A USB Bridge as an "Away From Home" Storage Soluti

drdan

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I found out about USB bridges recently. They are devices which can copy files from one USB device to another with a push of a button without the use of a computer. This includes transferring files from a card reader (and directly from some cameras) to an external USB hard drive.

Since I already have an external hard drive this immediately presented as a solution for storage when on shoots away from the computer. Not as convenient as a portable digital storage device but at less than $40 compared to several hundred it seemed worth a try. Being able to "dump" my memory sticks into my external hard drive without a computer would be great.

I settled on a MacAlly Syncbox from Newegg. Although it took a couple of unanticipated steps to get it to work, it did what it said it would do.

I hooked a Sandisk USB 2.0 memory Stick reader to the "source" side of the small Syncbox and the cable from the USB hard drive to the "target" side. Pushed the button to activate and it started copying files.

Pros:
1. Small and lightweight (approx 2.5x2.5x.6 inches)
2. It works!

Cons:
1. It only copies, pictures on card must be deleted in camera after copying if you want to free the space on the card
2. Will not read or transfer to NTFS (I had to wipe and reformat my external hard drive to FAT32) A separate FAT32 partition should work.
3. Device itself is USB 1.1. It will work fine with USB 2.0 devices but only transfers at 1.1 speeds. A full 256MB card took 6-8 minutes to copy.
4. Although batteries in the Syncbox power the bridge and card reader, the external hard drive needs an AC power source. If away from an outlet an AC cigarette lighter adaptor for the car might work.

All in all, a neat little device if you already have an external hard drive, a USB enclosure for a hard drive or some other USB storage option.
 
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drdan

drdan

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That's very cool. The disadvantages of either of the these solutions over regular digital storage is dependency on an AC power supply. You may not even have to invest in an extra hard drive. You could just pop an internal drive out of your computer and take it with you. This would be especially convenient if you had an extra internal hard drive just for picture storage. Just take it out, transfer your pictures into on the trip, pop it back in the computer when you got home and start sorting and editing. No time taken to transfer pictures to the computer.

One reason I think the bridge could be so useful is that a lot of people already have a card reader for their flash memory and an external hard drive for general backup purposes.

With the continued development of flash memory, all these solutions are probably going to seem hopelessly clunky and primitive in a few years. They are realy cool now though.
 

voodoocat

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Definately... The drawback is definately the power... but unless I'm doing a 3 day excursion with no access to power, I'll have a hotel room with an outlet to transfer my pics to.

I've been debating getting a laptop or a portable harddrive solution but that is expensive. This I can spend $120 and get 80GB of storage. I usually burn through 512m in one photo session... I had to shoot jpg on our trip to LA so I would have the room. I prefer to shoot raw.
 
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drdan

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I have seen pretty good AC adaptors for a car, I was thinking of trying that if I'm on an extended session in the mountains.

Don't you sometimes get cold shooting RAW? :lol:
 

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drdan said:
I have seen pretty good AC adaptors for a car, I was thinking of trying that if I'm on an extended session in the mountains.

Don't you sometimes get cold shooting RAW? :lol:
:LOL:

Don't remind me that have such quick access to the mountains :p

When we move back to denver, we'll have to meet up for an outing.
 
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drdan

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For the last few years I actually gravitate to the prairie more than the mountains. It's even more accessible than the mountains and I am fascinated by the openess and variety of plants and terrain. I posted some pics in the gallery. Open like the desert but a little different feel.

http://www.thephotoforum.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=9134
 

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I'm just itchin' to have new scenery period. I know my July's would be filled with the wildflowers.. but yeah, the prairie has it's own charm that I am very interested in.

Most people don't realize that Colorado (at least the eastern plains) is very dry. It's barely above the desert in the amount of rain and snowfall.
 

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