Monoprice Communicator C1 (SATA HDD Docking Station)

Standard

I’ve been eyeing a hard drive dock for the past few years, mostly for the convenience it would offer. My toolkit already includes an IDE and SATA to USB adapter along with a couple of USB drive enclosures. The advantage of the dock is that I could have an adapter in a dedicated location that doesn’t require removing any screws or re-arranging cables in order to connect a bare drive.

I recently ordered one from Monoprice for just under $22. It arrived today and I connected it to my Mac. I haven’t used it much, but I did drop a 500 GB, 3.5″ SATA drive in and I can state that it does work. How well it works or holds up will be appended to this post in the future, if there’s anything noteworthy to add. I’m using it via the USB connection – my current iMac doesn’t have eSATA capability. I like that it has an on/off switch – a feature that isn’t always included in USB hard drive adapters.

3 thoughts on “Monoprice Communicator C1 (SATA HDD Docking Station)

  1. hania

    I tried one too – connected the usb before I switched the power on & got a warning that the usb device drawing too much power has been disabled.

    Switched on first then connected – no errr message but also no drive mounted!!!

    On instruction book it say – in the hard drive does not appear on your desktop be sure to partition your hard drive!!!!!!

    Why?? how do I do that – I have 2 other external drives connected (not usb) no problem

    • Hania,

      Please forgive me if I’m stating things that you already know.

      First, you’ll need to ensure that you’re using the included power cable. It’s unlikely that a USB port will be able to provide enough power on it’s own, at least for 3.5″ hard drives. I’m not saying that you didn’t – just mentioning this step in case you overlooked it.

      It may still need to draw supplemental power over USB and if that’s the case the following may help: The power available over the USB port will vary from hub to hub and even among USB ports on different computers. For example, I can’t seem to charge an iPhone battery case using an extension cable that is plugged into a powered USB hub. However, it charges just fine when connected directly to my notebook and it also works fine when connected to a powered USB hub connected to a different iMac. It’s possible that the hub or USB port you’re trying to connect to isn’t supplying enough power, though this seems unlikely since the device comes with its own external power cable. I’m just guessing.

      As far as partitioning the drive – on a Mac you can use “Disk Utility” (located under the Applications -> Utilities folder on your hard drive) and in Windows 7 Pro you can use “Disk Management” (under Control Panel -> System & Security -> Administrative Tools -> Computer Management -> Storage). My assumption is that it’s the same path under Windows 7 Home and similar in Vista and XP though I’m not positive. You’ll need to make sure that you select the correct drive when you run either tool.

      If the drive is connected but simply not partitioned then that could be all that you need to do. In my experience most bare drives are usually already partitioned using FAT32 or an extended version but if I remember correctly, from a while back, OEM drives were sometimes the exception.

      Feel free to post updates – I’ll be happy to help if I can.

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