Homebrew drive enclosure

Silencing hard drives, optical drives and other storage devices

Moderators: NeilBlanchard, Ralf Hutter, sthayashi, Lawrence Lee

Le_Gritche
Posts: 140
Joined: Wed Jan 18, 2006 4:57 am
Location: France, Lyon

Post by Le_Gritche » Thu Apr 20, 2006 5:42 am

slimeballzz wrote:I don't think I can get the "Ucarcide" though =\
According to your link, "UCARCIDE™ 250 Preservative is a broad spectrum biocide, which is highly effective against bacteria, fungi and yeast..."
Why not use one droplet of bleach ? It should prevent the water from becoming foul.
Maybe you don't even have to do it, as tap water usually contains some, to protect it from infection during the trip to your home.
I don't know the long term effect of it on the integrity of the plastic material, but that should be fine.

slimeballzz
Posts: 268
Joined: Tue Mar 11, 2003 5:17 pm
Location: Canada

Post by slimeballzz » Thu Apr 20, 2006 3:38 pm

Le_Gritche wrote:
slimeballzz wrote:I don't think I can get the "Ucarcide" though =\
According to your link, "UCARCIDE™ 250 Preservative is a broad spectrum biocide, which is highly effective against bacteria, fungi and yeast..."
Why not use one droplet of bleach ? It should prevent the water from becoming foul.
Maybe you don't even have to do it, as tap water usually contains some, to protect it from infection during the trip to your home.
I don't know the long term effect of it on the integrity of the plastic material, but that should be fine.
Hmm I'm starting to think it doesn't really matter what is in the packaging as long as it is in a gel form and can transfer heat.

BillTodd
Posts: 132
Joined: Wed Apr 05, 2006 4:10 am
Location: Colchester (nuked in 1984)
Contact:

Re: Homebrew drive enclosure

Post by BillTodd » Sat Aug 12, 2006 6:39 am

alleycat wrote:Although suspension is good, I still found that even a NIDEC Samsung is still the loudest component in my system. I've come to the conclusion that the only way to get rid of its insidious noise is by using an enclosure. I decided to make my own using easily obtainable parts and tools, and not a lot of precision or skill involved. I've had this setup for a few months now, and it is impossible to detect that there is even a hard drive in my PC.

EDIT: updated link
Snap!

http://homepage.ntlworld.com/bill_todd/ ... /shdd.html

alleycat
Posts: 740
Joined: Sun Oct 20, 2002 10:32 am
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Post by alleycat » Sun Aug 13, 2006 4:38 am

Ha! That's funny. What made you think of using gel packs? For me it was only after another forum member described her idea of sitting an HD on a coolpack that I eventually put 2 and 2 together. Otherwise I would never have thought of making the enclosure...

...and by the way, Welcome to SPCR!

BillTodd
Posts: 132
Joined: Wed Apr 05, 2006 4:10 am
Location: Colchester (nuked in 1984)
Contact:

Post by BillTodd » Sun Aug 13, 2006 4:41 pm

What made you think of using gel packs?
It was a couple of years ago, so I can't remember exactly. I know I had run the Hdd in the enclosure and been impressed by how quiet it was, but worried about its temperature.

I looked initially at thermal pads - 3M do some 2mm thick ones for cooling electronic modules - but they were stupidly expensive.

I had a large medical gel pack, which wouldn't quite fit folded into the box - I looked on the web for smaller ones but couldn't find anything suitable. That's when I hit on the idea of making my own.

I ran it for a couple of months with a single small bag, which proved successful, then I added a second larger bag (and improved the suspension) and it's been running like that since (over two years!).

I really ought to check it for leaks. :)

applevalleyjoe
Posts: 4
Joined: Tue Dec 26, 2006 4:52 pm
Location: Apple Valley, CA

Post by applevalleyjoe » Thu Dec 28, 2006 10:43 am

This is why SPCR is my favorite forum.....lots of great information and creative ideas. :idea: Has anyone experimented with the inclusion of copper plates or copper strips in the boxes?

Steep
Posts: 54
Joined: Sun Mar 25, 2007 12:44 pm

Sony patents your idea

Post by Steep » Tue Jul 03, 2007 5:25 pm

Has good 'ol Sony patented your idea?

I'm sure it's a highly refined design, and the patent claims that the purpose of this technique is "shock absorption" rather than for thermal and acoustic reasons.

When I read it however, it reminded me of your fine enclosure.

BillTodd
Posts: 132
Joined: Wed Apr 05, 2006 4:10 am
Location: Colchester (nuked in 1984)
Contact:

Post by BillTodd » Wed Jul 04, 2007 3:26 am

I have to say the idea of using a gel pack to reduce impact damage never occured to me. Indeed, the incompressible nature of liquids and gels would seem to rule them of for this purpose.

Sony seem to have designed a wrap-around shock-absorber/damper for HDDs. It will be interesting to see how they've done this in a small space like a laptop HDD caddy.


Incidently, I've been looking at another product that might be useful:

These 'Flexi Freez' bags from http://www.campingaz.com/ they have the great advantage of being small (each individual bag is just 78mm x 45mm x 12mm thick) and easily divided to fill a HDD enclosure.

They are actually filled with water/anti-freeze mix. While a liquid might not seem ideal for HDD suspension, as a leak would be disasterous, the excellent quality of the packs would make an event unlikey.


Image

alleycat
Posts: 740
Joined: Sun Oct 20, 2002 10:32 am
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Post by alleycat » Wed Jul 04, 2007 9:35 pm

Well, good luck to them. If it means data can be stored more safely, that's great. I have always felt that some shock absorbancy would be a side benefit of the enclosure, because although gel may be incompressible, the gelpack itself would be able to change shape slightly, even when packed into an enclosure.

That's a good find, Bill. Some people have had difficulty finding a suitable gelpack, so the more sources the better. Personally I prefer the ones I have, as they contain a large amount of gel and are a good fit.

Redzo
Posts: 464
Joined: Thu Jan 26, 2006 1:51 am
Location: Sweden, Stockholm

Post by Redzo » Thu Jul 05, 2007 1:18 am

alleycat: Very original thinking there with those gelpacks :-) Nice work

doveman
Posts: 866
Joined: Mon Jan 29, 2007 10:30 am
Location: London

Post by doveman » Thu Jul 12, 2007 11:00 pm

For anyone in the UK looking for the 'Flexi Freez' bags that BillTodd mentioned, the large ones are available here for £2.99 http://www.millets.co.uk/millets.storef ... s=coolpack

doveman
Posts: 866
Joined: Mon Jan 29, 2007 10:30 am
Location: London

Post by doveman » Sun Apr 05, 2009 6:44 pm

I tried this homebrew enclosure idea a while ago but wasn't happy with the temperatures. I'm having another go because I'm trying to design and build myself an inaudible HTPC/Desktop case and the most intrusive noise at the moment is the motor whine from my WD5000AAKS.

The enclosure does a wonderful job of eliminating the whine but it's still not controlling the temps to my satisfaction. I might prefer lower temps than some people, as I've had two WD HDs behind a 120mm Nexus front intake fan which has kept them around 28-32c, but in the enclosure the drive is hitting 38c at an ambient of 26c, even with a 120mm Nexus at full speed blowing on it.

The gelpack on the HD circuit side is heating up on the side that's in contact with the HD, but not much of that heat is transferring to the other side of the gelpack and the enclosure isn't warming up at all, so somethings not right. The packs I'm using are Fortuna Hot/Cold packs and the gel is a darker blue than shown in alleycat's photos. I don't see why they shouldn't work but it seems they might not be suitable. The only alternatives I've seen are the "Flexi Freez" bags I linked to in my last post, which I haven't tried yet so if anyone's had success with those or can point me to something else that will work (and which I can get in the UK), I'd be grateful.

alleycat
Posts: 740
Joined: Sun Oct 20, 2002 10:32 am
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Post by alleycat » Sun Apr 05, 2009 7:40 pm

That temperature is normal for this type of enclosure, and is certainly within safe operating limits. I've got a similar unenclosed WD drive suspended in another system that stays around 45C which I think is still ok, and is probably typical in many PCs.

The main thing to look for with the gel packs is that they of course fit, but also that they are fairly thick-skinned, as any rupture could be disastrous. The colour, consistency, or chemical make up of the gel shouldn't make any difference.

doveman
Posts: 866
Joined: Mon Jan 29, 2007 10:30 am
Location: London

Post by doveman » Mon Apr 06, 2009 4:12 am

OK, maybe I'll persist then. It just seemed strange that none of the heat seemed to be transferring to the enclosure.

I was also worried that I was seeing 38c with the Nexus at full speed as I need to run it a lot slower to avoid it becoming as intrusive as the HD whine and I'm also planning on filtering the air intake for the fan, which will obviously reduce airflow and increase temps somewhat. I thought about not filtering the air intake if I use the enclosure, as dust obviously won't be able to get to the drive, but it will probably still clog up the fan over time so I probably do need to, as I'm intending on putting the case somewhere where it will be awkward to open/clean it. I guess I should see if there's another fan that can move more air than the Nexus whilst still staying quiet.

What happens to drive temps when the PC is turned off? Obviously this causes any fans to stop and I'm a bit concerned that the heat will stay trapped in the enclosure, slowly cooking my HD!

I think my gelpacks are thick-skinned enough and they're designed to be bent around to hold against injuries.

I just prefer to keep my drives as cool as possible (within reason) as even if higher temps are OK, I'm sure they must shorten a drives life and even with everything backed up onto DVDs, it's still a pain to restore it all. I did work out that it's about as cheap to buy a spare HD and keep everything backed up on that instead of (good quality) DVDs, but then a HD isn't as resilent as DVDs so I'd probably still need to do both.

BillTodd
Posts: 132
Joined: Wed Apr 05, 2006 4:10 am
Location: Colchester (nuked in 1984)
Contact:

Post by BillTodd » Mon Apr 06, 2009 1:27 pm

What happens to drive temps when the PC is turned off?
It falls ;)


There is considerable thermal mass in the gelpack so the HDD stays warm for a while. The reduced rate of temperature change is actual very good for the drive it reduces the thermal stress.

You may find that, if the overall surface area of the box is similar to or greater than that of the drive, the drive may run cooler in the enclosure.

As to leaks, don't worry about them, just make sure there's nothing sharp pressing against the gel pack (run your hand over the drive checking for sharp wires etc.)

One point to note: It's important to suspend the drive with real foamed rubber (or similar - polyurathane foam just crushes after a while), don't rely on the gel pack to suspend the drive, or you'll find it'll slowly sink into the pack and the noise will increase.

doveman
Posts: 866
Joined: Mon Jan 29, 2007 10:30 am
Location: London

Post by doveman » Mon Apr 06, 2009 4:04 pm

OK, it just threw me a bit when I noticed that the drive was still at the same temp after powering down and rebooting a short while later, whereas with the drive in free air it cools down quite rapidly.

Good point about the reduced thermal stress from slower cool downs and even though the drive's going from ambient to a higher temp on a cold boot, it actually only goes about 2c higher to begin with, building up the rest of the difference over time.

I did think that the enclosure might keep the drive cooler by conducting some of the heat away from it, but I'm finding it's running about 6c hotter in the enclosure, with the Nexus fan at the same speed (inaudible) for both setups. I've found that the drive runs a couple of degrees cooler if I have the fan blowing across the sides rather than down the length, outside the enclosure at least.

Regarding the foamed rubber, are you saying that I should put this in the enclosure for the drive to rest on? Wouldn't that affect the contact between the drive and the gelpack, making it even less effective at conducting the heat away (which I assume it's doing to some degree, despite the higher temps and the fact that the enclosure's not warming up)?

For now, I've got the enclosure raised off of a thick piece of packing foam, which allows for some airflow underneath (HD is circuit side down at the moment as I thought I might as well let gravity help keep the hot side of the HD in contact with the gelpack) and stops any vibrations from the enclosure transmitting into anything, although I guess it would make things easier/give me more room if I could do away with the external foam.

PartEleven
Friend of SPCR
Posts: 279
Joined: Sun May 06, 2007 10:37 am

Post by PartEleven » Tue Apr 07, 2009 8:56 am

doveman wrote: What happens to drive temps when the PC is turned off? Obviously this causes any fans to stop and I'm a bit concerned that the heat will stay trapped in the enclosure, slowly cooking my HD!
This is somewhat an urban myth I've seen on different enthusiast forums. In reality, this is really a non-issue. Why? If you think about it, once your hard drive has reached a steady operating temperature, then it is at steady-state. The heat it is producing is balanced with heat loss through convection/conduction/radiation. As soon as you turn it off, you turn off the heat source as well. Now let's say your hard drive somehow gets magically subjected to perfect insulation the moment you turn it off, trapping ALL heat inside. With no heat source the amount of heat trapped will be the same as before, so the temperature should remain the same. You drive will be "cooked" at the same temperature it was when it was operating.

In other words: it is not possible for your hard drive to increase in temperature after you turn it off. The temperature can only go down from there.

BillTodd
Posts: 132
Joined: Wed Apr 05, 2006 4:10 am
Location: Colchester (nuked in 1984)
Contact:

Post by BillTodd » Tue Apr 07, 2009 11:54 am

Regarding the foamed rubber, are you saying that I should put this in the enclosure for the drive to rest on?
Yes. The gel pack will not support the drive it'll slow squash as the gel move in the bag. You need to support the weight of the drive with something compliant but un-squashable.

doveman
Posts: 866
Joined: Mon Jan 29, 2007 10:30 am
Location: London

Post by doveman » Tue Apr 07, 2009 2:30 pm

@PartEleven, thanks for the reassurance. Obvious really, but physics never was my strong point (much to my Dad's frustration!).

@BillTodd, OK thanks, I'll see if I can find something suitable in my local craft shop. I think the tricky thing will be finding something in the right thickness to still allow the drive to make good contact with the gelpack.

doveman
Posts: 866
Joined: Mon Jan 29, 2007 10:30 am
Location: London

Post by doveman » Wed Apr 08, 2009 7:28 am

As I need to buy an extra hard drive when I get round to doing my new build next month (hopefully), I'm wondering whether a bare 2.5" 500GB drive would be as quiet as a 3.5" drive in this enclosure, 'cos if so I could just use the 2.5" in my current system, which is going to be an HTPC and so doesn't need a performance drive, and use my two 3.5" drives in enclosures in my new system.

thepwner
Posts: 175
Joined: Sat Mar 07, 2009 12:19 pm
Location: US

Post by thepwner » Fri Apr 17, 2009 9:54 am

Does this look like a decent enclosure for a 3.5 hard drive?

http://cgi.ebay.com/Bud-CU-3008-A-Alumi ... rms=66%3A4

Firetech
Friend of SPCR
Posts: 680
Joined: Fri Dec 16, 2005 4:50 pm
Location: Sydney, Australia
Contact:

Post by Firetech » Fri Apr 17, 2009 1:15 pm

thepwner wrote:Does this look like a decent enclosure for a 3.5 hard drive?
Looks like a basic thin sheet metal box you can get from most electronics retailers. May be susceptible to vibration.

Worth trying to get a die-cast alloy box instead. I'm sure there are guides on SPCR for creating this type of HDD enclosure

Post Reply