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About Maes

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    Here's an old post I made on the subject,

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  1. Or faulty one, at that.

    I had bought an external 3.5" hard disk enclosure by LIDL, a TARGA DataBoxIII with a 300 GB hard disk (turned out to be a Seagate barracuda).

    The enclosure itself was pretty well made, sturdy thick aluminum and 3" ventilation floor fan, plenty of space and good mounting places. It also had the pecularity of using a single 12V input and splitting the voltage in 5 and 12 V rails internally. This meant it could work even with external 12V batteries (which I once did, to scoop a cyber cafe's movies and MP3s ;-) )

    But one day, out of the blue, the enclosure just stopped working. When I plugged it in, I got a "New USB device" notification from Windows, and then it informed me that it had installed a "Cypress AT2LP RC42 USB Device", and it couldn't see the disk inside. Did the same thing on all my other computers, too.

    Some Internet searching back then (late 2006 or something) revealed that there were hundreds of other similar cases of HD enclosures with Cypress controllers mysteriously failing. I just called it quits, put the enclosure in a corner, bought a cheapo 25 Eur Sweex one, and placed the 300 GB beast inside that one, which lucklily was alright.

    Recently, I came up this little enlightening page shedding some more light on the problem, suggesting that a maintenance firmware flash tool was availabe...so I downloaded them goodies, followed the instructions, and the enclosure came back to life o_O

    And this, ladies and gentlemen, is why I never dump old (or allegedly defective) hardware.

    1. Show previous comments  2 more
    2. Planky


      It's lucky that the chipset is common enough that there is a util for reflashing - I don't think I'd have a chance on either of my external drive enclosures.

      Bucket said:

      I've been looking for a multi-port enclosure for quite some time - something with a bunch of empty bays you can plug drives into. Unfortunately the only ones I can find have just one or two bays, or cost hundreds and already have drives in them.

      I'd love to get myself a Drobo, but the cost is way too much (even if I get the drives separately).

    3. Maes


      Bucket said:

      I've been looking for a multi-port enclosure for quite some time - something with a bunch of empty bays you can plug drives into.

      Once upon a time, those tended to be external SCSI enclosures filled with SCSI CD-Rs using caddies, and just looked like a modified PC case.

      Without particular searching, I found this baby:


      Places for 4x IDE HDs, and USB 2.0 interface. Price seems more or less what you'd pay for 4 enclosures ;-)

      Disk to disk copying within the case must be shit-slow though, making the USB a two-way bottleneck.

    4. Super Jamie

      Super Jamie

      I used to hoard every old thing too, but moving across the other side of the country then back again, plus living in apartments, has put a stop to that.

      It was more expensive to transport/store most of my stuff (furniture included) than to throw it out in one place and buy it again if I wanted it. I did have some cool old gear, but the only things I missed enough (at all) to spend money acquiring again were my N64 and recently an ISA SB16.

      I do have a carburettor and manifold I put a bit of time into which has stayed with me, even if it's packed in a box doing nothing. But that's a unique piece of metal which I crafted myself, rather than just rare or old electronics which are handy for "one day".

      Edit: Watch out buying those multi-bay housings. Only the really expensive ones follow any sort of proper hardware RAID implementation, most rely on Windows drivers to do all the hard work and just present a customised controller setup to the OS. They won't work on Mar or Linux, and recovering your data if something stuffs up is almost impossible.

      You'll probably find you're cheaper to build a low-power PC for $250 and stick a bunch of drives in it. Either grab a proper hardware RAID card for $100 off eBay or just run Linux software RAID.