Author Options:

Powering up an old IDE hard drive externally? Answered

How can I make an old 2.5" laptop IDE hard drive spin up with out a computer? I tried connecting 5v to pin 42 (+5 VDC (Motor)) and 0v to pin 43 (ground) but the drive does not spin up, it just draws around 270mA from the supply.

How can I get the drive to power on? do I need to short out some other pins too? What about the jumpers?

I am guessing it needs some sort of "power on" signal but I am unsure how to give it this.

I am NOT connecting this to a computer BTW, I do not need to read any data. Just for the motor to spin up to have some "fun" with.



It's not a DC motor, it's a 3-phase ac motor (can be driven with pulsed dc). You are just shorting one coil of the drive by hooking it up like that.

What you have to do is hook up the regular molex power to the drive, gnd, 5v, 12v - and then find a way to convince the daughterboard of the drive to spin it up; this is easier said than done. Older drives would just spin up, but newer models want to see a computer to convince them to spin.

If you can't get the original board to spin the drive by just applying power, then you need to design a motor driver. You might be able to use a brushless motor driver from a hobby store to make it spin.

This is thread is old, but for the historical record, I'd like to make a few corrections. If this were true then it would mean that the host would be responsible for generating the three-phase motor power and receiving speed control feedback over the IDE port. The coils of the motor are not accessible directly through the IDE port. IDE does not care about the mechanical aspects of the hardware. IDE doesn't know or care if the drive even has a motor or not (it could be talking to a Compact Flash, which also uses an IDE interface)... Also, the motor is a DC motor, not AC -- it is typically a three phase brushless DC motor (a BLDC motor). It is possible to drive the motor directly with a brushless DC motor driver by tapping into the motor's drive lines, but you don't need to do that. The logic board of the drive already has a BLDC motor driver. To get the drive to spin up just connect three lines of the 44-pin connector:

pin 41: +5 V (logic)

pin 42: +5 V (motor)

pin 43: Gnd

*and of course, the drive might be borked/seized meaning even driving it properly won't get any results. Does the platter spin freely when disconnected?

To spin up a 2.5" IDE drive all you have to do is provide +5 VDC to the logic line (pin 41) and +5 VDC to the motor line (pin 42), and connect Ground, of course. The brushless DC motor driver is built into the drive's controller board. That's why you need to power the logic line. I haven't seen an IDE drive that wouldn't spin up with just these three lines connected. Most drives I have tested will work with between 4.5 to 6 VDC. That means you can drive it with four AA batteries. They will also often work with three AA batteries, but they don't always spin up reliably. Note that if you use 6 Volts then you are overdriving the logic board. They run warmer and I have no idea if the extra voltage is hard on them or not. This may be harmless or it may reduce their lifetime. It may even destroy some drives. I doubt it, but I wouldn't do this to a drive that I cared about using again.

pin 41: +5 V (logic)

pin 42: +5 V (motor)

pin 43: Gnd


6 years ago

The old IDE notebook drives were powered from the USB when you used a USB adapter. TO plug them into a desktop as an IDE drive you needed to get either a converter or an adapter so they could fit the standard IDE cable.
I could not find a converter at my usual haunts but I did find an adapter.


I used to get stuff like this from Geeks for a couple of bucks. But it looks like its becoming a speciality item and so the price is up.