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Installation Issues


Sec 4: Installation Issues


4-1: The Real World, Installation, Cable being too short, Checking BIOS.

OK that was the Basics as explained by PC World

These are additional tips that come from personal experience and from the many people from Dell-Talk and other forums. Most of the PCs now also have a Zip drive, therefor having 4 IDE devices. This seems to be the preferred set-up:

Primary IDE: Hard-drive / Master; Zip / Slave. Dell ships Cable Select, Cable Select means that the position of the device on the cable determines master/slave, the end connector is the Master. You may leave as Cable Select, it will work.. It is highly recommended NOT to place CD/RW device on the Primary channel with your Hard-drive. See: Why not CD/RW and Hard drive on same Channel

Secondary IDE: CD-RW / Master; CD-ROM (DVD) / Slave. The CD-RW just seems to work better as Master, less headaches and about 98% of the Manufacturers recommend setting it as Master. I have not yet seen Cable Select as an option, except from Dell. I'm not saying it will not work, try it if you like, many members do with no problems. Also some set the CD-RW as Slave and stated no problems, this will work.

Now for the Master / Slave issue, almost all Manufacturers recommend setting the CD/RW as Master and one of the first questions if you call for support usually is, " Is the device set as Master?" One Tech told me that when a signal is sent to an IDE channel it will default to Drive 0 and since the CD/RW puts such a demand on your system and requires a constant stream of data, it will work more efficiently at the Master setting. I could not and would not argue the fact "more efficiently", most people just want it to work and it will or can work as Master / Slave, Slave / Master, and Cable Select. But remember, what may work for someone may not for another, even the same system has different devices, software, drivers, etc~~sometimes it`s "trail & error" especially with older devices.

As you can see there are many possibilities but for now CD/RW -Master & CD-ROM (DVD) - Slave, is still the preferred set-up.


Note: See ATA/ATAPI-5 for additional info.

Cable being too short has been a big issue. Some people have had to move the HD to a 3.5 bay, this seems to work best and you might be able to use your original cable. I've heard you have to use Dell's cable, I'm sorry that's just not true but you will see various posts on this subject and regardless of the Pros & Cons, many people are changing IDE cables with positive result. A IDE Cable to consider is the Ultra ATA/66. This cable adds 40 additional ground lines between each of the original 40 ground and signal lines, which help shield the signal from interference. This cable supports the Cable Select feature and works with older non-ultra-ATA devices as well.

You are recommended to stay under the 18" limit on length for this type of data cable. This has been a big issue also, the 18 inch limit is due to the physical properties of the Data Cable itself not the distance the signal can travel.. Here is a quote from an experienced Technician on the subject of cable length. I'm sure he does not mind. "The 18 inch distance is for the cable itself and involves the physical properties of the cable. It's not the maximum distance that the signal can travel...for example if the distance from the controller to the port was 20 inches on the motherboard it would make absolutely no difference in the world. However, when you're talking about a cable, you're talking about signal dissipation (i.e. the loss in signal strength as the current flows across the cable). As an example, the maximum distance for Ethernet over CAT5 cable (similar to phone line) is 300ft.....after 300 ft you start to get a loss in signal and irregularities in performance. however of you connect a signal regenerator every 295ft you could go on for quite some time. So you can understand that its not the signal that can only travel 18 inches, it's the signal on the cable because of the physical properties of the cable itself. If the cable were fiber optic it could travel about 2 KM without signal loss."  The cable comes in a variety of lengths and you can pick one up most computer stores under $10.00.

Some Known Issues:

Dell uses a special data cable for Cable Select, if you encounter a problem of your system not recognizing the CD/RW using Master / Slave set-up, first check your BIOS to insure that both Secondary devices are set on Auto, if this setting is correct, then the problem may be Dells cable. You have the option of changing both drives jumpers to Cable Select, use the cable that came with the CD/RW or purchase a different data cable. Most people have not experienced this problem but it can be an issue.

Checking BIOS settings:   After entering your BIOS set-up screen ( usually hitting delete when Dells logo appears ) you can check and change these settings by using the directions at the bottom of the page which will instruct you on how to navigate your BIOS , but be Fore - Warned, messing around, changing various settings, values, unless you are experienced in this field can adversely affect your system. Using your instructions, navigate to Advanced, under IDE Configuration, make sure IDE Controller is set to Both, if you plan on having a device attached to Primary Slave, it will need to be set to Auto, the same applies to the Secondary Master and Slave, just follow your instructions and you should not have any problems.

Also I have read that when they had their CD-ROM (DVD) as Master, CD/RW as Slave, they were not able to burn " on the fly ", but reversing the setting worked, others said the exact opposite. The DMA setting is another example, I dare say that 95% of the People state, UN-check DMA box on CD/RW, others claim DMA works for them, then some have had to UN-check DMA on both devices.

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4-2: L____series Options

Dell`s L___series has only one 5.25" internal bay. You may order it with a CD/RW pre-installed instead of a DVD or CD-ROM now. If you have a DVD or CD-ROM and wish to add CD/RW, your options are externally; USB, SCSI, Firewire and soon USB-2 which is designed to compete with Firewire`s speed, avoid Parallel. You can also remove your existing DVD/CD-ROM and replace it with a CD/RW. If you choose this route, then Go to Device Manager | click "+" next to CD-ROM | select your CD-ROM | click Remove. If you have hardware decoding for DVD then remove the reference to this as well. Shut down and remove / install. Should be burning in no time at all, good luck.

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