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I have a bunch of old hard drives (molex/pata), and a test system with a PSU that's SATA only. I also have a older PSU with no sata power plugs from a system that died ages ago, which i know works - i shorted out the sense and ground cables to power up and test some cd rom drive related projects.

Unlike the CD rom drive project, i need to power up the drives long enough to get any data on them out - up to several hours.

I'm not hugely worried about the drive - I am more worried, if there's a chance i'd fry the motherboard. ASCII scribbles attached. the big box is supposed to be a CPU but my art skills suck

The host PC's PSU is SATA only, and is needed to power the big SATA hard drive that will contain copies of the disks in question

                                                       ground + sense cut
    +---------+                                        and twisted  together
    |         |                                            ^
    |---------|                                            |
    |         |                                            |
    |         |                                            |
    |         |                                            |
    |         |                                      +-----+------+
    |         |                                      | PSU        |
    |         |        +------------------+          | +--------+ |
    |         |pata data      PATA DRIVE  | Molex    | |        | |
    |        +---------->-----------------|          | |        | |
    +---------+        |                  |<---------+ |        | |
                       +------------------+          | +--------+ |
                                                     |            |
                                                     +------------+
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You can buy a device that allows you to connect pata or sata as an external usb drive. I have three at work and use them all the time for this purpose. They are called "IDE/SATA HDD Adapter" and they are less then $20. –  Kevin Sep 17 '11 at 18:50
    
considered that, and i may have one lying around. This seems more... fun though –  Journeyman Geek Sep 18 '11 at 0:12
    
PC Power supplies and devices they power are isolated, I have done what you suggest to power legacy devices connected to newer PC's. Do it at your own risk though. –  Moab Sep 18 '11 at 15:22
    
post that as an answer and i'll select it. –  Journeyman Geek Sep 18 '11 at 23:04
    
psst @Moab –  Sathya Sep 27 '11 at 7:45

1 Answer 1

up vote 2 down vote accepted

PC power supplies and the devices they power are electrically isolated, I have done what you suggest to power legacy devices connected to newer PC's. Do it at your own risk though.

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