USB powered hard drive requirement

New cord cutter here - won’t even receive the Tablo unit for a few days.
I had planned to use a .5 terabyte hard drive I already own. It’s NOT USB powered. Am I out of luck?
I do have an older USB powered HD but only 200GB. Is this too small?

Not quite sure what you mean, and you didn’t mention which Tablo model, but I’ll explain a bit.

A Tablo unit, like my Tablo 4-tuner OG model, can use an external USB drive.
The USB drive can be powered from one of the 2 Tablo USB ports, or via the drive’s power adapter, if it has one.
The drive can be a hard drive, flash drive, SSD, …, as long as it’s a storage drive.
USB hard drives seem to work best, but technically, all other storage types should work, too.

Tablo units can have issues with older hard drive sleep features.
Some hard drive manufacturers have hard drive firmware updates to fix these sleep feature issues, but not all.
Best bet is to use a hard drive manufactured within the past 2 years.

Size matters up to a point.
Number, length, and resolution of recordings all count towards disk space utilization.
My Tablo ‘Recording Quality’ is set to HD1080 - 8 Mbps.
Every 1 hour of recording uses up around 2.25GB of disk space at that recording quality.
You can do the math from there.

Thanks for the reply. I have ordered the Tablo quad [TQNS4B-01-CN] OTA unit. Haven’t yet received it.

I watched several installation videos in anticipation - one of them specified that the external “memory drive” had to be “USB powered”. I presumed that meant not separately powered by an electrical outlet. The drive I intend to use is an external .5 Terabyte unit I formerly used as an external backup drive and powered by a 120 volt plug (with adapter).

The video I watched was an older one and nowhere else have I heard that the Tablo required that the external drive had to be powered thru the USB port (as opposed to a household electrical plug). Hope this clarifies my question.

Your answer indicates that I am OK with using my existing unit.

Thank you again


Powering the hard drive via the Tablo’s USB port is a convenience, which means you don’t need to use a hard drive power adapter, but you can use a hard drive power adapter, if you wish.
Some USB hard drives actually require more power than a USB port can provide, and those drives require a power adapter.

Best advice is use a hard drive power adapter, if the hard drive came with one.

Can you provide a link to that video? If it actually said that, it’s wrong. I’ve been using a USB drive with it’s own power supply since Day 1.

This kind of reads like a tongue twister, first thought, USB ports have standards so it can only require a set max from the port… oh, they have their own power adapter – so they have no need or method to power up from the USB connection I presume, it’s just a data port.

I completely concur, just a disclaimer note: tablo/Nuvyyo does have “recommended” drives and set-ups
– Personally I have never followed this with no issues, 2.5" WD Blue 320GB (used from ebay) in a Sabrent enclosure, x2 for each Dual Lite –

While probably most users might follow these recommendations, you’ll likely find several users in the Community Forum who’ve successfully had unsupported setups.

Internal (laptop style) hard drives placed in external enclosures can cause frequent USB
disconnects and communication issues between the drive and the DVR.

You can buy “elements enclosures” off ebay and put… only special drive in them? Many virtually new, bought a large drive on a great sale… and an SATA drive will connect to an SATA port - in an enclosure or a PC/laptop. Sometimes “unsupported” translates into, sure other things work, probably, but if you have issues don’t call us.

Here’s the link to the vid

It’s verbal @ 4:09 with an illustration
I note that the vid is from 2015

@TabloTV @TabloSupport

This video is wrong (outdated) and needs to be redone or pulled entirely.

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We’re working on redoing a bunch of videos…

F.Y.I. My (self powered only) 1tb Fantom Drive is at least 8 years old now. It sleeps and wakes up just fine. Has never been late for work :wink:. It has given me zero “Tablo” issues for over 5.5 years.

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Does the drive actually sleep and go into a power saving mode? It is likely still fully powered and on, it’s just not actively doing any reading or writing when the Tablo is not in use.

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. :slight_smile:

The drive spins down to a stop after a certain period of non-use. You hear a “click”, and the drive comes to a stop. And stays that way until Tablo accesses it again. The green power light stays on. If the drive is sleeping, and you want to use Tablo, it initially takes some extra seconds to “click”, spin up to speed, and start clicking away at the data. I always figured that was normal.