Building a hardrive and DVD writer combo

June 11, 2009 at 00:23:25
Specs: Windows Vista
I have a CD writer, a DVD Writer and 2 Hard Disk.(All IDE), 250W power supply.All from an old Celeron D with bad motherboard.I want to incorporate them into a combo with a USB connection. my problem is the interface between the hardware and my laptop.

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June 11, 2009 at 13:42:38
Since the USB external drive enclosure has already been invented I suggest you go that route and not try to create something on your own.

I've never tried anything like that but I'd think you could just put each drive in a separate enclosure, connect them all to a powered USB hub and then to the laptop with a single cable. At least that would be the first thing to try.

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June 11, 2009 at 14:24:52
Most DVD burners also burn CDs - if that one does, you don't need to connect the CD burner drive.
The cpu always accesses the drives one at a time. The only time you save while burning by using more than one is you have to pause less to insert or remove CDs.

You can get adapters with circuitsbuilt in that plug into the drive's data cable connector to convert the drive's interface to USB use, but they often cost almost as much as an external enclosure.

If you don't already have such adapters, or external drive enclosures (the ones you need are not just boxes - they have circuits as well to convert the drive's interface to USB use), it would probably cost you a lot less to get a replacement mboard to get the desktop computer working again and connect to the laptop via a network connection, or via a USB file sharing cable connection.

Are you sure the mboard is no good? We frequently get posts here where the person has assumed the mboard is no good, but that's often not actually the case. E.g. installing ram that is not compatible with the mboard, or a faulty power supply, can make the mboard appear to be dead.

Connecting them all, or even two of them, to a hub and then to a single USB port on the laptop probably won't work because the drives require a lot of current.
See the the part starting.....
"An external hard drive requires more current from the connection to the computer than most devices do." response 1 of this:

Similar applies to optical drives.

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June 13, 2009 at 08:49:22
Thank you for your repply.
The motherboard is dead (and burried).
I am interested in the adapter. After some thought: I decided to combined the DVD Writer and the 150MB harddisk. Could you give its full name so that I can search on the internet?

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June 13, 2009 at 08:51:46
Thank you for your repply.
The motherboard is dead (and burried).
After some thought; I want to combine the DVD Writer & the bigger hard disk together.
I am interested in the adapter. Could you give its full name so that I can search on the internet?

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June 15, 2009 at 13:15:12
150mb hard drive? Do you mean 150gb?
If 150mb is correct, don't bother with it - it's not worth spending money on - most USB flash drives have more capacity, and they're cheap.

On second thought, the adapters that plug into the IDE connector on the drive are not suitable for your situation, because they don't supply power to the drives. (See BELOW)
External drive enclosures always supply power to the drives.

Rather than me suggesting those adapters that depend on you having a power supply as well - the desktop PS may not start up, and besides that it's bulky and would be a pain to carry around with you if you want to be able to use the laptop anywhere with the drives - you should get external enclosures that will work for sure.


External 3.5" IDE (a.k.a. PATA) to USB enclosures

External 5.25" (or in some cases also 3.5") IDE (a.k.a. PATA) to USB enclosures

It's preferable you find hits with user reviews for it that confirm that's it's okay.
If there are user reviews, READ THEM!

More than one probably won't work unless each is connected by itself directly to a laptop USB port.

If you don't have enough laptop ports, you can get PC Card (PCMCIA) USB 2.0 controller cards, or ExpressCard USB 2.0 controller cards.


Some info about the adapters, but as I said, they're not suitable for your situation, because they don't supply power to the drives.

The desktop power supply probably won't work to power the drives along with the adapters, because it is a switching power supply and in that case the PS must have at least a minimal load on it before it's switched on, otherwise the PS will not start up - connecting just two (or even three or four) drives probably doesn't place enough of a load on it for it to start up.
Plus, if it's an ATX PS, it has no power switch that can turn it on built into it's wiring - you would have to rig up wiring and a switch (momentary - on only when pressed) to two wires in the 20 or 24 pin connector get it to start up (power good and a ground).
(The minimum load is often stated in the specs for the PS, although that may not be stated on the label on the drive. You CAN force the PS to start up if it won't start up normally, but then it is likely it will be un-reliable.)

Search for: IDE to USB adapter,
or USB hard drive adapter,
or similar

Sometimes the quality control of the adapter product is iffy, hit or miss. It's preferable you find hits with user reviews for it that confirm the quality is okay.
If there are user reviews, READ THEM!

Some adapters stick out more from the back of the drive than others - if you have limited space behind the drive take that into consideration.

You will probably have to use the adapters such that each of them is directly connected to a USB port on the laptop.

E.g. SATA or IDE to USB - generally good user reviews

IDE to USB - some bad user reviews

SATA or IDE to USB - NO user reviews - I would not buy it unless I determined somewhere else that the quality is okay - although StarTech priducts are usually good quality.

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June 17, 2009 at 08:57:00
Thank U T&W,
Definitely gb.
I will not be moving the combo. It will form part of a rig to tranfer vieo & audio cassettes, to the hard disk than to DVD. And the power supply is OK. Do female ribbon cables exist? You know the opposite of the computer hardware ribbons?

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June 17, 2009 at 12:21:21
The connectors on ribbon cables are female (have holes with metal female ends inside). The reason they are female is that way is it's dummy proof. It's a lot less likely you will short something while plugging them in or unplugging them (if the computer still has power) .
I've never seem male connectors (having pins rather than holes) on ribbon cables.However, the spacings are a standard 1/10" apart, and you can buy strips of pins meant to be soldered into a circuit board at places that have a lot of electronic parts - the pins stick out on both sides of the plastic strip, more on one side than the other - you cut the plastic at indentations to the length you need.

Like so:

| | | | | | | | | | | | (same standard length as for headers)
--------------------- (plastic strip about 1/8" high)
I I I I I I I I I I I I (shorter, ~ 3/8")

(the pins are square and continuous, usually gold plated)

You could plug that into a female connector on a ribbon cable to make it male.

But why would you need male connections??

"And the power supply is OK."

I'll take your word for that, but if you haven't tested it with another mboard it may not be.Failing power supplies are a lot more common than a failing or dead mboard, and sometimes a power supply fries the mboard while failing, especially likely if the PS is an el-cheapo brand.
If it is okay, as I told you above, the problem is it may not start up with only two, or even four, drives connected to it. A switching power supply is not like connecting to a PS that has a transformer - it must have a certain minimum load on it.
There is no transformer inside a switching PS from which the reduced AC voltage is rectified and regulated to +12v - if there were the PS would have to be larger, it would weigh a lot more, and it would cost a lot more. The controller chip inside the switching PS produces the AC voltage that is rectified and regulated to +12v by rapidly switching the incoming 120v or 240v AC on and off. The 5V and 3.3 volt voltages are produced by reducing the AC voltage produced that becomes +12v to a lower AC voltage with relatively small transformers, then rectifing and regulating it to +5v and +3.3v DC. There is also a small current capacity -5v, -12v, +5vsb, as well.

You can buy relatively inexpensive devices, e.g. external boxes connected via USB, that make it easy to transfer or process (digitize and compress) audio or video data - some even come with software that removes the hiss etc. from the tape ouput, glitches from the video tape output.

Transferring data between computers is much faster if you use a gigabit network cable connection (gigabit network adapters on both ends; 10/100/1000mbps), a wireless N network connection,
or a firewire data transfer cable, or a USB 2.0 data transfer cable connected to USB 2.0 ports on both ends, both of which have circuits as well as the wiring.
The rating of networking devices is in bits per second, not bytes per second. There are 8 bits per byte, but part of the data is used up for error correction and other overhead, so you divide the bit rating by about ten to find the approxmate rate in bytes per second.
10/100mbps network connection - max 10 mbyte/sec
wireless B network connection - max ~1 mbyte/sec
wireless G network connection - max 5.4 mbyte/sec
10mbps network connection - max 1 mbyte/sec
Parallel or serial direct cable connection (requires specially wired cables) - much slower than 1 mbyte/sec

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