I have a tower PC that recently had a boot error stating that the hard drive could not be read. When the computer starts up, you can hear the hard drive spinning up normally, just as it had in the past. The computer still says that it can't be read. There are a lot of files that I need to retrieve from this hard drive even if it is permanently broken.

The hard drive is SATA so I decided to buy a SATA to USB converter and a power supply so I could view it on my iMac. I have received the converters in the mail, but when I plugged the power in, the cables got really hot really quickly and the hard drive never turned on. You can feel them heat up in just a couple seconds and smell of the plastic in just a few more. I had it plugged into the computer as well via USB. Im not sure that the wires came in the mail in the correct order because they are twisted as shown: The power end on the left and the hard drive on the right. The part on the power end that is the adapter gets very hot as well as the top black and red wires. Are the wires in the correct order or not? After looking online, I am still not sure. Also, this diagram is with the hard drive circuitry side up.

The adapter kit that I purchased from Amazon can be found here and looks like this:

Photo of adapter

  • Nope, it's for "How do I use x" type questions, and it has some hardware questions there. – slugster Mar 30 '13 at 23:11
  • To be honest people are probably being a bit harsh by down voting instead of just voting to migrate or close, but that's the crowd that are around this morning :) – slugster Mar 30 '13 at 23:13
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  • No, don't delete it - that will impact your account and possibly trigger some heuristics. Just let it go. It only takes 1 up vote to negate the 6 rep you've currently lost. – slugster Mar 30 '13 at 23:18
  • @cbbcbail: Do you hear any grinding, clanking or scraping noises when the drive spins? If not, try plugging it into another computer. If that computer doesn't have any problems with it, try replacing the PCB with that of another working drive of the same model. – Blender Mar 30 '13 at 23:18

You can see from multiple images like this one from Sierra-cables.com

molex to SATA power adapter

that the proper order for the connection to the drive is indeed yellow-black-red-black, or 12 VDC, ground, 5 VDC, ground.

You can also see from the order of the wires from the molex connection that there is that same red-black swap, because a standard molex connector is as shown: 12 VDC, ground, ground, 5 VDC. From the customer images on the Amazon page, the power supply has a standard Molex connector at the end, and the kit includes a standard molex to SATA power adapter, just like that one in the image.

So, there's nothing wrong with the diagram you provided, or the parts in the kit. Let me rephrase. There's nothing wrong with the parts in the kit, provided that none is damaged.

As to why you are getting the excess heat, it is most likely because the drive is damaged due to a blown component on its PCB. Feel free to test the USB converter power supply with your multimeter to determine if it's putting out the correct voltages, but I suspect that unless it's damaged, it's putting out the power it is supposed to.

At this stage of the game, you are most likely going to be put in the position of giving up hope of recovering any data, unless you want to ship the drive off to a Data Recovery Service, which isn't cheap by any stretch of the imagination.

  • Yes, thank you for your answer...I was beginning to realize my terrible fate as well. – cbbcbail Mar 31 '13 at 0:15
  • Is there any way to identify the specific problem with the Hard Drive so that I might know if all hope is lost or not? – cbbcbail Mar 31 '13 at 0:17
  • You would need some VERY specific equipment to do so, considering the issues you describe. Specific, expensive, equipment. And by that, I mean equipment that would allow you to reprogram a replacement PCB ( a few grand for a PC3000 pc3000.com) if that is even the problem. Otherwise, since the drive won't "spin up" you can't access it to get any diagnostic responses from it. – Bon Gart Mar 31 '13 at 0:23

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