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Hard Disk Drive Connection Procedure
This procedure provides instructions for making the power and interface connections to
a hard disk drive. This procedure does not deal with
the physical installation of the drive, only with making the necessary connections.
- Difficulty Level: 2 (Low).
- Risk Factor: 2-4 (Low to High). The actual risk to the drive is quite
low. The risk is to any data that may be on the drive. If the drive is empty or at least
has been backed up, there isn't really that much risk.
- Hardware Required: None.
- Software Required: None.
- Time to Perform: 5 minutes or less in most cases.
- Preparation / Warnings:
- This procedure assumes IDE/ATA hard disk drives. While mechanically configuring SCSI
hard drives is similar, the interface connections made to them are different.
- If you have not already done so, please read the section on general
installation and assembly tips. Pay particular attention to the notes about connecting
- Of course, the hard disk drive must be physically installed in the system before you
begin. For instructions on installing the drive, refer to this
procedure. It is also assumed that you have already decided how you want to configure
the hard disk drive, and that you have already set the appropriate jumpers. See this procedure if you have not already done this.
- Attach Power Cable: Attach one of the power-supply power connectors to
the drive. It may take a little bit of force to get one of the standard, large four-wire
connectors into the drive; you may have to wiggle the connector a bit to get it in. The
connector is keyed, so it can only go in one way.
- Attach Interface Cable: Attach the IDE interface cable
to the drive. Make sure to line up pin 1 of the connector with pin 1 of the motherboard,
by attaching the cable so that the red wire on one edge of the ribbon cable connects to
pin 1 of each device. On some drives it can be hard to figure out which end of the header
is pin 1, which is why I recommend that you examine the drive before physically installing
it. IDE connectors and cables are not keyed, so you can easily connect the drive backwards
if you are not careful. Choose one of the following depending on whether the channel you
are going to connect to has a device on it already:
- First Device on Channel: Simply attach one end of the cable to the
drive, and the other end to the controller or motherboard. Easy as pi (not pie! :^) ).
- Second Device on Channel: Examine the cable that is currently
connecting the first device on the channel; it should have a third, unused connector, but
some cables only have two connectors on them. If the cable has a third connector, attach
this to the drive you are installing. If you need to switch which connector goes to which
drive so that the cables will reach both drives, you can do this, as it really doesn't
matter for standard setups which drive takes which connector. If the cable only has two
connectors, you will need a new cable with three connectors (available at most any decent
- Double-Check Connections: Check over the connections you just made to
ensure that they are correct. Make sure you haven't accidentally loosened anything. For
example, if there was already a device on the channel when you attached this drive, make
sure you have not pulled the cable loose by mistake (which is common, because the
connectors don't fit very tightly on many systems).
Drive Connection Procedure
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