sata HD & dvd burner:now you see them, now you don't

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sata HD & dvd burner:now you see them, now you don't

Postposted on Tue Jul 17, 2012 5:25 pm

Hello all;

I have a 2 year old computer running Bodhi Linux 1.4. I've got an IDE cd burner which works great. I've got 4 SATA ports on my mobo. A few months ago, port 0 started randomly disappearing from Bios and pcman filemanager. Now port 01 is going. Open the case, fiddle with red cables, and sometimes they come back, sometimes they stay, and then mysteriously disappear again. Sometimes when I reboot, they show up, and sometimes they don't. Right now, I have only 1 HD-the main one-working, while the second drive for storage is AWOL again, as is the new dvd burner. Both SATA drives are fairly new, too about 3-5 months old. When they run, they run and burn very well. Everything else on the motherboard seems to work okay-sound, video, ect.
Is this bad cables, bad ports, or haunted drives? :( I've looked at SATA to IDE adapters, as the IDE burner works, as well as PCI cards to add new ports to the system. What would be the problem, and the best and cheapest solution?
Thanks in advance!

P.S. Now I really think this machine is haunted. :o About 20 minutes after I posted this, and was just browsing a web page, the previously silent dvd burner light came on,and the drive started whirring. I opened the door, shut it, and it stopped. About 5 minutes later, it started whirring again, then stopped.
rolypolycat
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Re: sata HD & dvd burner:now you see them, now you don't

Postposted on Wed Jul 18, 2012 8:29 am

Welcome! :D

There's no way to absolutely know without starting to swap stuff. Do you have spare cables or a spare PC to pop the drives into? If they show up there and if swapping cables doesn't solve it, then the only constant is the motherboard.
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Re: sata HD & dvd burner:now you see them, now you don't

Postposted on Wed Jul 18, 2012 5:24 pm

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ryko
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Re: sata HD & dvd burner:now you see them, now you don't

Postposted on Wed Jul 18, 2012 5:51 pm

Cables are cheap and easy to swap; you might want to first verify the ones you have are solidly plugged in (at both ends) though it sounds like you've already checked that. It's also possible the PSU is marginal (though that tends to cause other problems first) or there's something wrong with the SATA controller (hardware or driver, though if it's vanishing from the BIOS that would suggest hardware).
rolypolycat wrote:P.S. Now I really think this machine is haunted. :o About 20 minutes after I posted this, and was just browsing a web page, the previously silent dvd burner light came on,and the drive started whirring. I opened the door, shut it, and it stopped. About 5 minutes later, it started whirring again, then stopped.
If something (bad cable, loose connection, bad PSU, failing motherboard controller) is causing the drives to disappear and then reappear as far as the OS is concerned, you'd expect something like that (if a SATA drive shows up Windows will spin it up to see if there's a disc and read the volume ID and TOC/FAT if there is; I imagine Linux does something similar)
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Re: sata HD & dvd burner:now you see them, now you don't

Postposted on Wed Jul 18, 2012 8:59 pm

Ive had problems with vanishing drives before. Once it was a failing IDE port on the board, and the other time was the drive failing. both times they would intermitently not show up in the bios, an randomly show up in windows. The one with the failing drive started showing up in the bios as random strings of letters and numbers though instead of what it had been showing up as a manufacturers string.
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Re: sata HD & dvd burner:now you see them, now you don't

Postposted on Thu Jul 19, 2012 3:31 pm

Well, I bought an expensive cable for the hard drive(don't tell me it's just a fluke that the only cables Best Buy has are costly ones). Spent about an hour re-arranging cables, and drives. Port 0 never showed up, port 1 sometimes did and didn't,port 2 seems to work fine, as well as port 3.The drive is in port 2, the dvd burner in port 3. And the dvd drive still goes on and off at odd intervals. After all this effort, Grub wouldn't boot-just stayed at the Bodhi linux loading screen, then froze, so I finally gave up and re-installed the OS. Thank goodness Bodhi is a minimal distro, and I use very little software; only took about a half hour. I now have a clean install. The drives are still working, although the dvd still runs for a second, then stops, now and then.
I was wondering about these PCI cards I've seen to add ports. It should be possible to install and use them for the main drive, thus bypassing the flaky sata ports altogether? If that would solve the problem, then I'm willing to go that route. I'm just afraid I''l have the main drive go out on me when I need it most, or when I haven't done my weekly backups, and then I'll lose work I can't afford to lose.
I can't test anything in another computer; the only one I have is an old model designed to run win 98-it literally takes 30 mins. to boot win xp. I got it a little while ago to use for a learning linux pc, so I'd quit trashing my main pc when I screwed up trying a new linux skill. :oops:
I'm still inclined to think it's the ports themselves, especially as port 0 never showed up, even when using the brand-new cable. And since they seem to be failing in order-port 0 went first, port 1 is flaky), it seems this is the problem. If port 0 worked, and it was just the cable, it should have showed up, right?
I thank everyone for their help. If you have any suggestions about the pci card route, I'd like to hear about them.
Thanks again!
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Re: sata HD & dvd burner:now you see them, now you don't

Postposted on Thu Jul 19, 2012 4:01 pm

Have you considered using a Linux LiveCD or VM to spare yourself the danger of screwing things up with your new mad Linux skillz ;)?
Well, if it's not showing up in the BIOS and swapping cables didn't make a difference, it's likely to be a hardware problem in the controller (though you might want to keep an eye on your PSU voltages just to see if they're sagging from time to time)

What is the make and model of your motherboard?

I don't have any experience with consumer SATA cards but I imagine just about anything with decent reviews on NewEgg (eg) would work for you; you don't need any of the fancy RAID cards but you should make sure you get SATA 6Gps (aka SATA III) just in case you get an SSD eventually. Since you're using Linux you want to verify the chipset it uses is supported in the distro you're using, though that shouldn't be an issue; one potential hitch is booting off the card, which may or may not be easy to do with your BIOS and OS/drivers.
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Re: sata HD & dvd burner:now you see them, now you don't

Postposted on Thu Jul 19, 2012 4:46 pm

I've been using linux for about 5 years, so I'm at that middle stage where I know enough not to freak out when something goes wrong, but not enough to really make sure I'm doing the right thing to fix the problem. :wink: I should buy stock in the O'Reilly book company; I've got enough of their linux books on my shelves. I'll run your suggestion about the OS and Bios past the folks on the bodhi forums, see if anyone there knows anything about booting from pci cards.

According to the hardinfo program, these are the stats about this system:
Bios: 02/27/2008-Vendor: Intel corp-ver.PRG3110H.86A.0047.2008.0227.1745(Jeez, how many times have they revised this thing?!)
Board: Name: DG31PR-Vendor-Intel
Processor:-Intel Celeron E1200@1.6ghz, 1200.00mhz(there's 2 of them; its a dual processor)
Ubuntu 10.04.4LTS(Bodhi is a minimal distro based off of Ubuntu, but uses the wonderful Enlightenment window manager :D , as opposed to Unity-bleah)
Memory:1014mb (373 mb used) Its actually gigabites, don't know why it says megabites.
Kernel: Linux 3.0.0-12 generic(i686)

I have not yet crossed that boundary that separates the casual linux user from the geek- the ability to compile one's own kernel specifically for one's own machine, although I'm reading up on it.(that way, I can really screw up my machine in style! :lol:)
Ah, but one day, one day, I will become a true linux geek!
I hope this helps. While I can swap bad drives and add/subtract simple things, stuff like motherboards and processors are way out of my league.
Thanks again!
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