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Just out of curiosity:

A friend had a WD external case + SATA 2.5 disk, which fell on the floor and broke. The disk ended in trash (uprepairable). Out of the broken case, i took the PCB, a model of control board named "4061-705030-101 Rev.AA" with 2(3) connectors -- the SATA current+data and the miniUSB plug on the other side. I plugged it with a disk on the one side, the cable on the other, and, yes, it worked!

So it worked for quite some time with SATA 2.5 HDDs and on 3 computers at least (2 laptops, one with win7 and one with winXP, and a desktop in office with winXP) and worked fine. But i needed it on another 2 winXP desktops, and it refuses to work. Windows pops the "found new hardware" asking for a driver... but this driver is never found anywhere, and nobody seems to know anything. The drive is only marked as an unknown "USB device" in Device Manager.

It is funny that on some computers with WinXP it works, on others not. I tried to see what those computers have in common, and as far as i can get (i am not going to search the whole globe for this!) is that they have an Intel CPU (in both properly drivers installed and working flawlessly).

So, any idea?

NEW INFORMATION

I had some time yesterday to experiment. I connected the same interface with a few SATA HDDs (2.5, 3.5) and i noticed that with some disks it works with others not, differently on different computers. So down at the disk level looking for differences, i checked the needed milliAmperes on the disks, and voila! (I think) it is a matter of power. It depends on the current given by the USBs. Strangely though, winXP thinks a driver is missing. :-)

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check if those XP machines have the same service pack installed. there were some pretty important USB changes introduced in SP3. –  Alex P. Sep 16 '13 at 21:31
    
How full is your disc? I've had some problems with overly full disks and lack of defrag / chkdsk'ing. If you don't have problems with doing that, give it a try. –  Doktoro Reichard Sep 16 '13 at 21:41

1 Answer 1

What you describe is salvaging an USB to SATA convertor from a broken drive. Those things are generally quite universal and you can indeed use them with other drives.

One often encountered problem with USB2 and older is that the USB bus supplies a maximum of 500 mA at +5 volt. That is not enough for all drives.

To use your board you need to:

  1. Either use a drive which draws less power than 500mA (minus whatever the board usages).
  2. Or supply power via another source such as a external PSU (aka wallwart)
  3. Or try to kludge multiple USB ports into providing power.
  4. or have a badly designed motherboard which does not check if it exceeds max power.

Strangely though, winXP thinks a driver is missing. :-)

Yup. Seen that before when I use my "Xcraft External hard drive enclosure" [sic] with a 7200 RPM/650mA drive and XP. No idea why windows returns this particular error message. Maybe it is 'brown out/unrecognised/hence unknown.

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