Do I need a fan for my external hard drive?

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I have an external hard drive box.
The enclosure has a fan.
The fan has got very noisy.    :(
I was just wondering... do I need the fan at all?

Am I right in saying that the external hard drives you can buy off the
shelf DON'T have a fan?
Therefore I don't need a fan??



Re: Do I need a fan for my external hard drive?

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My external `IcyBox` has no fan, but I would think yours has one for a
Can`t imagine the makers fitting one just for fun. Cooler drives last
best wishes..OJ

Re: Do I need a fan for my external hard drive?


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What make and model?  Even if that doesn't help us help you,
it might help others avoid that product.

Did the fan start out it's life this noisey or get worse
over time?  Is it a ball-bearing or sleeve bearing fan?  If
unknown, the sticker may reveal this, or at least the fan
model # which may provide leads with a search engine, or you
could peel back the sticker to see if it has a ball bearing
or sleeve (bronze looking) visible.  If a sleeve-bearing,
try lubing it with a thick oil, almost grease.

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It's likely, semi-modern drives do run fairly hot without
active airflow.  It will likely run fine for awhile without
the fan, but shorter lifespan.  IF you always run the drive
only long enough to make a backup or move data, it might
never have a chance to heat up much, but if it's running for
a 1/2 hour or more at a time (roughly speaking, depends on
several variables) then it has already heated up.

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Not necessarily, but keep in mind that all they really need
to do is have it last longer than a warranty that might only
be 1 year.

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Not really a safe assumption to make, particularly when
passsive (fanless) cooling designs also allow for better
passive air movement while one incorporating a fan generally
does the opposite, contains the air across the drive so it
has maximum effect from the entry to exhaust points.

With that in mind, if you really, really want to run it
fanless you migth consider taking the casing apart and
drilling a lot of ventilation holes in it.  Another
alternative would be to get a new fan, relube the present
fan, and "maybe" run it at lower RPM which will almost
certainly keep drive cooler than a fanless attempt and with
the fan spinning slower it would tend to product far less
noise, last longer, and assumulate less dust in the

You might also take the (screws?) out of the enclosure but
keep it assembled, run the drive for a 1/2 hour then power
it off and immediately open it and touch-test the drive to
see how hot it was getting.  If it feels more than warm, it
would be best to find better cooling.

Re: Do I need a fan for my external hard drive?

Kony... THANKS for the reply.

That was really really useful.

I got the external box from ebuyer.
I can't remember what the name was.
I've bought about 5 units.
Some of them suffer from the problems more than others.

Ball bearing?
Not sure.
It's a plastic fan.
Not sure what's inside the central bit.

I think the noise is probably to do with the build up of dust.
One thing I haven't tried is cleaning it.

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to see if that helps.
The last thing I need is for the hard disc to pack in.

Keep up the posts: people like you help keep the internet alive. : )


Re: Do I need a fan for my external hard drive?

OM wrote:
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Does the enclosure have lots and lots of holes in it for ventilation,
and does it sit vertically?  If so, maybe you don't need a fan because
I've seen Maxtor and Seagate fanless external drives with enclosures
like that, and I know that when my internal drives are mounted
vertically they run about 3 Celcius cooler overall, their hottest chips
10-20C cooler.

OTOH if your enclosure is like my IOmega external drive's and has
almost no vent openings, then the HD will run very hot, and I'd want to
either use a fan with it or drill tons of holes in the enclosure.  I
did the latter with my IOmega, even though the enclosure was designed
for a fan (not included) because I've never heard of holes failing the
way fans do.

How about just cleaning and oiling your fan?  Use only light machine
oil, not WD-40 or silicone lube.

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