SATA stops randomly

By draggon ยท 19 replies
Jan 26, 2011
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  1. I have a newer acer laptop, and the hard drive will randomly disappear, i think it may be when i over use the hard disk. the DVD-RW stopped at the same time as the hard drive did. could it be that the sata controller is over heating or that something is being over clocked. it may also be software, but i cant really tell since this is my first real issue with my laptop, when i boot the computer it will pause up if i don't stop the hard disk scan quick enough, and will stop after the vista orb comes up, if i get it past the orb it pauses when i use the drive to much. if i play a game or download a file it just stops, i have done all i can, from use slax on a flash drive to reinstalling windows. if there is a way to fix it, any and all help will be greatly appreciated.

    on a side note, does any one know how to get windows XP onto a flash disk to boot up with? that would be helpful if i cant fix my hard disk..

    model:aspire 7520 series
    1024MB+512MB of RAM"in two banks"
    two hard disk slots"only one is currently in use"
    no DVD-RW
    two wireless cards
  2. Route44

    Route44 TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 11,984   +72

    How old is this system? What is the make of your harddrive? Have you attempted to see if the harddrive is firmly connected?
  3. draggon

    draggon TS Rookie Topic Starter

    the system is 2 or 3 years old, i have checked the drive is connected correctly, but it has a adapter that has to sata HDD spaces and connects to one sata port in the mother board. i am positive that is connected correctly.... i have connected the HD directly to the motherboard and i think it may be the HDD caddy... how ever why would the DVD drive go out also? that drive doesn't work at all any more in any computer. i will keep you posted on what happens i am going to install some games and play them to see if it was the connection. thank you for your help!!!!!

    just realized that when i copy files the mouse reacts slow, it will skip across the screen, is it possible that it is a hardware driver somewhere?

    OK i dont think it is the caddy any more... it stops working when i dont run something that uses the hard disk for a couple of seconds. the drive will still just disappear.
  4. Route44

    Route44 TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 11,984   +72

    What is the make of your harddrive?
  5. draggon

    draggon TS Rookie Topic Starter

    sorry that took so long... its a WD scorpio. also could it be that my laptop uses a different sata like sata or sata 2 or could it be my RAM, i looked at some other sites and some one said it may be my ram? video is also sharing 32 MB-256MB...
  6. g3rsiu

    g3rsiu TS Rookie Posts: 40

    if i remember correctly , your laptop has 2 hdds mounted on a special bracket with splitting circuitry that plugs in your mainboards hdd sata port.

    the simplest way to test if its the mainboard or that pice of circuitry is to unmount the hdd form the cage and plug it directly in the mainboard and test to see if the problem persists

    statistically its a mainboard failure (when both hdd and odd cant be detected in bios) but i know at least one case where it was the circuitry mentioned above.
  7. draggon

    draggon TS Rookie Topic Starter

    i only have one hard disk, but it is in a catty that can connect two to the main board. i tried connecting the HDD to the main board, but it still did nothing different, it stopped working at about the same time as it always stops. i think that something is over heating. but im not sure, as if i stop using the hard drive for 1-5 minutes, the computer will just stop,how ever my AUDIO will keep working, every thing else will stop. or if i use it past about an hour 1/2. it will also stop.
  8. g3rsiu

    g3rsiu TS Rookie Posts: 40

    cooling could be a issue - sata controller is chipset embedded and the chipset is cooled by the same system as the cpu

    there are some instances where the heatpipe fails - fan spins - air flow is ok and not restricted by dust clogs but the air comes out cold or fairly warm while the cpu/chipset is hot

    check for dust clogs then the heapipe by walking your finger across it from the cpu to the heatsink and back (while the laptop is running) - if you notice a significant difference in temperature then that might be the case - if you cant test that way then you might need to consider taking it in for repairs. (i used to test for this type of failure with a digital multimeter with a thermal probe option)

    alot of things could be wrong but i fear we are stretching it a bit - might be as sad as simple as a mainboard failure - might even be both things at the same time - bad cooling leading to mb failure

    exert caution if you plan to remove the cooling assys for cleaning or inspection - chipset contact is done using thermal pads not thermal paste - don;t lose it or remove it. if its damaged it may need replacing or remodeling to gain some size and thus ensure contact
  9. draggon

    draggon TS Rookie Topic Starter

    i pulled the whole thing apart i mean down to the screw. i cleaned the heat sink or how ever you spell it. and i didn't see heat pads, just the usual very expensive heat paist, and then i applied more paist when i reassemble my laptop. it had issues before this, the heat sink burns equally. :) the heat sink is built like this

    some black squares in the MB->CPU-.GPU->heat sink and fan. could it be that the HDD is a different type of SATA?
  10. g3rsiu

    g3rsiu TS Rookie Posts: 40

    your hdd is common

    i'm sorry to say but it is all pointing to mainboard failure

    i took another look at the service manual (thinking i was remembering wrong) and there should have been a thermal pad (as in not paste) between the chipset and the cooler plate - the reason why i am insisting on this is because the thermal pad is there for a reason - the paste cant transfer heat like a thermal pad since it was designed to be used where contact is not as firm (pressed down) as in other areas like the cpu for example : has springed screws and uses paste for very firm contact

    i have seen this fault in machines where users or other persons poked around thinking they knew how to solve cooling problems (mainly caused by dust clogs) and replace the so called "bad" paste thinking it was .. well.. bad :) - or just accidently losing it since its sticky but sometimes not sticky enough to stand on either cpu or metal plate

    since it is not the first time you say you cleaned the cooling assys is it possible you you made the same mistake ? (don't take this the wrong way :) )

    either way - solving this might not fix your problem since to me it sounds like the chipset is damaged regardless of the reason why the fault ocurred .

    should you want to try, either seek a thermal pad (cant tell you wehre to get some sorry) or order a cpu cooling assys - it comes with the thermal pad.

    for reference, your acer part id is 60.AHE02.009 - it should be a cheep thing to try and also needed if you decide to replace the mainboard
  11. Route44

    Route44 TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 11,984   +72

    Run Western Digital's harddrive diagnostic utility especially the long test.
  12. draggon

    draggon TS Rookie Topic Starter

    thank you to both of your help and im still open to ideas, also i meant that the problem with this computer was there before i pulled it apart to clean it. the CPU has paist and the GPU and the little squares have the pads they came with. i will see how to do the HDD test, i need a program as my bios has no testing software. and again thank you.
  13. Route44

    Route44 TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 11,984   +72

    If you go to Western Digital's website (I take it is a WD harddrive, correct?) and they will have a free harddrive utility.
  14. draggon

    draggon TS Rookie Topic Starter

    the drive appears to have no issues, but when i leave in one spot and don't move it it seems to work fine, but if i use it in my car or while im at school it pauses up. i think that something is loose, because of this. what could be the issues if this is the case, i think that because of its size ,17 inches, that something may be loose any where in between the drive and the controller. what might i look for?
  15. draggon

    draggon TS Rookie Topic Starter

  16. g3rsiu

    g3rsiu TS Rookie Posts: 40

    well - sorry to say but i made a little mistake and gave you the wrong thermal module pn - just noticed as i was checking the mainboard

    the correct thermal module pn is 60.AJ802.006

    now to your mb link

    the PN is correct and compatible but only with the 7220 7520

    !! its not the correct one for 7220g and 7520g !! - the g at the end represents dedicated videocard and the board most likely is missing the slot to connect the videocard

    if you buy this you wont be able to install and use your vga card and will have to rely on a discrete (integrated onboard) vga card. it will fit and will work but say bye bye vga card.

    please check your model - from our earlier talks it looks like you have the G model with a dedicated vga card.
  17. draggon

    draggon TS Rookie Topic Starter

    my video card is already integrated, so this would be okay with all other hardware?
    thanks for all the help by the way :)
  18. Route44

    Route44 TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 11,984   +72

    Since it is integrated, yes. Unless yopu also have a dedicated card as well and one of the two is not disabled in the BIOS. If both are enabled you'll have issues.
  19. draggon

    draggon TS Rookie Topic Starter

    i put Ubuntu 10.10 on the hard drive with all parts restored, and it works fine, i was wondering if windows may not have had the right drivers and was over working the hard disk?
  20. Mark56

    Mark56 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,886

    When using Windows XP you need to get the SATA drivers for your MOBO. These drivers have to be installed during the XP installation when a message appears at the bottom of the screen asking you to hit F6 to install Raid or third party drivers. This happens early in the install process.

    Sata drivers are usually installed with a floppy disc. If you do not have a floppy drive you can integrate the drivers into your XP disc by making a copy, follow this guide.

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