Introduction: External Hard Disk Hack

Picture of External Hard Disk Hack

Had a busted hard disk enclosure? This shows how you can replace the damaged enclosure with a clear plastic book case.

Step 1: Salvage Parts

Picture of Salvage Parts

Salvage working parts from the damaged enclosure. Most important of these are the IDE to USB adapter connected to the hard disk inside and the external power supply (the 3.5" hard disk enclosure variety has this)

My aluminum 3.5" hard disk enclosure fell and had a serious dent that damaged not only the case but the hard disk itself. The disk shown here is an old seagate 20GB hard drive from my wife.

Step 2: Securing the Components Inside

Picture of Securing the Components Inside

Use screws to hold the hard disk inside securely. Here I just used the tip of my soldering iron to melt a small hole into the plastic book case for the screws. All cables running inside the case were secured with small green zip ties.

To keep the thing elevated from the table (i guess this helps cool it a little. the hard disk sometimes get too hot), I glued some rubber footing on one side of the case

Step 3: In Action

Picture of In Action

Pull out the USB cord and align it at the slot made for it and the external power cord (this slot was melted with a soldering iron tip and trimmed by a cutter. not shown in the picture).

As you can see, the old indicator LEDs are still working.


asda653 (author)2008-05-19

Gotta revive this one.

So basically, if I found any random cheap enclosure (say a 2.5), got a plastic case and my 5.25" DVD drive, I could rip the components out of the enclosure and seat them in the case, then all I'd have to do is cut a hole for the DVD tray?

rexxxiii (author)asda6532008-05-19

a 2.5 enclosure wont do since it gets its power directly from the usb (which is only around 5v at 1000 mA). a dvd drive gets power from a molex connector inside the pc (12V and 5V) and can only be powered by an external 5.25" enclosure which has its own power adaptor.

shadowfoxxxx (author)rexxxiii2008-08-20

yeah, but he can always use a 5v dc inverter from an old cell phone charger and strip the cables form the main power source of the dvd player. itd take more power, and i cant guarantee itd work but its an easy fix if it doesnt

2.5 drives use a smaller connection than 3.5" hdd and dvd drives, pin compatible yes, but the connectors wont match up. USB is rated 5V at 500mA.

Alias8 (author)2008-09-20

Hello everybody. I wanted to ask anyone of you wether its possible to add HDD 2.5" into a DVD(Divx) player whose DVD drive is broken and transform it into a HDD player. My DVD Divx player doesn't have USB port, but isn't it possible to connect thhat flat wire tape which goes to DVD drive to a HDD with IDE connector. Help needed here!

hobbles (author)Alias82009-05-13

WAY LATE but yes you can i had an external cd rw drive my mom had it in the garbage saw it then snatched it. Every thing connected all right but it runs kinda slow but has 40g of space not much but it was wat i had laying around. Put it in some rechargeable battery case and its next to me right now.

DJBD (author)Alias82008-12-23

I think so, DVD drives use IDE connectors if I remember correctly, older hard drives can be attached directly, for newer SATA hard drives there are SATA/IDE converters.

J.W (author)2008-09-05

How does it get electricity? From the usb cable?

Sandisk1duo (author)J.W2008-09-17

the adapter

paologodz (author)2008-05-28

hey guys this is close. can you tell me how to convert my stand alone dvd player to a HDD player. my dvd player have a usb port on it, but it will only read memory stick like 1 giga or 4 giga. I have a 3.5 HDD enclosure with 300 giga inside, I just want to modify these two things into one like of the HDD player. please help.

rexxxiii (author)paologodz2008-05-28

partition the disk with 32gb on the first partition. most dvd players with usb reads only fat32 drives. 32gb is the upper limit for a fat32 file system so you can set your first partition to this size. i suggest you also partition the rest of the drive using fat32 because i had an experience before where i formatted the remaining partition of my external hard drive to ntfs and the dvd didn't recognize the whole disk. you can place all the movies you want to watch on the first partition while the 2nd partition can act as a repository of your previously watched movies. hope this helps!

binnie (author)2007-04-02

a little while back i wanted to make my own usb > ide adapter now im older AND smarter Its eaiser to buy one! lol i need $$$

rexxxiii (author)binnie2007-04-02

that would make a good article in "buyables" but not in instructables though, lol.

antarchy (author)2006-11-29

If you have ever Bought a hard disk enclosure then you probably got a busted one pieces of junk everyone I have seen. Should do one on making your own from scratch.

rexxxiii (author)antarchy2006-11-30

I would love to do that but unfortunately I do not have the schematics to build the IDE to USB adapter. Any links where I could get them?

FrenchCrawler (author)2006-11-29

Shouldn't you add some vents in?

mrmath (author)FrenchCrawler2006-11-30

What if he just leaves the case open while using it?

FrenchCrawler (author)mrmath2006-11-30

I think he wants to keep it closed, hence the reason he used the solder iron to make a hole for the cable.

rexxxiii (author)FrenchCrawler2006-11-29

I would want to. Could you suggest where would it be best placed?

LasVegas (author)rexxxiii2006-11-29

Since the feet are nice and large, the vents would probably be best placed under the box just in front of the power supply and just behind the fan in the original enclosure's back. This would allow the air to circulate up and over the drive on it's way out the back. Just a few thin slots in each area would suffice.

rexxxiii (author)LasVegas2006-11-30

Thanks for the advise! I'd probably try them this weekend once I get hold of some graphic card blowers/fans. They're small enough and I think would fit perfectly inside the case...

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