View Full Version : External Storage Solution

09-02-2007, 05:58 AM
For my entry into the TGS Modders Challenge I'm doing an external hard drive enclosure with a difference.

It will be bigger than most and be able to hold more than one drive, as well as having a powered USB hub. It will be ideal for people who are after more external storage, or just someone who wants to go to a file swapping party and only take a laptop and this, rather than a full PC.

I've only just started, so pics will be coming soon.

09-02-2007, 06:36 AM
Here's a couple of pics of the front.

I took an old case and cut the middle section out of it, then rejoined the top and bottom.



09-02-2007, 09:04 PM
Well as you can probably guess it will be designed to take 5.25" devices too. I've ordered some IDE to USB cables from eBay.
I plan on putting a DVD burner in it and using this with my old laptop which only has a DVD-ROM drive.

09-02-2007, 09:07 PM
Am I sensing some custom 5.25" to 3.5" mounting hardware, and a wicked paint job? I sure hope I am.. ;) Looks cool though, good luck with the contest. I'd enter myself if I had any ideas...

09-02-2007, 09:33 PM
Not really custom 5.25" to 3.5" adapters. I have some from a case that only had 5.25" bays and came with brackets for fitting 3.5" HDD in a 5.25" slot.

As for the paint, I am planning on a good quality paint job, but only in gloss black.

09-03-2007, 04:23 AM
Thanks, I was going for a more production look.

Here's another small update.

I cut a slot in the front for the 4 port USB hub. I also cut the front off the USB hub to use it for the holes. Seemed the best way to have neat looking holes that all line up.


I glued the front of the USB hub on and used some spot putty to fill in around it. It still needs sanding and a little more putty.


The rest of the case the front panel came from will be cut up and used too. The design of the case is exactly what I need to cut off the bottom and just use the top, while still having strength. As it was an old AT case, it wasn't much good for today's hardware.


I'll also reuse the cover for the case, which is one piece and trim it down to the right height.


09-09-2007, 01:08 PM
Small update. The front panel is almost finished:

http://img411.imageshack.us/img411/6527/cameradump140lh7.jpg (http://imageshack.us)

09-24-2007, 11:32 AM
I should be able too. It has some paint done now. I've had the USB-IDE cable turn up off eBay finally. I need to get out in the shed and finish it off.

09-25-2007, 09:01 PM
Couple of hours later, here's where I'm at.

The old PC case is all cut down to size:


And I'm starting to lay some paint down:


I should point out a few things with my entry.

The TGS contest did actually say no computer case mods, it had to be an accessory mod. I hope that the fact I started with a PC case is ok. While it is technically a case mod because I started with a PC case, it's no longer any good for a computer. The External Storage Solution is solely meant to be something that Laptop or PC user could either use to store all their files at home and just transport what's needed on the laptop, or they could use this storage Device to take along to a file sharing party and have plenty of easy access to the HDDs that could be plugged into any PC via USB.
For my entry I won't be showing too much in the way of the wiring. Mostly as The External Storage Solution is a prototype it has been designed to take a standard ATX PSU with minor wiring mods. As PSU mods are not allowed in the TGS Challenge, you'll have to imagine if this was a production item, the ESS would come with either a dedicated and one off designed PSU for it, or would have plugs to allow a standard ATX PSU to use it's existing standard leads to plug into specially designed plugs in the ESS.

So overall I am considering this a modification of an external USB HDD enclosure.

In other words, if you put a window on a CD drive you must tell me why you think manufacturers should put windows on their CD drives. "Because it's cool", will not suffice. Why will people want to buy one of these? How will it help show off their case?

So to answer that part of the entry requirements, I feel that the current USB HDD enclosures don't allow enough flexibility. I have two I use. One is a 2.5" (laptop) drive enclosure with a 40Gb drive. The other is a 3.5" (PC) drive enclosure with a 320Gb drive.
The 2.5" gets the most use as it doesn't need a power supply. Just plug in the two USB plugs and away you go. That is nice and compact and perfect for living in my work bag.
However the 3.5" drive needs a separate power pack to power the drive, along with the USB cord. So basically it doesn't go anywhere but on my desk.
People would want to buy one of these as it allows much more flexibility to what you want for your computer, while having no more leads than a normal HDD enclosure.
The would allow you to use 3.5" drives or 5.25" drives and accessories.
Regular PC users might like the ability to transport a large amount of data between the home and office.
Modders might branch off in a different direction and set it all up as an eSATA ESS which allows their PC to be hidden away and a have lot less desk clutter, while still accessing a DVD drive easily.
For those into LAN Parties, but can only afford one PC and not a separate gaming PC, the main transportable PC could be built much smaller and only run one drive in the main case for LAN Parties, while back at home an eSATA set up would allow them access to all their media files and other data that doesn't need to taken to a LAN.

For the Modders and LAN Party people it would allow them to show off their case by making it smaller without compromising looks for functionality.

09-25-2007, 09:26 PM
excellent idea,
do you just have a USB hub inside that thing? How do you connect to multiple drives with just one cord?


It will have two powered USB hubs. One 4 port hub the front of the ESS to plug in whatever you like and one internal to plug in each drive to. I got a couple of IDE-USB cables off ebay.

09-25-2007, 11:23 PM
Here's another progress shot. I just need to do the wiring, and fit the power switch and power LED.

http://img228.imageshack.us/img228/9223/cameradump182px7.jpg (http://imageshack.us)

09-26-2007, 12:37 AM
Thanks guys. There will be shots of the insides. I just won't be showing any PSU mods at all.
I also wanted to do a non-Rat mod for a change.

As for handles, I did think about that, and I even have some I thought of using, but I decided against it as I won't be using it for travelling, I will have it live on my desk and be used as a back up drive for my Lappy and main PC.

10-10-2007, 07:55 PM
Here are the final pics.

The HDD I had lying around I used the 5.25" adapters on. It also has the USB cable I bought off eBay.


Here you can see it installed. The USB hub is just Blu-tac'd in place on the PSU. I'll mount it properly when I mod a PSU for the case later. It has the front USB hub plug into it as well and it's getting it's power from a wall wart. When I mod the next PSU, both hubs will be powered off the PSU. As I couldn't mod the PSU for this comp, I just threw an old AT 150W PSU in to fill the hole and have a switch that would power it on without any modding. To make the power switch work on the front, I used a small chrome button held in place with a lubricated rubber grommet. It slides in an out and hits the AT switch.


The leads out the back: PSU power, Wall Wart for the USB and the USB lead to plug into the computer.


And a couple of finished shots.



Link To Original Worklog (http://www.thebestcasescenario.com/forum/showthread.php?t=10396)