How to Build an IDE USB Adapter

By Ruri Ranbe

Integrated drive electronics (IDE) refers to interface hard disk drives used to connect internally to the motherboard. Desktop hard drives require a 40-pin cable to connect to the motherboard, whereas laptop hard drives require a 44-pin connector. Unlike IDE, the universal serial bus (USB) connects externally to the motherboard through a USB port located on the device panel. An IDE-to-USB adapter allows you to connect an IDE hard drive to a computer through a USB interface.

Things You'll Need

  • Crosshead screwdriver
  • Antistatic wrist strap
  • Tweezers

Step 1

Put on an antistatic wrist strap on your wrist to protect the IDE drive from electrostatic discharge (ESD). Remove the IDE hard drive from its antistatic bag.

Step 2

Use a pair of tweezers to set the jumpers on the hard drive. Configure the hard drive as "Slave" or "Cable Select."

Step 3

Insert the 40-pin interface on the side of the adapter into the 40-pin connection on the rear of the IDE hard drive.

Step 4

Connect the 4-pin peripheral power cable to the 4-pin connection located next to the jumpers.

Step 5

Plug the power supply into a wall outlet. Plug the USB cable connected to the IDE/USB adapter into a USB slot on the computer.

Step 6

Install on the computer any software included with the IDE/USB adapter.

Tips & Warnings

  • Check the manual included with your desktop IDE hard drive to determine how to properly configure the jumpers on the drive.
  • USB-to-IDE desktop hard drive adapters won't connect to IDE laptop hard drives; 2.5-inch laptop IDE hard drives require an adapter with a 44-pin connector.
  • Electrostatic discharge, a form of electricity, can permanently damage your IDE hard drive. Never handle computer hardware without first grounding yourself.