WHAT MIGHT BE THE BIGGER ISSUE IS ...

Have we every considered this little scenario … the USB port on the Apple TV is NOT powered … allow me to explain.

After trying FOUR (yes four) different USB flash drives and 3 emails to Apple Core, and one half hearted response from Apple Core, I decided to see if the USB drive on the Apple TV was getting any power (just so that I could rule this out … which is the 1st thing you learn in trouble shooting; rule out the obvious). To do this I connected a USB light & a USB apple mouse, to my surprise, neither was receiving any power. The Apple TV I am using is only a little over a year old and this is the FIRST time that anything was being plugged into the USB port.

I decided (along with one of the guys from my tech department) to do a little research, and this is what I found. The Apple TV is, by default, not powered from the factory. Apple purposely did not power the USB drive (from the software level, and not, apparently from hardware level as this port is designed as a diagnostic port for Apple technicians.

Why has Apple Core neglected to tell us (or at least me, as I could not find it anywhere on the site) that the USB port is not powered. Was the aTV Flash supposed to re-power the USB drive, and if so wouldn’t this void your warrenty? Thus is is unlikely that the aTV Flash would do that.

So obviously the apple tv won’t load the aTV Flash because it is NOT reading any data from the drive because, DAUH, the drive is NOT powered.

Now, how am I supposed to work around this? Now I have to hack the Apple TV (so that the USB drive gets power, as the is apparently done from the software level, not the hardware level) to install a program that is supposed to hack the Apple TV.

What the HELL!?!?!?!?!

Apple Core PLEASE RESPOND! Maybe I missed it on your website that the USB port would not be powered, and f so I apologize.

I don’t have a powered USB flash memory drive and mine is ok. So - therefor my Appletv USB port must be powered. However mine is a newer uint bought about 2 months ago.

However one thing about your post does bug me… (not you, but about the power issue).

I created a thread a while back explaining that I had created about 10 usb flash installs on my flash drive - and all worked fine. until one day - it would no longer install from my flash drive.

I then, in my post stated that when it DID work - the led light on my flash drive would light up.

When the USB flash drive LED light did NOT lgith up - it would not install.

Now my solution was silly - in that I had to wiggle the usb drive in the USB port - and then it lit up and was recognized on the next reboot…

So I think it makes sense about the power issue… but just not sure how all the pieces fall together…

Hi Mixxxer,

I had read your post a few days ago and that’s when I started to think … however, what I’m saying has nothing to do with whether you’re using a powered USB flash driver or not (I am assuming you are talking about one that has a LED on it so you know when you’re getting power), what I’m saying is that the port on the Apple TV is not out putting any power. If the Apple TV port is not out putting any power then it doesn’t matter if you have a USB drive with an LED on it or not, the Apple TV will not read the drive. The USB port has to be sending power in order to read from the drive …

Only problem is that the install does work for alot of people. Sorry - I don’t have any answers - but this whole flash drive creation is turning into an X-File…

You are correct. By default the USB port is not enabled. However, during startup the Apple TV will check for bootable USB drives (e.g. aTV Flash). Once powered on, the USB port is not enabled unless the nitoTV Smart Installer is ran. After running the installer, external USB storage can be utilized.

This issue of a flash drive not being recognized by the Apple TV may be due to a number of things.

  1. Incompatible flash drive: http://forum.atvflash.com/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=68
  2. Installer should not copied to hard drive before running. The installer must be ran directly from the downloaded disk image.
  3. Installer also must be ran under an Admin account.

When problems arise, the cause is usually an incompatible flash drive. Certain brands (e.g San Disk), large drives (2GB+) and U3 drives tend to have compatibility issues.

O.k. I understand that Apple TV checks for a bootable USB drive, however, I am a little puzzled here:

  1. is the nitoTV Smart Installer part of the aTV Flash?
  2. I did check the list of “supposed” compatible drives … I am using one of them, the Memorex 512MB Mini TravelDrive (http://www.shopnex.com/item.asp?PID=5259&CID=158)
  3. Installer was not copied to hard drive, installer is running directly from from disk image.
  4. I am using an Admin Account.

So problems have arose, now, we can say that it is an “incompatible flash drive” as that seems to be the easy out … but I don’t think that is it … I have used very large drives (8GB) & very small drives (512MB). I have used well know brands like Kingston, SanDisk, & Memorex … hmm, those seem like the big boys to me. I have used a drive with that had the U3 software on it, but the U3 software was removed, COMPLETELY.

I just think that the “incompatible flash drive” is a cop out … is there a specific reason why aTV Flash is not compatible with certain flash drives or is this a mystery reason? is it aTV Flash that is not compatible with certain USB drives or is the Apple TV is self? I seems unlikely that the Apple TV would be incompatible … basically I guess what I’m asking is this; Is it known why the aTV Flash will not work with certain USB drives, and If s, then why can’t we say “this is the reason it will not work with x drive.”

You are correct. By default the USB port is not enabled. However, during startup the Apple TV will check for bootable USB drives (e.g. aTV Flash). Once powered on, the USB port is not enabled unless the nitoTV Smart Installer is ran. After running the installer, external USB storage can be utilized.

This issue of a flash drive not being recognized by the Apple TV may be due to a number of things.

  1. Incompatible flash drive: viewtopic.php?f=2&t=68
  2. Installer should not copied to hard drive before running. The installer must be ran directly from the downloaded disk image.
  3. Installer also must be ran under an Admin account.

When problems arise, the cause is usually an incompatible flash drive. Certain brands (e.g San Disk), large drives (2GB+) and U3 drives tend to have compatibility issues.

Forgive me if you have tried this already, but have you made a brand new fresh Admin account on your Mac? This is just me thinking out loud, so to speak, but go ahead and create a new user on the Mac and make sure it is an Admin account. Then make sure to have the AppleTV 2.1 DMG file and aTV Patch DMG in the new account*, the Desktop should be fine. Launch both DMGs and be sure to reformat one of your USB drives. Run the patch installer and see if that works or not. Let me know if that does or doesn’t not work.

*An easy way to transfer files from one user account to another is to put the DMG files in the Shared folder which is in the Users folder in the root of the hard drive.

P.S. (Me thinking out loud again) You do have all your updates installed correct? You are at 10.4.11 or 10.5.5 with the latest Java updates installed?

I’ll be honest, I don’t really see what this would accomplish … I would try it, but I just don’t think it would make a difference. It might seem like I would be better served trying it on my home machine which is running 10.4.11. … my office machine which is where I have been doing all the testing is running 10.5.5. However, Apple Core says that aTV Flash is compatible with both 10.4 & 10.5 … however, I still coming back to the same question; what makes certain flash drives incompatible.

Forgive me if you have tried this already, but have you made a brand new fresh Admin account on your Mac? This is just me thinking out loud, so to speak, but go ahead and create a new user on the Mac and make sure it is an Admin account. Then make sure to have the AppleTV 2.1 DMG file and aTV Patch DMG in the new account*, the Desktop should be fine. Launch both DMGs and be sure to reformat one of your USB drives. Run the patch installer and see if that works or not. Let me know if that does or doesn’t not work.

*An easy way to transfer files from one user account to another is to put the DMG files in the Shared folder which is in the Users folder in the root of the hard drive.

P.S. (Me thinking out loud again) You do have all your updates installed correct? You are at 10.4.11 or 10.5.5 with the latest Java updates installed?

I can not answer that question about the incompatibility. But my answer to “What that would accomplish?” is that maybe, just maybe there is something in your user account that is causing the problems with your flash drives. I have been doing Mac tech support for almost eight years working for Apple Authorized Service Providers and Mac consultants and all I can say is that for some problems, you have to try everything. Sure some of the steps may not make sense, but one of the troubleshooting steps when something is not working is to try a fresh user account that does not have years and years of use and software installations and such. You can do whatever you want to, I am just trying to make suggestions on what you could try to get the flash drives to work. I can’t help you if your only objective now is to figure out why the USB port on the AppleTV is power or not. Maybe that is the answer to your problems, but what if it is not the solution, then what?

If person A uses a SanDisk 1GB and it works, but person B uses a SanDisk 1GB and it doesn’t work, my past experience is there is something person B is either not doing right or there is something in the person B’s setup that is causing the stick not to work. My job is to help out around here and I’m trying to figure out why people here are having problems. I understand you are beyond frustrated with this and you are free to do what you want to, but I am trying to offer methods you can try and just see if it works.

If anyone else on the board has an idea for JRob, please don’t hesitate to post it. Just an FYI, I am using 10.5.5 and I use an HP 2GB HPV100W USB Drive for this patch.

Madcran,

Please do not take this as a personal attack … I am not discounting your years of experience, nor am I trying to say that a new user account “definitely” will not work. I am usually willing to try EVERYTHING when dealing with a trouble shoot.

Part of my frustration stems from a) a lack of response from Apple Core as I have e-mailed (and tried to call them directly). b) the fact that there seems to be multiple factors, so even if I do “a,” “b” is still going to cause a problem. c) the fact that I am not the only one experiencing this type of problem. It’s easy to say that “person b” is doing something wrong, but when all instructions are followed, and all recommended devices are used then where does the problem lay? That’s what I’m trying to figure out.

Anyway, I will try your suggestion and report back on my findings, and thank you very much for your feedback.

I can not answer that question about the incompatibility. But my answer to “What that would accomplish?” is that maybe, just maybe there is something in your user account that is causing the problems with your flash drives. I have been doing Mac tech support for almost eight years working for Apple Authorized Service Providers and Mac consultants and all I can say is that for some problems, you have to try everything. Sure some of the steps may not make sense, but one of the troubleshooting steps when something is not working is to try a fresh user account that does not have years and years of use and software installations and such. You can do whatever you want to, I am just trying to make suggestions on what you could try to get the flash drives to work. I can’t help you if your only objective now is to figure out why the USB port on the AppleTV is power or not. Maybe that is the answer to your problems, but what if it is not the solution, then what?

If person A uses a SanDisk 1GB and it works, but person B uses a SanDisk 1GB and it doesn’t work, my past experience is there is something person B is either not doing right or there is something in the person B’s setup that is causing the stick not to work. My job is to help out around here and I’m trying to figure out why people here are having problems. I understand you are beyond frustrated with this and you are free to do what you want to, but I am trying to offer methods you can try and just see if it works.

If anyone else on the board has an idea for JRob, please don’t hesitate to post it. Just an FYI, I am using 10.5.5 and I use an HP 2GB HPV100W USB Drive for this patch.

I know it’s not an attack on me, it’s hard to convey emotion or not to convey emotion when typing. I wasn’t taking it personal, I was just trying to explain my reasoning behind my suggestions. I can be typing the post with no intent other than to inform and anybody reading it can put their own emotion into it. After re-reading it, I can see where I can come off as defensive and that was not my intent. Let me know if using your second computer or using a different account helps or not. Actually, using the 10.4.11 computer might not be a bad idea if you can do it, that gives you an entirely new setup that if it fails, then we have to see why the USB sticks you have aren’t working. Maybe next time I’ll put more of these: :smiley: :smiley: :smiley: in the post. :wink:

O.k. Madcran,

I followed your suggestion of creating a new user account with administrator privileges; unfortunately, I have to report that it was not a success. I created a new user account, ran the installer and the OS Boot (directly from the disk images), created a pacthstick, stuck it into the Apple TV, restarted the Apple TV … and nothing. The Apple TV started up as normal, going directly to the Apple logo and then that’s it … it didn’t even recognize the USB flash drive (i.e. the power LED on the flash drive was not light, or flashing).

Just so to put it put it out there, here are the specs. of the equipment that I am using: Apple TV running software version 2.1, MacBook Pro running OS 10.5.5, 512MB Memorex traveldrive Mini.

What now? Guess I will have to try the machine running 10.4

I can not answer that question about the incompatibility. But my answer to “What that would accomplish?” is that maybe, just maybe there is something in your user account that is causing the problems with your flash drives. I have been doing Mac tech support for almost eight years working for Apple Authorized Service Providers and Mac consultants and all I can say is that for some problems, you have to try everything. Sure some of the steps may not make sense, but one of the troubleshooting steps when something is not working is to try a fresh user account that does not have years and years of use and software installations and such. You can do whatever you want to, I am just trying to make suggestions on what you could try to get the flash drives to work. I can’t help you if your only objective now is to figure out why the USB port on the AppleTV is power or not. Maybe that is the answer to your problems, but what if it is not the solution, then what?

If person A uses a SanDisk 1GB and it works, but person B uses a SanDisk 1GB and it doesn’t work, my past experience is there is something person B is either not doing right or there is something in the person B’s setup that is causing the stick not to work. My job is to help out around here and I’m trying to figure out why people here are having problems. I understand you are beyond frustrated with this and you are free to do what you want to, but I am trying to offer methods you can try and just see if it works.

If anyone else on the board has an idea for JRob, please don’t hesitate to post it. Just an FYI, I am using 10.5.5 and I use an HP 2GB HPV100W USB Drive for this patch.

Okay, I think maybe we are going way too far out there, have you heard of Occam’s Razor? What if your AppleTV just has a bad USB port? It can happen, I’ve had USB ports go bad in many computers I’ve serviced. You wouldn’t have a friend that has an AppleTV or have a Apple Authorized Service Center near you, would you? I’d say take it to an Apple Store, but they would frown on that just a little bit I bet. Is your AppleTV still under warranty? If so then I’d say have it replaced. I know the USB port is not supposed to be used, but a hardware problem is a hardware problem. For now go ahead and try the 10.4 machine, but I have a feeling it may not solve the problem.

I in fact do have an Apple store down the street from me … my Apple TV is however out of warranty by about 4 months. I am sure they will frown upon this use of the USB port, however, let’s give it a shot. I will try it tomorrow and see.

Thank you by the way for the note on “Occam’s Razor,” very interesting … in the meantime, I am still waiting for a response from to my e-mail from Apple Core.

Thank you very much for the help madcran … I will keep you posted on this on going saga.

by madcran on Thu Oct 09, 2008 4:37 pm

Okay, I think maybe we are going way too far out there, have you heard of Occam’s Razor? What if your AppleTV just has a bad USB port? It can happen, I’ve had USB ports go bad in many computers I’ve serviced. You wouldn’t have a friend that has an AppleTV or have a Apple Authorized Service Center near you, would you? I’d say take it to an Apple Store, but they would frown on that just a little bit I bet. Is your AppleTV still under warranty? If so then I’d say have it replaced. I know the USB port is not supposed to be used, but a hardware problem is a hardware problem. For now go ahead and try the 10.4 machine, but I have a feeling it may not solve the problem.

Oh it just keeps getting better … in an attempt to rule out all possibilities I visited my local Apple Store today and brought along my Apple TV. After getting the required “the USB port on the Apple TV is for diagnostic purposes only,” and “sir, you should not attempt to hack your Apple TV,” the nice lad behind the counter took my Apple TV. However, since “we aren’t really set up to properly diagnose the Apple TV,” my Apple TV was taken to the back room to a head tech and to “see what we can find out.” The young technician returned with my Apple TV in and and delivered the horrifying new … the USB port on my Apple TV it turns out, is functioning JUST FINE!

What now? Well let’s try one more thing … I decided to create the patchstick using my iMac G5 running os 10.4.11 … and guess what? NOTHING … the Apple TV booted as normal … the USB drive was not even recognized, their was no transfer of data or anything, not even a little flash of the blue LED on the USB drive.

So, we have ruled out a hardware problem, we have used 4 different USB drives of varying capacities, and we’ve used two different machines to create this patchstick. I guess the only thing left is “user error.” So let’s go with that shall we … taking that approach I decided to go over the very “detailed” instruction from Apple Core with a fine tooth comb and create a new patchstick … and well, you guessed it, the out come was the same. The Apple TV loaded as normal, the USB drive was not recognized and we are back at square one.

I’m feeling not angry, not upset, not frustrated, just feeling a little cheated …

Um, ok then. I applaud you for all your hard work and persistence. Let me think about this a little more and I’ll get back to you and see if I can figure out why the heck you can not get a USB stick to work.

Hmmmm… Considering everything jrob has done - it still leaves the question : is the problem with the computers being used to create the boot image (i know you tried more than 1) or is it really that none of the usb flash drives will work.

we are going to assume that your apple tv usb port works the same as mine - or anyone else who has installed ok in the past.

so - what if an admin here takes a usb flash drive they have that they know works - and uses disc utility to make a disc image ISO or DMG - and then hosts it somewhere private for jrob - so he can grab it and uncompress onto his flash drive - then see if it works. I believe with disc utility you can allow for bootable images to be copied/restored.

if THAT doesn’t work - then it is just not the software issue but a hardware issue. (even with everything tested)

although that still leaves us nowhere - jrob having paid money for a product that just will not work.

that is my only last idea…

Thanks Mixxxer, I don’t know if that suggestion will be heeded (though I think it is and excellent one), however Apple Core did offer a solution so I will look into that 1st, see how it works and then determine the final out come. However, you are correct, so far I am stuck with a product that I have been unable to use …

by Mixxxer on Tue Oct 14, 2008 5:11 pm

Hmmmm… Considering everything jrob has done - it still leaves the question : is the problem with the computers being used to create the boot image (i know you tried more than 1) or is it really that none of the usb flash drives will work.

we are going to assume that your apple tv usb port works the same as mine - or anyone else who has installed ok in the past.

so - what if an admin here takes a usb flash drive they have that they know works - and uses disc utility to make a disc image ISO or DMG - and then hosts it somewhere private for jrob - so he can grab it and uncompress onto his flash drive - then see if it works. I believe with disc utility you can allow for bootable images to be copied/restored.

if THAT doesn’t work - then it is just not the software issue but a hardware issue. (even with everything tested)

although that still leaves us nowhere - jrob having paid money for a product that just will not work.

that is my only last idea…

So Apple Core was gracious enough to offer to send me a USB Flash drive that they “knew worked,” and I could install the aTV Flash program on it and move forward … YEAH?!?

Well, I received the USB Flash drive today, and I was very excited, until I realized that it was the same model as one of the drive I had tested … hmm. Anyway, I decided to give them the benift of the doubt as I wasn’t sure if my drive was USB 2.0 or not and the one I received in the mail was USB 2.0.

So I installed the aTV Flash program, once more being careful to follow the instructions (i.e. aTV Flash is running from the disk image & and I have the OSBoot disk image as well). At completion I received an “aTV Flash has been successfully installed. The drive is now unmounted and ready to patch your AppleTV,” window. I unplugged the AppleTV installed the freshly created flash drive, re-plugged the AppleTV and waited for it to restart.

The AppleTV re-started as NORMAL (which at this point was not a surprise to me). No text along the side or anything like that, just a blinking Apple logo (three times … the normal AppleTV start-up screen) and then the AppleTV rebooted as normal.

Am I doing something wrong? As much as I would love to say I am, I doubt it … I have made sure to proceed one step at a time while following along with the instructions. Is it the flash drive? Well, I am using the one sent me by Apple Core – the one they “know works” (which ironically is the same models as one of the flash drive I have been using). Is it the AppleTV? Could be, however when I took it to Apple, they stated that the USB port was functioning normally …

So where does this leave me? Is there ANYWAY for me to run a diagnostic test one the AppleTV (without taking it to Apple) to find out if the port is functioning properly?

I’m afraid that I might have exhausted all possibilities and that the only one left is the inevitable …

Please advise.

Thank you

PM sent.