Acer Aspire One AOA110L 500GB hard drive mod

by subacati

When I bought my computer, I specifically went looking for one that came with Linux. (Yeah I know I'm a nerd, so what? :left:)
The only one I could find was the Acer Aspire One AOA110L netbook. This little computer comes with Linpus Linux Lite :yuck: and a tiny 8GB ssd! :insane:.
I quickly replaced Linpus with Ubuntu, but at the time I had no way of replacing the ssd. :awww:. …

I came across this drive mod by tnkgrl a long time ago and i"ve been looking for a 1.8" drive ever since. The only one I've found in South Africa so far is this one.
Needless to say, at 8000 Rand for only 64GB I'd be better off spending 8000 Rand on a new computer! :rolleyes:.

Then, while I was up in Bethlehem last week I found a 500GB usb 2.5" hard drive! for ZAR800! :hat:.
That's ten percent of the price for nearly ten times the space!!! :yikes:.
I remembered this 2.5" hard drive mod so I bought it! :happy:.

Now in that mod they use a sata cable, but since the drive I bought had a built-in usb to sata converter, I simply cannabilised the sata connector from that! :up:. Of course, it wasn't perfect since the connector was a vertical mounting type and I needed a horizontal mounting type, but I made it work anyway! (it only took 15 hours! :faint:)

Now I learned something about sata connectors and the Acer Aspire One while doing this.
The following diagrams show the pin layout for sata.

The data side has seven pins, three of which are ground connections. The power side has 15 pins five of which are ground connections. On the Acer Aspire One motherboard, none of the ground connections have holes all the way through! :left:. That's right, you can't really connect the ground pins because there are no holes for them. (a suitable surface mount connector might work though!)
So how can this work? Well, all the ground pins on the the drive are connected to to chassis of the drive, so Acer just decided that the chassis is already a big enough ground connector! :rolleyes:.
Acer has also left the three 3.3v connectors solid, so there appears to be no easy way to get 3.3v to the drive. But don't worry, sata drives actually only use the 3.3v if there is no 5v connection, as would normally be the case in a modern embedded device.
The other pin that can't be connected is pin number 8 on the power side. For some reason, this connection is also solid. :up:.

So to sum up;
Connect pins 2, 3, 5 and 6 from the data side, and connect pins 7, 9, 11, 13, 14 and 15 from the power side. Make sure the drive's chassis is in good contact with the metallic coating on the inside of the Aspire One's case, or connect connected via a grounding cable by securing it to one of the M3 mounting holes on the side of the drive. (the other end of the grounding cable to be soldered or secured to a suitable ground connection.)

Now my netbook has a little more storage space!! :D:happy:.

Update

I was having intermittent problems relating to the Hard Drive after installing it!

Dec 13 11:44:01 qlue-AOA110 kernel: [   41.820048] ata1: lost interrupt (Status 0x50)
Dec 13 11:44:01 qlue-AOA110 kernel: [   41.820684] ata1: soft resetting link
Dec 13 11:44:01 qlue-AOA110 kernel: [   42.456961] ata1.00: configured for UDMA/133
Dec 13 11:44:01 qlue-AOA110 kernel: [   42.456982] ata1.00: device reported invalid CHS sector 0
Dec 13 11:44:01 qlue-AOA110 kernel: [   42.457015] ata1: EH complete

Dec 12 16:38:43 qlue-AOA110 kernel: [ 7228.001078] ata1: lost interrupt (Status 0x50)
Dec 12 16:38:43 qlue-AOA110 kernel: [ 7228.001121] ata1.00: exception Emask 0x0 SAct 0x0 SErr 0x0 action 0x6 frozen
Dec 12 16:38:43 qlue-AOA110 kernel: [ 7228.001135] ata1.00: failed command: FLUSH CACHE EXT
Dec 12 16:38:43 qlue-AOA110 kernel: [ 7228.001158] ata1.00: cmd ea/00:00:00:00:00/00:00:00:00:00/a0 tag 0
Dec 12 16:38:43 qlue-AOA110 kernel: [ 7228.001162]          res 40/00:00:00:4f:c2/00:00:00:00:00/40 Emask 0x4 (timeout)
Dec 12 16:38:43 qlue-AOA110 kernel: [ 7228.001172] ata1.00: status: { DRDY }
Dec 12 16:38:43 qlue-AOA110 kernel: [ 7228.001201] ata1: soft resetting link
Dec 12 16:38:43 qlue-AOA110 kernel: [ 7228.652911] ata1.00: configured for UDMA/133
Dec 12 16:38:43 qlue-AOA110 kernel: [ 7228.652942] ata1.00: retrying FLUSH 0xea Emask 0x4
Dec 12 16:38:43 qlue-AOA110 kernel: [ 7228.653347] ata1.00: device reported invalid CHS sector 0
Dec 12 16:38:43 qlue-AOA110 kernel: [ 7228.653384] ata1: EH complete
Dec 12 16:41:59 qlue-AOA110 kernel: [ 7424.008353] ata1: lost interrupt (Status 0x50)
Dec 12 16:41:59 qlue-AOA110 kernel: [ 7424.008386] ata1.00: exception Emask 0x0 SAct 0x0 SErr 0x0 action 0x6 frozen
Dec 12 16:41:59 qlue-AOA110 kernel: [ 7424.008397] ata1.00: failed command: WRITE DMA EXT
Dec 12 16:41:59 qlue-AOA110 kernel: [ 7424.008412] ata1.00: cmd 35/00:88:a0:fc:53/00:00:23:00:00/e0 tag 0 dma 69632 out
Dec 12 16:41:59 qlue-AOA110 kernel: [ 7424.008415]          res 40/00:00:00:4f:c2/00:00:00:00:00/40 Emask 0x4 (timeout)
Dec 12 16:41:59 qlue-AOA110 kernel: [ 7424.008422] ata1.00: status: { DRDY }
Dec 12 16:41:59 qlue-AOA110 kernel: [ 7424.008441] ata1: soft resetting link
Dec 12 16:41:59 qlue-AOA110 kernel: [ 7424.653843] ata1.00: configured for UDMA/133
Dec 12 16:41:59 qlue-AOA110 kernel: [ 7424.653861] ata1.00: device reported invalid CHS sector 0
Dec 12 16:41:59 qlue-AOA110 kernel: [ 7424.653891] ata1: EH complete
Dec 12 16:42:45 qlue-AOA110 kernel: [ 7470.017151] ata1: lost interrupt (Status 0x50)
Dec 12 16:42:45 qlue-AOA110 kernel: [ 7470.017195] ata1.00: exception Emask 0x0 SAct 0x0 SErr 0x0 action 0x6 frozen
Dec 12 16:42:45 qlue-AOA110 kernel: [ 7470.017212] ata1.00: failed command: FLUSH CACHE EXT
Dec 12 16:42:45 qlue-AOA110 kernel: [ 7470.017241] ata1.00: cmd ea/00:00:00:00:00/00:00:00:00:00/a0 tag 0
Dec 12 16:42:45 qlue-AOA110 kernel: [ 7470.017247]          res 40/00:00:00:4f:c2/00:00:00:00:00/40 Emask 0x4 (timeout)
Dec 12 16:42:45 qlue-AOA110 kernel: [ 7470.017261] ata1.00: status: { DRDY }
Dec 12 16:42:45 qlue-AOA110 kernel: [ 7470.017289] ata1: soft resetting link
Dec 12 16:42:45 qlue-AOA110 kernel: [ 7470.660817] ata1.00: configured for UDMA/133
Dec 12 16:42:45 qlue-AOA110 kernel: [ 7470.660831] ata1.00: retrying FLUSH 0xea Emask 0x4
Dec 12 16:42:45 qlue-AOA110 kernel: [ 7470.661222] ata1.00: device reported invalid CHS sector 0
Dec 12 16:42:45 qlue-AOA110 kernel: [ 7470.661252] ata1: EH complete
Dec 12 16:43:57 qlue-AOA110 kernel: [ 7542.016069] ata1: lost interrupt (Status 0x50)
Dec 12 16:43:57 qlue-AOA110 kernel: [ 7542.016111] ata1.00: limiting speed to UDMA/100:PIO4
Dec 12 16:43:57 qlue-AOA110 kernel: [ 7542.016124] ata1.00: exception Emask 0x0 SAct 0x0 SErr 0x0 action 0x6 frozen
Dec 12 16:43:57 qlue-AOA110 kernel: [ 7542.016139] ata1.00: failed command: READ DMA EXT
Dec 12 16:43:57 qlue-AOA110 kernel: [ 7542.016160] ata1.00: cmd 25/00:40:40:03:0a/00:00:3a:00:00/e0 tag 0 dma 32768 in
Dec 12 16:43:57 qlue-AOA110 kernel: [ 7542.016164]          res 40/00:00:00:4f:c2/00:00:00:00:00/40 Emask 0x4 (timeout)
Dec 12 16:43:57 qlue-AOA110 kernel: [ 7542.016175] ata1.00: status: { DRDY }
Dec 12 16:43:57 qlue-AOA110 kernel: [ 7542.016199] ata1: soft resetting link
Dec 12 16:43:57 qlue-AOA110 kernel: [ 7542.656980] ata1.00: configured for UDMA/100
Dec 12 16:43:57 qlue-AOA110 kernel: [ 7542.657005] ata1.00: device reported invalid CHS sector 0
Dec 12 16:43:57 qlue-AOA110 kernel: [ 7542.657056] ata1: EH complete

I suspected that it wasn't grounded adequately, so I opened up my netbook again and added a proper grounding cable! It's been working fine since then! :up:.

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