How to Build an IDE USB Adapter

Written by ruri ranbe
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How to Build an IDE USB Adapter
The IDE cable connects to a circuit board inside the adaptor that allows it to communicate with a USB port. (ide cable image by .shock from

Integrated drive electronics (IDE) refers to interface hard disk drives used to connect internally to the motherboard. Desktop hard drives require a 40-pin cable to connect to the motherboard, whereas laptop hard drives require a 44-pin connector. Unlike IDE, the universal serial bus (USB) connects externally to the motherboard through a USB port located on the device panel. An IDE-to-USB adaptor allows you to connect an IDE hard drive to a computer through a USB interface.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Crosshead screwdriver
  • Antistatic wrist strap
  • Tweezers

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  1. 1

    Put on an antistatic wrist strap on your wrist to protect the IDE drive from electrostatic discharge (ESD). Remove the IDE hard drive from its antistatic bag.

  2. 2

    Use a pair of tweezers to set the jumpers on the hard drive. Configure the hard drive as "Slave" or "Cable Select."

  3. 3

    Insert the 40-pin interface on the side of the adaptor into the 40-pin connection on the rear of the IDE hard drive.

  4. 4

    Connect the 4-pin peripheral power cable to the 4-pin connection located next to the jumpers.

  5. 5

    Plug the power supply into a wall outlet. Plug the USB cable connected to the IDE/USB adaptor into a USB slot on the computer.

  6. 6

    Install on the computer any software included with the IDE/USB adaptor.

Tips and warnings

  • Check the manual included with your desktop IDE hard drive to determine how to properly configure the jumpers on the drive.
  • USB-to-IDE desktop hard drive adaptors won't connect to IDE laptop hard drives; 2.5-inch laptop IDE hard drives require an adaptor with a 44-pin connector.
  • Electrostatic discharge, a form of electricity, can permanently damage your IDE hard drive. Never handle computer hardware without first grounding yourself.

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