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Would there be any problem connecting an internal SATA drive using an old PC Power Supply for its power and connecting to an external SATA port on a laptop? Would there be any voltage conflicts?

I just had a motherboard die and need to get some data off the hard drive. I don't have another computer that I could just drop the drive into, but my laptop has an external sata port.

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3 Answers 3

The easiest would be to buy or found an IDE/Sata to USB cable. They are plenty of them at various prices, I bought one for cheap on eBay. They usually come with an external power supply (with a Molex plug and a Molex-to-SATA-power adapter).

Here is an example:

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Even without this and if you can use your power supply to deliver voltage to the SATA drive, I suppose your laptop has a eSATA port, not a SATA port. You'll also need a eSATA-to-SATA cable then.

alt text

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I didn't consider that, I may just see if I can find a box with a spare sata port –  Tanj Oct 21 '09 at 16:22

The safest way is to get an external enclosure.

If you're going to use the old power supply, make sure the power supply and the laptop are plugged into the same wall outlet/power strip -- this ensures they have a common ground.

Do not leave the laptop running on battery power.

As Chris mentioned, the old AT style power supplies have a manual power switch, but no SATA power connectors. You'll need a Molex-to-SATA-power adapter to power the drive.

If your power supply is an ATX/ATX-2, it won't power on by itself. Normally, the power-on signal comes through the motherboard's main power connector when you hit the power button on an ATX system. You can force the power on by connecting pin 14 (PS_ON) to one of the GND pins (13 or 15, for example). (Diagram source and more info)

ATX pin diagram

Be very careful when using an ATX power supply in this fashion. This is meant for testing a PSU, not extended operation.

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If it is an ATX power supply then it will not automatically turn on to power that hard drive. If it is an AT power supply with the manual power switch, then it will not have SATA power connectors.

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a 4-pin Molex to SATA-power adapter would work for the latter. –  quack quixote Oct 21 '09 at 15:31

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