HDD LED is always on?!

December 5, 2005 at 03:57:46
Specs: DOS 6.22 & Win ME, Athlon XP 1700+

A first reaction might be... "Well, some spyware or program is constantly accessing the drive." But I can tell that the hard drive light is ALWAYS on, even when the drive is idle or even in suspend/sleep mode.

To be more specific, I have an EIO AP-1680 ATA133 RAID PCI Host Controller installed. The HDD LED is attached to the "Hard disk LED" pins on the card. If I unplug the cable connected to those two pins, then the light goes out. (So I know I have the right LED.) And if I reverse the polarity on those pins (twist it over), then it also remains off. Obviously, something is wrong.

I've tried attaching the LED to the HDD LED connector on the MB front panel header, but it remains off either way it's plugged in. (Mainboard is an old Shuttle AK31 SocketA Spacewalker.) That would be because I'm using those built-in IDE ports to connect my DVD drives, not the hard drive.

The only thing I can figure is that either my RAID controller is defective, or the voltage coming off the LED connector on the card is too much for the case LED. I suppose the latter might be possible because it was originally a power indicator for an old AT-style case.

BTW: I checked, but my single 80GB ATA133 Maxtor hard drive does not have pins to connect to a case LED. (It merely has a built-in LED that I can't see from inside the case.) I know some older drives had that external LED feature, but newer ones don't seem to bother.

I realise this is mostly cosmetic and the RAID controller seems to function fine otherwise. However, I tend to rely the HDD activity light as an indicator of whether a program has locked up the machine or if it's merely taking its sweet time...

So, would anyone know of a small program to simulate a HDD activity LED in the form of a desktop tray icon?

"The ruling class has the schools & press under its thumb. This enables it to sway the emotions of the masses." -- Einstein
"The exact contrary of what is generally believed is often the truth." --

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December 5, 2005 at 05:33:14

Don't know what your problem is but I can tell you what is isn't...

It is not an extreme voltage. LED's have no self control over voltage and/or current. In other words if a LED is plugged into an unregulated source it would simply draw more and more current until it finally burns itself out. ( I make this soung drawn out, but it actually happens within milli seconds) To avoid this we insert what we call a current limiting resister. So the fact that the LED is on and not burnt out indicates that it is receiving proper voltage/current.

L.E.D. stands for light emitting DIODE. The key word there being; diode.

A diode is a semiconductor (not a light at all) that allows current to flow in one direction but not the other. So it in itself is sensitive to DIRECTION OF FLOW. If you reverse the leads the diode remains closed (off) and won't shed light. So your reversed lead theory is not correct.

The only things I can think of is you either have the wrong plug, or the sensing cuircut for the LED indicator is shot.

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December 6, 2005 at 06:24:01

I have the same problem on one machine where the LED indicator is shot, so I use a utility called Hard Disk Indicator v1.3
which resides in my toolbar and flashes when there's disk activity. Download from....


I - Sandor J

Knowledge is the treasure, but judgment is the treasurer of the wise man.
- William Penn (1614 - 1718)

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