Using 3.5" drive as an external drive for backup, avoid enclosure?

Discussion in 'SSDs & Data Storage' started by carrierPigeon, Apr 3, 2018.

  1. carrierPigeon

    carrierPigeon [H]Lite

    Messages:
    114
    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2017
    I have a 3.5" drive that I would like to use for backup as an external drive. But, i would prefer not to buy a hard drive enclosure. Since I will have multiple 3.5" hard drives that I will be using this way, it seems silly to have to spend money on several hard drive enclosures. I do have the needed connectors and cords, which I could use for all of the back up hard drives. I couldn't find much information when reading online except a couple of mentions to not do this long term (and they weren't clear on their reasoning behind that statement). I suppose if I have it just sitting on my desk I might be able to hear it vibrating, but that probably wont bother me since I will just occasionally be hooking it up to write a disk image of my C drive.

    What's the reasoning behind having a hard drive enclosure (besides the wiring that might come with such purchases).

    I saw one article that showed a home made external hard drive build that consisted of a hard board box and foam. I would think that the foam is not such a good idea in case the hard drive reaches a high temperature at some point.
    Here is the article on that..
    https://www.wikihow.com/Make-Your-Own-External-HD-Enclosure
    Should I avoid such materials if I build my own?
     
  2. Luke M

    Luke M Limp Gawd

    Messages:
    298
    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2016
    An enclosure (or dock, which may be better for you) consists of a case, power supply, and USB-SATA adapter (inside the case). And a USB cable.
     
    carrierPigeon likes this.
  3. Seagate_Surfer

    Seagate_Surfer Official Seagate Rep

    Messages:
    54
    Joined:
    May 18, 2017
    Where you've got multiple drives you're looking to use externally, you may want to actually look at what is known as a "toaster" or an external dock which can slot multiple hard drives. As far as why not just lay an internal drive on the desk and use it that way, well one thought which comes to mind is that enclosures tend to have things like a textured surface, rubber nubs, legs, a stand, etc. which help keep hard drives from moving around too much in use. What you want to avoid is moving the drives around excessively during operation and to keep a reasonable temperature. See our Knowledge Base article for more info:

    Hard Drive Orientation
     
    carrierPigeon and dvsman like this.
  4. carrierPigeon

    carrierPigeon [H]Lite

    Messages:
    114
    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2017
    Thank you for the idea of the toaster. I like the idea of the toaster because it saves on the cost of these enclosures. But, the drawbacks that I am concerned about are
    1) that you have all the hard drives connect to the computer at the same time which is a vulnerability versus ransomware. But, you could use something like this http://www.kingwin.com/hard-drive-power-switch-hdd-ps6/

    2) you can't easily stash one or two of the hard drives in a "house fire safe" location.

    One other thing about the toaster is that it seems like it would work better than a lot of these 5 ounce hard drive enclosures which I really can't imagine doing much in the way of reducing vibrations. I think I would put money that having a brick on top of the hard drive would reduce vibrations more. But, at least metal enclosures may transfer some of the heat.
     
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2018
  5. DangerousMan

    DangerousMan Limp Gawd

    Messages:
    236
    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2006
    I have an external usb 3 dock that I use with spare/backup drives. It has its own power button, and removing a drive is as easy as pushing the power button (though I usually remove usb device from windows 1st) and lifting the drive, takes all of 5 seconds. One of the drives I use it for is actually for pictures that I can't easily replace, it gets stored in a fire resistant lockbox. A couple of drives that I use as just really big usb drives, where I don't really care about if data is lost as it can easily be replace, sit on my desk or in a drawer.

    The dock I use is a vantec nexstar sata3 2.5/3.5" to usb3.

    Edit; here is the updated version of what I use, power button is on the back. Toaster version.
     
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2018
  6. margrave

    margrave [H]Lite

    Messages:
    98
    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2018
    I wouldn't sweat the cost of a USB drive enclosure.
    My 2.5" enclosure cost only $8.
    I paid $25 for a 3.5" enclosure ... but only because I was in a hurry and I had to buy it at a local computer shop. It would have been cheaper at Amazon.

    But whatever you choose, pick a decent quality solution. Avoid the cheap crap.
     
  7. sinisterDei

    sinisterDei Gawd

    Messages:
    752
    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2004
  8. carrierPigeon

    carrierPigeon [H]Lite

    Messages:
    114
    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2017
    Interesting that you accumulated a surplus of 2.5 inch drives. I guess you are a laptop person.

    On a different note, here is something that I came across. It has a spot on the outside of the case where you can slide a hard drive into a "docking" area. Skip to 1:00 if you want to see it.
     
    Seagate_Surfer likes this.
  9. Seagate_Surfer

    Seagate_Surfer Official Seagate Rep

    Messages:
    54
    Joined:
    May 18, 2017
    Now that is kinda nifty, don't really see that much. Thanks for sharing!
     
  10. WhoMe

    WhoMe Gawd

    Messages:
    737
    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2018
    To me the biggest worry would be accidently zapping it with static electricity, a lot of internal drives have chips pretty exposed. But then I live in a very dry climate. I just use a cheap USB dock though so I have to be careful anyway :) though I don't use internal drives externally very often.
     
  11. Sarra

    Sarra [H]Lite

    Messages:
    84
    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2017
    I got an unpowered USB to SATA adapter. It uses the USB header to power the adapter and the drive, so it's awesome for laptop drives and SSD's, but it's worthless for full size HDD's.

    Get a toaster. When you aren't using the drives, put them in anti-static bags and put them in your fireproof safe. Problem solved.