Alternatives to DASP# for Disk Activity Indication

Question: What are the alternatives to DASP# for Disk Activity Indication?



Connecting an LED to the DASP# signal is the most popular method of indicating disk activity, as demonstrated on the AT2LP development board.  However, some drives either do not support the use of DASP# as an activity indicator, or they interfere with the operation of other devices when the DASP# signal is shared.  Some designers require visual feedback to the user about disk activity, so the lack of DASP# support is a stumbling block for providing such a feature.  There are alternatives to the DASP# signal which will provide the same basic functionality. They include:

CS0# -- This signal is asserted any time registers are accessed or data is transferred in PIO mode.

DA0 -- This signal is asserted during all UDMA activity and any ALT-STAT register polls.  From a user's point of view, this would include all relavent disk activity.

Connecting an LED directly to these signals may change the rise/fall times of the signals, so care should be taken to ensure that overall ATA signal integrity is maintained if one or both of these signals is used as a disk activity indicator.