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Build Your Own External Hard Drive

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External Hard Drive - Attach the Hard Drive
External Hard Drive - Attach the Hard Drive

The case with the hard drive mounted and the internal interface connected.

Photo © Coyote Moon Inc.

There are two methods of mounting a hard drive to a case. Both methods are equally effective; it’s up to the manufacturer to decide which one to use.

Hard drives may be mounted by four screws attached to the bottom of the drive or by four screws attached to the side of the drive. One method that is becoming popular is to combine the side mounting points with a special screw that has a rubber-like sleeve. When attached to the drive, the screw acts as a shock absorber, to help prevent the hard drive from being susceptible to the bounces and bumps an external enclosure can produce when you move or carry it around.

Mount the Drive in the Case

  1. Install the four mounting screws, per the manufacturer’s instructions. It’s usually easiest to install one screw and leave it loose, then install another screw diagonally across from the first one. This helps ensure that the mounting holes in the case and the hard drive align correctly. After you insert all of the screws, tighten them down by hand; don’t exert excessive force.
     
  2. Make the electrical connections between the case and the hard drive. There are two connections to be made, the power and the data. Each runs in its own cable assembly.

You may find that making the connections is a bit difficult because of cramped space. Sometimes it’s easier to reverse the order for mounting the hard drive. Install the electrical connections first, and then mount the drive to the case with the mounting screws. This gives you more working room to get those stubborn cables connected.

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