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IDE cable lengths

Posted on 1998-09-09
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Last Modified: 2010-04-26
Whats the safest length of cable I can use to connect an IDE drive to the motherboard.

reasoning:
With the advent of the new fast Ultra IDE drives and the IDE promise raid controller, you can now get 48GB for about £900 ($500) - to act as one drive! (great for video)

I want to connect 4*12gb drives to the controller, but in an external drive case, therefore the cable(s) will need to longer than the average IDE cable - is this possible???
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Question by:georgep23
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Expert Comment

by:second
ID: 1124649
If you put the external drive case right next to the computer there will be no problems.
And if you look more extensive you can found a 4x IDE chanel controller wich will allow you to put 7x16G (the max size Ultra IDE drive - IBM) = 112GB and in the 8th put one ATAPI CD-RW (HP 8080i)
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Expert Comment

by:jhance
ID: 1124650
I don't think second answered your question.  The IDE specification calls for a MAXIMUM end-to-end length of an IDE cable of 18 inches.  There can be no more than 3 connectors on the cable.  I've built longer cables myself for big cases and have never had a problem, but, the spec says 18".
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Author Comment

by:georgep23
ID: 1124651
Yes but what is the max length of the cable? I know there is a limit before data is lost.

As for the 4 chanel controller, is this any good as a Video AV drive (RAID Level 0: can the drives be configured to act as one with no redundancy)?
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Author Comment

by:georgep23
ID: 1124652
jhance,
can you repost your comment as an answer?

Also, how long have you made a cable? What happens if the cable is too long, does the drive just stop working?
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Accepted Solution

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theh95 earned 50 total points
ID: 1124653
Aslong your cable is with in 5 feet it shouldn't have any problem with it.  remember, if your drives is out side the computer, and running different power line, you have power the hard drives first before you power your pc.

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Expert Comment

by:jhance
ID: 1124654
I'd like to but it seems that theh95 can't read (or understand the IDE spec!).
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Expert Comment

by:jhance
ID: 1124655
BTW, here is the reference to the IDE (i.e. ATA) specification.  In it, you'll find the requirements for the cable length in section 4.2:

ftp://fission.dt.wdc.com/pub/standards/ata/ata-3/ata3-r6.doc

To quote:

4.2 I/O Cable

The cable specification affects system integrity and the maximum length that can be supported in any application.

Cable total length shall not exceed  0,46 m (18 in).

Cable capacitance shall not exceed 35 pf.

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Expert Comment

by:jhance
ID: 1124656
GEORGE,

HOW COULD YOU ACCEPT THIS INCORRECT ANSWER!!!!!  Post a comment to LINDA in the Experts Exchange area and get her to unanswer this question.  theh95 is WRONG!!!!!
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Author Comment

by:georgep23
ID: 1124657
sorry, i accepted the wrong answer.

i will post a comment as you say,

oops.
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Expert Comment

by:linda101698
ID: 1124658
Once a question has been graded and moved to the previously asked questions, I cannot change who is awarded the points.

Look for a new question posted in this topic area to award jhance points for his participation.

Linda Gardner
Customer Service @ Experts Exchange
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Expert Comment

by:second
ID: 1124659
Sorry I don't know exact shop/manufacturer/etc. of 4 chanel controllers :(((
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Expert Comment

by:danpaul091498
ID: 1124660
Actually the optimal distance is 18 inches. Anything longer than this and there is the potential for lost data. It's possible to use a 5 foot length, but I don't know about the reliabilty. With mission critical data, I wouldn't take the chance.
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