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eSATA problems - bad cables abound! (pic)

Discussion in 'TiVo Series3 HDTV DVRs' started by kdmorse, May 13, 2007.

  1. kdmorse

    kdmorse Active Member

    5,035
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    Jan 29, 2001
    Germantown, MD
    I had problems getting my external drive to work - it turned out to be the cables. A few others have reported they had the same problem, and my solution worked for them as well - so I thought I'd make a sort thread on the subject for those who might not wade through the entire eSATA Faq/Discussion thread.

    Simply put, half the eSATA cables I looked at in the stores were crap - and would either not work, or would work sporadically. Having problems adding a drive? Having problems with the drive disappearing? Check your cables! There are many out there that simply do not plug deeply enough into the S3 or external drive to make good contact.

    [​IMG]
    (So sorry for the crappy cell-phone photo - if I can get my real camera working I'll replace it)

    Note that the connector on the bad cable is half the depth of the connector on the good cable. The good/long one works, and works 100%. The bad/short one does not work, or works occasionally at best. The bottom (trimmed) cable is a bad one with the surrounding rubber knifed away - it now works perfectly.

    The penny is there for comparison purposes. A proper eSATA connector should be half a penny deep. The bad connectors were only a quarter of a penny deep.

    Also, a eSATA connector should be twice the depth of a normal internal SATA connector. If your eSATA connector is about the same depth as a regular SATA connector, it's no good - knife it.

    If you happen to have a bad eSATA cable, please post here so we can get a feel for how prevalent the problem is. Especially if you discover it was indeed the cause of your setup or reliability problems. So far I have seen one user publicly post, and received one PM that he had the same problem and fixed it with a knife the the cable.

    -Ken
     
  2. spike2k5

    spike2k5 New Member

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    Feb 21, 2006
    You are the man.
    Trimming works.
     
  3. TexasGrillChef

    TexasGrillChef New Member

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    Sep 15, 2006
    What you have there is the difference between a eSATA I cable & and a eSATA II cable.

    The eSATA I cable has the shorter connector, the eSATA II cable has the longer connector.

    so what the TIVO S3 needs to work properly is a eSATA II connector.

    when I went to Fry's & MicroCenter. Both stores had both types of eSATA cables. They had the cables with the longer connector labeled as eSATA II & the shorter connector cables labeled as eSATA I

    Thought that might help everyone out.

    Just make sure your eSATA cable is a eSATA II

    TexasGrillChef
     
  4. kdmorse

    kdmorse Active Member

    5,035
    8
    Jan 29, 2001
    Germantown, MD
    Good to know the reason for the difference, and have a name for the two - Thanks.

    I did look at the original packaging for my cables - and none of them have a I or a II. Now I might not expect the I to have a I, but I would certainly expect the II to have a II.

    Looking online, I see the same thing. Lots of deeper/longer connectors, not labeled with a I or a II. Could make it difficult to know what you're getting.

    -Ken
     
  5. bkdtv

    bkdtv New Member

    7,902
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    Jan 9, 2003
    DC Metro Area
    kdmorse,

    Thanks for posting this discovery. A number of people were having trouble with the Seagate Free Agent Pro, which does't include an eSATA cable. The cable looks like it was the culprit in at least one or two cases. as some available at major retailers are evidently too short to function reliably with the Series3, as you discovered.

    Can someone recommend an eSATA cable available from a major retailer that I can link in the FAQ as an example of a quality, working cable that does not require any modification?
     
  6. gadgetrex

    gadgetrex New Member

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    May 14, 2007
    I am pleased to confirm that I was able to get my Seagate Free Agent Pro (750GB) to work after trimming the cable ends, as recommended in the above post. The trimming was a bit harder than I imagined it would be, as the plastic on the ends was too hard for me to more than start cutting with my knife. I ended up completing the cuts with a copping saw and, I'll admit to my surprise, it worked! Thanks all for the tips.
     
  7. kdmorse

    kdmorse Active Member

    5,035
    8
    Jan 29, 2001
    Germantown, MD
    Warning! Posting Under The Influence VVV

    The trimming was a bit harder than I imagined it would be, .

    On the three heads I cut it was fairly easy. Granted, I keep my large pocket knife wicked sharp. Should my server farm rise up against me, I had at least a change of getting them - before they get me.

    [​IMG]

    The outer rubber was fairly medium, but pressed up against a hard metal sleve which stopped the knife. All had to do was cut into the boot, through the boot, till I hit metal, all around the connector. Then the excess needed to be split, and pealed right away.

    I just did a little more poking at the two connectors:

    The Drive: (Seagate FreeAgent 750 Pro)
    -> eSATA II - Works perfectly.
    -> eSATA I - Not even close. No amount of shoeing in made the slightest contact.
    -> eSATA I - Trimmed - Works Perfectly.

    The S3 Itself:
    -> eSATA II - Works Perfectly
    -> eSATA I - sortof works. If pressed in firmly the cable will connect. It will not latch well, and with the slightest brease or vibration will work it's way out. Can be made to work, but is not recommended.
    -> eSATAT I - Trimmed - works Perfectly.


    So - the drive is a II connector in my mind. The S3 itself may be a I, but I Cables would be unreliable at best. A II <-> II cable would be the best reccomendation.

    It's just so good to know that if you have the wrong cable, a sharp knife can get you going in 5 minutes. Anyone with wrong cables is not completely screwed. Not really even screwed at all.


    -Ken
     
  8. TexasGrillChef

    TexasGrillChef New Member

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    Sep 15, 2006
    Where I found the cables labeled as I or II was at Fry's Electronics & Microcenter (off Springcreek parkway near TI) here in the Dallas/Fort Worth area.

    When I went to Best Buy, & CompUSA their eSATA cables weren't labeled as I or II. Some appeared to be I & some appeared to be II.

    I called Altex Electronics (Also here in Dallas & In Austin) & they have their eSATA cables labeled as eSATA I and eSATA II.

    My recomendation is to look at the connectors before buying. If buying online, I would make a guess that they are eSATA I cables unless they actually say eSATA II.

    I would also suggest that if buying eSATA cables online going to a true electronics retailer rather than one that is like Best Buy or Circuit City.

    TexasGrillChef
     
  9. Joe3

    Joe3 Member

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    Dec 12, 2006
    http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=120028102995

    However. its traveling cross country and I'm still waiting.
     
  10. pyrobob1

    pyrobob1 New Member

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    May 14, 2007
    i am new to esata connections. are the connectors supposed to snap into place or fit without locking? i'm using a tripp lite 3meter cable, and the connectors dont snap into place. they can easily be dislodged. thanks for your help

    I am using a WD My Book 500gb ES. The procedure doesn't work.
     
  11. rucka

    rucka New Member

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    May 14, 2007
    I have the same question(s). The cable I have for my WD MyBook drive (ES edition) doesn't sit or click into place nor does it on my S3 Tivo... and I was unable to get the 'expansion' to occur...
     
  12. patrickthickey

    patrickthickey New Member

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    Sep 4, 2002
    By COMAX.

    http://www.comaxtech.com/

    They are one of the only manufacturers who conform to the full SATA and eSATA specs.

    My source for this is Peter Deyring, founder of Cruz Systems, one of the co-inventors of the basic Serial AT: High Speed Serialized AT Attachment technology. (you can Google and find his name all over the documents). We live in the same town and I spent an hour or so educating myself when I sought a spec eSATA cable. Pete took me to school.

    Word of warning, the eSATA physical connection sucks. The better gear is adopting a new latch addition to prevent sag due to weight.

    But the connection in stock form is as bad as I have ever seen, prone to movement, not secure and has a fixed life of connect/disconnect cycles.

    regards,

    patrick
     
  13. jlib

    jlib Lean Forward

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    Nov 21, 2002
    Carmel...
    This is all great information. I'll bet cable problems are a significant part of the reported failures. Since the connection is a semi-permanent one (i.e., it would only be disconnected if there was a drive failure or such) I think if I were doing this I would put a tidy drop of hot glue on the exterior of the mated eSATA connection such that if it ever needed to be removed it could be peeled off but would allow a secure connection immune from bumps and jolts.
     
  14. naclone

    naclone New Member

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    Feb 11, 2002
    has anyone found a reliable online source? links appreciated. thanks.
     
  15. patrickthickey

    patrickthickey New Member

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    Sep 4, 2002
  16. jfh3

    jfh3 New Member

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    Apr 15, 2004
    Denver area
    Check the molding on the cable - I've found that a SATA II cable that I have has "SATA II" noted on the connector. The cable I have that came with my external enclosure just has "SATA" on the molding.
     
  17. SteveCR

    SteveCR New Member

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    Dec 10, 2006
    Thanks for the tip on the connectors. After failing 3 times to "take", I finally go the "your second hard drive has been activated" after trimming the connectors as notes above. But I really want to find a good cable and replace this one that I no longer trust.
     
  18. PVR

    PVR New Member

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    Sep 29, 2002
    Thanks a bunch. Worked for me.

    Cheapie 3 foot eSata-I needed a trim and now works!
    (Hooked to 750gb Freeagent Pro)
     
  19. fred2

    fred2 New Member

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    Jan 20, 2006
    Mine "hacked" cable now also works in the FreeAgent but remains loose and can be easily displaced - so use care.

    I've written elsewhere that the cable is snug on the Tivo side but not the Drive side. So maybe the Freeagent is not quite to specs and does not "hold" the cable very well.

    I may spring for a cable others have reported works as manufactured.
     
  20. mem1997

    mem1997 New Member

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    May 19, 2007
    I'm trying to hook up a Seagate Pro 500GB, and I'm on my third set of cables. My most recent one is from QVS and it's called an eSATA II, external, up to 300MBps. Their ups code is 0 37229 11585 7. I ordered this from Micro Center. It looks like the right cable, but my S3 does not recognize the drive when I do the "62". Can anyone confirm this is the correct cable, or give me info where I can order the correct cable online?
     

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