Cable connections inside my computer

  mec13 08:27 13 Jul 2005

I am a mechanic by trade, so I like to see how things work. I plucked up courage opened my computer to 'have a look inside'. I noticed that 'one' of the two wide ribbon cable (not sure what they're called) was quite taught between its connection on the main board, and one of my dvd/cd drives. I could solve this by swopping round the ribbon cables connection, which would give it a bit of slack.

The other ribbon goes to my 'hard drive'.

As both ribbons come from the same colour connections which are 'side by side' on the main board, I presume this would be ok'

My machine is a 2yr old 'Time'xphome sp2 computer.

I'll add that My computer has an 'intermitant' problem, my dvd/cd drive disapears sometimes, which incidentley is the same one with the taught ribbon cable connection to it. This is really the reason why I opened my box to 'have a look' in the first place.

I,ve entered this posting into the 'absolute beginners' section as a responce at this level is more to my suiting, and give's an indication of my level of computer knowledge.

  woodchip 11:40 13 Jul 2005

The ribbon cables can be up to “40mm long” over this can effect signal, and should be 80 wire for the latest drives, old type are 40 wire. so it may be a good idea to fit a new one after checking the length. You can changes connectors on the Drive end to middle connector on same cable, but not cable to cable

  Wak 12:00 13 Jul 2005

Hi, the two wide ribbon cables are called IDE cables.
Each cable is connected to the mother board and will most likely have two connectors for equipment, one at the very end and one about halfway down. This is so that you can have two pieces of equipment (one as Master and one as Slave) connected to the same cable, possibly a hard drive (as Master) and a CD Rom Drive (as the Slave unit).
Each Hard drive unit and CD Rom drive has a set of jumpers (electrical couplers) on it so that you can changed the jumpers and make the unit either as a Master or a Slave.
From what you say I gather that you have a hard drive connected on one cable and you have a CD Rom drive connected to the other cable?
In this case, both items will be designated as Master units and I don't think it will make any difference to which connector the items are coupled.
Changed the CD Rom drive over to the other connector as you suggest and if things don't work out any better, you can always change them back again.
As way of further explanation, On my IDE cables I have:-
Cable 1. 40GB Hard drive (Master) and CD/RW drive (Slave)
Cable 2. 20 GB Hard drive (Master) and CD Rom drive (Slave).
I hope this is of some help to you.

  PsiFox 12:02 13 Jul 2005

The cables you are referring to are known as IDE cables.
It appears from your comments that you have 2 optical drives.

In theory the one at the end of the cable will be a master, the one on the other connector will be a slave.

Your HDD as the only drive on the cable should be a master.

This will also be connected on the mainboard to IDE channel 1. The opticals to IDE channel 2.
your hdd should really run from 1. Look closely beside the connectors on the board and you should see the numbering there

Master and slave settings are decided by the positioning of jumpers on the back of the optical and Hard drives.

The maximum reccomended length is considered to be 18 inches before degradation in signal occurs. Shorter if possible is better.

If your case has slots for more than 2 optical drives then consideer moving the drives down the case to shorten the cable run.

If you change the connectors around you may find other problems arise from perhaps:

jumper settings on back of drives

Bios settings for drives may not be on auto and swapping around would mean you need to change the bios.

The bios is found when you switch on the pc and see the message

"press del to enter setup"

Can sometimes be one of the F keys.

With regard to the intermittent functioning of the drive. It could also be a malfunction in the drive.

Also bear in mind if you do decide to swap cables around Time used to hot glue the cables at both ends to stop them coming loose

  woodchip 12:05 13 Jul 2005

Sorry I should have put cm not mm but can go to 60cm as I have done

  mec13 12:06 13 Jul 2005

woodchip, are you saying then I should get longer ribbon cables? then I would have to take one of those 'ribbon cables' out and take it with me to the shop and ask for 'another one of these please, but longer! yes?

I presume then that just swopping over the cables on the main board (I'm told it's the 'motherboard)isn't the way to go then.

  Danoh 12:16 13 Jul 2005

Yes, you can just swap the cables over if the hard drive cable is longer.

But start off by keeping all the connections the same as they are now (make a sketch of them).

The intermittent disappearance of your dvd/cd drive could also be down to an occasional software conflict.

  Danoh 12:21 13 Jul 2005

Your hard drives should really stay on the same cable and connected to channel 1 on your MoBo (MotherBoard or main board, mec13).

The hard drive with your Operating System installed should be the master and the other hard drive the slave.

Your optical drives should be on the 2nd cable with the "writer" CD/RW as the master.

There are performance advantages in the way system interrupts and data transfer are done, if configured in this way, I believe.

  woodchip 13:03 13 Jul 2005

yes just as Danoh says

  Danoh 13:52 13 Jul 2005

My grammar has not improved tho since you helped me out when I was a mere PC grasshopper :-)

  woodchip 14:00 13 Jul 2005

What's grammar got to do with trying your best to help someone. If they do not understand what you are saying, they will come back for more info, If they are desperate. Glad I was able to help you. Now you are helping others.

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