Saturday, May 21, 2005

Firewire! Give my creation firewire!

I had a minor success today. A few weeks ago I accidentally closed the outer case of my old dual firewire enclosure on the power wire. This unfortunately blew the power supply. I couldn't figure out how to open the damn thing to see if the fuse could be replaced, so I just ended up buying a dual SCSI case listed on Craigslist. It's a a CI Design 3520 2 bay 3.5" drive enclosure. (I can't find a company that lists the price in dollars, but apparently a company in England wants £145 for it. Pretty good for $10.)

This case unfortunately doesn't have holes in the normal locations to fit other drives; it uses some kind of weird drive rails, or something, that fit little tabs in the side of this case. (you can see these in the brochure).

I'd like to say that I made the decision to just drill holes in the side of the rail assembly after searching the web and finding out the difficulty of buying these rails -- none of CI Design's listed retailers seem to carry the kit -- but in fact I found the manufacturer label only after buying the rather longer than usual screws, drilling the holes, and installing the drives. Oh well. The point is, the thing works. Yay! And I didn't have to use lighting from my castle to reanimate it. I did have to install the drives upside down, but I remember reading that this is usually OK (and Seagate's manuals specifically say "any orientation" so I'm going to take their word for it).

I now have two 120 GB drives in it, one Maxtor and one Seagate. The bridgeboard from my old case is an ATA-5 bridgeboard with the 137 GB limitation, so this pretty much maxes out the capacity. (They don't actually make 137 GB drives, for some reason; you can either use 120 GB drives or waste space using 160 GB drives. I here use 1GB = 1 billion bytes, not 230 bytes.)

I thought this was such a good idea that I bought a bridgeboard and dual 5.25" case from eBay -- I'm going to put a 160 GB hard drive and a DVD-RW drive in it and give it to my brother and his family for their iMac. I hope the case gets here soon.

The only problem is the thing sounds like a wind tunnel. I haven't decided whether to replace the fan, but I'm thinking about it. This case is quite big and there's plenty of space between the drives, so I suspect maybe it doesn't need a fan at all, but I'm not sure I want to take chances, even though this is intended to be used just for backups and occasional use when I need a lot of scratch space.

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