My Passport Ultra current draw

How much current does the My Passport Ultra draw? Can a Raspberri Pi (USB2.0) drive it?


This should be possible, i have not tried this on mine, but lets see if another user can share some information or tips on this matter. On this link, you could find some help on this:

Yes (i have tested several WD Portable Drives, All different Sizes [Ultras, Elements, Pi Drives etc] … and they all work fine)

But … 3 Things

  1. You must have at minimum a 2A 5V Power Supply [a good quality one]
  2. Only One Portable HDD will work at a time (but you can plug in as many externally powered as you want)
  3. You also need to add the following lines inside the config.txt on the SD Card


My Passport Ultra is on loan to a family member … but here’s a pic of my 2TB WD Elements with a Voltage Tester connected to the Raspberry Pi 3 to give you an idea of of the Current Draw, Voltage, Amps etc …

Thanks, I have a 2.4A power supply.
What do the config lines do?
I will have all 4 USB occupied with

  1. keyboard2. mouse
  2. old hard drive with its own power4. new Passport drive

Looked up the max_usb line, so never mind on that.
Found a comment that the safe_mode line is not necessary.
Before I do the edit, as a FYI, the Passport does mount with just the keyboard/mouse ports used.
(because it only draws .22A?)

i like to keep it … it doesn’t hurt to have it

forgot to mention … .22A is draw when the drive is “idle”
it will increase when under load

eg. this is playing a uncompressed Bluray 22GB 1080p mkv@25Mbps

Just a FYI, can access the drive OK, had a handful of corrupted inode file/directories on it which I cleaned out by reformating it on a Win7 box. I’m getting a no SES driver issue on the win which I can’t seem to get around so may have to return this and try another manuf.


Thank you for this information posted almost three years ago. I have a slightly different situation, but is still germane to this thread (rather that starting a new one) and was hoping that you, or others, may have any additional advice.

The RPi 3B+ has a maximum total USB peripheral draw of 1.2A
The 5v power supply has a stable 2.5A, or sothey say
Keyboard and mouse are generally not in use, but might be from time to time, but when they are in use, I’m not knowledgeable as to their collective draw.

Presently, Raspbian (NOOBS install) boots from SD card, but I’m hoping that my WD My Passport Ultra (alone) can be used instead of the SD card to run the RPi.

I’ve read that use of a USB hub to power the external hard drive will end up creating an issue with back-powering the RPi, and should not be attempted.

Any thoughts please?

It’s true. I’ve bought power 5V 2.5A power supplies for $20 and they work fine … cheaper ones are garbage, they can power flash drives without a problem, but hard drives virtually a no go. The ‘unstable’ 5V 2.5A i have can only handle a 314GB WD Pi Drive and that’s it.

have never tried booting from hard drive … i’m happy with SD Card Booting as it’s Fast, and i can swap out the SD Card with different OS’s

Anyways, have been using a WD My Passport Ultra 4TB with my Raspberry Pi 3 directly connected via USB (no USB hub) for years now (also works fine with a USB Dongle for Keyboard/Mouse Combo) … in that time not one single problem. Has worked perfectly.

Have never used one on the Raspberry Pi … but i have seen a powered USB hub back powering my PC even when it’s completely shutdown, which i wasn’t keen on.