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Thread: Is this an optical drive connector?

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    Is this an optical drive connector? [edit: resolved - it's a USB port connector]

    [edit, 06/06/2008: thanks to bhill70, we now know that it's actually the cable for the right-hand-side USB ports.]

    An optical drive audio cable, specifically...

    I took my hard drive out of my laptop as it's fubared but this ribbon cable came out with it, obviously hooked up to something on the underside (keyboard side) of the mainboard.

    It's got CMI and a part number on it, but i cant see any particular connector visible to hook it up to. i have nous and tools so I can take the thing apart completely if needs be, but im wondering if it is what i think it is.

    Here's some cameraphone pics:





    So, can anybody confirm what type of connector this is? Cheers.
    Last edited by ChristopherW; 06-06-2008 at 06:29 AM. Reason: moar info!
    I like ellipses...

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    Re: Is this an optical drive connector?

    I can't really tell from the photos, but if it's an optical drive and the connector goes to the mobo, my money would be on SATA. Looks about the right size. Possibly into a right angle connector on the mobos edge.

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    Re: Is this an optical drive connector?

    I don't think it is an optical audio cable. It is either a SATA cable (as Chuckskull says) or a keyboard data cable. The connector it goes into will be a @sliding' connector. Difficult to describe, but there is usually a clamping bar that you release, insert the end of the cable into the connector, then push down the clamping bar (similar principle to a processor ZIF socket, but on a much smaller scale - but it is Zero insertion force)

    The 'cable' will be the correct length, and is shaped to fit the laptop, so if you let it fall into place, you will see the connector it connects to, bvut I suspect you will have to dismantle the laptop to see it and re-insert it.
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    Re: Is this an optical drive connector?

    What got me wondering was that the closest matching SATA connector is 7 pins, the cable in my hand had 8 - and they didn't align with the SATA pins.

    The keyboard ZIF connector was a lot longer and thinner, and was underneath the keyboard itself in the centre of the mainboard - next to what I can only assume were the touchpad and touchpad button ZIF connectors.

    CMi rings a bell as audio, my front panel has three audio jacks (headphones, line in, line out, two of which also double as SP/DIF and a (naff) 5.1 output stage), so I was wondering if it was effectively the cable for the breakout panel.

    Trying to find service manuals for my model range (Aspire 5672WLMi, 5670 series) but I'm not having much luck. Think Ill have to get the camera out and snap some higher res photos now I'm at home...
    I like ellipses...

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    Re: Is this an optical drive connector?

    Easiest way to figure this out will be to find where one end connects. Doesn't look like front panel audio(pretty sure I can see that in the background too). Looks to chunky to be HDD activity or anything similar. You're right about the pin number being wrong for SATA though.

    If it's double sided it could be sata power, but look's the wrong size still (and would appear to be in completely the wrong place)

    Looks like you better find a screwdriver

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    Re: Is this an optical drive connector?

    Yeah, that's what I was doing all yesterday... Had the laptop in bits as much as I could, struggling to find the ZIF connector for it... Unfortunately it was right in the middle, at the front, on the underside under two PCB layers, and for the life of me I couldn't get the laptop to come apart fully to get access to the section of mobo where the connector was.

    Taking it home this weekend, Dad and I are going to sit at the kitchen table and try and get it sorted :/ bloody machines! Laptops really take the piss... They're great when they work but **** when they break.

    Moore's Law is a pain in the arse too - miniaturisation usually brings with it commoditisation and cheaper prices for everyone, unfortunately laptops are the exception due to the fact the machinery and processes are still just as expensive - so laptops unfortunately at the point where you can just ditch them and buy a new one, slotting the replaceable components into a bare shell to get a working machine again
    I like ellipses...

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    Re: Is this an optical drive connector?

    Hi, Please Help! I have the same problem with my Aspire 5672, I was upgrading the HDD to a Western Digital Scorpio 320gb and when I removed the old drive the ribbon was stuck on the back and pulled out with it.

    The laptop works without the ribbon connected and as far as I can see the only thing that does not work is the 2 left side USB's so I guess its is a link to join up both sides.

    Did you come up with a solution and discover where and what it plugs into? I have carefully modified some tweezers and protected them with tape so they will fit in between the 2 boards to try and find a socket to push the ribbon into but have had no luck!

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    Re: Is this an optical drive connector?

    Good news and bad - Dad and I took the laptop almost entirely apart. We found the ZIF it goes into, on the top side (with the keyboard facing up towards you)... To get to it, we had to take the keyboard tray out (really simple job, it was one single unit in a metal case with a single cable for it which plugged into a ZIF underneath it). However, the bad news is that you have to take the external case almost totally off to really get the job done - and as soon as you start to take the case apart, you have to deal with the mechanical WLAN and Bluetooth sliders.

    These aren't really fastened in to anything, they just sit on two metal sliders and are held in with the case. Dad and I literally spent 40 minutes just trying to nudge them back into position (they kept on falling out and into the inside of the case) when we were screwing the thing back together. In the end we actually half-broke one, the WLAN slider, and so the WLAN is always physically turned on and I just disable it in software via the Intel tray icon. You can slide them but VERY gingerly.


    My recommendation would be to cut your losses and leave the two USB ports on the right hand side inactive, if it means you can avoid taking the case apart and potentially opening up a WORLD of pain trying to get the sliders back into position. Although of course, if you're handy with tools and don't have a problem with manoeuvring tiny components back into place from awkward angles, go right ahead

    ...Put it like this, my speakers stopped working a couple of weeks before the HDD died - either it's due to a hardware fault on the mainboard or another cable which has worked loose out of its ZIF... I won't be opening this laptop up again unless I realise I've left a £50 note in it. Even then, I might consider leaving it in there.
    I like ellipses...

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    Re: Is this an optical drive connector?

    they kept on falling out and into the inside of the case
    There is a very useful thing called Sellotape to keep it on the case.

    For the WLAN and Bluetooth, depends on the wiring you should be able to disconnect the antenna from the motherboard easily.
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    Re: Is this an optical drive connector?

    Quote Originally Posted by arthurleung View Post
    There is a very useful thing called Sellotape to keep it on the case.
    Yeah but it's not that simple; the plastic covers to the switches sit in some grooves on the inside of the case front, to give them the ability to slide from side to side, and they look like they're spring-loaded but in fact there's a REALLY flimsy piece of metal which they're heat glued to. If you're not REALLY careful they just come right off, and there's no easy way to reattach them if you don't have the right tools. You can just about get them seated correctly so they slide and still actually work in terms of switches, but it's REALLY hard. If you bend the (really tiny!) metal strip, you have to spend ages getting it just right again so the sliding keeps working.

    If only sellotape fixed the problem...

    Quote Originally Posted by arthurleung View Post
    For the WLAN and Bluetooth, depends on the wiring you should be able to disconnect the antenna from the motherboard easily.
    The WLAN antenna runs along the side of the case and just attaches to the motherboard with a simple plug - but why would you want to remove that? We were talking about the USB connector.
    I like ellipses...

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    Re: Is this an optical drive connector?

    Fixed it!! Thanks for you’re advice Chris without taking it apart. I stiffened the ribbon with thin plastic and tape as it made it easier to handle and used a very bright led torch to shine between the 2 boards where I could just see the loose clamp of the ZIF connector. I was able to lock and unlock the ZIF using a right angled hook of wire made from a paperclip bent 1mm @ the end to unlock it and get it in position to be locked and a 5mm wide strip of steel made from a picture hanger straightened to finally push it flat in the locked position. Using this method I practiced this, looking with the torch after to ensure it was locked then unlocked, that was fairly easy.

    The hard bit was getting the ribbon in the connector which once in, was fairly obvious but this took allot of attempts. The tip was to glide the ribbon close to the board (The underside of the top board (closest to the keyboard)) understanding that the connector aperture is very close to the board. Once this finally went in there was no mistaking as the ribbon sat flush in the HDD tray and would not move left or right which sounds obvious but there are a few obstacles on the way to the connector that can trick you to think this. Now once it was in I just used the strip I made to carefully click it closed. Bingo job done!

    I Hope this helps the next poor sole who removes there HDD from there ACER 5672 and most certainly gets put in the same frustrating position we did because Googling this link sure helped me!!!

    Now the new WD Scorpio 320GB hdd is fitted the machine runs considerably faster so I think I will treat it to 4GB of ram as well :-)

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    Re: Is this an optical drive connector?

    Quote Originally Posted by bhill70 View Post
    Fixed it!! Thanks for you’re advice Chris without taking it apart. Now the new WD Scorpio 320GB hdd is fitted the machine runs considerably faster so I think I will treat it to 4GB of ram as well :-)
    Brilliant! I'm really glad you managed to sort it out without walking the tightrope that is taking the case covers off.. The moment those hardware switch covers come loose, you're in a whole world of pain trying to get them back on.


    Neither I nor my Dad never considered the idea of doing what you did (but then, the simple solution always evades us because unconsciously we always want to see what's underneath the case - Occam would be disgusted at how blunt our razors are! )

    You get a big thumbs down for not posting photos of the steps you took though I would've loved to have seen some snaps of how you managed to do it while you did it.....

    ......... do you fancy taking the ribbon out again so you can photograph it for me? ;D

    The faster hdd in our model laptop really does it justice. I have a 250Gb in mine (best I could get when I got mine), it's almost all filled up already! but I think I'll hang off upgrading again juuuuuuust yet. Could make a very nice slimline drive for a media centre PC though... Western Digital managed to get the access speed up to speeds comparable with largest 7200rpm drives, so I was very impressed with that.

    My machine still gets really hot though - why did they only put a single fan next to the graphic card of all places? I could've happily put up with a louder laptop if it meant I didn't burn my legs or whatever surface it's placed on... Never mind, I guess I'll just have to underclock it when I'm using it on the go


    Thanks for contributing your fix too
    I like ellipses...

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