[FAQ] Using External Hard Drives with Samsung tablets
Interfacing an external hard drive to a Samsung tablet can be achieved
with the LAVA STS-** product family. The LAVA web site documents
which Samsung tablets are compatible with the STS-** product family.
The STS-** Product Family includes the STS-E, STS-PE, STS-3U,
STS-2UE, STS-P2UE, STS-P2UE+, STS board and TL002.
We do not test for specific drive compatibility, as there are simply too many
drives on the market. The problems most people seem to encounter with
external USB drives can be resolved with the following rules:
1) The drive must be formatted for FAT32 or exFAT
2) Power for the hard drive should be supplied by the Simulcharge
adapter rather than the tablet. Other OTG Adapters require
the tablet supply the hard drive power.
3) Make sure the USB Power Supply used for the Simulcharge Adapter
can supply enough current for the tablet and the hard drive.
4) Do not extend the standard cables.
The Android operating system supports the FAT32 and exFAT file systems.
Many of the external drives start out formatted for NTFS, which
is not natively supported by Android. A NTFS drive must be reformatted.
The FAT32 format is not efficient for large drives, when many small files
are required. FAT32 is fine when dealing mainly larger files. There is a
4 GB file size limit inherent in FAT32.
The exFAT file system allows file sizes larger than 4 GB.
Older computer operating systems such as XP may require updates to support
exFAT on an external drive. We have recently used an XP 32-bit system with
a 1 TB Western Digital "My Passport" Drive 1 TB drives formatted for exFAT.
The drive was initially setup for NTFS, and had to be reformatting.
The USB hard drives should work off a standard USB port, which means
5 volts and up to 500 mA. If the tablet cannot provide this voltage
and current, the drive will not work or behave erratically. Using
an Simulcharge adapter which is powered from a USB Charger/Supply
resolves this power issue.
A small tablet may only have been shipped with a 700 mA to 1000 mA
USB Charger/Supply. This will not have enough power to charge the
tablet and supply the drive. The larger tablets (10 inch and above)
typically have a 2000 mA (2 ampere) USB Charger/Supply.
The LAVA TL002 (and PL002) requires a USB Charger/Supply with a Dedicated
Charge Port (DCP). This is sometimes referred to as a high capacity charger.
The charger supply with the Samsung tablet is a suitable charger.
The TL002 (and PL002) operate as a simply OTG Adapter when no power
All other LAVA SimulCharge products can be used with any USB Charger/Supply
or other 5 volt power source. The other permitted power sources include
External USB Battery Packs. In all cases the power source must have
sufficient power for the tablet and hard drive. The other Simulcharge
products require power to be present to operate.
A tablet controlling an external drive is operating as a USB Host.
The Samsung tablets used with the LAVA Simulcharge products draw less
than 1.4 amperes when operating in Simulcharge mode. A 2000 mA (2 ampere)
USB Charger/Supply should be enough to power the tablet and the hard drive.
Do not extend the power cable supplied with the tablet USB Charger/Supply.
Extending the cable results in additional voltage (power) loss along the cable.
An extended cable may result in the drive failing to work or the tablet
not charging. If the voltage at the drive is too low, the drive data could
We have tested a few hard drives in the 350 GB to 1 TB range. We have
read about people having success with larger drives. We cannot guarantee
any one drive and tablet combination as we do not have access to the
many drives on the market. Following the earlier rules should yield
success in most cases.