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Old August 23rd, 2005, 04:23 PM   #1
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SATA connectivity problem

Had a friend buy a system because I was tired of repairing the one that I put together for our company. So now he has a prebuilt system and I am somewhat in the clear.

Anyway, I did have to install another drive in it and when I opened it up I was bemused to find SATA connectors only, I've never worked with SATA.

So I installed the new drive, using the existing drive as a template. I could tell the days of yor were finally over as they had apparently emancipated the Slave from the Master.

One thing that frightened and confused me was the fact that there seemed to be no power hooked up to the boot drive, so I didn't hook one up at the secondary drive.

I booted the computer and could not find the secondary drive to save my life, so I turned it off and opened it up again. I plugged in the 4-pin old type power connector and rebooted. I could then see the drive.

2 weeks later...

The boot drive starts giving a read error when booting the machine. We cannot do anything.

I returned the computer for a brand spanking new one. BUt now I am frightened of my SATA connectors, as I can find nothing that looks like them for sale on the internet. They came with the Western Digital drives. They apparently have both power and data going down the same cable. It is a very blocky connector at the drive end that spans across both data and power connectors. The other end of it looks to be just a data connector.

Question is, did I screw up the boot drive because I had 2 power supplies going to the secondary? Or is it just coincidence that the boot drive died and the reason why the secondary would not come up on this "hybrid" cable is because I needed to enable whether it used the legacy power or SATA power?
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Old August 23rd, 2005, 07:40 PM   #2
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The cable I have on the second drive is this one:

http://store.westerndigital.com/product.asp?sku=2428641

It doesn't power up until I plug in the 4-pin legacy power plug.

So is this some kind of shunt? Or am I powering it twice? I don't think I am because it doesn't come up unless I plug in the old-style power cable.

Is this just a dummy plug to keep you from plugging in twice?
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Old August 24th, 2005, 09:36 AM   #3
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Steve

Steve:

One thing that I read that I will positively never forget when I installed SATA drives in my Dell, was this:

Do not connect two power sources to the same SATA drive. Use one or the other for each drive. Either use the big connector (the same used for IDE drives) or the smaller one specific to SATA drives. Not both at the same time.

The data cable does not power the hard drive at all. You need to connect a power cable as well as a data cord to the drive .

It's that simple.
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Old August 25th, 2005, 01:16 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hugh DiMauro
Steve:

One thing that I read that I will positively never forget when I installed SATA drives in my Dell, was this:

Do not connect two power sources to the same SATA drive. Use one or the other for each drive. Either use the big connector (the same used for IDE drives) or the smaller one specific to SATA drives. Not both at the same time.

The data cable does not power the hard drive at all. You need to connect a power cable as well as a data cord to the drive .

It's that simple.
Yeah, but did you look at the picture of that cable Western Digital is shipping with their drives? It's confusing. I read their description of it and it did not mention anything about "data cable powered", so that large connector is just there to make a more reliable connection to the drive and also idiot proof the power connector issue.
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Old August 29th, 2005, 05:44 PM   #5
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Stephen,

I also have a WD SATA hard drive. The special WD SATA cable covers two connectors, the SATA data connector and the SATA power connection. However, as the WD install guide explicitly states:

"The WD Serial ATA cable with SecureConnect does not supply power to the drive. When using the WD SATA cable, you must also attach the legacy ATA 4-pin power connector to the SATA drive. If instead you use the standard SATA interface cable (not included) on the SATA drive, DO NOT connect both SATA power cable (not included) and legacy power cable at the same time or the drive will malfunction."

From the instructions above and my own examination of the WD drive, it looks like you could attach standard SATA data and power cables to the WD hard drive without problems, if you didn't want to use the special WD SATA cable. It's not that the WD SATA drives have non-standard SATA connections (aside from the legacy ATA power connection). It's just that WD has chosen to implement the SATA connection with their own, non-standard cable that covers both the SATA data and power connectors. Why they chose to cover over the SATA power connector even though their cable doesn't supply power I don't know (unless it was to prevent both power connections being used at the same time), but I guess they have their reasons.
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