IDE LED light for my P4P800VM and SATA hard drive?

Discussion in 'Asus' started by aj, May 24, 2004.

  1. aj

    aj Guest

    I have a new P4P800VM w/ Serial ATA (SATA) hard drive.
    The IDE LED on the motherboard apparently only works
    for the IDE devices (like my DVD-RW drive).

    How do I get the IDE LED on the motherboard to work w/
    my SATA drive so that the case light comes on when there
    is hard drive activity?

    Any help appreciated.

    aj, May 24, 2004
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  2. aj

    Dave E Guest

    Hi aj,
    I have a newly built AMD64 system with on an Asus K8V SE DL board. HDrive is
    a Seagate 160gb sata drive. I also have no led drive light. Not to worry go
    to for a software
    operated on screen hd light. Works fine. Apparently it depends on which chip
    is controlling your sata. Promise or VIA. I'm on VIA so no go. Promise, if
    you have it, probably will.
    Information culled from this very ng. Thanks guys.
    Dave E, May 24, 2004
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  3. aj

    Paul Guest

    The LED situation is a mess, isn't it.

    I've tried researching this a couple of times, and I'm still not
    getting any practical answers. Your software "LED" may be the
    best you can do.

    On IDE drives, pin 39 seems to be an activity signal, which is
    active low. It looks like the signals from the primary and secondary
    are combined together, either with discrete logic (two input gate)
    or via an interface on a Super I/O, to make a signal suitable for
    driving the LED on the case. That seems to work on most motherboards.

    Some IDE drives have a LED mounted on the controller board, and
    all you would need to remote that, is a piece of large diameter
    plastic fiber optic cable (sometimes used for dentistry).

    For SATA, it appears the standards guys did something very funny.
    The SATA native power connector is 15 pins. Pin 11 is marked in
    the standard as "reserved", and somewhere (don't know where) I
    read it might be used for an activity signal. Of course, in the
    future, the SATA power cable will terminate on the power supply,
    so getting at pin 11 will be impossible.

    With drives that have dual powering (traditional 4 pin Molex
    plus SATA 15 pin), you could connect a cable assembly to the
    SATA power, to gain access to pin 11. This will require a
    backplane style SATA connector, one which has the 15 pin power
    and the data pins in the same connector. You would cut the
    data section off with a hacksaw, leaving the 15 pin section to
    interface to the drive. To see a typical part, try entering
    87679-0001 in the search box. Then, solder a wire to
    pin 11. It is possible if there actually is an activity signal
    on there, it will be active low and open collector. There might
    not be enough drive capability to drive a LED directly, so some
    kind of buffer might be in order (like a two input gate, for
    example). You would have to be real motivated to waste time
    experimenting with this route. As the design of most ordinary
    power cabling makes access to this pin impossible, it is hard
    to say whether drive manufacturers bother connecting an activity
    signal to this pin or not.

    Controller chips are another source of a potential activity
    signal, but data sheets aren't always available for these.
    On the website, I found an application note
    for the 3112a, that says pin 68 is a GPIO pin that is
    driven by the SATA code, to flash when there is activity. It
    has 4ma drive capability, meaning a fairly dim LED output from
    a 3.3V supply, or again, the use of a transistor to provide
    enough current for an ordinary LED.

    Start here, click "Product Support" near the bottom of the page...

    takes you to this IP address:

    Navigate to the 3112a section for the application note.

    The implication of the SII3112a method, is again, manfacturers
    don't really care whether you get a LED or not. These
    features are added as an afterthought, and more than once I've
    seen this stuff done with a GPIO pin and driver code to flash
    the LED.

    Due to the non-standard nature of providing the feature, it
    is easy to see why it isn't implemented consistently on
    motherboard designs. More of a kludge than anything else.

    I think I've also looked at the datasheet for a SATA equipped
    Southbridge, and there is no LED drive pin on that, either.

    I know that some PCI controller cards have LED drive, like a
    Promise IDE controller I've got. I connected a LED to the header
    on the PCI card and have the LED mounted on my case.

    Paul, May 25, 2004
  4. aj

    Bubba Guest

    Try reversing polarity of LED wires. My LED works fine on P4C800DLX with
    Seagate SATA HD.
    Bubba, May 25, 2004
  5. aj

    Mark Guest

    Dave, you must be right about this being controller-specific. I'm
    running an A7V8X with a single Maxtor SATA drive and two optical
    ATAPI/IDE drives, and the HD activity LED works fine when the Maxtor
    is active. The MB uses a Promise combination RAID/SATA controller
    (PDC 20376 I think).

    Mark, May 25, 2004
  6. aj

    Steve Birch Guest

    You're right, same here on my K8V SE Deluxe. It's only the VIA SATA that
    seems to be affected.
    I'm surprised that they didn't take the opportunity to fix it when they
    rewired the board to change the LAN chip etc on this one.
    Also, I would have thought that a BIOS fix might be possible.
    The fact that I see the LED work when the Promise controller operates tends
    to rule out the backwards-LED theory unfortunately!

    - Steve
    Steve Birch, May 26, 2004
  7. aj

    Dave E Guest

    Hi All,
    Hope as you say Steve that they can do something in the bios. This Seagate
    is so damned quiet you can't hear it at all. It's 2am here and I've just
    heared a sparrow breaking wind outside, it's that quiet. Well you get the
    Swapping the led conns doesn't work. Not for me anyway. I may try the
    Promise chip later this week. I've round fd and ide cables (cdrom) being
    delivered soon, I might give the other chip a try.
    See yall
    Dave E, May 26, 2004
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