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Thread: Hard Drives Disconnecting due to Sata Power Splitters

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    Question Hard Drives Disconnecting due to Sata Power Splitters

    Basically my problem is that Windows will no longer boot when I have all my hard drives plugged in.

    My Setup

    My setup is explained below:
    I have a 520W Seasonic Platinum SS-520FL2 FANLESS Power Supply, 80PLUS Platinum, Fully Modular, EPS 12V ATX. I have a Core i7 2700K and a basic graphics card installed. I have the following connected to that:
    7 Seagate Archive 8TB internal hard drives.
    2 SSDs
    2 Bluray Writers

    The following is how everything is connected to the power supply. All the cables came with the PSU so I thought I was supposed to use them?:

    6-Pin outputs to 4-Pin Molex Socket A. Molex Connected to Socket A is connected to C Drive Sata power. Molex Socket A also splits to Molex Socket B.

    Molex Socket B also splits into Molex Socket C. Molex Socket C has a molex connected to it to power 2 case fans.

    Molex Socket B has a molex connected to it. This splits into 2 Sata power connectors. Each is connected to 1 ( Silverstone ) 4-In-1 SATA Power Connector. These have capacitors inside them. 4 8TB Seagate Archive hard drives are connected to one of the Silverstones and 3 drives are connected to the other one.

    I have another 6 Pin connected to the PSU. This time it's a one piece cable. It has 4 sata power connectors on the end of it. I connected my 2 Bluray drives and SSD Data drive to it.

    Problem


    I do a lot of heavy video encoding all day long. My problem is that after about 1 month of usage of everything I mentioned above, Windows will no longer boot. It says select the proper boot device. I then disconnected 1 of the 8TB drives from the 4 way Silverstone. It booted again. Next day I noticed 1 of the 8TB drives I was encoding from just disconnected while the drive window was open. It's not shown in the partitions. So I disconnected another 8TB hard drive. It was working again. For an unrelated reason I restarted my PC and it wouldn't boot again so I disconnected the 2 Bluray drives and it's working again.

    I noticed this warning on the Silverstone website: "Warning:Do not use more than four hard drives on one single power cable". So I guess that's my problem? I have a 6 Pin plugged into the PSU which has multiple splits each split is connected to all my hard drives excluding the Data drive.

    However that doesn't explain why the one-piece cable conncted to the 2 Bluray Drives and SSD Data drive no longer works correctly. I had been using it fine since April when I bought the PSU but now Windows won't boot unless I disconnect both Bluray drives. I don't think the cable has the big chunky capacitor on the end (if that's what it is), it just has the sata power connectors. So maybe because it doesn't have capacitors that's why Windows won't boot? Doesn't make sense as why would a cable like that come with my PSU if you can't actually use it?

    I had been previously using the 4 way splitters with 7 WD Green 4TB hard drives for the past year and I've never had any problems apart from the C Drive issue where you can't use a 4 way with it. I've now replaced all the 4TB drives with Seagate 8TB ones and it's now I'm getting the probems. I've used a power meter and at the moment my PC with everything except 2 Bluray Drives and 2 8TB drives plugged in - I'm using only 144 watts. I would say with those additional items plugged in I would be using around 200 watts. My PSU is rated for over 500 watts so clearly I have enough power to power all my hard drives so what's the issue?

    I thought as long as you have enough watts in your power supply you can power any number of drives you want and that splitters are similar to using a surge protector where you can plug multiple plugs into. I guess I was wrong. Does each PSU socket have a limited number of watts it can supply or a limited amount of connections you can connet to it?

    Solution?

    Any thoughts or suggestions on how to get all my drives working without issues?

    I have several 6 pin and 8 pin PSU sockets free. Do 8 pin to Sata power cables exist and if so should I buy those or should I get 6 pin to sata power cables and some Sata power to sata power extension cables so they will reach the drives? Should I get ( single power cables )
    or ones which ( split into 2 ) and allow you to connect to drives to them?

    Hard drives don't even use that many watts so I don't know why I'm getting these power issues and there's nothing wrong with the drives as they're all new and working fine.

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    Banhammer in peace PeterB kalniel's Avatar
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    Re: Hard Drives Disconnecting due to Sata Power Splitters

    How do you know it's definitely a power problem rather than data connection/controller?

    If you are sure it's power, you could stagger the spin ups in BIOS to make sure it's not the initial surge (which is quite a bit larger than the sustained power draw) that's the issue.

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    Senior Member watercooled's Avatar
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    Re: Hard Drives Disconnecting due to Sata Power Splitters

    Be careful using random cables from ebay - I've had my share of problems with them causing drives to drop out/appear is if they're failing, etc.

    http://forums.hexus.net/pc-hardware-...pc-cables.html

    It's not as simple as looking at the power rating of your PSU when considering what it's powering - it depends how much current/power is available on each rail. With modern power supplies you can draw most of the current on the 12v rails with negligible or no load on the minor rails as they're derived from the 12v rail anyway. However, the minor rails are not capable of supplying the full output of the power supply and if something were to draw excessive 5v current for example, it would (should) trip the PSU's overcurrent protection.

    However, 3.5" drives generally draw most of their current on the 12v rail anyway, but I agree with kalniel that a staggered spin-up would be worth trying. Do the drives at least spin up properly when the system doesn't boot? If so, then I also agree it may not be a power supply problem.

    In general, it's best to avoid daisy-chaining splitters and using the standard cables where possible. By using splitters it's more likely you'll draw too much current through a cable and cause excessive volt drop which would cause connected equipment to behave strangely.

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    Re: Hard Drives Disconnecting due to Sata Power Splitters

    I haven't read the whole post as I don't have 3 hours and a lot seems irrelevant anyways, but I have a full tower packed with HDD's as when I run out of space I get a new one and use the old for backup

    I had similar issues with drives disconnecting, and it was down to cables. partly sata data cables that would fall out of either the HDD or the controller, usually as a result of putting the side of the case back on and the cables pushing each other and moving. problem solved by getting better cables that have clip/lock connectors

    the other problem seemed to be the power, as by swapping data cables between drives I could rule out cables. I found that using the old moulex/IDE converters were least reliable, partly as the individual cables would often slip or pop out, so I ditched those and replaced them with the sata - sata splitters which split a single sata power into 3 of them. and after doing that everything worked

    I might not have used the right names or wording to describe but hopefully you can figure out what I mean. ditch anything using the old IDE power types and use those with the newer sata types like on a standard sata HDD

    HDD's don't use that much power, but I have mine set to power off after 20 minutes of inactivity and I don't have a fancy graphics card so they don't suck that much power

    here's a 4 way splitter, I just got 3 way ones from ebay or amazon

    http://www.startech.com/uk/Cables/Co...apter~PYO4SATA

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    Re: Hard Drives Disconnecting due to Sata Power Splitters

    Quote Originally Posted by kalniel View Post
    How do you know it's definitely a power problem rather than data connection/controller?
    What do you mean and how would I find that out?
    All the splitters came with my £170 PSU so it's doubtful it's a problem with the cables. Also I'm already using splitters like the startech one you suggested but mine are Silverstones I bought from Scan. All my Sata cables are from Scan.

    Yes the drives spin up properly when the PC does NOT boot.

    So should I get the 6 pin PSU to 2 Sata power splitter or just a single cable?

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    Re: Hard Drives Disconnecting due to Sata Power Splitters

    Quote Originally Posted by holygamer View Post
    So should I get the 6 pin PSU to 2 Sata power splitter or just a single cable?
    Those 6 and 8 pin power to SATA cables.....only ever use the ones supplied by the manufacturer. It's anyone's guess how they are wired internally.

    If the PSU really has issues with that many HDDs, I guess you need to determine whether the problem is the total power draw of your system or if it just a rail (unlikely as most PSUs for quite some time have essecitally been 1 big 12v rail) or voltage line. My guess is that it is probably a low 5v line.....can you check your voltages while encoding to see if the 5v drops? Can you connected a power meter and see how much total system draw is?

    The problem I see is that even if it is a low 5v (the inverters they tend to use to internally convert 12v to 5v and 3.3v in PSUs are quite poor) moving it to the molexes won't help because they will use the same 5v line. Part of me thinks that the 5v inverter is not handling the load.....my system draws an abnormally high 3.3v load and I get problems with a lot of corsair PSUs because of their crappy inverters (which eventually break under strain), perhaps you are encountering a similar issue?
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    Re: Hard Drives Disconnecting due to Sata Power Splitters

    Quote Originally Posted by shaithis View Post
    Those 6 and 8 pin power to SATA cables.....only ever use the ones supplied by the manufacturer. It's anyone's guess how they are wired internally.
    I am already using the cables provided by the PSU manufacturer and I got the disconnection problems. Only 1 6pin to Sata power connector was provided. All the other cables came with the wierd splitters I mentioned in my 1st post. So you're saying I can't buy new 6pin to Sata power cables as they won't work?

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    Re: Hard Drives Disconnecting due to Sata Power Splitters

    Just to reiterate what shaithis said, there's no standard way of wiring modular cables and using incompatible ones could prove very bad for your hardware. (boom)

    You might be able to get some modular cables made especially for your power supply from modding stores, for example. Something like this might work: http://www.moddiy.com/products/Seaso...etCurrencyId=6

    It's likely not covered by warranty though and I'd still be double-checking them to ensure polarity is the same as the original ones.

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    The late but legendary peterb - Onward and Upward peterb's Avatar
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    Re: Hard Drives Disconnecting due to Sata Power Splitters

    You will get voltage drops across the connectors so you need to remove as many connectors as you can. It is possible to mis-plug Molex connectors so the pin slides down the outside of the socket, so check that they are all mated correctly. Sat connectors are (in my experience) fairly fragile. The housing can crack and that can lead to intermittent connections. A SATA power connector has several contacts wired in parallel (to reduce voltage drop) so if some of those are making a poor contact, that could cause issues.

    Probably best to ensure that the boot/windows disk is connected directly to the PSU, and use a minimum of daisy chained connectors for the remains drives.
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