Connecting a Drive and Board

Slimline DVD + custom cable + Intel NUC SBC

NGL, I get a bit overwhelmed when I look at a large project and start envisioning the big picture. I've found semi-recently that if I break the project into smaller pieces I have a much easier time working towards a solution.

slimeline DVD drive

In the case of the Rippington cluster, I need to focus on getting one blade of the cluster working and then I can focus on the cluster as a whole. The first step I'm going to take is getting a slimeline DVD drive connected to a NUC, which should (ideally) provide power as well as the obvious data connection.

figure 13, pg 42 of the Intel® NUC Board NUC5PPYB Technical Product Specification

Looking at the board diagram of the bottom of the board revels both a SATA connection (G) as well as a SATA power connection (F). The SATA connector uses standard SATA cable and it was easy enough to source a small cable from the old Optiplex computers before I trashed them. I also grabbed the small drive side power connector from the Optiplex power supplies.

table 12, pg 44 of the Intel® NUC Board NUC5PPYB Technical Product Specification

The description of connector F reveals that it uses a 5-pin Molex PicoBlade connector with a 1.25mm pitch. I was able to pick up a bunch of the correct cables on Digi-Key pretty cheap.

Using the PicoBlade wire as well as the salvaged SATA power cable I will assemble an adapter.

data cable (left), SATA power cable (middle), 5-pin Molex PicoBlade connector (right)

Step one, I cut the molex connector in two pieces. According to the chart above I only need pins 1 and 5 to supply +5V and ground to the drive.

cable trimmed down

For the three wires in the middle I trimmed them at differing lengths so that I could just put heat shrink tubing over them and not worry about the pins shorting out.

center wires heat shrunk together

When working with heat shrink tubing, always remember that when you connect two wires with connectors on their other ends, you want to put the tubing on before you solder the connections. If you don't, you will just have to unsolder and do everything over again.

always remember to place the heat shrink tubing on the wires before soldering!

Place heat shrink tubing over each of the wires (+5V and GND) so that they don't short each other out within the finished bundle.

two wires, soldered and heat shrunk

Finally, put a larger heat shrink tubing over the whole deal to keep everything neat and tidy in a single bundle.

finished adapter

Final moment of truth...

the slimline drive connected to our NUC SBC

We have power!