SHCC WYSIWYG Article from November 2022

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This article was written by Don VanSyckel, the club president, as a part of "The President's Pen".  This article appeared in the November 2022 WYSIWYG newsletter.

USB External Hard Drive Cases

by Don VanSyckel

I have been using USB external hard drive cases for a many years. They were usually constructed of an extruded aluminum "tube", rectangular in shape. The interior is slightly larger than a 5.25" hard drive which would slide into the tube. Then plastic caps would snap on. The cap on one end would have the power and USB connectors. As disk capacity got larger, I had to buy another case that supported the larger capacity. The thing that always happened is the case got too hot, in my opinion, so I would be mindful of the run time. In case you don't know, heat is one of the killers of electronics.

Then a few years ago I was cruising around Micro Center and spotted an external case with not one but two fans built into the case. What a great thing. I bought two which is all that were on the shelf. They work great and the hard drive never gave me any problems. But as you might guess the hard drive capacity got larger and the terabyte drives are not supported in my favorite cases.

So I went looking for the current model of the case and I couldn't find any external USB hard drive cases with a fan. In the past year or so I've seen external USB hard drive fixtures, I'll call them. They are a base and an external power module for AC power. Many of these fixtures have the capacity to have one or two hard drives plugged into them. The connector end of the hard drive plugs into the fixture and the hard drive sticks out of the fixture up into the air like it's standing on end. These fixtures usually accommodate both 5.25" and 2.5" hard drives.

Conceptually I don't like this arrangement with the hard drive exposed to the world. But I like cooking my hard drive in an aluminum tube even less. At least with this arrangement if the hard drive gets too warm you can arrange a fan to cool it. I finally broke down and I just bought a fixture that supports USB 3.1 and 8 terabyte hard drives. This should serve me well into the future. I works great but I still don't like the expose hard drive.

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