IDE cables

Posted on 2013-11-29
Last Modified: 2013-12-05

I have an oldish PC that inserts IDE cables to its HDD & CDroms. However to avoid blowing the HDD & roms, i would like to know which way around should i insert the pattern of the IDE mouth pins to the hardware component.

Is there a proper/correct way or method of checking which way should be inserted??

Question by:shaunwingin
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Assisted Solution

WayneATaylor earned 125 total points
ID: 39685257
There should be a Key on the plug that fits into a key slot on the socket, and normally there is also normally a pin missing in the plug side and a filled hole on the socket, that acts as a double check!

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Assisted Solution

rindi earned 125 total points
ID: 39685273
If the key is missing and it is possible to insert the cable both ways, look on the socket on the mainboard. One side of the socket should have a "1" to mark pin 1. The cable usually has one of the cable's threads in a different color (red, blue or black usually). That also marks pin 1. On the Disk or optical drive there should also be a "1". If not, then it is next to the molex power connector.

Something else to note, is that if you have 2 devices on one cable, the last device should be master, and the middle device slave. If you set the jumpers to "CS" (cable select), the outer device will automatically be master and the inner one slave, at least if you use an 80 wire cable. If you use a 40 wire cable, you must use the master and slave settings on the devices, and not the CS settings.
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Assisted Solution

garycase earned 125 total points
ID: 39686138
Just so you know => even if you plug the cables in backwards (i.e. if there isn't a key and you get it wrong) it won't "blow" the equipment.    The activity light will simply be on full time, and it won't work :-)

I have not personally done that, but I have friends who have (many years ago).

But as already noted, there should be a key that makes it impossible to plug them in wrong.
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Accepted Solution

nobus earned 125 total points
ID: 39686520
this shows how to install an ide cable :
and here the  master/slave settings explained :

Author Comment

ID: 39695116
My colleague has just told me that he has experienced multiple times that he has blown HDD hardware from IDE cables, & he thinks that its due to inserting the cable the wrong way round -  is he correct? ,for an IDE cable that does not have a pattern - are you for certain that there is no was on the pin code itself to see the correct way of insertion?.

There is one at the moment that we want to try out but - we want to make sure 1st of this theory before we apply it practically.
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Expert Comment

ID: 39695139
I've never seen a disk breaking because the cable was reversed.

Maybe you could take some photo's of your cables and the disks, and attach them.
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Expert Comment

ID: 39695162
i have inserted many the wrong way - never had a problem
>>  ,for an IDE cable that does not have a pattern - are you for certain that there is no was on the pin code itself to see the correct way of insertion?.   <<  yes there is
All cables come with a different colored pin 1 wire.
if you look at the disk connector, it is numbered also -  and you can match it's  pin 1 with the cable

more info :
LVL 70

Expert Comment

ID: 39696562
Plugging the cables in the wrong way is only possible if the cable's not keyed -- and most are keyed.   But as I noted earlier, even if they're not keyed, it doesn't hurt anything if you get it wrong.    What CAN blow the hard drive or controller is hot-plugging them.   You ARE doing this with power off, right??

Author Closing Comment

ID: 39697704
Thanks guys!!

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