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  1. #1
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    I have an older computer with the hard drives that have the wide, ribbon cable. I have space for five or six drives and have two installed already. I have more power cables but no more ribbon connectors. Do I need to buy a new controller to add more drives or is there some way to daisy-chain with the existing drives?


    Ronny Richardson

  2. #2
    Plutonium Lounger
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    You said that you have two hard drives, but do you also have optical drives (CD/DVD) connected to your motherboard?

    Older motherboards typically have two IDE connectors and each can support two drives (hard drives or CD/DVD). If only one drive is connected then it may be using a cable that only has one connector, or there may be an unused connector on the cable.

    If your cables only have a single connector then you can replace one or both of them with a cable that can connect two drives to the same motherboard connector. You can use flat ribbon cables or newer round ones. The round ones are generally better as they cause less obstruction to the airflow in the case.

    When you do this you must make sure that the "jumpers" on your disk drives are set appropriately, so that there is one Master and one Slave drive on each cable.

    Do a web search for "PATA cable" to find a vendor near you where you can buy suitable cables.

  3. #3
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    [quote name='Ronny' post='779591' date='12-Jun-2009 19:04']... I have space for five or six drives and have two installed already.[/quote]
    Not sure what you mean by "have space for five or six." Most computers have TWO IDE connectors on the motherboard which are capable of handling FOUR drives. Most people have a CD and/or DVD drive connected to one or two of those ports.

    Please explain what you mean by the statement.

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    [quote name='Bigaldoc' post='779594' date='12-Jun-2009 19:18']Not sure what you mean by "have space for five or six." ....

    Please explain what you mean by the statement.[/quote]
    I think he must have one of those older, very tall towers that have internal bays for several HDs as well as the standard optical bays. I'd bet that the bay for the 3.5 floppy drive is available for a standard size drive as well if the floppy is installed on a bay adaptor as they commonly were back in the dark ages. But I'm just guessing here and it's been awhile since I've seen any old fossils.
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    [quote name='DocWatson' post='779599' date='12-Jun-2009 19:28']I think he must have one of those older, very tall towers that have internal bays for several HDs as well as the standard optical bays. I'd bet that the bay for the 3.5 floppy drive is available for a standard size drive as well if the floppy is installed on a bay adaptor as they commonly were back in the dark ages. But I'm just guessing here and it's been awhile since I've seen any old fossils. [/quote]
    Yeah, except that BAYS available doesn't equate to CONNECTORS available. Physical room is a lot different than "connectivity" which is why I asked the question.

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    Uranium Lounger viking33's Avatar
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    [quote name='Bigaldoc' post='779601' date='12-Jun-2009 19:34']Yeah, except that BAYS available doesn't equate to CONNECTORS available. Physical room is a lot different than "connectivity" which is why I asked the question.[/quote]
    I think he said he had SPACE for 5 or 6 HDs.
    My fairly new case has space for 5 external drives and 4 internal bays. Course, that doesn't mean I can connect all of them without adapters.
    BOB
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    Further to the matter of jumpers, certain setups (Dell, for example) have cable select settings in which you normally do not have to change the jumpers so long as both (or I guess all) are set to CS, which is their normal setting. There is no master and slave in the older sense, although there is obviously a boot disk, which is normally connected to a specific (end) connector on the ribbon cable. You may also have to change the settings at startup (F2). It is still a nuisance, but less so than being driven crazy by trying to keep track of those jumpers.

    You might also carefully review the capacity of your drives, since storage is far less expensive and drives much larger and better than they once were. Chances are you might pick up a new, meaning 'never used', drive that is quite large but just plain obsolete and accordingly inexpensive, and it might replace your present second drive with no need for more. It's hard to part with stuff that you know cost you a fortune -- until you look at the prices of new and far superior equipment. (The expensive stuff is the software, not the hardware.)

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    [quote name='StuartR' post='779593' date='12-Jun-2009 19:17']You said that you have two hard drives, but do you also have optical drives (CD/DVD) connected to your motherboard?

    Older motherboards typically have two IDE connectors and each can support two drives (hard drives or CD/DVD). If only one drive is connected then it may be using a cable that only has one connector, or there may be an unused connector on the cable.

    If your cables only have a single connector then you can replace one or both of them with a cable that can connect two drives to the same motherboard connector. You can use flat ribbon cables or newer round ones. The round ones are generally better as they cause less obstruction to the airflow in the case.

    When you do this you must make sure that the "jumpers" on your disk drives are set appropriately, so that there is one Master and one Slave drive on each cable.

    Do a web search for "PATA cable" to find a vendor near you where you can buy suitable cables.[/quote]

    I have a tall tower. It has a DVD drive, a floppy drive, and two hard drives. I have internal space for three more hard drives and plenty of power connectors but no ribbon connectors. I could go out and buy a larger hard drive and solve the problem but what I'm trying to do is reuse some drives I already have sitting around.
    Ronny Richardson

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    Uranium Lounger viking33's Avatar
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    [quote name='Ronny' post='779680' date='13-Jun-2009 13:26']I have a tall tower. It has a DVD drive, a floppy drive, and two hard drives. I have internal space for three more hard drives and plenty of power connectors but no ribbon connectors. I could go out and buy a larger hard drive and solve the problem but what I'm trying to do is reuse some drives I already have sitting around.[/quote]
    So you should have the capability to add two more new drives. ( assuming they are IDE type, which they probably are ) As one of the other posters said, the ribbon cables should have three connectors on each cable. One for the MB and two for the drives. Two IDE MB connectors with a triple flat ribbon cable on each, give you four drives. Primary IDE: master and slave drive. Secondary IDE: master and slave.

    The floppy uses it's own MB connector just for a floppy drive. It can't be used for hard drives.

    IF for whatever reason, you have single ended IDE ribbon cables, you can purchase doubles very inexpensively.
    BOB
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  10. #10
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    [quote name='viking33' post='779684' date='13-Jun-2009 14:39']... So you should have the capability to add two more new drives ...[/quote]
    Slight correction, I think. He's said he already has two hard drives and a DVD drive. So, he should only be able to install one more device of his choosing.

    But, you're of course right on the cost of cables if his don't support two devices each. Cables with two device connectors should be dirt cheap.

  11. #11
    Uranium Lounger viking33's Avatar
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    [quote name='Bigaldoc' post='779693' date='13-Jun-2009 15:07']Slight correction, I think. He's said he already has two hard drives and a DVD drive. So, he should only be able to install one more device of his choosing.

    But, you're of course right on the cost of cables if his don't support two devices each. Cables with two device connectors should be dirt cheap.[/quote]

    OOPS, you're right! [attachment=84280:blush.gif]
    BOB
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  12. #12
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    [quote name='Ronny' post='779680' date='13-Jun-2009 13:26']... plenty of power connectors but no ribbon connectors ...[/quote]
    Here's a USA example of mine and Bob's "suggestion" about cables and Stuart's comment about improving the air flow in the case. At $6 bucks apiece you could buy TWO of these and be good to go:

    Ziotek 24" Round ATA133 IDE 40-Pin Cable with 3 Connectors

  13. #13
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    Here is one suggestion that you might consider, if it is a matter of having surplus drive(s) you want to get some more mileage out of.

    For about twenty-five bucks you can buy a USB-connected case, with a transformer for a power supply and all the necessary wiring, which will give you a (relatively) portable drive that you can connect to almost any computer. If you think that over and look around at the available hardware you might find that it offers you flexibility combined with relative simplicity and a modest cost. The wiring is external, you just plug it in, so the debate over cables is superfluous - you don't even open your computer.

    The internal wiring is pretty simple, but on one I had I discovered the hard way that the connector from the power supply to the drive is identical to a mouse connector. I thought I was plugging my mouse into a laptop when it was this cursed cable, so be careful. You will lose a certain amount of speed with the USB connection but that is acceptable if you are just using it for storage.

    Far nicer are the cases with USB connectors for laptop drives. They are pocket-sized, light as a feather, no power supply required, and you can set one up in minutes with a tiny Phillips screwdriver for the two screws.

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