Hardware Hackery

February 16th, 2012 by fraggy

This will probably not be very interesting to regular visitors of this blog, but this is one of the things where I thought to myself “someone else must have had this problem” but couldn’t find anything about it. So I’ll deviate from the usual language in which things on this blog are posted, because I think this might be interesting some other people, most of whom probably don’t know German.

I have a computer that serves as a NAS. It uses an Intel D945GSEJT mainboard which has 2 SATA ports. At the time I bought it I thought “two hard drives in a RAID1 configuration is all I need”. Well: wrong! For one, the desire to put the operating system on a SSD might arise and secondly, when you want to make a full hard drive backup and for some reason you can’t use the Gigabit Ethernet you could just connect the hard drive to the NAS directly.

Anyway, since the board has a PCIe Mini Card slot I bought a DeLock 95225, which seems to be the only PCIe Mini Card/SATA adapter out there. I have previously had mixed experiences with DeLock products, before switching to a proper SSD for the operating system, I have tried an IDE44-to-SD-Adapter and an IDE44-to-SD/CF-Adapter. For both DeLock claimed they are bootable, however they did not show up as hard drives in the boards BIOS. I could boot from them when I loaded the boot manager (grub in this case) from one of the hard drives and instructed it to boot from the SD card, but that’s not what I consider “bootable”.

So I was a bit worried if this one would finally be the one that show up in my BIOS. It does, but before I got to finding that out, another problem became apparent:

collision_detected

Yeah, I’m not going to attach any cables there…

Rather than upwards the SATA ports point to one edge of the adapter board and of course right next to them are pin headers and the PCI slot of the Intel mainboard. There is no way to attach SATA cables there, not even angled ones. However on close examination of the adapter board it turns out the good people at DeLock have either anticipated this scenario, or they wanted to be flexible when it came to components (I think the latter is more likely). Either way, additionally to the SMD solder pads to which the SATA connecters were attached there were through-hole mountings for connectors. So I ordered some Molex 67491-0020 SATA connectors and got busy with my soldering iron.
(Side note: I am assuming the mountings for SATA connectors are standardized, so any other through-hole SATA connector will probably work as well. However, I can tell you that the SMD connector Molex 67800-5005 will NOT work, because the soldering leads are too short.)

And the connector is off. In the background the through-hole mountings can be seen nicely

Getting the SMD leads off was a bit tricky, in the end I took the smallest mini screwdriver I could find and used it as a lever against the leads whilst heating the solder with the soldering iron. After that I merely soldered the new connectors on and installed my modified adapter card in my NAS.

Problem solved!

Now that I was able to attach my SSD to the board I was anxious to see if the mainboards BIOS detected it. And lo and behold – it did. So now my NAS has two more SATA connectors and an SSD with the system on it, making it possible to spin down the hard drives when they are not needed. Yay!

Note to self: next time you buy a mainboard for a NAS go for as many SATA ports as possible. At the very least four.

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14 Responses to “Hardware Hackery”

  1. suhn says:

    Wenn das echt jemand von auserhalb lesen soll, dann solltest du eventuell den Titel aussagekräftiger gestalten. 🙂

    • fraggy says:

      Och, warum denn? 😀
      Ich denke mal, dass die Leute am ehesten über die Tags von der Suchmaschine ihrer Wahl hier hergeleitet werden…

  2. Heiko says:

    Hey,
    kannst du mir sagen, wo du die sata-stecker bestellt hast? hab genau das selbe problem…

    • fraggy says:

      Ich habe die bei Farnell bestellt. Das Problem ist, dass Farnell eigentlich nur Firmenkunden bedient. Sie machen jedoch Ausnahmen für Universitäten und Studenten, letzteres ist wie ich herangekommen bin.
      Wenn das nicht geklappt hätte, hätte ich vermutlich bei digikey.ca bestellt, wenn man da bei “Connectors, Interconnects” > “Pluggable” nach “sata” sucht, findet man auch passende Stecker.

  3. Heiko says:

    jau, danke. ich werds dann einfach auch so versuchen. danke nochmal für den artikel, sonst hät ich mir den controller einfach blind gekauft..

  4. suhn says:

    Da hat dieser Blog die Welt tatsächlich ein kleines bisschen besser gemacht, wenn auch nur für einen Menschen.

    Voll schön. 🙂

  5. no1nose says:

    Lasst uns den 19. Juni zum Feiertag erklären! 🙂

  6. masta says:

    Guten Abend, musstest Du im BIOS etwas umstellen, damit Du über die mini PCIe booten kannst bzw. dort laufwerke für die OS-Installation auftauchen? versuche grad eine Option GTM671WFS (http://www.option.com/en/products/products/gtm671wfs-gtm679wfs/) mit 32GB SDHC-Karte einzubauen, jedoch scheint das BIOS von der nicht booten zu wollen?!? …eigentlich eine rundumglücklich Karte…wenn das dann funktionieren würde mit nem win7 32bit 😉

    • fraggy says:

      Moin,
      ich bin mir jetzt nicht ganz sicher. Ich schau heute abend mal nach.

    • fraggy says:

      Nee, außer der Bootreihenfolge habe ich da nichts eingestellt. Die SSD, die bei mir an dem Controller hängt ist einfach genau wie die anderen Festplatten im BIOS aufgetaucht:
      BIOS Einstellungen

  7. Andy Moore says:

    Hi,

    Great article!

    I have the exact same problem with a D945GSEJT motherboard and a Delock 95225, but the BIOS does not seem to recognize the SATA card. The BIOS very quickly shows the blue POST screen and then attempts to boot.

    In the BIOS boot options the disks connected to the 95225 are not show in the menu.

    How did you get the BIOS to recognize the 95225? What version of BIOS are you using?

    I know the card works in a different motherboard so I’m wondering if this D945GSEJT motherboard is broken….

    Any ideas before I give up?

    Thanks for your help?

    Andy.

    • fraggy says:

      I don’t know what I did, if I did anything. I was pretty baffled that it worked.
      The BIOS Version is JT94510H.86A.0047.2011.0620.1522.
      Under Additional System Information it says Version AAE57850-401
      Under Chipset Configuration do you have “Mini Card” enabled?

      Here are some other BIOS Settings that I think may be relevant. I’m not saying they have to be like that, I’m just telling you what they are set to on my machine
      Under Drive Configuration I have:
      ATA/IDE Mode [Native]
      Configure SATA as [AHCI]
      SMART [Enable]
      Configure Storage Controller as [SATA pri, PATA sec]
      Hard Disk Pre-Delay [No]

      Chipset Configuration:
      Mini Card [Enable]
      PCI Latency Timer [32]
      HPET [Enable]

      Good Luck 🙂

    • fraggy says:

      BTW, the only indication that it worked was a short message from the card before the POST of the BIOS comes up. Easy to miss, especially if your monitor takes a moment to turn on. Within the BIOS configuration it does not show up per se, but drives attached to it show up in the Boot Order configuration, as shown in the picture in my other comment – the highlighted drive is connected via the Delock Card.

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