PC won't start with HDD connected

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I recently but together a new PC however I've run into quite the snag. When I try and connect any HDD (I've tried a few) the PC won't boot. I cannot even get the the BIOS as the PC locks up refusing to respond to anything forcing me to power cycle it. I suspect the MB might be faulty but I bought this board a long time ago and was only using the dual M.2 ssd so the SATA ports where never used till now.

I am trying to determine 2 things, if the MB SATA ports are really dead or if there is something more I can do to test/fix the issue. And if MicroCenter has any sort of return policy in case like this?

  • MSI B550 Gaming Carbon Wifi

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  • Shoan041
    Shoan041 ✭✭✭✭
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    I would try to see if one of the SATA drives will work in a different SATA port. NVME slots can disable SATA ports when they are in use. Check your motherboard manual to see if and which lanes are disabled.

  • adjoth
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    The motherboard I am using does not disable a SATA port but instead one of the PCIe16. I did try all the SATA port with different HDDs but the PC still cound not enter it's bootup phase. All the debug LEDs flash once before the PC powers off again, and the system soft locks.

  • PowerSpec_MikeW
    PowerSpec_MikeW PowerSpec Engineer
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    @adjoth

    A thought here based on what you stated. You said you never used a SATA drive before. I assume that also means you never used the SATA power cable from your PSU before either. This may a factor here. Is the PSU modular?

    My theory is that maybe some modular cables got swapped around. HDD's are 5V, if you're connecting 12V to 5V you'll trip the TVS diode. This will cause the symptoms you're seeing with multiple drives.

  • adjoth
    adjoth
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    edited July 2022
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    @TSMikeW

    That is entirely possible, I do have another modular PSU so I could have gotten them mixed up. I will look around to see if some of the others work. Maybe I grabbed the wrong set.

    Update:

    You may have solve one mystery, but another apears. Swapping out the SATA power cables did resolve the issue with the PC not start. However the HDDs are still not showing up, nor spining up. Disk Manager cound not find em, BIOS could not see them. And oddly the 2nd M.2 decided to take a trip cause it was no longer showing up. I reseated the M.2 and it shows, but for some reason it drops when something is plugged into the SATA ports. But I eventally got it to show up, unpluging and repluging the HDD (just using one to test) and got the 2nd M.2 to say around. The HDD on the other hand is still a no show. Disk Manager/BIOS don't seem to reconize it.

    This is the only other set of SATA power cables I have, so gonna keep testing. But at the moment as things stand the PC boots, but the HDDs don't show up. None of the 3 do. Trying just a single HDD yeild the same results. The system SHOULD have enought power (750W) for the rig so I don't believe it is that, but the fact that the HDDs are spinning up when turnned on makes me question everything.

  • adjoth
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    Looks like I am not free of the vanishing m.2 either, when testing various things it will vanish at random. In the BIOS it says nothing is detected however it will show up in Disk Manager and Windows Explorer. Other times it just gone, maybe something is connected.

  • PowerSpec_MikeW
    PowerSpec_MikeW PowerSpec Engineer
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    @adjoth

    TVS diodes are designed not to open under overcurrent. However if that was the issue, you did send 12V to a 5V connection. You may have blown the TVS diode and that's basically a dead PCB on the drive. I'd connect them to a PC with a USB-SATA bridge and see if they're functioning at all first. Is the M.2 SATA or NVME?

  • adjoth
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    @TSMikeW

    I am not entirely sure if I understand your questions, but these are all HDDs. Mechanical drives, that are having issues. The others are two NVMEs that are connected are both working... mostly. As the one stil likes to pull a vanishing act.

    I did connect the HDDs via USB-SATA but they don't seem to be spinning up, much less getting detected by the OS.

  • adjoth
    adjoth
    Name Dropper First Comment
    edited July 2022
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    From the sounds of things I've fried my HDDs (x3) and the SSD (x1) I used for testing and am SOL. What I don't understand is why a SATA cable would have a different voltage to being with?

    SATA is SATA? Why would one pass 12v while another passes 5v? The cables have no voltage labels at all so without a multimeter you'd have no way of knowing what voltage they are at.

    If my understanding is correct, is the differenace in voltage by the number of pins connected to the PSU? Or the other way around. I am looking at the cables and they seem identical. Both have 4 SATA Power connectors, however I do have one that only has 3, does the set of four have a different voltage than the set of 3? For the record, the Corsar PSU is the one in the system I am troubleshooting.

    • Seasonic - LB55
    • Corsair 34-0 00384
    • Corsair 34-0 00374
  • PowerSpec_MikeW
    PowerSpec_MikeW PowerSpec Engineer
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    @adjoth

    With modular PSU's you'll run into different pinouts based on the manufacturer of the unit. Seasonic manufactures their own units, Corsair does not. A while ago, Seasonic was Corsair's OEM, but I don't believe that's the case anymore. They modify the cables to fit the correct pinout. Example they may use the CPU 8 pin for all the connectors and PCIe, but you'll notice the PCIe cable has the two pins one one side connected to a single ground pin, so you're not shorting against the CPU 8's 12V. You want to be extremely careful here. Most of the time unit just won't turn on, you'll hear an audible click to indicate the short.


    If the drives aren't working on a SATA bridge with an independent power supply, it's very likely they're dead. The reason I asked about the drive, if you have M.2 SATA, it can disable certain SATA ports based on its installed location.

  • adjoth
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    @TSMikeW

    That clears up the M.2 part, according to my boards manual it takes up a PCIe lane instead of one of the SATA ports.

    As for modular SATA Power Cables, would that mean the only way to tell if your connecting the correct cable for your PSU would be to test it with a multimeter? I would hate to find out that I can the incorrect wire yet again (which is unlikely as its the only other modular PSU I own) but If I have to be worried about PIN layout, Year the PSU was manufactured. A multimeter seems like the only viable way of confirming voltage. To summarise, is there a good way to make sure you haven't mixed up your cables?

  • PowerSpec_MikeW
    PowerSpec_MikeW PowerSpec Engineer
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    @adjoth

    Usually it disables PCIe if the drive is NVME and SATA ports if the drive is SATA. I looked up your board, and you're correct. It doesn't disable any ports.

    You could check it with a multimeter. You could also look at companies that make replacement cables, they usually group them if compatible. Just always check, don't even assume it'll match by a vendor. Usually if they have a wide range of products, they'll use different OEM's. Like with Corsair, the C-Series, the RM series and the AX/HX are all different. There's also some mixing with the RM and RMx units to watch out for.

  • adjoth
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    Im still looking into the vanishing NVME, so far no luck. I'm thinking it maybe a poor connection? MB issue? The secondary NVME is pretty well secured so I am thinking a MB issue. Its pretty hard to test since I have no way of knowing if its not showing up due to it simply not working randomly, or if the test caused it.

    So far however seems like almost every other time its turned out it will toggle between working and not working. Normally I'd think it's a poor connection but the NVME is well secure and reseating it doesn't seem to work as a permanent fix.

    Some souces suggest a BIOS issue, as I am on the latest for my board that seems possible but I haven't found any supporting forms/documentation online which may suggest that is the case. In addion, related to the HDD issue, I tried flashing the BIOS to see if that'd help. So am somewhat doubtful that the BIOS would be at fault in two different version, I cannot recall what it was at prior, but I know I jump a couple version with the upgrade. So at this point I am considering it fault board or fault NVME.

  • PowerSpec_MikeW
    PowerSpec_MikeW PowerSpec Engineer
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    @adjoth

    You mentioned with the NVME drive you were unplugging the SATA drive to get it to show up? Did you mean you were doing this with the system on, or were you shutting it down, then doing that?

  • Shoan041
    Shoan041 ✭✭✭✭
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    At this point, you may want to bring it into one of the stores for diagnosis. We'll be able to test each part individually and then you can have them fix whatever is holding it up.

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