I ended up being given two of these to play around with by my father who, after buying them on sale, was dismayed to discover that they don’t appear to play well with Macs. Having more time (and I’m guessing a little more patience) for troubleshooting problems of this nature, I took them to see if I could get them working at home. Honestly, I half expected them to just work without any intervention on my part. Call me superstitious, but I’ve seen too many consumer electronics inexplicable work perfectly the moment that someone comes to fix them, or gets rid of them as faulty, to believe in anything truly faulty without a second opinion.

So I was actually a little surprised when I plugged the thing in to get an error message from the OS that a “USB device drawing too much power has been disabled.”

In my mind, that’s a pretty scary message – with its red plastic shell and styling, this thing already looks a little aggressive, and now it’s demanding so much power that my gentle, pacifist iMac has had to disable one of its USB ports to protect itself!? What does this thing want so much power for, I wonder? I’ve already cleared a spot for it on my desk, is that not enough for this maniacal accessory? Clearly I’ve got to get this thing in check, not just for me, but for the sake of all mankind.

My first step was to google the product along with the error message. That led to nothing but one reviewer on Newegg complaining of the same error with no resolution (reminding me of this). Next I check the cirago website to see if they had any documentation, firmware downloads, etc that may lead me in the right direction – again, nothing (On a side note, why do hardware manufactures’ websites always suck? It’s not just the small ones, they all feel as if they were designed intentionally to obscure the information I’m looking for).

At this point I’ve devoted all of about 10 minutes to this thing, and, after unplugging it and plugging it back in (as if that should magically resolve it), am convinced it’s not going to work and realize I should give up on it. So naturally I took the damn thing apart.

Not surprisingly there was nothing of note on the inside that would explain the error I’m getting (or this thing’s megalomaniacal demands for power), but once I put it back together and plugged it in one more time for good measure, it started working like a charm! Seriously, wtf?

After much trial and error, I discovered that that my 4th grade math teacher was right – Order of Operations IS important. For anyone out there who’s been suffering with the same problem unplug everything and try this:

  1. Plug the power in
  2. Turn the power on
  3. Think deep thoughts for a good 3 seconds
  4. Plug the USB cable in

That process does the trick for me every time. Though it’s dependent on the docking station not loosing power. If you turn the docking station off, but leave the USB cable attached the computer will immediately warn you the docking station is drawing too much power and has been disabled. At that point, turning the power back on won’t get the computer to recognize it again without following the steps above.