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Using an old PC case and power supply as a HDD Enclosure?

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March 25, 2008 4:14:41 PM

I was looking at external hard drive enclosures and realized they are kind of very expensive. I have some old computer cases and power supplies at my house so I was wondering if it was possible to just us an old case, an old power supply, some extra fans, and get some eSATA brackets and cables and cobble together an external enclosure for use with my PS3 and PC that I'll eventually build. Or do enclosures require a motherboard and some form of processing to work?
March 25, 2008 4:52:42 PM

How do you plan on connecting these HDDs to the PS3? It only has USB ports, which can't connect to any stand alone drives with only "an old PC case and power supply".

Do what I did.....

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

I can be used with USB 2.0 (like on the PS3), or e-sata (on newer computers/mobos). You can use both IDE or SATA drives with it as well.
March 25, 2008 5:14:14 PM

In theory I'd use an eSATA to SATA cable and connect to hard drive bay of the PS3. I don't think a USB only HDD can be used to store downloaded games and installed game files.
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March 25, 2008 9:40:51 PM

A USB hard drive can be used to store & install game files.
March 25, 2008 9:49:02 PM

As long as you get power to the hard drive, any case would work.

I might be wrong about USB hard drive, but it should work.
March 26, 2008 2:07:40 AM

I'm of the understanding that a PC Powersupply won't turn on unless it's hooked up to a mobo usually. So I'll have to jump two of the connectors to get it to work won't I?

What's the best way to do this?
March 27, 2008 11:55:13 AM

You can do it the low tech or the hi tech way.

Low tech: Get a paper clip and find the 24 pin connector of your PSU. Stick one end of the paperclip into the pin that connects to the green wire (the only green wire outta all the wires) and put the other end in the pin that connects to the black wire directly next to the green wire pin. If you did it correctly you should be able to turn on the PSU (just check and see if the fan starts moving). http://www.dvhardware.net/modules.php?name=Sections&sop=viewarticle&artid=5

Hi-Tech: Pull out and open up your PSU. Take off the casing and separate the molex wires from the 24pin connector wires. Again, find the green wire and the black one next to it. Snip off the green and black wires, and solder them together. You can then snip off all the other 24pin wires. If you do it this way, be sure to wrap the soldered wires in tape or shrink wrap so that it doesn't short out your PSU. http://modfatha.com/building-a-test-power-supply-2.html


I'd also suggest that you use a PSU with an on/off switch so that you can manually turn on and off your new modded HDD enclosure. If you wanna get really fancy you could always try to reroute wires from your PSU to the front power button of your case so that it works to turn on and off your HDDs.
March 27, 2008 2:51:34 PM

Shez said:
You can do it the low tech or the hi tech way.

Low tech: Get a paper clip and find the 24 pin connector of your PSU. Stick one end of the paperclip into the pin that connects to the green wire (the only green wire outta all the wires) and put the other end in the pin that connects to the black wire directly next to the green wire pin. If you did it correctly you should be able to turn on the PSU (just check and see if the fan starts moving). http://www.dvhardware.net/modules.php?name=Sections&sop=viewarticle&artid=5

Hi-Tech: Pull out and open up your PSU. Take off the casing and separate the molex wires from the 24pin connector wires. Again, find the green wire and the black one next to it. Snip off the green and black wires, and solder them together. You can then snip off all the other 24pin wires. If you do it this way, be sure to wrap the soldered wires in tape or shrink wrap so that it doesn't short out your PSU. http://modfatha.com/building-a-test-power-supply-2.html


I'd also suggest that you use a PSU with an on/off switch so that you can manually turn on and off your new modded HDD enclosure. If you wanna get really fancy you could always try to reroute wires from your PSU to the front power button of your case so that it works to turn on and off your HDDs.


Thanks. I'd like to try and tie into the on off button on the front, but I'm not really sure how that would work. I'll probably just do the paperclip trick for a while. Course all this is still a ways off.
March 27, 2008 4:09:20 PM

or, you could just leave the old motherboard in there for the psu to plug into. not like it's going to draw much power just sitting there with no video or data moving across it!
March 27, 2008 4:32:01 PM

mford66215 said:
or, you could just leave the old motherboard in there for the psu to plug into. not like it's going to draw much power just sitting there with no video or data moving across it!
Wait, will that work? I do have a couple random mobos laying around would putting one if those in there with no processor, video card, or anything?
Anonymous
March 27, 2008 4:36:11 PM

i think you would still need a cpu and one stick of ram, you will get error beeps without a vid card, not sure if the beeps stop after a minute or not.
a b B Homebuilt system
a c 134 ) Power supply
March 27, 2008 4:38:42 PM

That's what old PC's are for.....when you build a new one, don't bother trying to cannibalize old parts which will only slow down your new builds....just leave the old box on the network, add the new one and built in backup machine. There's another thread where someone is getting all new parts but the case....to my mind the $100-$200 "savings" just isn't worth it compared to a otherwise free backup box.
March 27, 2008 4:41:26 PM

There are a couple of other alternatives,

Use a PSU tester to fire up the ATX PSU or buy an old AT psu.
March 27, 2008 5:10:26 PM

JackNaylorPE said:
That's what old PC's are for.....when you build a new one, don't bother trying to cannibalize old parts which will only slow down your new builds....just leave the old box on the network, add the new one and built in backup machine. There's another thread where someone is getting all new parts but the case....to my mind the $100-$200 "savings" just isn't worth it compared to a otherwise free backup box.

I have enough spare stuff floating around in my basement to almost put together another Athlon 2600 system. I've got a spare processor, 3 spare cases, 2 spare motherboards, heatsink(s), like 7 or 8 spare case fans, extra Arctic Silver 3, and some other stuff. I'd still have to buy some DDR Ram, and an AGP graphics card.

The thing is there'd be no real use for it. When I do eventually Build my new system (which will use one of the spare cases), that would leave my with 3 systems, one of while I'd have no use for other than the fact that I've crammed Sata drives into it for my PS3 and future computer.
March 27, 2008 5:25:17 PM

Ragnorok - I would imagine that you could get your front power button to turn on the PSU with very little work. Personally I really like the idea of your external HDD bay tower, just because it isn't done and would be fun to do.

Just off the top of my head (I haven't tried this, so don't bank on it working) but I would imagine you could easily route the power to the power button on the front.

1) Extend the wires from your power button to the PSU
2) Attach the power button wires to bridge the green-to-black connection, so that when the power button is on the PSU fires up (ie. green->power button->black)
3) Just leave the PSU switched on and then the power button will act as the on/off switch

Like JackNaylor said, you're not going to be saving money or value by taking the old PSU and putting it into a new system. So you might as well use it for what you want and make a fun mod out of it.

I would suggest that you invest in two molex powered case fans though, to at least get some air moving through the case. It would also give you a chance to test your PSU mod without the risk of frying your HDDs.
March 27, 2008 5:33:17 PM

Ragnorok64 said:
I have enough spare stuff floating around in my basement to almost put together another Athlon 2600 system. I've got a spare processor, 3 spare cases, 2 spare motherboards, heatsink(s), like 7 or 8 spare case fans, extra Arctic Silver 3, and some other stuff. I'd still have to buy some DDR Ram, and an AGP graphics card.

The thing is there'd be no real use for it. When I do eventually Build my new system (which will use one of the spare cases), that would leave my with 3 systems, one of while I'd have no use for other than the fact that I've crammed Sata drives into it for my PS3 and future computer.

If you've parts like that laying around, then put together a basic machine, load up Openfiler, and make a nice little NAS. You can then store and house whatever files you want and it will be accessible to all computers on the network including the PS3.
March 27, 2008 5:35:38 PM

A thought that comes to mind.

If you could get your hands on a few sticks of cheap DDR memory, you could build those 2/3 systems on the cheap and then sell them off on Craigslist for 100-150 bucks. You'd free up some space, get rid of parts you'll never have need for and make 200-300 bucks to pay for your new rig. Well, a new graphics car at least :D 
March 27, 2008 5:59:03 PM

chunkymonster said:
If you've parts like that laying around, then put together a basic machine, load up Openfiler, and make a nice little NAS. You can then store and house whatever files you want and it will be accessible to all computers on the network including the PS3.

I think I'd end up having to upgrade to a motherboard that could handle SATA. Unfortunately the ones I have are still IDE boards.
March 27, 2008 6:07:45 PM

It will cost you alot more money when you burn your house down with some cobled up crap, then it would to buy a HDD enclosure. Just download on the computer then plug into PS3 via usb and transfer your downlods to your PS3 HDD.
March 27, 2008 6:22:21 PM

roadrunner197069 said:
It will cost you alot more money when you burn your house down with some cobled up crap, then it would to buy a HDD enclosure. Just download on the computer then plug into PS3 via usb and transfer your downlods to your PS3 HDD.

Doesn't that kind of sentiment run counter to the spirit of the homebuilt system forum?
March 27, 2008 6:23:35 PM

My idea of home built dont include paperclips.
March 27, 2008 6:29:17 PM

Where would DIYers be without paperclips :D 
March 27, 2008 6:38:50 PM

Well duh. But that's not the point :) 

Plus why not make a fun mod project out of it. It'll impress all of his friends... but Ragnorok maybe house insurance isn't a bad idea :p 
March 27, 2008 6:40:36 PM

Ragnorok64 said:
Where would DIYers be without paperclips :D 

And duct tape!
March 27, 2008 6:54:51 PM

Ya I'm sure his friends will be impresses when his house burns down. They could all come over and barbeque some hot dogs while its burning.

Paper clip works great to test a PSU for a few seconds but it is a safety hazard for long term use.
March 27, 2008 7:33:38 PM

Its you house not mine. More power to you. And if it did indeed burndown and they found the paperclip junk, your insuranse wouldnt cover you because of negligence.

You might as well stick a fork in the outlet and solder it to you system so you dont need a cord.

If you cant afford a $10- $20 powered external enclosure then you suck.
March 27, 2008 7:37:29 PM

roadrunner197069 said:
Its you house not mine. More power to you. And if it did indeed burndown and they found the paperclip junk, your insuranse wouldnt cover you because of negligence.

You might as well stick a fork in the outlet and solder it to you system so you dont need a cord.

If you cant afford a $10- $20 powered external enclosure then you suck.


Just how much power do you actually think is flowing through the circuit that does nothing more than tell your computer to turn on? :heink: 
March 27, 2008 7:38:58 PM

Enough to cause a fire. Im done good luck. You said you are gonna build a computer, I hate to see what a piece of crap it looks like.
March 27, 2008 8:04:36 PM

roadrunner197069 said:
Enough to cause a fire. Im done good luck. You said you are gonna build a computer, I hate to see what a piece of crap it looks like.

I simply don't understand where this hostility is coming from.

1) Multiple Bay Sata Hard Drive Enclosures easily run into the hundreds of dollars not $10-20 as you have alleged. Unless you know of a supplier of cheap multi bay enclosures, if so please do share the knowledge.

2) The Paperclip is only one of the options. I'd prefer to wire it directly into the front power button.

3) Nothing that I've found in my searching has suggested that using the paper clip in conjunction with electrical tape (as in the example I linked) will result in some spontaneously combusting power supply. Heck car modders can utilize PC power supplies to power cold cathode and LED lights using the same method.

4) You haven't actually provided any proof of this fire hazard you claim will burn down my house. Thus far it's just been wild speculation on your end. Please do provide some form of compelling evidence.
March 27, 2008 8:20:13 PM

Power to you Ragnorok, not sure why RoadRunner decided to go 'Smokey the PC Bear' on you... well, if Smokey was a complete douche that is.

I think the mod will work out perfectly. Post up some pics if you finish it :) 
March 27, 2008 8:46:53 PM

Lackadaisical said:
I found a relatively cheap multibay sata enclosure that you might be interested in. If not good luck with the project.

http://www.directron.com/kf4000bk.html

I have seen that one, I believe it's that same as the one my friend has, I'll keep it in mind as a fall back just in case.
March 27, 2008 8:51:15 PM

Shez said:
Power to you Ragnorok, not sure why RoadRunner decided to go 'Smokey the PC Bear' on you... well, if Smokey was a complete douche that is.

I think the mod will work out perfectly. Post up some pics if you finish it :) 

It'll be quite some time before that happens, most likely. I'm not projecting to build a new computer till at least fall of this year maybe later.

I've got some non computer related projects in mind too. Once it warms up enough for me to have the door open of long periods of time I'll have to break out the airbrush I bought last year and start my practice again. If I get proficient I may try it out on some computer cases :D  .
March 27, 2008 10:00:30 PM

Latest project. Still needs some red and yellow and other graphics. It will be done next week. Gonna have matching keyboard mouse and monitor also.
a b B Homebuilt system
a c 134 ) Power supply
March 27, 2008 10:07:32 PM

Ragnorok64 said:
The thing is there'd be no real use for it. When I do eventually Build my new system (which will use one of the spare cases), that would leave my with 3 systems, one of while I'd have no use for other than the fact that I've crammed Sata drives into it for my PS3 and future computer.


I have nine boxes (4 in home office, 3 for kiddies, 2 "spares" and an NAS). One of the best uses for a spare PC is that when one is broken, you have a "spare" to use and go on line to get stuff. Other uses include a print server, a game server (DMZ), backup location, guest computer.
March 27, 2008 10:09:06 PM

roadrunner just hasn't gotten laid recently, is my thought. it's really funny how sure s/he seems that you'll burn down your house. s/he doesn't give any other thought to it at all than just "omg you idiot you'll burn down your house". meh, s/he just needs to get laid...
!