Spinning down external USB drives with TomatoUSB

Jacob Allred

My most recent power bill was 30% higher than usual. Yikes! So how to save some money?

If you are using TomatoUSB and have a USB hard drive connected to it, then you can save some money — and extend the life of the drive — by having it spin down when idle. For some crazy reason this doesn’t happen automatically.

Luckily, some kind individual wrote a small program that can easily be run on TomatoUSB. The instructions are pretty easy to follow, but here are the basics:

  1. Download sd-idle-2.6.
  2. Uncompress the binary and put in a safe place on your USB hard drive.
  3. Create a file called mount.autorun so the program will run automatically.

That’s it! You’ll need to either reboot your router, unmount/mount your hard drive, or manually start the program for the first time. By default it will spin your drive down after 15 minutes.