A customer had just purchased a ViPowER VPA-3528Net network hard drive.
Obviously, the intent was to attach it to the network, and then all the PCs on his network (5) should be able to access the drive (without the need for a dedicated PC).
Well, he couldn’t get it to work, and it took me an hour…
According to the instructions, you just connect it to your ethernet router, use your browser to connect to http://landisk and you can then use the web interface to configure your drive.
Well I cannot connect to http://landisk … The manual also suggests (in case of difficulties, to connect using http://storage (or something like that). But that also doesn’t work.
I try a ping, but no luck.
I try a reset to factory defaults, but no luck.
There is nothing unusual about the network (1 dhcp server (router)… all PCs obtain their IP addresses from the router).
Right at the very back of the manual, where it talks about configuring the device without a router, it shows how to setup XP to talk to the device. The IP addresses in the screenshot are just what I needed: 169.254.0.2, and a server of 169.254.0.1
So I configure XPs network settings to ignore dhcp, and use the 169 address range.
I type 169.254.0.1 into the browser address bar, and I can finally connect to this thing.
I quickly see that it’s setup to be a DHCP server. I figure thats the main problem (you don’t want 2 dhcp servers on a network!).
I switch off the DHCP server on the VPA-3528, but it still cannot see (or be seen) on the 192.168.1.X network…
As a last resort, I setup the router to reserve the IP address 192.168.1.111
I then connect to the VPA, and manually set its IP address to be 192.168.1.111
After that, I can finally see it on the 192.168.1.X network, with the PC running in “normal” dhcp mode.
Now I look at formatting the 70Gb drive… I go to the format area in the web interface, click on format, it thinks for about 5 seconds, and then I get an error message (something about operation could not complete).
Never the less, it looks like the drive got formatted anyway… I setup SMB network shares, so that I can do some test file transfers. The “shared” folders appear correctly, and I can copy data to and from the VPA-3528.
This device obviously cannot function in network mode “out of the box”. It might work in USB mode, but there was no point in even trying it in usb mode.
Looking at the vipower website, they seem to be a reasonably large provider of external storage products… so I’m surprised that they’d sell a poor product that has so many bugs