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Can I put a Zip drive on the same IDE cable as CD-ROM drives?

I just bought a Dell computer with a SATA disk drive. The computer came with two CD-ROMs installed. Can I put a Zip drive on the same IDE cable? How would I set it up?

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Usually the SATA disk drive uses a SATA connector, which looks very different from a regular IDE (ATA) connector. The CD-ROM drives that are connected are most likely on their own IDE bus and as such, depending on your system type, may be able to support putting another device on the IDE chain. Usually, on an IDE bus one should put the slowest IDE device at the end of the chain. So, if your Zip drive's access time is faster than the CD-ROM drives, it should go in front on the CD-ROM drives on the IDE bus. Check with the manufacturer of your computer to be sure as there are many different types of IDE controllers and your system may have some specifics that require you to install another IDE controller.

As far as setup is concerned, check the Zip drive documentation, and move the pins to either master or slave device on the controller, plug in the power connector (should be an extra cable of two coming from your power supply, if not, you can purchase a new power supply with additional power leads, or in some cases split one of the current power cables with an available splitter) and plug in the IDE connector. Make sure to securely screw the Zip drive into an open carrier and location in the system unit's housing. If an internal IDE unit won't fit, you can purchase a 5.25-inch IDE storage enclosure with a USE 2.0 port on it for under $50, and install it in the enclosure and hook the unit up via USB to your system and enjoy all of the benefits of the Zip drive.

Enjoy!

This was first published in October 2004

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