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Vibrating Hard Disks!

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Anonymous
a b G Storage
December 23, 2000 8:08:43 PM

Hi

I hate to disgace this forum with a complaint as trivial as this, but here goes:

I have recently installed a second IBM IDE 30.7GB Deskstar HDD to complement my existing drive. It's a good fast disk and the noise it make while in action is reasonably quiet compared to some others. So read/write noise is not a problem...so?

The problem is that the two disks combined produce an unholy reverberation within the case. It sounds like a Buddhist "om", i kid you not. If the noise was constant i could probably deal with it but it rises and falls, and i'm seriously finding it hard to take.

At first i thought it was a vibration from a failing CPU fan or loose PSU, but that's not the case. It's bizarre. In isolation neither disk produces a noise like this - but together!

Anyway, what i'm after is: has anyone got any tips for reducing this sort of intense ambient racket? I have heard that sticking a great glob of BluTack on to a disk can help reduce vibrations between the disk and the case, but i'm not keen to put putty on a hard disk - you know how warm these things get!

Oh, the case isn't at fault here as i've previously run a Quantum disk in tandem with the IBM, but that became too full.

Any practical suggestions, or shall i just invest in a pair of ear mufflers?

Willing myself deaf....

Wiseblood

More about : vibrating hard disks

Anonymous
a b G Storage
December 24, 2000 5:42:43 AM

I was wondering the same thing, as my new Quantum Atlas II 10K vibrates the case somewhat. Tonight, I reduced the noise by taking the case apart (sides/top/front) and tightening all the flanges so that they are <i>really</i> tight. I also made sure to align the rails which the hdd is attached to, and it seemed to improve the situation... much better than before, but still noticable. I was wondering is anyone has invented a 3 1/2 -> 5 1/4 mounting cradle which would isolate the hdd's vibration. It seems like a good idea.

--now how is it possible that hard disks are happy vibrating? - I would think that they would be in perfect balance and harmony to be happy...
December 24, 2000 9:54:04 AM

Ok, this might sound off the wall, and I am sure someone can come up with something better, but here goes.

I have dealt a fair bit with car audio. Get some powerful subs going, and watch the sound quality fall to crap as the car attemps to shake itself apart. The solution is not so much to stop the vibrating, but stop the noise.

The viration noise is from the case rattling against itself. Go to any home supply or car audio store (which would be better) and get yourself some stripping. Car audio places will have it to line windows and trunks. Good rubber/foam weather stripping should also do the trick. Just make sure it's fairly dense, about as dense as those Mars Plastic pencil erasers.

Pull your case apart and line all the individual parts with the stripping. You will need to make it thin so you can get the case back together. I would think about 1/4 to 1/8th of an inch should do it. Anywhere where you screw the case together, put some stripping there, use a drill to cut a hole, and put the screws through the stripping.

If this is a little intensive for you, you could also try something else. Build your own 3.5" - 5.25" bracket adaptor. Simply get two strips of material, about as long as the hard drive, and about an inch thick. Perhaps 15/16ths of an inch depending on how dense the material is. Drill/cut/burn holes into it at the same place as the mounting holes on the hard drive. Go to your hardware store and get longer screws that the standard ones you get with the hard drive. Place the hard drive between the two pieces of stripping, taking care to line up the holes, and slide it into the bay. It will need to be a snug fit! If it's not, increase the thickness of the stripping. A thin plastic ruler might make things a bit easier, giving you a guide with which to slide the drive in. Then, attach it with the screws.

You could also try simply using a small amount of the material between the drive and the bay in the standard 3.5 inch bay, but it is so tight as it is, I doubt you would reduce the vibration enough to make a huge difference to you.

It might sound primitive, but believe it or not, it's the same technology used to sound proof a submarine to cut down on internal vibrations showing through the hull. :) 
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Anonymous
a b G Storage
December 24, 2000 3:56:52 PM

Hi

Thanks for the input. Weirdly enough it's not the case vibrating in the traditional sense of the word: i.e the side panels banging whenever the hard disk reads/writes, so i've found that tightening screws can actually make it worse as its an ambient vibration within the case.

Bandit, your suggestions sound absolutely fascinating! This will give me something to do over the Xmas holidays i think! I'm prepared to give this a try. Another suggestion i've recieved is attaching thin rubber washers to the screws that hold the drive in it's bay so that these can absorb some of the vibration, surely worth a try: when i can get hold of some.

So cheers for now, i've solved the problem short term by disconnecting the extra drive, but that's a good 30GB wasted as far as i'm concerned, so we'll see.

Again, thanks Bandit for the very thorough post!

Wiseblood
December 24, 2000 4:54:14 PM

Well, if you try it, let me know if it works ok? I would be very interested to see what happens. It works well in cars.. But computers are a little bit different.... :) 
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