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Updating External Hard Drive: Enclosure Question


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42 replies to this topic

#1 OFFLINE   susanandmark

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Posted 26 January 2013 - 04:17 PM

Having to replace an external hard drive and want to go with a 2TB model. Can't find the Antec enclosure I've used for other receivers (at least not through Amazon, where I've purchased previously), so I was wondering if there was a current favored solution. (I found out about the Antec via this forum.)

In the past I've combined Antec enclosure with WD green drive ... A set-up still working on my other receivers.

By the way, I tried the Thermalake TT BlacX a while back and had very bad luck with it. The power button failing twice on two units within a few weeks, which is why I went back to the Antec enclosure.

Basically, I just need to know if another enclosure would also work well. (I'm not tech-versed enough to be sure.)

Would something like this be quiet and effective? If not, what brand/model would those more tech savvy than I suggest?

NOTE: The links are just to illustrate what I'm talking about, in the likely chance it's unclear, and aren't any sort of affiliate links (which I don't even have), or anything else. They are just direct links to product pages to make clear what exact models/items I'm talking about and are meant solely for my own reference.

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#2 OFFLINE   P Smith

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Posted 26 January 2013 - 04:37 PM

TT BlacX is good in overall, just not use the frikking button.

#3 OFFLINE   susanandmark

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Posted 26 January 2013 - 04:40 PM

TT BlacX is good in overall, just not use the frikking button.


I'm unclear how you use it, without the button. The button turns it on. I left it on, just as I've always left all the external drives I use on, for both my computer and DVRs, and it still failed.

Am I missing something? (Totally possible, by the way. I'm not being sarcastic.)

#4 OFFLINE   P Smith

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Posted 26 January 2013 - 04:50 PM

Just forget about the button, use power inserted to off/on; actually you don't need off the dock at all, it would be running 24/7/365 as the DVR need it.
As to "it still failed" it's unclear what you mean.

#5 OFFLINE   RunnerFL

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Posted 26 January 2013 - 05:34 PM

This one works fine. I ran one on an HR21 for a couple of years without issue.

http://www.amazon.co...ds=vantec esata
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#6 OFFLINE   TomCat

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Posted 26 January 2013 - 05:41 PM

...Would something like this be quiet and effective? If not, what brand/model would those more tech savvy than I suggest?

It seems to be more a matter of proven track record than anything else. Quiet is not an issue, as that is a function of the drive rather than the enclosure, typically. All whisper fans pretty much run at the same level of quiet. It is also not so much an issue of tech savvy as it might be what someone knows from their personal experience and what they know from being on this forum. IOW, you are in the right place to do this sort of research.

Effective is also not really an issue; the real issue is continued reliability. Without a reliable enclosure it may disconnect on occasion, which is an annoyance at best. Some combinations of enclosure and drive may just not work at all. Both the Antec and the ThermalTake have been thoroughly vetted by folks on this forum. Any enclosure should work, by rights, but there have been some that were problematic, which is the where the value of a proven track record lies. Anything that does not have that proven track record? Crap shoot.

The horror stories may be only in reference to older versions of the OS, but who really knows? They are on record as not supporting eSATA, so it is unlikely much has changed in that regard in later versions. But not using other enclosures may only be a case of superstitious behavior; the problems someone once had might be meaningless, might not. We just don't know how much weight anecdotal evidence carries. It's a chance, and sticking with the proven increases your odds of success. Bottom line, you run a risk with an unproven enclosure, and less of a risk with a proven one. Better the devil you know than the devil you don't know.

Your ThermalTake experience is unfortunate; maybe they had a bad run of power buttons at that time. I do not move between internal and x drives so I never would even use the power button, and it appears you did not either, and they still opened up on you. Were it me I would just solder across the button forcing it on; if you really wanted to shut the enclosure down to move to the internal, you could then always just yank the power on the drive. Antecs are still out there, too.
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#7 OFFLINE   macfan601

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Posted 26 January 2013 - 06:29 PM

I'm unclear how you use it, without the button. The button turns it on. I left it on, just as I've always left all the external drives I use on, for both my computer and DVRs, and it still failed.

Am I missing something? (Totally possible, by the way. I'm not being sarcastic.)


If you left it on 24/7 how would you know it failed? Anyway the answer to your question: There are two ways to power the BlacX up or down.

1.) The cheap and simple way is to yank the power plug out of the wall plug or reinstall it.

2.) The more elegant way, but will cost you a couple of dollars, is that GE makes a small gizmo that you plug into the wall plug and then plug the BlacX into that. The GE gizmo has a small standard wall switch built into it.

#8 OFFLINE   TomCat

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Posted 26 January 2013 - 06:36 PM

If you left it on 24/7 how would you know it failed? Anyway the answer to your question: There are two ways to power the BlacX up or down.

1.) The cheap and simple way is to yank the power plug out of the wall plug or reinstall it.

2.) The more elegant way, but will cost you a couple of dollars, is that GE makes a small gizmo that you plug into the wall plug and then plug the BlacX into that. The GE gizmo has a small standard wall switch built into it.

You know, because the pilot light is no longer lit and flashing, the drive is no longer spinning, and your DVR recorded to the internal drive, defaulting there when the x drive quit. You have to solder across the switch to get it running again (or replace the switch).

The simplest "2.)" would be a xmas tree foot switch; I stocked up on them this year.
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#9 OFFLINE   susanandmark

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Posted 26 January 2013 - 10:18 PM

Well, soldering is beyond my ken (by a good bit). How the Thermal Lake failed is I turned it on, and it didn't stay on. As someone else said, you'd see it defaulted to internal drive. Try to turn it back on and restart and it wouldn't stay on. That was my experience.

I was NOT trying to turn it on/off. I just turned it on once and it didn't "stick" in on position ... If that makes any sense. (Again, I lack technical speak, I know.)

Anyone know where to get an Antec for a good/decent price? Or should I gamble with the Thermal Lake again?

#10 OFFLINE   allenn

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Posted 26 January 2013 - 10:39 PM

Make sure your replacement external has an internal fan. The HDD will last longer.

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#11 OFFLINE   RunnerFL

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Posted 27 January 2013 - 06:50 AM

Make sure your replacement external has an internal fan. The HDD will last longer.


As long as the drive isn't stored in a closed off area you don't need a fan. As I said above I used that enclosure for years, fanless, and it never overheated, no drive failure, etc. Fans just create noise that can ruin the viewing experience.
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#12 OFFLINE   macfan601

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Posted 27 January 2013 - 09:55 AM

Well, soldering is beyond my ken (by a good bit). How the Thermal Lake failed is I turned it on, and it didn't stay on. As someone else said, you'd see it defaulted to internal drive. Try to turn it back on and restart and it wouldn't stay on. That was my experience.

I was NOT trying to turn it on/off. I just turned it on once and it didn't "stick" in on position ... If that makes any sense. (Again, I lack technical speak, I know.)

Anyone know where to get an Antec for a good/decent price? Or should I gamble with the Thermal Lake again?


BlacX has a 3 year warranty. I would check and see if they would replace or fix it before I did anything.

Just a note: I have two USB only BlacX that I have run 24/7 for 3 years without a problem so the switch problem seems to be a bit random. I just bought a BlacX USB/eSata for my HR34 so I guess I will soon know.

#13 OFFLINE   susanandmark

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Posted 27 January 2013 - 10:10 AM

BlacX has a 3 year warranty. I would check and see if they would replace or fix it before I did anything.

Just a note: I have two USB only BlacX that I have run 24/7 for 3 years without a problem so the switch problem seems to be a bit random. I just bought a BlacX USB/eSata for my HR34 so I guess I will soon know.


I might go ahead and try again. I will say though that I returned the first one, because it happened really quickly (>week), and the same thing happened with the second. I saw in reviews/reports here and on Amazon that it wasn't that rare and decided to go back to the Antec. ... Which really doesn't seem like an option now, since the best price I can find via Google search is $65+ outrageous shipping, which is pretty ridiculous for an enclosure.

The way my set-up is, the hard drive will be kept on a shelf that is closed on three sides (open to front). It's not especially crowded, but it's also not totally open, either. There's really no other place for it to be.

#14 OFFLINE   Diana C

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Posted 27 January 2013 - 10:34 AM

We've had good luck with these: http://www.amazon.co...ils_o00_s00_i00

We have 3 of them currently, each with a 1TB drive, on 2 HR24s and a HR21.

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#15 OFFLINE   RunnerFL

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Posted 27 January 2013 - 10:36 AM

We've had good luck with these: http://www.amazon.co...ils_o00_s00_i00

We have 3 of them currently, each with a 1TB drive, on 2 HR24s and a HR21.


Exact same one I was using on HR21's before, and posted earlier. Zero issues.
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#16 OFFLINE   susanandmark

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Posted 27 January 2013 - 11:45 AM

Exact same one I was using on HR21's before, and posted earlier. Zero issues.


Great! Thank you all so much for the advice. Much appreciated. I'm gonna give one of those a go!!

#17 OFFLINE   TomCat

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 01:27 PM

...How the Thermal Lake failed is I turned it on, and it didn't stay on. As someone else said, you'd see it defaulted to internal drive. Try to turn it back on and restart and it wouldn't stay on. That was my experience.

I was NOT trying to turn it on/off. I just turned it on once and it didn't "stick" in on position ... Anyone know where to get an Antec for a good/decent price? Or should I gamble with the Thermal Lake again?

Well, the failure may then have not been the power button at all, but a failure of the power supply (the small part inside the unit itself rather than the wall wart) or maybe the host bus adapter failed.

Last I checked, Fry's Electronics had Antecs, but they are a little pricey; $40 if you catch them on sale, $60 if you do not. I'd try Newegg.

If I had to guess, I would consider your ThermalTake issue mostly isolated; even though you had problems with two, they may have had a bad production run. If it's been a few months, that problem is likely corrected.
It's usually safe to talk honestly and openly with people because they typically are not really listening anyway.

#18 OFFLINE   tds4182

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 02:13 PM

Having to replace an external hard drive and want to go with a 2TB model. Can't find the Antec enclosure I've used for other receivers (at least not through Amazon, where I've purchased previously), so I was wondering if there was a current favored solution. (I found out about the Antec via this forum.)

In the past I've combined Antec enclosure with WD green drive ... A set-up still working on my other receivers.

By the way, I tried the Thermalake TT BlacX a while back and had very bad luck with it. The power button failing twice on two units within a few weeks, which is why I went back to the Antec enclosure.

Basically, I just need to know if another enclosure would also work well. (I'm not tech-versed enough to be sure.)

Would something like this be quiet and effective? If not, what brand/model would those more tech savvy than I suggest?

NOTE: The links are just to illustrate what I'm talking about, in the likely chance it's unclear, and aren't any sort of affiliate links (which I don't even have), or anything else. They are just direct links to product pages to make clear what exact models/items I'm talking about and are meant solely for my own reference.

I am currently using a WD Red drive (2 TB) and a TT BlackX docking station. It's been running for app. 1 month now. It's powered through a good quality UPS.

No problems so far and the extra storage capacity is nice. Temps are running ~96-100 degrees.

Edited by tds4182, 08 February 2013 - 08:02 AM.
Replace the word "drive" with "docking station"


#19 OFFLINE   CCarncross

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 02:30 PM

The Antec Varis MX-1 appear to be in the process of being discontinued. For those that prefer fan-cooled enclosures, we may have to find a new go to enclosure.

#20 OFFLINE   allenn

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 08:49 PM

As long as the drive isn't stored in a closed off area you don't need a fan. As I said above I used that enclosure for years, fanless, and it never overheated, no drive failure, etc. Fans just create noise that can ruin the viewing experience.


The Antec Varis MX-1 appear to be in the process of being discontinued. For those that prefer fan-cooled enclosures, we may have to find a new go to enclosure.


All my external HDDs have fans which include an ANTEC MX-1. Most of my HDDs are 7200 - 10000 rpm. The drives get really hot which is an enemy of HDDs. You cannot hear the fans in any of the enclosures. Better safe than sorry is my mantra.

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