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unraidun

Sata power cable caught fire...

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While doing research on how to power all my sata drives, I came across lots of scary stories about molex->sata power adapters catching fire. This guy on youtube made an interesting video about what to avoid when selecting such an adapter...

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TataDaUNEFc&feature=youtu.be&t=117

 

*sadly enough, the same guy had one catch fire because he ignored his own advice...

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EYkof-csPfI

*and the cable autopsy -> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fAyy_WOSdVc

 

 

Well that's just great. Now I'm super paranoid. I HAD planned on using a "good" molex->sata power adapter (one recommended by jonathanm and many others), but I'm still nervous...

 

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B009GULFJ0/ref=ppx_od_dt_b_asin_title_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

 

Looking for alternatives to molex, I found a company that sells extra 6pin->sata power cables for my Corsair CX 750m ps, so I thought, great, now I don't have to use those molex adapters. But then I thought, wait, is the problem with the molex, or the sata end of the cable?

 

According to the videos I've seen, it sounds like the sata end is the culprit here. If it isn't shielded properly, the arc which causes the fire will happen regardless (molex or not), right? Does that mean the molex->sata adapter I linked IS indeed "safe" because it appears to be properly shielded/terminated?

 

It just seems like even if I use pure sata power cables, I will still need to use a at least one male->female sata power extension cable (the default cable from my ps isn't long enough). And while that may be safer than a janky molex adapter, isn't a one to one sata power extender still a potential fire hazard?

 

Thanks for any insight!

 

 

 

 

Edited by unraidun

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Fire as reported was due to the SATA end and not the MOLEX end.

 

MOLEX (or more correctly, to the older folks who still remember, AMP) connector is not janky!

It's bullet-proof if compared to SATA due to its simplicity. It also has a 5-decade tried-and-tested history.

Arcing, while of course possible, is way less likely than the tightly-packed SATA power connector - you really have to try to make a bad MOLEX connector.

 

A cheap SATA extender is WORSE!

  • Instead of spreading load over multiple cables to the PSU, you now load more stuff onto the same cable -> bigger fire hazard under load and HDD spinning up can draw quite a bit of current, which may even MELT the CABLE itself. 
  • SATA connectors are more complex and cost cutting on complex stuff is never wise.

 

I think what happened here is paranoia has caused you to overthink. Get a good cable following the advice of those with the experience. And you can only minimise the risk but never eliminate it.

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7 hours ago, unraidun said:

sata end is the culprit here

Always. You can see the main problem was the clearance between contact pin was less then 1mm. So the inslulator will be thin, fault easy happen.

 

7 hours ago, unraidun said:

the arc which causes the fire will happen regardless (molex or not)

Arc won't be main problem,

1) if you don't hot plug, then almost no arc, and those are low voltage,

2) Molex design have more clearance between contact pin, so may be less problem.

3) Molex to multi SATA ( or anything ) fire, it is another kind of fault, due to too much device loading, the large electrical current exceed the contact pin loading, as result melting and cause problem.

 

7 hours ago, unraidun said:

male->female sata power extension cable

This just the same thing, or even worse. ( remember on the clearance, but SATA usually have better contact performance then Molex )

 

I never agree Molex or SATA which will more safe then which other, in fact both have their problem. I will conclude all people ( include me ) also have risk on their connector because there are no effective fault protection to avoid problem happen.

 

What can "effective" against this ?

Fuse, each power point have their fuse. This exactly like your home power distribution network. ( But this not practice )

 

Anyway, some rule you should take on SATA / Molex connector

- Better material and build quality

- Never overload it

- Don't make any unnecessary mechanical force on it, i.e. cable in tension / other cables touch them due to housekeeping etc.

 

 

Edited by Benson

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3 hours ago, testdasi said:

It also has a 5-decade tried-and-tested history.

Unless you get one that is wired backwards (which actually has happened to me once).  After that expensive lesson I inspect every one when purchasing.

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6 hours ago, testdasi said:

I think what happened here is paranoia has caused you to overthink. Get a good cable following the advice of those with the experience. And you can only minimise the risk but never eliminate it.

I think you're right. So I guess the game plan is just to use the 'best' recommended name brand (Monoprice) molex->sata adapter (the reviews confirm it is crimped, so should be less likely to fail).

 

https://www.amazon.com/Monoprice-108794-24-Inch-15-Pin-Female/dp/B009GULFJ0

 

And just do one adapter (4 drives) per molex.

 

On the plus side, using a molex->sata adapter means I won't have to do the 3rd pin mod for all these shucked WD drives :)

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As long as it's not molded, should be fine. I had one catch fire on me and found that guy's videos a week or so after. It had been in my desktop machine for years, then one night, poof.

 

Don't hang too many drives off of one run to the PS, either. Voltage sag can be a problem and cause drives to drop out of the array.

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In my never ending quest for peace of mind, I came across these 'power supply testers'...

 

https://www.amazon.com/Computer-PC-Tester-Connectors-Enclosure/dp/B076CLNPPK/ref=sr_1_3?keywords=power+supply+tester&qid=1579037405&sr=8-3

 

For only 13 bucks, seems like a good investment? Especially since the ps I plan to use is a reclaimed part from an old gaming rig (3 year old Corsair CX 750m). Blew out the dust this morning, hasn't been powered on in ages...

 

Would a little device like that tell me if my PS is 'good'? And I suppose I could also use it to test these molex->sata cables too eh?

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1 hour ago, unraidun said:

Would a little device like that tell me if my PS is 'good'?

No, but it will tell you it's capable of powering up with no load at acceptable voltages. I have pretty much that exact unit, and it's good for weeding out completely dead supplies, or ones that are out of tolerance with no load.

 

Kind of like a HDD SMART report that can't prove a drive is good, but it can prove it's bad.

 

There are no friendly easy to use load testers for computer power supplies that I know of. The range of current is huge, and would require multiple decent heater elements to work properly.

 

Should be fine for what you need though, and it's quite handy to have around when a computer won't light off. It will test the PSU with no motherboard needed.

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