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How To Resolve “SG_IO: bad/missing sense data” Error When Checking Hard Drive Spin Down Time

Ubuntu 12

When working with hard drives, you might encounter the error message “SG_IO: bad/missing sense data”. This error is often seen when trying to check the spin down time of a hard drive. This article will guide you through the steps to resolve this issue.

Understanding the Error Message

The error message “SG_IO: bad/missing sense data” indicates that there is an issue with retrieving the necessary information from the hard drive. This error is commonly encountered when the drive is connected via a USB interface.

Direct Connection to SATA Port

One possible solution is to connect the hard drive directly to a SATA port instead of using a USB connection. This can help determine if the error is specific to the USB connection.

USB-SATA Bridge Implementation

If the issue persists, it could be due to the USB-SATA bridge implementation. Some USB-SATA bridge chips have incorrect firmware or buggy implementations, causing compatibility issues. In such cases, it is recommended to check the manufacturer’s documentation or support for any known issues and possible solutions.

Using sdparm Utility

Another solution is to use the sdparm utility instead of hdparm. To install sdparm, use the command sudo apt install sdparm.

The sdparm command is used to get the parameters and settings of the drive. For example, sudo sdparm -l -a /dev/sdX will display all parameters and settings for the drive. Here, -l lists all parameters and -a shows all information. Replace /dev/sdX with your actual drive.

To change the spindown timer and the STANDBY flag, use commands like sudo sdparm -l --set SCT=6000 /dev/sdX and sudo sdparm -l --set STANDBY=1 /dev/sdX. These changes can be made for the current session or saved permanently. The --set flag is used to set a parameter, SCT stands for Standby Condition Timer and STANDBY is a flag that controls the standby mode.

Adding Quirks to Boot Parameters

If none of the above solutions work, it may be necessary to add quirks to the boot parameters. For example, on a Raspberry Pi 3 running Raspbian, the boot parameters are located in the file /boot/cmdline.txt. Adding usb_storage.quirks=YOUR_VENDOR_ID:YOUR_DEVICE_ID:QUIRK_FLAGS to the boot parameters can help resolve the issue.

In this command, YOUR_VENDOR_ID and YOUR_DEVICE_ID need to be replaced with the vendor and device IDs of your USB-SATA bridge. QUIRK_FLAGS are specific flags that can be used to work around issues with certain devices.

Conclusion

Resolving the “SG_IO: bad/missing sense data” error requires a systematic approach. Start by connecting the hard drive directly to a SATA port. If the issue persists, check the USB-SATA bridge implementation and consider using the sdparm utility. If all else fails, adding quirks to the boot parameters might help. With these steps, you should be able to resolve the error and successfully check the spin down time of your hard drive.

What is the purpose of checking the spin down time of a hard drive?

Checking the spin down time of a hard drive allows you to determine how long the drive takes to enter a low-power standby mode when not in use. This can help conserve energy and prolong the life of the drive.

Why am I getting the “SG_IO: bad/missing sense data” error when checking the spin down time?

The "SG_IO: bad/missing sense data" error typically occurs when there is an issue retrieving the necessary information from the hard drive, especially when connected via a USB interface.

How can I connect the hard drive directly to a SATA port?

To connect the hard drive directly to a SATA port, you will need to open your computer case and locate an available SATA port on the motherboard. Connect the SATA data cable and power cable from the hard drive to the corresponding ports on the motherboard.

What should I do if the issue persists after connecting the hard drive directly to a SATA port?

If the issue persists, it could be due to the USB-SATA bridge implementation. Check the manufacturer’s documentation or support for any known issues and possible solutions.

How can I install the `sdparm` utility?

To install the sdparm utility, you can use the command sudo apt install sdparm in a terminal window. This command will install the utility on your system.

How can I use the `sdparm` utility to change the spindown timer and standby flag?

To change the spindown timer and standby flag using the sdparm utility, you can use commands like sudo sdparm -l --set SCT=6000 /dev/sdX and sudo sdparm -l --set STANDBY=1 /dev/sdX. Replace /dev/sdX with the actual drive name. These changes can be made for the current session or saved permanently.

What should I do if none of the above solutions work?

If none of the above solutions work, you may need to add quirks to the boot parameters. This involves modifying the boot parameters file, such as /boot/cmdline.txt on a Raspberry Pi. Adding specific quirks related to your USB-SATA bridge can help resolve the issue.

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