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Last post Author Topic: $20 if you make me a 6' Molex cable. $10 for recommending a better solution.  (Read 14918 times)

superboyac

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I ask for a lot of help here, so this time I present it as a challenge that I will pay for.

I have an external enclosure for my hard drive.  Apparently, the power supply is too small (in Watts delivered) for the hard drive I am using.  I need a bigger power supply in the range of 50W-80W, I'm not really sure.  My enclosure also has a convenience Molex (male) plug on the back.  Now, if I can somehow get a Molex cable 6' or longer, I can connect it to the PSU that's inside my computer case, which has plenty of juice for this.

The problem is that nobody makes a Molex cable for external use anywhere past 12" or so.  I've been scouring the web for two hours now.

So, I will pay somebody to make me a 6' cable to do this.  $20.  Or if anyone has a better solution, I'll give you $10 of my donationcredits.

One of the other solutions I considered was buying an external power supply box (or brick) and connect that to my enclosure.  But i ran into the same problem.  I couldn't find any brick that had enough power and also had a Molex connector.  Besides, it's just easier to connect to my computer's PSU anyway.


By the way, when I say Molex, I mean this:
800px-Molex_female_connector.jpg

Shades

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Are the electrical losses over such a length of cable (6 feet = about 2 meters) not too big? Or would a cable with that length impose a big strain on (one of) the power rail of the power supply?

Jumpstarting two separate ATX power supplies with one and the same button is easier...and in my point of view preferable. 

app103

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I couldn't find any brick that had enough power and also had a Molex connector.

What kind of connector did you find? It might be easier to just buy an adapter like I had to do when I bought my Dell and wanted to use some older drives (it only came with ability to power SATA)

Shades

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Darn, I should have read your story instead of glancing over it. Those connectors on the back are mainly for  connecting a hard drive when an emergency occurs. Of course you can use it on a more permanent basis but I do not know how much power it can sustain like that.

With each power supply you see several bundles of cables coming out. Each of those bundles is also known as a rail and can only output a fraction of the advertised power (watts) mentioned on the power supply. I have to assume that the molex on the back of the power supply is connected to one of these rails and it is hard to tell which one without inspecting the circuit board of the power supply.

Now I don't know which power supply you have installed and how you have divided the load from the (enormous amount of) connected devices regarding the available rails. So when you use the back molex together with such a long cable, make sure that you don't overload that particular rail because you can be in for a nasty surprise.

It would not be the first time that dividing the load from a misbehaving PC differently has removed a lot if not all of the problems it had. Power supplies that have their load not evenly divided wear out more quickly as well. A little bit of common sense here works wonders.

 

mwb1100

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You could get one of those adapters that connects a bare IDE drive to a USB outlet - they always come with an AC adapter that will power IDE drives which happen to have Molex connectors.  Something like:

http://www.newegg.co...Item=N82E16812156101

edit:

Oh - I see you already considered something like this and that it won't drive the watts/amps that you need.

« Last Edit: July 17, 2009, 11:13:50 PM by mwb1100 »

superboyac

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I couldn't find any brick that had enough power and also had a Molex connector.

What kind of connector did you find? It might be easier to just buy an adapter like I had to do when I bought my Dell and wanted to use some older drives (it only came with ability to power SATA)
Well, that's the thing.  I couldn't find any brick that had that much power (50-80W) with a connector that I would be able to convert to a Molex with an adapter of some sort.  I looked for a long time with a bunch of combination, but didn't find any.

superboyac

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You could get one of those adapters that connects a bare IDE drive to a USB outlet - they always come with an AC adapter that will power IDE drives which happen to have Molex connectors.  Something like:

http://www.newegg.co...Item=N82E16812156101
I don't see the specs for it, but I doubt it has enough juice to power this drive.  The current power supply I had was 34W which is enough for most drives, but was not enough for mine.  So I think I have to look towards more exotic solutions.  The general external solutions will not work, I don't think.

superboyac

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Darn, I should have read your story instead of glancing over it. Those connectors on the back are mainly for  connecting a hard drive when an emergency occurs. Of course you can use it on a more permanent basis but I do not know how much power it can sustain like that.

With each power supply you see several bundles of cables coming out. Each of those bundles is also known as a rail and can only output a fraction of the advertised power (watts) mentioned on the power supply. I have to assume that the molex on the back of the power supply is connected to one of these rails and it is hard to tell which one without inspecting the circuit board of the power supply.

Now I don't know which power supply you have installed and how you have divided the load from the (enormous amount of) connected devices regarding the available rails. So when you use the back molex together with such a long cable, make sure that you don't overload that particular rail because you can be in for a nasty surprise.

It would not be the first time that dividing the load from a misbehaving PC differently has removed a lot if not all of the problems it had. Power supplies that have their load not evenly divided wear out more quickly as well. A little bit of common sense here works wonders.

 
I think I understand what you are saying.  So what do you suggest?

app103

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I couldn't find any brick that had enough power and also had a Molex connector.

What kind of connector did you find? It might be easier to just buy an adapter like I had to do when I bought my Dell and wanted to use some older drives (it only came with ability to power SATA)
Well, that's the thing.  I couldn't find any brick that had that much power (50-80W) with a connector that I would be able to convert to a Molex with an adapter of some sort.  I looked for a long time with a bunch of combination, but didn't find any.

That was why I asked you, because maybe I can help you find the right adapter. (can't look if I don't know what I am looking for)

mwb1100

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I'm no electrician, but sending 50-80W over 6' of that type of cable sounds like something that might be potentially hazardous (I'm not saying that it is - just that I'd look into that aspect).  A fire's the last thing you'd want from your setup.

Shades

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How come your drive is eating so much power to begin with?

My external HD enclosure came with a power supply that delivered 12Volt and 1.5Ampere as output. That would make 18 watt and it was not bigger than wall charger for a cell phone. Building a power supply with high voltage is rather simple and cheap, but if it has to deliver a decent amperage...

The hard drive in that enclosure was an IDE Western Digital Caviar 160GByte 7200rpm. Ran nice for four years with the original power supply (in ambient temperatures from 40 degrees Celsius and above). Putting a faster 10000rpm drive in an external enclosure seems overkill as you would hit the bandwidth limit of the USB channel you are using and it does not require that much more power.

50 to 80 Watts, it seems a lot to me. Dividing 80Watts with 12Volt results in a device that uses 4 to 6 Ampere. Has it a double function as electrical heater? Or as a cigarette lighter similar to the ones found in old cars? A standard ATX power supply like my own 350Watts power supply requires about 10Ampere (at full capacity) from the electrical grid it is connected to.

superboyac

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Hmmm...Shades, you bring up a good point.  Why is the drive consuming so much power?  Well, who knows.  Actually, I'm an electrical engineer by profession, I should know the answer, but I don't know anything about how hard drives and stuff work.

Anyway, here's the deal.  The enclosure is from Granite Digital, an excellent company with fabulous customer support.  I love their products.  I've been thinking about it and I believe I have come up with the best solution.  I've asked them if i can return the enclosure I have for store credit and use it to buy a 2-bay enclosure of the same type.  Why?  Because, first of all, their 2-bay enclosure comes with a built in 300w power supply.  Secondly, my enclosure cost about $70 and their 2-bay enclosure is on sale for $100.  So it wouldn't cost me that much in the end anyway.  I also have a couple of spare 500gb drives lying around that could be used.  So, that's my solution.

As for the drive consuming a lot of power, the answer I got from Granite Digital is that the external power supply that comes with the unit can support most drives, but with the drives getting so big now 1-2TB, their power consumption is getting a little too big for these power supplies.  The model of this power supply is listed for 34W, but I don't know what that actually means.  I haven't read anywhere of a hard drive using 34W of power or even close to it, but the actual values of all these things are always vastly different than their listed values.  So whatever.
« Last Edit: July 18, 2009, 12:50:06 AM by superboyac »

app103

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Another idea that seems so obvious that I don't understand why it wasn't mentioned already:

You could mount the HD in one of your spare 5.25 inch bays using mounting brackets or an internal enclosure with a rack. Then you could hook up the HD directly to your PC's power supply and motherboard. This is assuming you have a spare 5.25 inch bay to begin with.

If there is an issue with it being a PATA drive and there only being SATA capabilities on your motherboard, then you can use a controller card to fix that problem. (there are also SATA controller cards, too,  in case you have maxed that out already, and that was your reason for using an external enclosure)

superboyac

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Another idea that seems so obvious that I don't understand why it wasn't mentioned already:

You could mount the HD in one of your spare 5.25 inch bays using mounting brackets or an internal enclosure with a rack. Then you could hook up the HD directly to your PC's power supply and motherboard. This is assuming you have a spare 5.25 inch bay to begin with.

If there is an issue with it being a PATA drive and there only being SATA capabilities on your motherboard, then you can use a controller card to fix that problem. (there are also SATA controller cards, too,  in case you have maxed that out already, and that was your reason for using an external enclosure)
Ha!  Yeah, it wasn't mentioned because I want to use it as an external drive.  I should have made that more clear.  Believe me, my computer has PLENTY of 5.25 bays and plenty of spare SATA  spaces on the motherboard.  This is the super computer I built following the recommendations of everyone here at DC earlier this year.  There's a whole thread on it.

No, I still think I'm going to go for that 2-bay solution.  I'm just waiting to hear back from Granite Digital and I hope they'll give me store credit for this enclosure.

f0dder

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That kind of power consumption sounds like a big wtf to me - unless you're talking a NAS box and not just a simple USB/firewire/whatever enclosure. A WD MyBook draws 15W during spinup, ~8W during idle, and ~11W during read (didn't bother testing write). That bigger drives should require more power also sounds a bit silly, imho only faster rpm and (perhaps) more spindles would require more juice.

You say their two-drive enclosure is 300W? That's hopefully a NAS box with RAID functionality, otherwise I'd stay way clear of that company :)
- carpe noctem

Innuendo

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superboyac,
Is this hard drive in this external enclosure IDE/PATA or SATA? The reason I ask is you are talking about molex connectors which are used nearly exclusively on IDE/PATA drives. Granite Digital's web site lists the enclosure you are wanting to exchange for as being SATA only. SATA drives almost exclusively do not use molex connectors.

Re: Granite Digital - there's nothing to fear from this company except their prices. They market their products exclusively to the Mac market so they tend to be made out of stylized aluminum that matches the Mac Pros & they are over-engineered with high prices to match their target audience.


4wd

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That bigger drives should require more power also sounds a bit silly, imho only faster rpm and (perhaps) more spindles would require more juice.

I think you meant platters unless there's something in the works about dual spindle drives :)

I'm with you, the WD RE4-GP 2TB HDD lists a read/write power consumption of 6.8W, startup isn't listed but I don't think I'm far wrong in saying it would be in the range of 15-20W since it's only 4 platter.

Power consumption for HDDs has generally decreased since they found that instead of more platters they can cram more bits on a platter.

My DNS-313 Single drive NAS PSU is rated at 36W, (12V @ 3A), and will handle anything I stick in it bearing in mind it also has to run a small Linux machine in there also.

300W for a dual drive external enclosure is just ridiculous even if it is a NAS, eg. the DNS-323 Dual HDD RAID NAS has a ~50W PSU.
« Last Edit: July 18, 2009, 08:03:43 PM by 4wd »

Innuendo

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300W for a dual drive external enclosure is just ridiculous even if it is a NAS, eg. the DNS-323 Dual HDD RAID NAS has a ~50W PSU.

And my DNS-323 has no problems at all powering the two Seagate 1.5TB drives it contains.

superboyac

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300w is overkill, but it's probably one of those things where it's easier to put in a 300w unit than a 100w unit or something.  Also, I think they use the same 300w unit for the 4-drive bay.  No big deal there.  I've been reading, and it's not that unusual for a drive to use more than 30W power during initial spinup.  So 60W for two drives is minimum, in my mind.  Just to be safe, I would make sure to have minimum 80-100W just to make sure nothing crazy happens.  I don't think that is overkill at all.  That being said, the normal brick power supply will be undersized for this kind of thing.  That's why i'm going to go with the 2-bay enclosure.

f0dder

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Staggered spin-up <3

300W sounds like massive overkill, perhaps they're using something horribly power-inefficient like a Pentium4 for the NAS system?
- carpe noctem

superboyac

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It's overkill engineering-wise, but you don't know business-wise.  What if they have a ton of 300w units lying around?  Why would they buy a 175W units for their new equipment?

4wd

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Well, they must have seen the error of their ways.....

The one you're referring to must be old stock they want to get rid of, all their newer External 2 bay enclosures only have a 40, 50 or 80 watt PSU.

And at 10Kg for a dual bay external it's more an anchor than it is portable.....they've certainly lived up to the name Granite with this thing.

superboyac

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Well, they must have seen the error of their ways.....

The one you're referring to must be old stock they want to get rid of, all their newer External 2 bay enclosures only have a 40, 50 or 80 watt PSU.

And at 10Kg for a dual bay external it's more an anchor than it is portable.....they've certainly lived up to the name Granite with this thing.
That's interesting.  40W for two big hard drives could be cutting it close, but I guess they've done their math.  I'm getting the one on sale (already ordered it) because it's pretty cheap and it's still $60 cheaper than the stacked one.  Yeah, their enclosures are pretty heavy, but that's what I like about them!  These things are rock solid.  I've used cheaper plastic ones in the past and they were fine, but little things here and there were evident that they were a little cheap.  This one is seriously well made.

4wd

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A friend and I now use these things instead of 3.5" external enclosures and carry around 2.5" externals instead.

sku_15208_2.jpg10 if you make me a 6' Molex cable.  $10 for recommending a better solution.

Just slide a drive in and close the door, open the door and the drive gets pushed out.

Saves carrying around a lot of PSUs and cables, just the HDD in its transport pack - a lot lighter.

Plus, considering the amount of HDDs I've got lying around, it makes it easy to find out what's on them.  Heaps better than those cradle things, they were an absolute PITA if you wanted to swap HDDs.

superboyac

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I have one of those as well.  Obviously, I'm not getting the Granite Digital products for their portability.  I like those things...you just slide the bare drive in and out like a floppy disk.  I wrote a review about them a while back:
http://www.donationc...dex.php?topic=7940.0