The motherboard has two esata ports. After plugging in five sata drives in various sequences, three would no longer spin up.
I am wondering if the electrical differences would be enough to short them out.
@moab The drives were mounted internally in the case, and powered by the internal PSU, and connected by a standard sata (not esata) cable. A number of different arrangements were tried, to try and identify the problem, so it isn't clear exactly what was plugged in where when they failed.