Safe to use Foam under Harddrive?

Silencing hard drives, optical drives and other storage devices

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RLiu818
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Safe to use Foam under Harddrive?

Post by RLiu818 » Sun Jul 11, 2004 11:05 pm

Is it safe to rest a Harddrive directly on a flat area of foam? So pretty much everything on the bottom of the hardrive (motor, pcb) is lying on top of the foam.

Is there any danger to this? Overheating or small foam particles getting on the pcb etc?

C-Note
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Post by C-Note » Mon Jul 12, 2004 4:03 am

I tried running my 120 GB Hitachi Deskstar 180GXP on just a piece of foam and it worked just fine. I can't say anything about the long-term effects though.

What made me revert back to normal mounting after a few weeks was the fact that the drive's idle temp increased from 39 C to 51 C when placed on the foam (I have no fans besides the one on the CPU heatsink and inside the PSU).

ChucuSCAD
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Post by ChucuSCAD » Mon Jul 12, 2004 5:40 am

I have had an older maxtor, don't know the model #, sitting in the bottem of my parents computer on a piece of foam for over a year now running 24x7. So far so good. I am sure others here have run longer.


chucuSCAD
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je_zza
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Post by je_zza » Mon Jul 12, 2004 5:44 am

I've been doing it for a few months now 24/7, I don't think it is dangerous, i'm pretty sure i remember reading somewhere (here?) that it was fine. I think its just as good as using elastic (which i do in my old system) and less fiddling around when you want to change drives. You need to have a fan blowing over the hdd to keep the temps down thou. I've got a 120gb 7200.7 sata. I'm using some foam that was the packaging with my leadtek tv card!

nick705
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Post by nick705 » Mon Jul 12, 2004 6:02 am

I think it's something I'd try and avoid, but if you want to go ahead, why not turn the drive "upside down" so to speak, so that the PCB is facing upwards. IIRC, this is the hottest part of the drive assembly and is also more likely to suffer from heat-related failure than the actual mechanics (someone correct me if I've got this wrong).

You'd have to find a way of stopping it from slipping and sliding around of course...perhaps Velcro pads or something similar would do it.

tay
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Post by tay » Mon Jul 12, 2004 6:18 am

I believe a hot chip was the culprit for a lot of the IBM 60GXP failures. However, the platter/head assembly dimensions change with temperature due to metal expansion. I know differences in temperatures during read/writes can lead to read or write errors after which your drive starts marking those sectors bad and relocating data to other sectors.

However, I have a drive running at 40-42C for a year sitting upside-down on foam. The reason I flipped mine is that the metal on the PCB side is thicker and seems to be hotter than the flipside. I've tried both ways and you're fine provided you watch the temps.

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Inexplicable
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Post by Inexplicable » Mon Jul 12, 2004 8:32 am

You can always give the hard drive some "feet" to stand on, so the underbelly gets some airflow as well. A couple of flat metal plates, fixed on each side, will do.

alleycat
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Post by alleycat » Mon Jul 12, 2004 5:32 pm

I added this idea to the silent storage sticky a few weeks ago. I was fortunate to have an easily-detachable drive cage; others may need to drill out their rivets or find an old one from a defunct case. The HDD is screwed into the cage as usual. Two holes were drilled in the bottom of the case to allow me to hold the whole thing down with bell wire, which is easy to twist/untwist if I want to change anything. The foam block is quite spongy and about 5cm thick. I don't think it should be much thinner than this before vibrations start getting through. Also, don't compress the foam. If you wanted to use thinner foam you may need to add a few extras such as grommets and something softer to tie it all down with. The vibrations are insidious.

The technique as pictured seems to be extremely effective, and avoids the disadvantages of other setups. It is simple (took about 5 minutes) and cost me almost nothing, while keeping the drive(s) secure and ventilated. My entire system has only one Panaflo 80L @ 5V, yet my HDD temp remains around 31-33 degC at 20degC ambient.

al bundy
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Post by al bundy » Mon Jul 12, 2004 6:41 pm

Nice work alleycat! I like your creative and "keep-it-simple" approach. Those are my favorite types of solutions.

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orionlion82
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Post by orionlion82 » Fri Jul 16, 2004 4:04 am

i just decoupled, and keep it simple was the name of the game... ahhhh...so good not to hear my maxtor!!!
just went to the basement out of sheer frustration, looking for fiberglass batting and came up with a roll of "sill underlayment" its 8 inch wide 1/4 inch thick pink foam on a roll, had little ridges in it, can be found at home depot. just wrapped about 2 foot around it, stuffed it back in, cut a hole for vent, and im good. total project time 2 minuets. killed the jackhammer, took it to a deep low growl. if i could get the bass tones down now...i think thats because its a closed cell foam....
Yeah, im an overclocker...

cruelsister
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Post by cruelsister » Fri Jul 16, 2004 4:58 am

I tried foam initially, but didn't care for the temp increase involved. I then realized that I had "CoolPaks" in my freezer of various types. I used the packs made by Polar Tech Industies (Tech Pack). The size of these things are just a toch longer and a touch wider than a hard drive.

I have 3 HD's. A Seagate IV, a WD 800JB, and a Seagate SATA 120gb drive. After placing the drives on the TechPacks the drives are inaudible. The added advantage of using these is that they will transfer the heat better than foam, and have a larger surface area to be cooled down by my totally quiet YC1 fans.

Basically the temps now are the same as if the drives were mounted in the case and totally silent- I just get a very muted seek noise from the WD when doing a defrag.

orionlion82
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Post by orionlion82 » Fri Jul 16, 2004 5:10 am

bag'o'gel coolpacks, or hard plastic?
yeah, i found out about the foam a bit ago, even though i left a vent, it was no where near large enough- i crashed and burned about 5 minuets in... unwrapped the thing, put a few bits on the bottom as pylons, and parked it infront of an intake fan, set an old HS on top of it( probably dosnt do much, just sitting there) and its happy, its quiet and its cool.
Yeah, im an overclocker...

alleycat
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Post by alleycat » Sat Jul 17, 2004 1:20 am

I like the coolpacks idea! I might try a coolpack sandwich! However I should point out that the technique I described earlier does not rely on any active cooling. There is literally only one undervolted fan in the entire system providing all airflow. The bottom of the drive cage which is sitting on the foam doesn't warm up at all. HDD temp right now is 31degC, system running 24x7 in my loungeroom.

cruelsister
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Post by cruelsister » Sat Jul 17, 2004 6:02 am

The Coolpak has totally silenced the WD 800JB!!! There is no apparent difference between the Segate IV and the WD.

I have more fans in my system (3). But they are the Artic Cooling TC1 pro's, and are totally silent at 12v (they put out as much air as an Antec 80mm fan at 7v, though).

wim
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Post by wim » Sat Jul 17, 2004 11:38 pm

Inexplicable wrote:You can always give the hard drive some "feet" to stand on, so the underbelly gets some airflow as well. A couple of flat metal plates, fixed on each side, will do.
i did this once, surmising it may almost double convection cooling. all the seagates i use have some mounting holes on the underbelly of the drive as well as the usual 6 holes on the sides. you can screw motherboard standoffs into them like so:

Image

Image

Image

in the last pic the drive is sitting on some really cheap foam stuff which was actually an exercise mat (for reducing shocks) but has since been cut up into all sorts of shapes for PC silencing reasons and also for softmounting the speakers in my car, insulating the doors etc. great stuff!

in the first pics you can see the blue foam layer thing in the barracuda IV...this side covers the motor so i wonder if it insulates sound to any significant extent (maybe partly why these discontinued drives are quieter than seagate latest offerings). seems my newer seagates (7200.7) lack this and just have the pcb underneath.

ps: took these photos 'cause i just put up this drive for sale *plug*

Likif
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Post by Likif » Sun Jul 18, 2004 9:35 am

I just put my hds on foam and put a 5V fan over it. I also suspend my fans on foam, lol, on top of the hd. :)
silence is the new loud

Likif
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Post by Likif » Sun Jul 18, 2004 9:38 am

Reminds me of that Monty Python sketch...maybe we should make a Club For Putting Everything On Top Of Foam.

'On my way here, I saw no less than ten things that were not on top of foam'.

(boo, hiss)
silence is the new loud

wimms2
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Post by wimms2 » Thu Jul 22, 2004 7:56 am

The foam under Seagate IV is very good thermal insulator. So, if Seagate put it there, there is no thermal flow through that surface and you can attach more foam to it safely. Similarily upper side, it transfers little heat. Main area of heat transfer seems to be the sides of the drive.

I've pressed my drives between foam layers, but attached the 3.5" drive bay to the sides and applied some forced air around it (mush like alleycat did above). Thats enough to keep the most isolated drive happy at 37C. Silenced my bloody WD600BB this way down to tolerable.

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