You said that "the PDA talks to a programme on the computer. A USB disk is not a "computer"; it's a device which receives and executes commands from a computer." But, how come a laptop can talk to an external HD - the ability to read the Ext HD must be via a programme on the Laptop?? Wont there be a programme on the PDA?? Isn't it the same thing? Laptop to Ext HD, PDA to Ext HD?

But then maybe that is what you said? So, can a PDA (like a PalmOne LifeDrive) send files to and from an external HD like a laptop? If not, why (a laptop can)? And can I get something (a programme add-on) to make this scenario work?

07-06-2006, 02:29 PM
Is there no one that can help me? :confused: (See comments to date)

07-06-2006, 02:34 PM
i don't thnk any people here use pda's.

all i can suggest is try it. provided the OS on the pda can handle another drive (usb sticks often get treated as a drive) then it should work. it would pay to cheak what the largest storage space your pda can access.

Graham L
07-06-2006, 04:50 PM
The "laptop can talk to an external HD" because it has indeed got a "programme" which can do that. It's called an operating system.

A "computer computer" runs an operating system which is designed to be based on using disk for strorage. It has all the software it needs to do that. When USB came along it was easy to make the small changes needed to recognise hard disks in external enclosures with USB plugs. Laptops and desktops both can do this.

A PDA does have an operating system. But because disks use too much power to be a realistic proposition, and until fairly recently were too big for the tiny cases of PDAs, they were based on memory storage. Some even use a standard MSDOS file system on the memory "disks". But they aren't designed to use real disks, internal or external. They often have provision for removable memory. The two I've had both take Compact Flash memory cards. Those CFs can be plugged into a computer, using an adapter, and read and written as "disks", at both ends. But they are using the CF interface; not USB. Those PDAs haven't got USB. ;)

It could be done. But unless the manufacturers give them that capability, you can't do it. ;) (Some bright person could write a programme, I suppose ... but it wouldn't be easy to do).

07-06-2006, 10:25 PM
hehe i use a pda..ya

as to usb hdds..well
1st need to be able to some how connect the pda to usb hdd
2nd you need power for hdd..prob need external power

pda do use usb to connect to computer to sync and stuff
but that's only possible due to software on comp and pda made for that purpose
it's not made to allow mass storage device to be connected or used as a hub
so can't really think of it as a usb port on comp where you can plug in usb device
i think this is some what confusing you
and also carrying power supply and ext hdd just for a pda to use kinda kills it's portability

my pda i can get a cf card adaptor thing
so maybe with large microdrive cf cards you can get more storage
or even sd cards go pretty big now
these would be the more realistic larger storage options that people usually go for

if i said something wrong feel free to correct me
not expert on this
but since i do have a pda the same idea has came across my mind before~

Graham L
08-06-2006, 04:15 PM
The PDA is working as an "external drive" to the computer when you are synchronising. It's a device, responding to commands from the computer in that situation. How well do you think two hard disks would work if they were connected together with USB.? That's the problem, unless some manufacturer thinks this might be a marketing feature. As Heni says, it's not really the sort of thing that PDAs need.

Of course, you can use a terminal programme on a PDA, or even a browser, and access a computer through a USB or serial port, but that's a totally different (but much simpler) can of worms.