Flimsy SATA connectors

Discussion in 'NZ Computing' started by Lawrence D'Oliveiro, Jun 3, 2007.

  1. I'd heard about SATA connectors being potentially troublesome, but today it
    happened to me.

    I opened up my Shuttle SN25P box to investigate a problem with the DVD
    writer not recognizing inserted media. I had to disconnect the hard drive
    as well before I could remove the carriage holding both drives. Then,
    trying to put it all back, the SATA data cable simply would not go back on
    the hard drive. Looking closely, I noticed one pin on the drive was quite
    severely bent, and the others were not quite in a straight line.

    (I use the term "pin" in a rather broad sense--they were just soft, flimsy
    strips of copper.)

    Carefully I straightened them all, but still the cable wouldn't go back on.
    I had a look at the cable connector--odd, there seemed to be something
    stuck inside, covering up the opening. I tried a few times to lever it out
    with a screwdriver, then gave up, and went to get a replacement SATA cable.
    That would go on the drive, but then it would fall off very easily.

    Then I realized what had happened: the plastic guard that was supposed to be
    giving support to the pins on the drive--and providing something for the
    cable connector to grip onto--had broken off and become stuck inside the
    cable connector. Hence those frail, exposed copper strips were all that
    were left.

    Very carefully, I put the replacement cable onto those unsupported copper
    strips. Since there was nothing preventing me from connecting the cable the
    wrong way round, I was careful to check the orientation against a spare
    SATA drive I happened to have handy. The natural springiness of the cable
    was pulling in the right direction (I hoped) to ensure a good electrical
    connection--assuming the pins didn't become misaligned and short out. :)

    I connected it all up, powered it on, and--it booted!

    This is the machine I'm using right now. I have the spare SATA drive
    connected externally via an R-Driver III USB adapter kit, and I'm currently
    backing up everything. It's only a 120GB drive, but it'll do until I can
    get the 300GB one either fixed or replaced. (Trust this sort of thing to
    happen on a long weekend...)

    Of course, the DVD writer still won't recognize any media, but that's a
    separate problem.

    So, does anybody have any idea--would it be feasible to glue on a new
    support for the pins, or does such a simple breakage mean the drive is a
    writeoff?
     
    Lawrence D'Oliveiro, Jun 3, 2007
    #1
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  2. Lawrence D'Oliveiro

    Shane Guest

    Lawrence D'Oliveiro wrote:

    > So, does anybody have any idea--would it be feasible to glue on a new
    > support for the pins, or does such a simple breakage mean the drive is a
    > writeoff?



    If it is working as you say, then it seems the only thing to do is make sure
    it stays working. So get the glue gun out and go for it.
    Of course, back shit up takes on special meaning.

    --
    Q: What is hallucinogenic and exists for every group with order divisible by
    p^k?
    A: A psilocybin p-subgroup.
     
    Shane, Jun 3, 2007
    #2
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  3. In message <f3t6v7$8vb$>, Shane wrote:

    > So get the glue gun out and go for it.


    You mean, try to dig out the broken-off piece and reattach it?

    I'm not hardware-competent enough to attempt a thing like that. :)

    Anyway, I'm back on-line with the spare drive now. I also swapped optical
    drives between my two Shuttles. The dodgy one is still misbehaving in the
    older Shuttle, which definitely points the finger at the drive.
     
    Lawrence D'Oliveiro, Jun 3, 2007
    #3
  4. Lawrence D'Oliveiro

    Gordon Guest

    On Sun, 03 Jun 2007 13:19:12 +1200, Lawrence D'Oliveiro wrote:

    > I'd heard about SATA connectors being potentially troublesome, but today
    > it happened to me.


    It seems to me that many people expect these connectors, or any
    connectors to a HD etc to be as robust as a connector on a very large
    piece of machinery.

    I agree the Accounts may have some say in the matter, but plastic can be
    made as good as steel. ABS it is called.
     
    Gordon, Jun 3, 2007
    #4
  5. Lawrence D'Oliveiro

    Richard Guest

    Gordon wrote:
    > On Sun, 03 Jun 2007 13:19:12 +1200, Lawrence D'Oliveiro wrote:
    >
    >> I'd heard about SATA connectors being potentially troublesome, but today
    >> it happened to me.

    >
    > It seems to me that many people expect these connectors, or any
    > connectors to a HD etc to be as robust as a connector on a very large
    > piece of machinery.
    >
    > I agree the Accounts may have some say in the matter, but plastic can be
    > made as good as steel. ABS it is called.


    They are some cheap nasty brittle stuff on my seagate drives.

    I have had the tongue in the middle break off on 2 drives. I just
    carefully reconnected the cable to it with the broken bit in the cable
    still and applied arildite to the surfaces to it would hopefully not be
    going anywhere. Means it has a captive cable now (data on one drive, and
    power on another) but they are worth stuff all now for a 120 so when I
    upgrade the raid those 2 will prob end up binned, unless I have another
    drive that has a mechanical failure in which case I will try swapping
    the boards over.
     
    Richard, Jun 3, 2007
    #5
  6. Lawrence D'Oliveiro

    Don Hills Guest

    In article <f3tc8o$jng$>,
    Lawrence D'Oliveiro <_zealand> wrote:
    >
    >You mean, try to dig out the broken-off piece and reattach it?
    >
    >I'm not hardware-competent enough to attempt a thing like that. :)


    No, hold the plug firmly in the right postion on the drive and cover it
    liberally with hot-melt glue. The cable will now be part of the drive, but
    it's cheaper than binning it if it's otherwise working OK.

    --
    Don Hills (dmhills at attglobaldotnet) Wellington, New Zealand
    "New interface closely resembles Presentation Manager,
    preparing you for the wonders of OS/2!"
    -- Advertisement on the box for Microsoft Windows 2.11 for 286
     
    Don Hills, Jun 3, 2007
    #6
  7. In message <f3t6v7$8vb$>, Shane wrote:

    > Lawrence D'Oliveiro wrote:
    >
    >> So, does anybody have any idea--would it be feasible to glue on a new
    >> support for the pins, or does such a simple breakage mean the drive is a
    >> writeoff?

    >
    > If it is working as you say, then it seems the only thing to do is make
    > sure it stays working.


    Actuall, it's less than 12 months old (and so is the optical drive). So I'll
    go round the shop on Tuesday and see what they say about warranty
    replacements.
     
    Lawrence D'Oliveiro, Jun 3, 2007
    #7
  8. Lawrence D'Oliveiro

    ~misfit~ Guest

    Lawrence D'Oliveiro wrote:
    > I'd heard about SATA connectors being potentially troublesome, but
    > today it happened to me.
    >
    > I opened up my Shuttle SN25P box to investigate a problem with the DVD
    > writer not recognizing inserted media. I had to disconnect the hard
    > drive as well before I could remove the carriage holding both drives.
    > Then, trying to put it all back, the SATA data cable simply would not
    > go back on the hard drive. Looking closely, I noticed one pin on the
    > drive was quite severely bent, and the others were not quite in a
    > straight line.
    >
    > (I use the term "pin" in a rather broad sense--they were just soft,
    > flimsy strips of copper.)
    >
    > Carefully I straightened them all, but still the cable wouldn't go
    > back on. I had a look at the cable connector--odd, there seemed to be
    > something stuck inside, covering up the opening. I tried a few times
    > to lever it out with a screwdriver, then gave up, and went to get a
    > replacement SATA cable. That would go on the drive, but then it would
    > fall off very easily.
    >
    > Then I realized what had happened: the plastic guard that was
    > supposed to be giving support to the pins on the drive--and providing
    > something for the cable connector to grip onto--had broken off and
    > become stuck inside the cable connector. Hence those frail, exposed
    > copper strips were all that were left.
    >
    > Very carefully, I put the replacement cable onto those unsupported
    > copper strips. Since there was nothing preventing me from connecting
    > the cable the wrong way round, I was careful to check the orientation
    > against a spare SATA drive I happened to have handy. The natural
    > springiness of the cable was pulling in the right direction (I hoped)
    > to ensure a good electrical connection--assuming the pins didn't
    > become misaligned and short out. :)
    >
    > I connected it all up, powered it on, and--it booted!
    >
    > This is the machine I'm using right now. I have the spare SATA drive
    > connected externally via an R-Driver III USB adapter kit, and I'm
    > currently backing up everything. It's only a 120GB drive, but it'll
    > do until I can get the 300GB one either fixed or replaced. (Trust
    > this sort of thing to happen on a long weekend...)
    >
    > Of course, the DVD writer still won't recognize any media, but that's
    > a separate problem.
    >
    > So, does anybody have any idea--would it be feasible to glue on a new
    > support for the pins, or does such a simple breakage mean the drive
    > is a writeoff?


    Hold it in place, where it is now, working, and add layers of hot glue
    (allowing time to cool inbetween) until it's encased in a goodly amount. The
    cable will then be an integral part of the drive.
    --
    Shaun.
     
    ~misfit~, Jun 4, 2007
    #8
  9. Lawrence D'Oliveiro

    ~misfit~ Guest

    Don Hills wrote:
    > In article <f3tc8o$jng$>,
    > Lawrence D'Oliveiro <_zealand> wrote:
    > >
    > > You mean, try to dig out the broken-off piece and reattach it?
    > >
    > > I'm not hardware-competent enough to attempt a thing like that. :)

    >
    > No, hold the plug firmly in the right postion on the drive and cover
    > it liberally with hot-melt glue. The cable will now be part of the
    > drive, but it's cheaper than binning it if it's otherwise working OK.


    Oh, I should have read other replies before replying. :)

    GMTA.
    --
    Shaun.
     
    ~misfit~, Jun 4, 2007
    #9
  10. Lawrence D'Oliveiro

    ~misfit~ Guest

    Lawrence D'Oliveiro wrote:
    > In message <f3t6v7$8vb$>, Shane wrote:
    >
    > > Lawrence D'Oliveiro wrote:
    > >
    > > > So, does anybody have any idea--would it be feasible to glue on a
    > > > new support for the pins, or does such a simple breakage mean the
    > > > drive is a writeoff?

    > >
    > > If it is working as you say, then it seems the only thing to do is
    > > make sure it stays working.

    >
    > Actuall, it's less than 12 months old (and so is the optical drive).
    > So I'll go round the shop on Tuesday and see what they say about
    > warranty replacements.


    User error. You were too rough with it. Not covered.

    (You might get lucky but I wouldn't hold my breath. I'd glue the cable on
    instead)
    --
    Shaun.
     
    ~misfit~, Jun 4, 2007
    #10
  11. Lawrence D'Oliveiro

    Richard Guest

    ~misfit~ wrote:

    > User error. You were too rough with it. Not covered.
    >
    > (You might get lucky but I wouldn't hold my breath. I'd glue the cable on
    > instead)


    Fit for purpose springs to mind.

    I had a similar issue with some powertools I got when the shrouded pins
    first came out, the metal in the shroud was too thin and it bent and
    then the shroud fell off. No problems with replacement, and later things
    came with a thicker metal inside so the pins dont bend under the weight
    of the drill on them.
     
    Richard, Jun 4, 2007
    #11
  12. Lawrence D'Oliveiro

    ~misfit~ Guest

    Richard wrote:
    > ~misfit~ wrote:
    >
    > > User error. You were too rough with it. Not covered.
    > >
    > > (You might get lucky but I wouldn't hold my breath. I'd glue the
    > > cable on instead)

    >
    > Fit for purpose springs to mind.


    Umm, billions of them produced world-wide. Maybe if you pay an army of
    lawyers and they find that a significant percentage of them break you may
    have a chance of getting the 120GB drive replaced.

    Anyway, "fit for purpose"? It's far more sturdy than, say, the pins on a
    CPU, yet they've always been "fit for purpose". Yes, SATA connectors can be
    a little fragile (and I for one wish they were stronger) but if you're the
    sort of person who can't dry the dishes without breaking one or two then you
    shouldn't be inside a PC in the first place.

    Or would you prefer chunky, agricultural-style fittings like Molex plugs
    that often need a lot of force and/or wriggling to remove? I've never needed
    to force a SATA connector.

    > I had a similar issue with some powertools I got when the shrouded
    > pins first came out, the metal in the shroud was too thin and it bent
    > and then the shroud fell off. No problems with replacement, and later
    > things came with a thicker metal inside so the pins dont bend under
    > the weight of the drill on them.


    Hmm, yeah, one company's proprietary fitting I take it?

    Bit different to a standard agreed on by a world-wide organisation and then
    implimented by a multitude of billion-dollar companies.

    The upshot of it all is that it ain't child's play changing components
    inside PCs. I have three Seagate SATA drives and have removed/refitted them
    several times, often in cramped conditions where I can't quite see what I'm
    doing and not one has broken. I've also upgraded quite a few drives for
    mates and I'm not the most nimble and dainty person you'll meet either. Or
    patient. I'm yet to break one.

    There are reasons that by far the majority of people pay other people to fit
    new HDDs, RAM, DVD drives etc. It's often 'cause they don't feel competent
    to do it themselves without breaking something.
    --
    Shaun.
     
    ~misfit~, Jun 4, 2007
    #12
  13. Lawrence D'Oliveiro

    Richard Guest

    ~misfit~ wrote:
    > Richard wrote:
    >> ~misfit~ wrote:
    >>
    >>> User error. You were too rough with it. Not covered.
    >>>
    >>> (You might get lucky but I wouldn't hold my breath. I'd glue the
    >>> cable on instead)

    >> Fit for purpose springs to mind.

    >
    > Umm, billions of them produced world-wide. Maybe if you pay an army of
    > lawyers and they find that a significant percentage of them break you may
    > have a chance of getting the 120GB drive replaced.
    >
    > Anyway, "fit for purpose"? It's far more sturdy than, say, the pins on a
    > CPU, yet they've always been "fit for purpose". Yes, SATA connectors can be
    > a little fragile (and I for one wish they were stronger) but if you're the
    > sort of person who can't dry the dishes without breaking one or two then you
    > shouldn't be inside a PC in the first place.
    >
    > Or would you prefer chunky, agricultural-style fittings like Molex plugs
    > that often need a lot of force and/or wriggling to remove? I've never needed
    > to force a SATA connector.


    The Seagate ones seem to use a much more brittle plastic then other
    drives. Plus they don't give a standard Molex power input in addition to
    the sata one which is another minus in my mind. Only their warranty is
    why I still get them.

    I would prefer plugs with a release mechanism rather then a friction fit
    like the sata plugs.

    >> I had a similar issue with some powertools I got when the shrouded
    >> pins first came out, the metal in the shroud was too thin and it bent
    >> and then the shroud fell off. No problems with replacement, and later
    >> things came with a thicker metal inside so the pins dont bend under
    >> the weight of the drill on them.

    >
    > Hmm, yeah, one company's proprietary fitting I take it?
    >
    > Bit different to a standard agreed on by a world-wide organisation and then
    > implimented by a multitude of billion-dollar companies.


    I was not aware that the standards said what plastic to choose or the
    elasticity of that plastic. I have some cables that are almost
    impossible to put into a Seagate drive, and the problem came on the
    unplug because it didn't pull straight out of the drive.
     
    Richard, Jun 4, 2007
    #13
  14. Lawrence D'Oliveiro

    Don Hills Guest

    In article <4663b889$>,
    "~misfit~" <> wrote:
    >Richard wrote:
    >
    >> I had a similar issue with some powertools I got when the shrouded
    >> pins first came out, the metal in the shroud was too thin and it bent
    >> and then the shroud fell off. No problems with replacement, and later
    >> things came with a thicker metal inside so the pins dont bend under
    >> the weight of the drill on them.

    >
    >Hmm, yeah, one company's proprietary fitting I take it?
    >
    >Bit different to a standard agreed on by a world-wide organisation and then
    >implimented by a multitude of billion-dollar companies.


    Nope. Exactly the same. He's referring to the 3-pin plug on the end of the
    power cord that plugs into the wall.

    --
    Don Hills (dmhills at attglobaldotnet) Wellington, New Zealand
    "New interface closely resembles Presentation Manager,
    preparing you for the wonders of OS/2!"
    -- Advertisement on the box for Microsoft Windows 2.11 for 286
     
    Don Hills, Jun 4, 2007
    #14
  15. In message <>, Richard wrote:

    > The Seagate ones seem to use a much more brittle plastic then other
    > drives.


    Yup, this is a Seagate.
     
    Lawrence D'Oliveiro, Jun 4, 2007
    #15
  16. Lawrence D'Oliveiro

    ~misfit~ Guest

    Don Hills wrote:
    > In article <4663b889$>,
    > "~misfit~" <> wrote:
    > > Richard wrote:
    > >
    > > > I had a similar issue with some powertools I got when the shrouded
    > > > pins first came out, the metal in the shroud was too thin and it
    > > > bent and then the shroud fell off. No problems with replacement,
    > > > and later things came with a thicker metal inside so the pins
    > > > dont bend under the weight of the drill on them.

    > >
    > > Hmm, yeah, one company's proprietary fitting I take it?
    > >
    > > Bit different to a standard agreed on by a world-wide organisation
    > > and then implimented by a multitude of billion-dollar companies.

    >
    > Nope. Exactly the same. He's referring to the 3-pin plug on the end
    > of the power cord that plugs into the wall.


    Wonder why he didn't say mains plug then?

    Still, standard socket, the materials can be up to the individual company.
    --
    Shaun.
     
    ~misfit~, Jun 4, 2007
    #16
  17. Lawrence D'Oliveiro

    ~misfit~ Guest

    ~misfit~ wrote:
    > Don Hills wrote:
    > > In article <4663b889$>,
    > > "~misfit~" <> wrote:
    > > > Richard wrote:
    > > >
    > > > > I had a similar issue with some powertools I got when the
    > > > > shrouded pins first came out, the metal in the shroud was too
    > > > > thin and it bent and then the shroud fell off. No problems with
    > > > > replacement, and later things came with a thicker metal inside
    > > > > so the pins dont bend under the weight of the drill on them.
    > > >
    > > > Hmm, yeah, one company's proprietary fitting I take it?
    > > >
    > > > Bit different to a standard agreed on by a world-wide organisation
    > > > and then implimented by a multitude of billion-dollar companies.

    > >
    > > Nope. Exactly the same. He's referring to the 3-pin plug on the end
    > > of the power cord that plugs into the wall.

    >
    > Wonder why he didn't say mains plug then?
    >
    > Still, standard socket, the materials can be up to the individual
    > company.


    Oh, forgot to mention; Who hangs a drill from the cable plugged into a
    power-point anyway? Or is the drill being dropped onto the plug? <shrug>
    --
    Shaun.
     
    ~misfit~, Jun 4, 2007
    #17
  18. Lawrence D'Oliveiro

    ~misfit~ Guest

    Richard wrote:
    > ~misfit~ wrote:
    > > Richard wrote:
    > > > ~misfit~ wrote:
    > > >
    > > > > User error. You were too rough with it. Not covered.
    > > > >
    > > > > (You might get lucky but I wouldn't hold my breath. I'd glue the
    > > > > cable on instead)
    > > > Fit for purpose springs to mind.

    > >
    > > Umm, billions of them produced world-wide. Maybe if you pay an army
    > > of lawyers and they find that a significant percentage of them
    > > break you may have a chance of getting the 120GB drive replaced.
    > >
    > > Anyway, "fit for purpose"? It's far more sturdy than, say, the pins
    > > on a CPU, yet they've always been "fit for purpose". Yes, SATA
    > > connectors can be a little fragile (and I for one wish they were
    > > stronger) but if you're the sort of person who can't dry the dishes
    > > without breaking one or two then you shouldn't be inside a PC in
    > > the first place. Or would you prefer chunky, agricultural-style fittings
    > > like Molex
    > > plugs that often need a lot of force and/or wriggling to remove?
    > > I've never needed to force a SATA connector.

    >
    > The Seagate ones seem to use a much more brittle plastic then other
    > drives. Plus they don't give a standard Molex power input in addition
    > to the sata one which is another minus in my mind. Only their
    > warranty is why I still get them.
    >
    > I would prefer plugs with a release mechanism rather then a friction
    > fit like the sata plugs.
    >
    > > > I had a similar issue with some powertools I got when the shrouded
    > > > pins first came out, the metal in the shroud was too thin and it
    > > > bent and then the shroud fell off. No problems with replacement,
    > > > and later things came with a thicker metal inside so the pins
    > > > dont bend under the weight of the drill on them.

    > >
    > > Hmm, yeah, one company's proprietary fitting I take it?
    > >
    > > Bit different to a standard agreed on by a world-wide organisation
    > > and then implimented by a multitude of billion-dollar companies.

    >
    > I was not aware that the standards said what plastic to choose or the
    > elasticity of that plastic. I have some cables that are almost
    > impossible to put into a Seagate drive, and the problem came on the
    > unplug because it didn't pull straight out of the drive.


    Ok, there's your problem. Rubbish cables. You mention "friction fit like the
    SATA plugs" above. All my SATA data cables have metal clips on the ends that
    you have to push down to remove the cable. I didn't even know that you could
    get cheap'n'nasty cables without clips. If you spend a dollar or two on some
    reasonable cables maybe you'll find there's no problem with the drives after
    all.
    --
    Shaun. (Crosses fingers and hopes he hasn't jinxed his next SATA drive
    removal/install now. Still, quite a few under the belt and not one
    failure...)
     
    ~misfit~, Jun 4, 2007
    #18
  19. Lawrence D'Oliveiro

    Richard Guest

    ~misfit~ wrote:
    >> Still, standard socket, the materials can be up to the individual
    >> company.

    >
    > Oh, forgot to mention; Who hangs a drill from the cable plugged into a
    > power-point anyway? Or is the drill being dropped onto the plug? <shrug>


    Drill was put into a toolbox ontop of the 3 pin plug.

    Bad selection of materials on the part of the manufacturer (it was only
    $30, but still)
     
    Richard, Jun 5, 2007
    #19
  20. Lawrence D'Oliveiro

    Richard Guest

    ~misfit~ wrote:

    >>> Bit different to a standard agreed on by a world-wide organisation
    >>> and then implimented by a multitude of billion-dollar companies.

    >> I was not aware that the standards said what plastic to choose or the
    >> elasticity of that plastic. I have some cables that are almost
    >> impossible to put into a Seagate drive, and the problem came on the
    >> unplug because it didn't pull straight out of the drive.

    >
    > Ok, there's your problem. Rubbish cables. You mention "friction fit like the
    > SATA plugs" above. All my SATA data cables have metal clips on the ends that
    > you have to push down to remove the cable. I didn't even know that you could
    > get cheap'n'nasty cables without clips. If you spend a dollar or two on some
    > reasonable cables maybe you'll find there's no problem with the drives after
    > all.


    The standard doesn't call for metal removal tools, If the tongue in the
    drive breaks under normal operation then its defective. It should take
    the stresses of a mating cycle even if things are not going in and out
    smoothly.

    The process is made worse because of their choice of plastic being some
    nasty one. The connector design is crap to start with.
     
    Richard, Jun 5, 2007
    #20
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