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multiple physical drives for laptop

Posted on 2002-07-24
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I have some extra 2.5" hard drives that I would like to use for backup and storage with the 2 laptops I own.  Is it possible to add another IDE connection?  What are the next fastest ports?  What are the costs of respective implementations?  Don't have firewire.
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Question by:mraeryceos
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by:Wakeup
ID: 7175396
mraeryceos,

I do not think you can add another IDE connection.  The next best route would be this:
http://www.evertek.com/viewpart.asp?auto=3071

It is an IDE 2.5" drive convertor that converts 2.5" drives to USB.  This one runs $18.00.

Do you have USB?  What kind of laptop is it?
Some laptops you can mount a drive where the spare battery may go.  All depends on the laptop!



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by:mraeryceos
ID: 7175596
I will try USB if IDE is not possible.  USB is too slow and buggy for me, but I like the price!  PCMCIA is a possibility...  but mainly I'd like to do a custom job with IDE.

Laptops (no swapable slots):
Vaio 505f
Omnibook 500
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by:SysExpert
ID: 7175704
There are plenty of options.
EZGIG has a pcncia/cardslot with an IDE adapater for 2.5" drives.

Search for them in google.

I have used them in the past and they work well.

I hope this helps !


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by:Wakeup
ID: 7175792
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by:magarity
ID: 7175807
Is this any particular brand or model of laptop?  My old Thinkpad could take a second hard drive in place of the CDROM as an option.  Does this one do similar tricks?  Also, have you considered a docking station?  Those often have places for additional drives, but that would be something that lives on your desk.  Still, for backup that would be OK.
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by:mraeryceos
ID: 7175811
Yes, these are good answers, and I know how to use google.

Is there a limit on how many IDE connections there can be on laptops(one master and slaves)?  Will I have trouble allocating an IRQ?

Then... What kind of tape and connector.  Can I avoid soldering?


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by:mraeryceos
ID: 7175815
oops... got more answers before finished typing.
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by:mraeryceos
ID: 7175826
oops... got more answers before finished typing.
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by:SysExpert
ID: 7175960
EZGIG kit comes with everything you need.

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by:mraeryceos
ID: 7175999
As far as backups go, I think I will get some 2.5" to 3.5" adapters to put the drives on my desktop and use the T100 LAN.  How does the LAN bandwidth compare to the PCMCIA bandwidth?  Better than USB anyway.

What I still want to know is how to add another INTERNAL drive.  If not to my current laptops, then to some non-ultraslim I may own in the future.  Granted there may not be room anyway, but I still want to know.
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by:Wakeup
ID: 7176054
mraeryceos,

The issue is what kind of laptop is it.  We can't tell you if it will fit....for all I know your laptop may fit in the palm of your hand.  And has everything external.  Tell us what it is...model number make.  What you have internal as well as external.  It will help us determine the possibilities.  Thanks.
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by:mraeryceos
ID: 7176105
Give me an example... you get to choose the laptop.
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by:SysExpert
ID: 7176120
For Internal drives you are almost totally dependent on the laptop manufacturer.
Some let you swap out a CD and add a second hard drive or battery.
Some do not give you any options at all.
Since laptops are proprietary, there is no single solution unless you use an external interface.


EZ GIG info
http://www.apricorn.com/ezgig.html

I hope this helps !
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by:Wakeup
ID: 7176131
i second sysexperts comment.  I can give you laptops.  But some can't add other devices, unless it is external...I can give you laptops where you can swap batteries out for devices such as CDrom floppy or hard drives.  It really doesnt matter.  There can be many solutions.  Since there are numerous models....numerous brands.  Your question is quite vague.  At work we use Compaq laptops.  And dual hard drives was not a possibility on an internal level.  External drives via USB or PCMCIA maybe.  But you did have swappable CDRom and floppy or you could also hook them up externally as well.

 
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by:Griffon
ID: 7176810
if you can find a converter that converts to USB lvl2 it will be just as fast as IDE (or so I am led to believe ... maybe I am misguided).

Griffon.
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by:mraeryceos
ID: 7176816
I'd like to know if it's possible to hardwire an extra internal drive.  Not swappable drives business.  Can IDE drives be daisychained?  I believe they are in desktops.
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by:magarity
ID: 7177354
"I'd like to know if it's possible to hardwire an extra internal drive"

As has been mentioned SEVERAL TIMES this is entirely dependent on the model of laptop, which you continue to refuse to provide.  Have you not looked inside the laptop?  Do you think there is lots of extra empty space just hanging around?  ALL laptops are JAMMED full.  In order to have another INTERNAL drive, there must be an allowance SPECIFICALLY for this purpose provided by the unknown, mystery manufacturer.  SO TELL US THE FREAKING BRAND AND MODEL ALREADY.
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by:mraeryceos
ID: 7177499
Take your pick: Omnibook 500, Vaio 505, as stated earlier.  Extra hard drive will be velcroed or whatever on exterior of notebook body.  Run the tape to the outside through a machined slot (tape may not be right word... shaped like a tape it has the wires for communications with the hard drive).  What else do I need to know?
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by:Griffon
ID: 7177530
as already stressed a couple hundred times we need to know the manufacturer... if this is all hypothetical then it depends on many things even strapping the drive to the outside may be no use.

Firstly it depends how many controllers there are for the drives in the first place and the number of slots and whether you can power it... many things. The majority of which need the brand of the computer to obtain.

Griffon.
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by:magarity
ID: 7177586
Velcroed to the outside is not an internal drive.  If you do this to a standard interal drive, bare, it will die a horrible death in short order.  Chopping a hole to run out a cable is also not that good an idea - not because cutting holes isn't fun, but for example in my Toshiba there is no place to add a cable because the connector interfaces straight to the internal drive.  Adding anything would mean the screw holding in the hard drive wouldn't fit.

OK, both of those models are their respective manufacturers' ultra slim versions.  There will not be an extra angstrom of space to add cables.  Have you considered replace the existing drives with the new 60GB laptop sized drives?  Otherwise, a real external unit, rather than something kludged, is your best bet.  Look into Firewire or USB 2.0 out of a PC-Card interface.
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by:Kyle Schroeder
ID: 7177614
THe brands are mentioned in the initial question!  HP Omnibook and Sony Vaio (at least I would assume HP and Sony, I don't know other companies that make Omnibooks or Vaios).

A USB 2.0 PCMCIA card or the EZGIG device that SysExpert mentioned will be your best bets, with the EZGIG being the easiest since you don't have to find an external case with USB 2.0 connections; the EZGIG card has an IDE controller built into it so you aren't converting ATA to USB, etc, plus the drive draws power across the PCMCIA card bus.  Additionally, the thing is easy to install, and if you're using Win2K/WinXP, there are native drivers in the OS for the card so you don't even need to install an external driver!

In any case, there is almost no possible way to add a secondary internal harddrive to a laptop, as magarity said they are typically jam-packed with components.
>>Extra hard drive will be velcroed or whatever on exterior of notebook body<<
This would be an absolutely terrible idea...laptop harddrives are sensitive devices and if it were hit or possibly even bumped while running, it could crash the drive.  Please don't do this unless you are really determined to wreck the drive.

CDW has the EZGIG kit for $82:
http://www.cdw.com/shop/products/default.asp?ProductID=28887
Includes an external case to put the drive in to protect it from damage.

-dog*
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by:Kyle Schroeder
ID: 7177615
Well, not the initial question, but mraeryceos's first followup comment.
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by:magarity
ID: 7177640
USB 1 is pitifully slow for hard drives but 2 isn't bad.  I benched the same drive on both types and USB 1 was 700Kb/sec (RLL speeds) while USB 2 was 7Mb/sec.  USB isn't really meant for high speed devices so Firewire is even better.
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Wakeup earned 150 total points
ID: 7178081
it might be rough.  If you could even get a second drive wired up(if you daisy chain it like you said), first you'd have to have some way to tell the drive that it is master or slave (or get it to know that there are two drives some how.  I do not recall seeing jumpers on some of the 2.5" drives I have worked with)  Second, is getting the laptop bios to see two drives.  In order to save space, the bios may not be readily able to handle more than one drive.  Just because it is IDE, does not mean it can handle 2 drives per channel.  3rdly, you will have issues with the warranty if you do this (If that is any big deal to you.)  4thly, damage to the laptop may incurr if you do not wire the drive up correctly as well as the drive, specially if the system is not capable of seeing to drives, you may cause a short or burn out the power on the motherboard since it may not be able to handle the drive.  

The tape that you are referring to is ribbon cable.  Those ribbon cables are probably hard to get, especially ones with length.  You may be able to salvage one from another laptop but I don't know how you are going to attach that cable to another cable or to daisychain the cables together somehow.  Soldiering is not goiing to be easy with that cable.  not to mention proprietary pin outs could also be in order on the laptops to hard drives.  The effort involved in creating such a device to handle the second hard drive is ........not an easy task.  It will cost you money.  If time is not money to you, then that is fine.  But to build something to house the drive may not be too expensive but is worth doing so cuz these drives are not safe outside of the laptop.  The ribbon cable may be a beast to find and may cost a bundle.  Also knowing how long of a ribbon cable of that nature is too long.  Sinal degredation is a consideration.  The longer it is the worse the signal and if you try to combine or daisychain them the signal may be dropped in half cuz the cable length will be AT LEAST double, since you have two drives now.  Usually those ribbon cables are not longer than 2 inches maybe 3.  To wire it on the outside away from the bottom of the laptop is going to run at least 5+ inches is my guess, so you are at least quadrupling the cable length.  Remember since they are on the same channel (since there is only one channel) both cables count toward the signal degredation.

Power.  Most of the drives get the power via the ribbon cable.  Do we know that your laptop will support another drive?  And will that cable be able to power two drives?
That is another question.  I dont know much about the power on laptops, but I would gather that it may not be able to.  Laptops are meant for portability and small size.  To do so they have to make everything small, and cut down on things they don't absolutely need.  What do they skimp out on?  I do not exactly know.  They do get rid of PCI/AGP/ISA slots.  They build everything onboard with very little extras or no extras.  So....Sorry I dont know what else to tell ya.  I just think that going the route of trying to velcro the drive and daisy chain it with the other drive etc, is not a smart/cost efficient/safe way to create a backup.  the time and effort alone is worth more.  I've probably already spent about an hour altogether these few comments or so trying to answer your question.  If I charged me $30 consulting fee you would owe me that!  :)

Anyway my 2 cents.
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by:mraeryceos
ID: 7178430
Okay now... I guess I'll be dishing out more points since everyone is adding to the answer.
50 to each person then (via "points for x" questions), except maybe 100+ for WakeUp .  Lots of questions below.  If you don't know the answer, or are unsure about the answer, just answer "I don't know".  Though questions are under Griffon, magarity, dogztar, and WakeUp, everyone is free to answer any questions.

Griffon:
This is hypothetical to a point... I want to know how plausible.
define what you mean by: controllers
define what you mean by: number of slots

magarity:
Drive needs protective covering? Is it vulnerable to static electricity or something?
I like kludging around.
Between USB 2.0 I would choose Firewire any day.
How many Kb/sec does hard drive to motherboard handle?  I recall UDMA is at 100, but I don't think that is Kb/sec.  LAN is 100 Megabits/sec, but I believe that is a theoretical maximum... do you know the equivalent Kb/sec for that?

dogztar:
IDE controller in the EZGIG card... cool... just prefer my LAN option for the price (<$15 for an adapter).

WakeUp:

I believe there are 4 pins at the end that are for master/slave use.  They do not go into the connector on my Omnibook.  Not sure though.

Laptop bios won't see 2 drives? Ouch.  I hope they don't that much to a poor standard BIOS.

>Just because it is IDE, does not mean it can handle 2 drives per channel.
Yet another example of Laptops not following standards?

>3rdly, you will have issues with the warranty if you do this (If that is any big deal to you.)
With the quality of customer service nowadays, this is becomming less of an issue.

>burn out the power on the motherboard since it may not be able to handle the (extra) drive
Would need to test the power output capability for IDE in my laptop.  Good point.

>Remember since they are on the same channel (since there is only one channel)
Can another channel be added?  Is IDE controller connected to a PCI slot?  Any laptops out there have any free slots for expandability?  If a laptop manufacturer were adapting a standard motherboard for their use, couldn't there end up being a slot or two they didn't cut out?

How long is the ribbon cable on desktops?  Hmmm... do they do lower voltage on ribbon cables for laptops?  I guess in that case length would need to be shorter than on desktops.

"proprietary pin outs" - Is that the way the hard drive connects to the laptops ribbon cable?  You said the ribbon cable would be hard to get... are those ribbon cables proprietary as well?

------------------------------------

Is the PCMCIA slot is a direct connection to one of the IDE slots on the motherboard... or is the standard connection an IDE controller into a PCI slot?

"motherboards faq" search on google doesn't turn up what I'm looking for, though howstuffworks has a good article.  Anyone know of a good general motherboard info site?
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by:magarity
ID: 7178500
"magarity:
Drive needs protective covering? Is it vulnerable to static electricity or something?"

They are very thin and have, for all practical purposes, no strength in the top and bottom covers.  This means putting ANY pressure on the thing will cause the read/write head to scrape the disk.  Goodbye disk at that point.  That's the point of those little hard plastic cases with the USB or Firewire interfaces.

It's nice you like kludging your equipment for extra functionality, but we're here to tell you the idea of duct taping a standard internal 2.5" drive to the outside of a laptop is just a quick and easy way to destroy the unit.  If you want to just throw money away, please PayPal the funds straight to me, thanks.

"Between USB 2.0 I would choose Firewire any day."

Whatever suits you.  For one device, either interface is fine.

"How many Kb/sec does hard drive to motherboard handle?  I recall UDMA is at 100, but I don't think that is Kb/sec.  LAN is 100 Megabits/sec, but I believe that is a theoretical maximum... do you know the equivalent Kb/sec for that?"

UDMA 100 is up to 100MBytes per second.  This is a theoretical burst speed.  Expect in the mid 10s to low 20s of MBytes/sec from a UDMA 100 interface laptop drive due to very slow spindle speeds.  Thus 7-8 MB/sec for USB2 is not too bad.

LAN uses Mega"bits" as opposed to hard drives rated in Mega"Bytes".  Small b versus capital B is the standard notation.  Eight bits per byte means a max of 12MBytes/sec for 100MBit LAN.  Good luck ever getting this due to latencies and TCP overhead.  I've never got more than 6.5MB/sec on a finely tuned setup straight between two machines.  I bet you could get pretty close to 12MB/sec if you used UDP type packets only between two local machines with no other traffic.  This is esoterica beyond the scope of the original question.
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by:Wakeup
ID: 7178584
mraeryceos,

To answer most of your questions or at least give you an idea:

1.  Most laptops are not standard.  There is no standard.  You can't put a motherboard from a sony into an HP laptop...can't put a compaq Motherboard into a Dell Notebook.  Can't put a Toshiba Motherboard into a Fujitsu Notebook etc.  You get the point they all have their own standards.  As far as I know, I have worked on Toshiba laptops as well as compaq and a few Sony's.  The situation is this, I do know that there is only one IDE connector on the motherboard.  I do not know if the bios supports more than two drives.
---CUT>
Laptop bios won't see 2 drives? Ouch.  I hope they don't that much to a poor standard BIOS.
---END>
Realize it is a customized thing.  Laptops are not standard.  You can't just go to CompUSA or Fry's electronics and they'll have the parts you need, just like that.  Most Laptops are special ordered nowadays.  It costs companies too much money to stock todays product and sell it tomorrow.  But as far as the bios goes, most laptop users only use one hard drive.  If they need expandability, you buy laptops with expandable ports and spare battery compartments or built in CDRom drive and floppy etc.  But they are a bit bigger than the slim notebooks and are a bit heavier.  But you get the expandabilitiy that may not be there in the smaller models.  
I am not sure about the master slave thing myself.  since I have never ever had to deal with such an issue.  On the laptops of my past dealings you just remove the spare battery and you have an extra drive (plus drive cage which slides into the battery port and you have a Hard drive, or CDRom drive or Floppy etc whatever the case may be.  

---CUT>Just because it is IDE, does not mean it can handle 2 drives per channel.
Yet another example of Laptops not following standards?
---END>
Again, what is standard for one laptop may not be standard for others.  Just like a car.  Some come with one Airbag and some come with two.  Some you can add the extra airbag for a price.  Some you just can't cuz the car wasn't made that way.  Is it standard practice?  Eventually yes all cars may have more than 1 airbag and maybe even 4 or more...who knows.  But as far as laptops go.  Standard has been 1 Hard drive.  With exception of a few laptops allowing a second drive to be placed in the spare battery compartment.
---CUT>>3rdly, you will have issues with the warranty if you do this (If that is any big deal to you.)
With the quality of customer service nowadays, this is becomming less of an issue.
---END>
Again this is up to you.  You add a drive accidentally fry something, you have no support.  Your $2000 laptop goes down the drain.  Your choice.

---CUT>>Remember since they are on the same channel (since there is only one channel)
Can another channel be added?  Is IDE controller connected to a PCI slot?  Any laptops out there have any free slots for expandability?  If a laptop manufacturer were adapting a standard motherboard for their use, couldn't there end up being a slot or two they didn't cut out?
---END>
If you have a docking station you may be able to add PCI card devices.  Such as a USB 2.0 Card, or IDE ATA 133 controller card.  But laptops themselves do not have PCI slots.  That would defeat the purpose of it being slim or small or portable.  

Ribbon cables on desktops range to around 18".  I am not sure about voltage for laptops but the cables also supply power to the drives, unlike Desktop IDE Cables which do not.

"proprietary pin outs" - Is that the way the hard drive connects to the laptops ribbon cable?  You said the ribbon cable would be hard to get... are those ribbon cables proprietary as well?
Is a possibility that it is proprietary.  I do not know for sure.  I doubt it.  But it is a posibility.

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by:Kyle Schroeder
ID: 7178688
>>
dogztar:
IDE controller in the EZGIG card... cool... just prefer my LAN option for the price (<$15 for an adapter).
<<
Well, using the EZGIG you can add a secondary harddrive to your laptop and it is fairly portable.  The EZGIG case is fairly durable and will at least protect the drive from being crushed in most circumstances, as opposed to taping to the outside of the case.  You'll get speeds at least close to what you would get if the drive was internal (I haven't tested this recently, but I've done harddrive upgrades with EZGIG and their data transfer/partitioning software and the performance was fairly high, at least for a laptop 4200RPM harddrive.)

-dog*
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by:mraeryceos
ID: 7178707
dogztar:
How does pcmcia connect to motherboard... what slot?
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by:Kyle Schroeder
ID: 7180504
PCMCIA is the slot...it will be on one of the sides of your laptop, its about as wide as a credit card (2.5 inch I believe) but thicker.  There will be some sort of eject button also.  Depending on the laptop, you may only have 1 slot (usually in "ultralight" laptops), most have 2 slots.  One of them may be taken up already by a network card or modem card in PCMCIA format.

-dog*
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by:mraeryceos
ID: 7196963
magarity, you seem to not have noticed the points I posted for you in hardware (general)
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