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meerkt
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3.5" HDD enclosure AC/DC adapters make me uneasy

Thu Jun 15, 2017 4:38 am

I have a 3.5" Vantec external HDD enclosure. Its AC/DC power brick died recently. No catastrophe, it just wouldn't turn on anymore.
Even with a (small but known?) brand name like Vantec I was leery of the power brick, and the failure now again made me wonder.

Seemingly in these enclosures the power adapter is practically the only thing between the HDD and the mains.
I suppose poor adapters would offer little protection, and as far as I can tell there's very little going on on enclosure SATA/USB adapter PCBs.

Looking for a new enclosure now, this Seatay HD625 seems interesting. I like the idea of up-and-coming Chinese companies that actually have a brand name and a site. Seatay even replied to my question about the enclosure controller chip (JMS578 they say), so they get bonus points.

But the power adapter isn't confidence inspiring, assuming it even comes supplied from them.
What do you think, any way to be sure an AC/DC adapter won't fry one's HDD? Or where do you find trustworthy alternatives?

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TwistedKestrel
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Re: 3.5" HDD enclosure AC/DC adapters make me uneasy

Thu Jun 15, 2017 8:16 am

Is wall warts failing in a way that passes on mains voltage a thing?
 
Arvald
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Re: 3.5" HDD enclosure AC/DC adapters make me uneasy

Thu Jun 15, 2017 8:38 am

Most times they don't make their own power bricks and just sourced ones that meet their needs.

I keep a small pile of them since they are fairly similar and in case I cannot find the one that came with whatever I am plugging in.

I do read the item to match the voltage and current.
 
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Re: 3.5" HDD enclosure AC/DC adapters make me uneasy

Thu Jun 15, 2017 8:48 am

TwistedKestrel wrote:
Is wall warts failing in a way that passes on mains voltage a thing?


No not really, or we would've had so many fires by now that cheap wall warts would be banned from import. There are plenty of pieces of crap that die within a year though.

Granted if its for a hard drive, I'm going to try to plug into a ups anyways because I don't like losing my data during a write.
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TwistedKestrel
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Re: 3.5" HDD enclosure AC/DC adapters make me uneasy

Thu Jun 15, 2017 9:01 am

Bauxite wrote:
TwistedKestrel wrote:
Is wall warts failing in a way that passes on mains voltage a thing?


No not really, or we would've had so many fires by now that cheap wall warts would be banned from import. There are plenty of pieces of crap that die within a year though.

Granted if its for a hard drive, I'm going to try to plug into a ups anyways because I don't like losing my data during a write.


Well, sure. If it's really important, you could use a dock/caddy so it's running off the PC's power supply... if applicable (may be a laptop, locked down workstation, whatever). I don't really like the idea of using an external enclosure powered by a barrel connector for a drive that stays online for anything myself. I specifically don't like the kind of enclosure pictured either - oops, I knocked the drive off my desk/table/helicopter door gun and now it doesn't work anymore.

I guess I'm saying OP is worried about the wrong thing
 
meerkt
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Re: 3.5" HDD enclosure AC/DC adapters make me uneasy

Thu Jun 15, 2017 9:55 am

TwistedKestrel wrote:
Is wall warts failing in a way that passes on mains voltage a thing?

Don't know. But there's also spikes to consider, and maybe noise in general.

TwistedKestrel wrote:
I guess I'm saying OP is worried about the wrong thing

I don't use external enclosures for online storage. It's more of a nearline/archival/backup thing.
I never bumped into it by accident, and quickly replacing the HDD is a plus for my uses. Though I wouldn't rule out a screw-based enclosure if there's a reason to prefer it.

Arvald wrote:
Most times they don't make their own power bricks and just sourced ones that meet their needs.

Sure. But picking the right manufacturer, a model with proper reliability specs, doing QA, etc., rests on the final company before the end-user.
 
The Egg
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Re: 3.5" HDD enclosure AC/DC adapters make me uneasy

Thu Jun 15, 2017 10:10 am

DC adapters are nearly always 3rd party. They're made as inexpensively as possible by no-name companies in China, so you're right to be leery of their quality. With that said, DC adapters don't seem to frequently take out devices when they go, for whatever reason.

If you've got all the specs off the old adapter, I don't see why you couldn't just pick up a universal and continue using your Vantec enclosure.
 
Waco
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Re: 3.5" HDD enclosure AC/DC adapters make me uneasy

Thu Jun 15, 2017 10:14 am

They're all using pretty much the same 12v adapters. Get one rated for at least the amperage of the old one (more won't hurt) and keep using your enclosure.

If this is online storage, you should invest in a halfway decent surge protector or UPS. If it's backups, it's only vulnerable when it's plugged in.
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meerkt
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Re: 3.5" HDD enclosure AC/DC adapters make me uneasy

Thu Jun 15, 2017 10:33 am

Yeah, only vulnerable when powered on. That's when I'm worried. :)

I believe known brand name gear comes with good quality adapters. That's at least the impression I get when physically comparing random no-name adapters vs stuff that comes with, say, routers or cellphones. Also read this, or this.

My Vantec enclosure uses a non-standard 5+12V 4-pin adapter. Vantec Taiwan, although took quite a while to reply to emails, were nice enough to send internationally a replacement for free, even though the enclosure's warranty ended a few years ago. I would get another Vantec enclosure just because of that (though avoid the easily-breaking CX enclosure design), but I'm not in the US and the price delta vs Chinese brands on eBay ends up being too much.
 
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Re: 3.5" HDD enclosure AC/DC adapters make me uneasy

Thu Jun 15, 2017 11:27 am

meerkt wrote:
Also read this, or this.

Now THOSE are good write-ups. Full disassembly, design analysis, scope time, the whole bit.
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BIF
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Re: 3.5" HDD enclosure AC/DC adapters make me uneasy

Fri Jun 16, 2017 11:27 am

I have that exact same caddy for 2.5" SATA drives. No wall-wart. Top surface is a faux metal. Different company. But it's the same caddy.

Works just fine, and the best part is that I don't need tools to swap drives.
 
meerkt
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Re: 3.5" HDD enclosure AC/DC adapters make me uneasy

Mon Jun 19, 2017 10:55 am

Anyway, besides catastrophic failures, I also wonder if HDDs might be affected negatively somehow by badly filtered power.

BIF wrote:
I have that exact same caddy for 2.5" SATA drives. No wall-wart.

That's one major advantage to 2.5" drives. Not only easier to move around, but also no power quality worries.

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