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Thread: Cable problem?

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    Platinum Lounger
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    Cable problem?

    I think I've finally found the source of why my CD burner is not running up to scratch.

    Primary IDE:
    HD (Master)
    DVD Burner (Slave)

    Secondary IDE:
    CD Burner (Master)
    HD - Old model (Slave)

    The ribbon cable on the secondary IDE is 32 strand (I think) to match the older HD pin configuration. This also runs to the CD burner. I asked one of our techs about this. He said that using an older cable might cause the CD to run slow and intermittently (to the extent of "giving up" sometimes) as I have observed. He could offer no workaround.

    I was hoping someone here might have some bright ideas, given that I do want to be running the old 10GB HD, and the newer 80GB definitely needs the 64 pin cable.

    Alan

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    Uranium Lounger
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    Re: Cable problem?

    Put the 10GB drive in an external drive enclosure. <img src=/S/shrug.gif border=0 alt=shrug width=39 height=15>
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    Re: Cable problem?

    You might try putting both hard drives on the primary. BTW, I haven't looked for awhile, but I thought IDE cables are 40 or 80 pin. I think you can use the 80 pin on "older drives" without problems. I have one such installed in this machine.

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    Re: Cable problem?

    It is in one of those "swap bay" caddies (whatever the right name for it is). I don't know if that's an advantage or otherwise. I'm afraid I know nutin' about external drive enclosures.

    Alan

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    Re: Cable problem?

    You're right of course, Al. They are 40 and 80 pin cables. I might try your idea with everything on 80. I have already tried swapping things around, with no improvement in the CD drive. I will play further (light permitting) and post back.

    Alan

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    Re: Cable problem?

    The swap caddie is essentially the same thing as an external drive enclosure (you're just slipping it inside the case). But you are running an older box with Win 98 as I recall, and external drives are almost universally USB these days. So even if you had a USB port it would likely be USB 1 (read slooow) and 98's support for USB is iffy at best.

    Maybe it's the caddie itself that's causing the trouble. I had a system a friend brought me with one of those and it had all sorts of problems recognizing the second drive in the caddie and the CD drive connected to it. I had to remove the caddie and drive altogether and reconfigure the internal settings to get the machine to work properly.
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    Re: Cable problem?

    Jeez, that's a first for me Doc. As you and Alan may remember seeing here, I''ve posted a number of times about using what I call removable drive racks for many years and have only ever had one or two fail. Usually even then it was the electronics in the enclosure. Back to Alan again - Alan the main reason I have 80 strand cables in THIS machine was because of a replacement CD burner I got that wouldn't work at all until I put the "newer" cable in, even though the hardware didn't say it was required. Go figger.

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    Re: Cable problem?

    It was a queer configuration of a dual-boot Windows 2000 system (both drives were Win 2000 <img src=/S/shrug.gif border=0 alt=shrug width=39 height=15>) from a large corporate setting. What I did was the easy thing to do, not necessarily the right thing to do. <img src=/S/blush.gif border=0 alt=blush width=15 height=15>
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    Re: Cable problem?

    Great call, Doc. Now I can see what the tech had to do when he made up the box (not old BTW, even though Win98SE is <img src=/S/grin.gif border=0 alt=grin width=15 height=15>). And it looks like both you and Al are right. I gave him my old HD, still in the caddy. The caddy connector itself has all 40 pins, while all other devices on the IDEs have 39 pins. Bingo! He must have used the older cable to accommodate that extra caddy pin - but the HD inside only has 39. Solution - get rid of the caddy. I did see a simple solution of just bending the problem pin out of the way, so that the female cable connector can fit. Is this advisable? Anyhow, the CD burner seems to be working "better" but not perfectly. I also heard that the older (slower) HD might slow up everything on its IDE.

    Anyhow, thanks for the tips folks. Any further advice appreciated.

    Alan

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    Re: Cable problem?

    Glad to help Alan. <img src=/S/smile.gif border=0 alt=smile width=15 height=15> It is true that an older slower HD will slow everything on it's IDE down to it's level. Try connecting the CD to the other channel (temporarily) and see if that sppeds things up.
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    Re: Cable problem?

    I'm now wondering too, if what I read about specific (80 way) cable orientation is correct i.e. connect end closest to the middle connector to the master, the middle connector itself to slave and the connector furthest from the middle one to the M/B.

    Alan

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    Re: Cable problem?

    I believ that's pretty much standard and things won't work if it's not that way.
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    Re: Cable problem?

    Thanks Doc. I'm learning a lot through the frustration. Following your advice, the latest is this:

    I disconnected the old drive D: completely. I snuck in a partition on (physical) C: in between (logical) C: and E:, just to stop it from throwing a tantrum. I connected the CD burner as master, and jumpered as master, to an IDE all of its own.

    I now discover that the problems go a bit deeper. I still get slow/ non- response from CDs burned by the burner itself. These are TDK Gold brand. The el cheapo Space Chief (or whatever they're called) brand I burned on seem better - all reading, but some a bit sluggish. All the PC mag etc. CDs run no problem.

    The DVD burner can read all of the above with no hint of a problem, no matter where it sits or how it's jumpered..

    My thought now is to revert to the original config, but using the 80 strand cable, and bending pin 19 out of the way in the old caddie.

    Watcha think?

    Alan

    BTW, is it possible on 98 to have the secondary HD assigned a letter that follows the last logical partition on the primary? I doubt it somehow, since I think the BIOS will automatically assign D:. Worth an ask though.

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    Re: Cable problem?

    I dunno about busting pins, Alan. I'd be very (too) scared of doing that. It sounds like you've got a bad or weak CD drive if you put it in a chain all by itself and still had trouble. Were you using the 40 or 80 wire cable when you did that?

    On your BTW, it's not the BIOS that assigns drive letters but the DOS content of Win98 I believe. The physical devices are always "lettered" first as C, D, etc. and THEN the logical drives. I never bothered to look to see if there might be utilities that would allow for changing it - I just lived with it.

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    Re: Cable problem?

    From what I can gather Al, pin 19 is/ was never used, and the reason for removing it was just to provide an easy way of preventing people plugging cables in upside down. And <img src=/S/yep.gif border=0 alt=yep width=15 height=15> I thought 98 wouldn't allow me to play with physical HD assignments (for whatever reason). I think some of the 2000/ XP machines at work have allowed this tweak, but not 98. The dummy D: partition prevented the Windows brain spasm <img src=/S/meltdown.gif border=0 alt=meltdown width=15 height=15> anyway.

    Alan

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