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IDE Cable

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  • IDE Cable

    I decided to put a CDROM under the pasenger seat of my car, or in the cowl if I make a wood one. Eanyways, I made a 7' IDE cable. Now that I hate soldering after 80 splices! I only had 1 mess up at least, I thaught I'd do worse. I connected it to my computer and it didn't work! I think that I just wasted 5 or so hours of work on the dumb thing. I poped in an old controler card and it workes fine!

    Well I do have one question. What can you use as a good sheeld? I used 5, 8 conductor wires that do not have shields, similer to cat 5 but not. I have it wrapped with tinfoil (aluminum) right now and grounded to the case. I wanted to use some type of steel because aluminum has no magnetic quality to it if you know what I meen.

    [This message has been edited by nicksmurf (edited 12-19-2000).]

  • #2
    Crap, 1 thing I didn't think about. I just cut the IDE cable in half anf put a 7' extention on it. Well, to describe it it looks like a 7' worm! The problem is It dos't have a quick release on it and the only way to disconect it when I put the system in my car is to open up the whole system in the back of the car. It's in a desktop case right now, I'm not worried about the size.

    I did want to install it permenently into the side of the car with a subwoofer next to it and a sysbwoofer on the other side of the car. I have an 90 escort crap car that has removable plastic side panels in the hatch. I can replace them with wood sub enclosures and stick the mp3 player back into there with one of them. That would work fine with the cable because it would be a pain just to open it up to do anything to it.


    • #3
      There have been many, many, many discussions about IDE cables in the past. Searching the board will turn up all the info you can handle.

      Anyway, most electronics stores sell shielding tape. It looks liek duct tape, but is made of metal and can be soldered at the ends. That will probably provide a good shield for your cable.

      However, there is a 50% chance that a 7' IDE cable will actually work reliably. Some people are running huge IDE cables and haven't had any problems. Others can't go past 2 feet.

      Aaron Cake
      London, Ontario, Canada

      Player: Cyrix 200, 32MB RAM, 10.2Gig Quantum HD, Onboard EtherNet/Sound/Video, Custom Lexan Case, Arise DC-DC, Win95 Kernal w/Custom Player
      Car: '86 Mazda RX-7 w/Basic Performance Upgrades
      Player: Pentium 166MMX, Amptron 598LMR MB w/onboard Sound, Video, LAN, 10.2 Gig Fujitsu Laptop HD, Arise 865 DC-DC Converter, Lexan Case, Custom Software w/Voice Interface, MS Access Based Playlists
      Car: 1986 Mazda RX-7 Turbo (highly modded), 1978 RX-7 Beater (Dead, parting out), 2001 Honda Insight
      "If one more body-kitted, cut-spring-lowered, farty-exhausted Civic revs on me at an intersection, I swear I'm going to get out of my car and cram their ridiculous double-decker aluminium wing firmly up their rump."


      • #4
        Thank's Aaron Cake, I'll check for that tape before I install it in my car.


        • #5
          I did look back at some past posts and someone (Dima) brought up the idea of a buffer amplifier. She used Cat5 cable and several of these - Apparently this should work just fine to extend an IDE cable up to three meters. To do this do I need buffer amplifiers at each end of the cable or just one? I know little about electronics so any advice would help.
          Got started with computers on this board early in high I run a web development company and am about to build my dream machine.


          • #6
            Sorry don't know Dartman111, you would have to look for a scematic somewhere.

            You know those things they have on video cables? There called ferites, do you think they would help on a ide cable at all?

            My idea's scrapped right now because I can't get my controler card, the one I said worked with the big cable to see a CDROM drive. The onboard IDE wont work with the big cable at all. The controler card I'm talking about is an isa with a built on bios, ment to use large drives (1.2gig + cdrom!) on a 486, I never actually used it on a pentium before.

            That's what I get for only spending $10 on this project so far! If I spend some money I'll buy a new celeron in place of my computer I'm using now and use the parts out of this one.


            • #7
              the ferrite module you refer to is actually an iron ferrite(sp?) cylinder magnet. They are designed to help dissipate stray RF that may travel you homes AC wiring. They are really weak, and probably wouldn't help in your situation.

              I was looking for production IDE cables in great lengths, but the only one I could find was a 48" model at

              Couldn't we just buy 2 of the male connecters, and connect them together on a test board so that it acts like a male/male adapter? It would work perfect for extending IDE cables. Anyone looking into this?
              A carputer?!? What in the hell is that?


              • #8
                Scooby--the problem isn't finding a long enough cable, its getting the signal to travel far enough along the cable. A plain IDE cable doesn't stand a chance of reaching farther than four I've heard. I know nothing at all about electronics but it appears this buffer amplifier thing will strengthen the signal so that it can go up to 3 meters. I could probably figure this out myself if I knew anthing about electronics just from the vast amount of info already on the board, but I unfortunately haven't had the time to educate myself in that area. Thats why I posted this--hoping that Dima or Aaron Cake (who appears to know a great deal on the subject) would help out.
                Got started with computers on this board early in high I run a web development company and am about to build my dream machine.


                • #9
                  Just a little more info--The best info I could find was from this post.
                  There is some info on it within links given by Dima. There are what appear to be schematics but they don't tell me what I know, or I don't know how to read them.
                  Got started with computers on this board early in high I run a web development company and am about to build my dream machine.


                  • #10
                    The Screen Savers did a show on this.

                    Search their web site at


                    I think the fast scsi could travel 20 feet or so, but I don't remember about IDE.

                    current projects


                    • #11
                      What's really going to get you is that all your soldering was unnecessary...
                      The male connectors on the ends of IDE cables cost probably <25 cents and work similar to a pair of sissors, just mash the thing over the IDE cable and presto, it works. Takes all of 10 seconds....

                      Sorry to ruin your day...

                      CarPC Stolen. Starting over.
                      Ne1 recognize the avatar?


                      • #12
                        Yea I know that, That would have been better to use them.
                        I still did it faster than it take to order 2 conectors from a electronical parts dritributor. I'm just mad that because of my cheepness in using used crappy parts for my mp3 player.


                        • #13
                          Looks like my posts about extending the IDE cable didn't help too I'll try to explain it better here:
                          The data that passes on the IDE cable is TTL signals,it means it has to be more than 2.5v to be "1" logic and 0.5v or less for "0" logic.If your IDE cable is too long,the "1" signal can't reach the 2.5v,so it appears to be "0".The maximum cable length varies from 1m to 2m,and it really depends on the strength of signal from the sending device,and it may be that you can work with 3m IDE cable without any problems!Anyway,if you notice garbage on your LCD,or if your HD,or CD-ROM,or DVD is not working correctly with your long IDE cable,you need to amplify your signals.First try to work without using the amplifier,but if you encounter problems,use buffer amplifier.The buffer amplifier amplifies the signal so even if you use long cable u still get your 2.5v for "1" signal.It calls also "buffer" because it's "protecting" your LCD,or HD from possible changes in current that may destroy your receiver devices.Now,the amplifier is 74LS244.About the amplifying: you need to amplify each line in your cable,it means 40 lines for IDE cable.The 74LS244 can only amplify 8 lines,so you need 5 of these devices (5*8=40-not to hard I hope).About connecting: If you don't have any experiment in electronics,sorry,you can't do it.Connect them before the IDE cable,i.e. in the output from HD pins.
                          Shielding the cable won't help too much,cause it's not the problem of noise,it's a problem of signal strength.You don't need to shield digital data cables.
                          Check Sproggy's site LCD section:
                          Datasheet of 74LS244:
                          I think that you can buy them here:
                          Enjoint life!


                          • #14
                            Actually there are only 32 I/O lines that need buffering. You would only need 3 74244 IC's to buffer the entire IDE interface. Remember there are several ground leads and some other pins that are unused that would not need to be buffered. Also, be sure to use the "fast" series of 74244's (i.e. 74ALS244) since the IDE interface is capable of running at a few dozen MHz.

                            Also, if you REALLY want to do it right, you should install buffers at BOTH ends of the long cable run. In terms of signal strength, it's not so much that the 1's and 0's get lost over the long cable length, but it's the crosstalk and other behavior that starts to show up with long cable runs.

                            That's my 2cents...

                            Jason Johnson
                            Yorba Linda, California

                            MPC Phase IV - *** PENDING ***