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Submission + - Is the SATA power connector design flawed? 8

An anonymous reader writes: My computer caught fire today. I saw flames and smoke coming out. When I opened it I saw that the SATA power connector on the back of my samsung DVD drive was cooked. I looked around on the internet and found that I was not alone. A lot of other people have already reported their computer catching fire and almost all of them caught fire exactly the same way, the SATA power connector was burnt. In some cases it was an HDD and in others it was a DVD or blue ray drive but invariable the fire started at the SATA power connector.

Now I am wondering if the there is a fundamental flaw in the power connector design causing the fire? I am not sure where to complain or send feedback so that it gets aggregated and someone in the industry can take action and possibly work on changing the connector design. So I am writing on slashdot.
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Is the SATA power connector design flawed?

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  • Would like to see the damage done.
    • Here are the pictures of the drive and the connector: []
      • by catsRus ( 548036 )
        Looks to me like they got the 12V and it's ground wire too hot when molding the connector and weakened the insulation. This does not look to me like a failure of the connector specifically. Troubling is that the plastic caught on fire, UL approved stuff wouldn't do this. Do you know the brand of the molex to SATA adapter? This is just an opinion based on 2 pictures and a little data. So take it with a ton of salt. :)
        • If I remember correctly the adapter came with the samsung drive. I can't read the print on it since it has been burnt. IMO the design should be such that it can tolerate some manufacturing imperfections or aberrations. I can't imagine such a problem in a molex even if it is a cheap one unless it is really very crappy or badly damaged.
          • by unitron ( 5733 )

            It looks like the metal ends of 12V line and the ground next to it, which should have been kept apart by a divider in the plastic shell, were not kept apart, or something conductive got between them, and either way, enough current flowed to heat up the metal ends considerably.

            Tell Samsung they owe you a new drive and a new adapter.

  • The edge connector on the circuit board or the connector coming from the power supply?

    Somewhere along the line one of the three "hot" lines(+12, +5, and +3.3 Volts) didn't have enough resistance between it and ground, most likely. If one of the hot lines touched another current would flow because of the voltage difference from the less positive to the more positive one, but the design of the connector puts grounds between those 3.

    Unless something in the DVD drive went bad and was drawing too much current,

    • Both edge connector on the drive as well as the connector from the power supply were burnt. I cannot say where the fire originated but it looks like the power supply connector is burnt much more. But it could be because it had more plastic.

      BTW, the drive was not in use at the time. The power connector was a molex type to SATA type connector so I believe it did not have a 3.3v line. Could that be the reason somehow? Or could it be because the spacing between the adjacent pins is not enough? If the connect
    • The model of the samsung DVD writer is SH-S223.

Thus spake the master programmer: "When a program is being tested, it is too late to make design changes." -- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"