H653B hates SATA adapter? Read request frozen forever

It is too much of a pity, that the infamous and crippling SCSi deadlock/bottleneck exists at all, instead of the ability to monitor the status of the drive DURING struggling with damaged discs. There should be a something like forensic API.

But there are two parts that hate each other:
My SATA adapter, originally manufactured by RenkForce (M/N VE633E): https://www.conrad.de/de/usb-30-zu-ide-sata-konverter-976534.html
…and our TS-H653B (technically identical to WriteMaster™ SH-S203D).

I have not tested it with any other SATA adapter, because the other one we have only supplies 11V, which is insufficient for any good operation.

Here is what happens:
Fisrt of all, the SATA/IDE lights on the VE633E device have no meaning.

Disclaimer: USB3.0 and IDE are also as blue as the SATA light when switched on, which is not shown in the picture.
Both SATA and IDE blink occasionally during operation via UltraATA (which works nearly flawless) and SATA.

Sometimes, they change, sometimes blink simultaneously. They keep blinking for a while after unplugging the drive from the adapter. On some computers, they blink faster
The lights are idle if there are no reading requests.

If a GDR8162B(UltraATA)'s read request failed for too long, the adapter will just freeze forever, even after drive ejection, and both SATA and IDE go off.

The problem:
The two tested SATA disc drives:

  • HL-DT-ST GDR-H20N.
  • TSSTcorp TS-H653B.

When trying to read any (undamaged too!) disc using H653B, it works normally for a few seconds.
The meaningless SATA and IDE lights on the device are both on, only IDE blinks. The light for USB 3.0 is only on when USB 3.0 is actually used, but makes no difference to the bug.
After a few seconds, the reading just stops. Tried with TYG02 (Tiger DVD-R) too. Reads normally for a few seconds, then freezes. The IDE light on the adapter switches off, SATA stays on for around a minute, then also switches off, leaving the solely red power light alone (all other 3 lights on the adapter are blue).
The reading stops forever, even after opening the tray (using the button on the drive itself of course).

On the H20N, the exact same problem does occur, but only occasionally and with different discs.
Approximate values when reading discs:

  • Factory pressed CDDA/CD-ROM: Freezing does never happen.
  • CD-R:
    • Data CD-R discs: never freeze, even damaged discs.
  • AudioCDDA-R: Dependant on speed?: ×52 DAE freezes after ~15s, while an ×40 DAE does freeze after a minute.
  • CD-RW did not freeze in my test.
  • DVD-ROM (factory pressed software disc): At full ×16 reading speed, freezes somewhere around 1,3GB of read data. Sometimes freezes after 900MB, sometimes after 2GB. But mostly aronud 1,3GB.
  • DVD±R/RW: After a few minutes of operation, no pattern detectable.
  • DVD-RAM: Untested yet.

Something I noticed right now: As already said, the IDE light on the adapter completely goes dark when the freezing occurs. SATA light stays one for 1 minute, then goes off for 5 seconds, then blinks two or three times, then starts again from staying on for one minute. After pulling out the VE633E, the SATA light goes off after 10 seconds, and stays off for around 2 minutes, even after plugging it back in, which just powers the drive on. Then, after plugging it out, the SATA light stays on and blinks ONCE every 30 seconds, but keeps repeating the same pattern: Stay on for various times…
Apparently, there is no definitive pattern to that. More important information:

The only ways to unfreeze from the long deadlock:

  • Disconnect USB to the VE633E from the PC.
  • This switches off the SATA light forever until actual poweroff (as described in next bullet point). Plugging it back in again without re-powering (switch →off→on) does only power on the drive, not enable any data access.
  • Disabling power supply towards the adapter and then re-enabling is the only way to unfreeze that adapter.

So this does strictly suggest, that the VE633E has a flaw.

Thank you for taking efforts with digging into the problem. Has any of you experienced anything similar? Please let us know then. :clapper:

You want to stay away from any adapters when trying to recover data, and interface with the drive as directly as possible with a real IDE or SATA controller. Otherwise, you’re introducing an unnecessary translation layer which may not always relay your commands to the device the way you want it to. Most of these adapters have their own ‘hardware read retry’ counter (may be controllable with vendor-specific commands, if you’re lucky), so you’re easily multiplying the wait time on bad sectors by an order of magnitude.

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Thanks again.
How have you obtained this level of knowledge?

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Mostly just observation and occasional googling. I’ve been tinkering with all kinds of electronics for about 10 years.

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Are you still there, @Ceym6464?
You were inactive since a few weeks.

@Vogelschreck Do you operate your TS-H653B internally or externally?

External via USB

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