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3.5 HDD with laptop motherboard


Hi, I wasn’t sure where to post this, please let me know if it can be moved to another category.

I repurposed an old Acer E11 netbook as a headless file server for my home, and I have a 1 TB 3.5" HDD lying around I wanted to connect to it, will an HDD drive work with a laptop’s internal SATA connector? I’d really prefer to connect it to the internal SATA port using a small SATA extension instead of buying one of those SATA-to-USB adapters and a external supply. Thank you!


From what I’m reading on the iFIX it guide, the current storage is currently 32GB flash memory that is attached. There is not a sata connector available from the pictures that I am seeing.

SATA-to-USB might be the easiest route to go…


It may work, but the internal SATA connector from the laptop may not provide the proper voltage or current. Laptop hard drives often only use 5V whereas desktop drives use 5V and 12V.

If you happen to have a multimeter you can always poke around and check.


As far as I know, there is no minimal current requirement for SATA ports and between 2.5’’ and 3.5’’ HDDs there is quite a difference in current requirements (although it mostly depends on the spin up time of the drive too). In practice this means it is not guaranteed that a 3.5’’ drive will definitely work on a device that was not designed to accommodate 3.5’’ drives.

It may work but it may not. I have tried the same kind of project as you are doing right now and in my case it did not work. The hard drive tried to spin up and immediately shut down again repeatedly because the voltage dropped.

What you can do however is to use the sata data port and provide power some other way. It depends on how much much of a DIY solution you want to build.


Thank you for sharing your experiences! @geep The OS is currently running off a class 10 SD card, that’s why I wanted to take advantage of the unused SATA port. BTW I this is not new, this setup has been working for about 2 months now and I connected the drive using one of these

because I had it lying around too, and it works really well, but I only have 1 and today I needed to get some files out of another HDD and decided to ask for advice on this, since the original plan was to connect it internally. I will check the voltage as @w.meri says


if you are using one of those adapters its output voltage is 12 volts for the 3.5 inch drive
the laptop internal sata output is 5 volt and may not be able to run the 3.5 without possibly burning out the supply circuitry on the mobo.