SATA adapter for internal Apple TV drive?

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by Cave Man, Apr 8, 2009.

  1. macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    #1
    If anyone is interested, I came across this new PATA to SATA bridge that looks just small enough that it might be usable in an Apple TV to replace the internal PATA drive with a SATA drive. It would simply go between the SATA drive and connect to the ribbon cable of the Apple TV. Of course, this leads to the possibility of having a 500 gb internal drive for the ATV, and larger when those drives become available. Here are a few unknowns:

    • Will it fit inside the ATV with sufficient clearance so the bottom can be attached?
    • Will it work with the ATV? It provides a 5V line from the 44-pin ribbon, which the eSATA mod doesn't.
    If I had another Apple TV I'd give this a try. Looks like the only cost would be a new 500 gb drive (<$100) and the bridge ($25 or so with shipping). Anyone willing to give it a try?
     
  2. macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2006
    Location:
    Prestatyn, Wales, UK
    #2
    Very nice find Cave Man.

    If I can get one shipped to the UK, I'll certainly give it a go.
     
  3. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2009
    #3
    Didn't have much luck, anyone else?

    ok i got this little adapter and bought 500GB WD 2.5" SATA drive, created an image of the original ATV drive, restored it, connected - flashing question mark, tried several other methods to restore original ATV OS, etc - no luck. i would assume this little adapter just doesn't work...

    crap, it was waste of time and $25!

    if anyone else find out if this thing work please let me know, i will try to find some other adapter and see if that helps but at this point i entertain a thought of getting 320GB PATA drive with no adapters needed...
     
  4. thread starter macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    #4
    Well, that's a bummer. And you're confident that you built the hard drive ok? It can be tricky to get a bootable ATV hard drive.
     
  5. macrumors member

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2008
    Location:
    Derby, UK
    #5
    I have recently purchased a 500Gb SATA hard drive and one of the adapters that is frequently spoke about in the forum (PATA to SATA adapter). It's all working brilliantly, and I am now the proud owner of a 461Gb apple TV.

    However, I now face one last problem, it won't fit back into the Apple TV enclosure. I've attached a picture of the insides of Apple TV. The component that my new drive is fouling on is on the top left side of the picture (sorry, I couldn't edit the picture because I have no basic photo editing software :() and it appears to be a long strip of angled metal with a black foam piece secured to it. It looks to me like its a support piece for the base of Apple TV, but I don't want to start hacking away at it if it serves a more vital function (e.g. wifi aerial???)

    Can anybody confirm what this piece is and what it is??
     

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  6. thread starter macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    #6
    Nice work! Not sure if I can help you at this point as I never got that far. However, you must tell us which PATA to SATA adapter you're using.
     
  7. macrumors member

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2008
    Location:
    Derby, UK
    #7
    This is the adapter I used.....http://www.advantech.com.tw/products/SATA-to-IDE-(44-pin)-Converter-Module/mod_1-2QF48V.aspx

    It was the one mentioned in the MACNN forum in October 2008. I managed to find a UK stockist (as I live in the UK) who would buy the adapter from Advantech for me :D

    Can anybody tell me what that angled metal section is for, and whether it is ok to cut a slot in it to accommodate the adapter?? There doesn't appear to be any cables attached to it, and if I had my betting head on, I'd say it was just to support the base.

    I'll post a few pictures to show you all I'm not cheating :D
     
  8. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2009
    #8
  9. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2009
    #9
    ... and actually, now that I think about it... if the ribbon cable was causing the problem that Cave Man initially saw with this 44PIN-SATA Adapter, could you (potentially) plug the adapter directly into the ATV (Again, a physical size question), and then plug an extender from the 44PIN-SATA converter to the drive?
     
  10. macrumors member

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2008
    Location:
    Derby, UK
    #10
    Does anybody know of a SATA +power extension cable, it should really be as short as possible, no more than 50mm (2 inch, for our American friends :)), I think that may do the trick, as I could stack the SATA adapter on top of the hard drive, as it is very thin........it's worth a shot anyway.

    Does anybody know whether the angled section is just a support piece??

    Pictures, as promised....
     

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  11. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2009
    #11
    http://www.cooldrives.com/sainexca22ex.html

    That has a 12" one... smallest I've found so far. Might need to have a custom wire built (Doesn't seem particularly difficult... 22 wires (So says the man who hasn't soldered in 15 years))
     
  12. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2009
  13. macrumors 6502a

    mikeinternet

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2006
    Location:
    Oaklnad, CA
    #13
    Is it possible for apple to announce. "now you can plug in an external usb drive"?? Would be awesome even though it kind of voids the hard work.
     
  14. macrumors 603

    rgarjr

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2009
    Location:
    Los Angeles Area
    #14
    I'm trying to think why on earth did Apple pick the older style PATA interface than the new SATA one.
     
  15. macrumors 6502

    Billy Boo Bob

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2005
    Location:
    Dark Side Of The Moon
    #15
    They probably got a good deal on some obsolete parts. :p
     
  16. macrumors member

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2008
    Location:
    Derby, UK
    #16
    I bought a "straight through" and 90 degree sata + power cable today with the hope of placing the PATA to SATA adapter on top of the hard drive. Unfortunately this hasn't worked, and it appears that there is no where else within the Apple TV enclosure to stow the adapter.

    Therefore, my last and only option is to trim the angled section within the enclosure. I've finally attached a picture with the section in question.......so please please please can anybody tell me how important this piece is???
     

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  17. macrumors 601

    Tilpots

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2006
    Location:
    Carolina Beach, NC
    #17
    Take a look at these pics and descriptions from TechRepublic's disassembely, it describes the piece as a brace, and nothing more.

    [​IMG][​IMG]
     

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  18. macrumors 601

    Tilpots

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2006
    Location:
    Carolina Beach, NC
    #18
    Having trouble with the pics...:eek:
     

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  19. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2009
    #19
    I remembered that I do actually have an SATA drive at home that I can test this all on, so I went ahead and purchased a 44pin IDE->SATA converter (Not either of the two mentioned here... It's this one: http://usb.brando.com.hk/prod_detail.php?prod_id=00854&cat_id=032&dept_id=015)

    The nice thing about that converter is that the IDE is 90 degrees to the SATA... so I'm going to plug the converter directly into the appleTV (I'll have to trim the KEY pin from the apple TV, but that shouldn't be too much of a hassle). Then I'll just have a few inches of 22-pin SATA+power cable connected to the drive.

    It'll be a week or so before I have all of the pieces, but I figured I'd give you a shout out just in case you haven't gone cutting the metal of your appleTv yet.
     
  20. macrumors member

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2008
    Location:
    Derby, UK
    #20
    I'd be very interested to see if that works. It would be great if you could just attach a nice little SATA cable, plug in your SATA hard drive and everything fits perfectly :D As you are plugging directly into the apple tv board, have you checked that the 90 degree is the correct way?? It would be a shame if the correct way, made the adapter card go towards the transformer electronics (towards the left as opposed to the right on the picture I previously posted)

    Keep us all informed, this could be the answer to my prayers :)
     
  21. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2009
    #21
    It is going the correct way (I had that same thought), but it's a keyed connection (eg. PIN 20 is blocked). I will try just poking through the block with a pin, but if that doesn't work, I'll trim pin 20 on the ATV.

    I'm really hesitant to physically modify the apple TV, and with this setup, plus 8" of wire (Which I think would actually go AROUND the fan), then it might just work.

    I'll let y'all know when it's in, and put together. My ultimate wish is to have a 500+gb ATV which (from the outside) looks completely normal.

    ps- So tempted to buy the 7200.4 500Gb from Seagate... if only it wasn't back-ordered EVERYWHERE.
     
  22. macrumors member

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2008
    Location:
    Derby, UK
    #22
    I have bitten the bullet and adapted my Apple TV chassis. I used a Dremmel to grind a section out of the support piece.

    I've attached photo's to show what I have done. I had to remove the removal pieces from the IDE ribbon, but now everything fits in beautifully :D My base is now back on, and the hard drive is working perfectly.

    So......if you're daring (or stupid) enough to have a little go at the Apple TV, you can get it all to fit. :)
     

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  23. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2008
    Location:
    UK
    #23
    A possible source of shorter SATA cables is an external drive caddy. I just got one today that takes IDE or SATA, and it has an IDE ribbon and power cable about 50mm long and SATA and power cable about 100mm long.
     
  24. thread starter macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    #24
    Other than the adapter you posted above, are there any other parts you need to link us to? This is a nice job, and should be available to others.
     
  25. macrumors member

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2008
    Location:
    Derby, UK
    #25
    No, the only thing I used was the adapter. The existing IDE ribbon cable was used (I had to take off the plastic removal "handle"). If you're careful with the grinding wheel it's all very neat, and once assembled it fits brilliantly. I'm very pleased with the results.

    To all out there that are considering doing this, I'd say just go ahead and do it (unless your iTunes library really is huge, then the Cavemans esata mod maybe a better idea ;)) the idea behind taking a small grinding wheel to your beloved apple tv, is a lot worse than actually doing it. I personally, couldn't be happier with the results. And now, as 2.5 inch drives get bigger and bigger, I can just hot swap my drives whenever I want :)
     

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