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Ugh.. One problem after the next. SATA II Cable and Motherboard Power

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January 12, 2013 3:51:33 PM

Good Afternoon all.

I'm looking for some information regarding my SATA HD and whether or not the actual SATA (II?) Cable supplies power to the HD.

A little back-story: About a week ago my computer would randomly shut off after some time of use (anywhere from 5 minutes to an hour). At first I assumed it was a power supply issue, so I did some trouble-shooting changing the outlets, power cord and even the power supply from an older PC that had been sitting in my basement. The problem ensued, so I figured it might be a power issue with the motherboard.

I reinstalled the original power supply. I switched the SATA cables between my CDROM and HD to see if it could possibly be the cables. When I booted up the computer I noticed my HD was silent and I got the "Insert Boot DisK" or w/e prompt when you are first installing an OS on a new PC... so my HD now is not powering up/working.

I did some research online and the consensus seems to be that the SATA cable does not act as the power cable for the HD, and there is supposed to be a second cable for power? The oringal power supply I reinstalled does not have the proper power connecter to connect to my HD... and I can't remember if it had a power cord connected to from the beginning. I tried a bunch of combinations between the SATA cables and slots on the MoBo.

After 4 hours of messing with the thing, I'm pulling my hair out. Anyone have any ideas what my issue could be? I'm afraid I may have fried my HD in some way from either static shock or from connecting the power cord from the second power suppy when I was testing it out to the HD (along with the SATA cable connected at the same time) - although it did run fine with both cables connected, other than the original issue of it powering down after some time of being on.

Also, back to the ordinal issue, I believe it was a MoBO power issue (although I didn't see any swollen or blown capacitors) because when it powers down the actual power light on the computer stays on, just the motherboard itself seems to de-power.

Any input would be greatly appreciated.
a c 79 G Storage
January 12, 2013 4:10:36 PM

SATA cables carry only data to/from the hard drive, not power. Power is supplied by a power cable coming from the PSU, and most SATA drives have two power sockets at the back, although you only ever use of them. One power socket on the drive is for a 4-pin molex power connector (same as is used on IDE drives), the other power socket on the drive is for a SATA power connector, so you use whichever power socket the PSU has a matching power connector for. So the two power sockets on the drive simply give you more connectivity options.

If the power lamp on the front of your PC stays lit when the PC is shut down, there is definitely something amiss somewhere with either the PSU or the wiring.
a b G Storage
January 12, 2013 4:17:34 PM

The SATA cable is just for signaling, there is a separate power cord to provide 12 volts to the HDD. Early Western Digital SATA drives still had 4-pin molex power sockets along with the newer SATA power socket, but now-a-days SATA HDDs come with only the SATA power port. It has the same right angle bend at one end of the connector as the SATA data cable does, giving it a slight "L" shape when you look into it. If your power supply is old and doesn't have SATA power connectors, you can get adapter cables like this:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
January 12, 2013 4:52:14 PM

I did manage to scrum up an old 4 PIN to SATA power adapter and I am back up and running! I suppose that what I get for messing with three different computers at once - a power adapter gets sucked into a black hole never to return.. or a gnome stole it... or I am going insane. :pt1cable: 

Thanks for the info.

Any input on my original problem? I know its not a PSU issue, because I tested with two different PSUs... Could it be a MOBO issue?
!