Installing custom hard drive bays

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Hello.  Looking to see if folks have had any success with making their
own custom hard drive bays.  I've got an older HP Pavillion a320n that
I'm still in love with and have wanted to add some hard drive fans
to.  My problem is there isn't enough space in the current
configuration that would give the fans enough clearance and allow the
air to circulate and still make the hard drives accessible.  I've been
toying with the idea of creating a custom hard drive rack that will
place the hard drives in a more central location in the case, allow me
get to them for maintenance, and the IDE ribbon and power wires, while
allowing me to attach fans to each hard drive and having enough space
for air to circulate.  Anyone have any experiences with something like
that?  Thanks.


Re: Installing custom hard drive bays wrote:
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I made a rack out of two bits of galvanized steel, typically used for
heating/air conditioning ducts.  One was a U-shaped affair that the
drives could be screwed into, and the other was flat with a slotted edge
that the first fit into, and was mounted to the bottom of a mini-tower
case.  Each drive was matched with a hd cooler like this:

Ultimately, I replaced it all with a large capacity drive in a standard
bay.  If I had to have a system that had a large number of physical
drives, I would probably invest in:

Re: Installing custom hard drive bays

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Not exactly that, but I did mount a fan in the back of my drive rack in my
beige case.  This required removing the existing rack and redrilling the
holes for the drives.  They drives stick out a few inches now, but all that
does is prevent me from removing the mainboard from the top when the drives
are installed.

They certainly do stay a lot cooler, even just running the 12V fan at 7V.


Re: Installing custom hard drive bays

On Tue, 23 Sep 2008 21:05:17 -0700 (PDT), wrote:

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Ultimately what you need do can vary depending what the
interior design and free space in your case allows.  OEM
cases in particular can be more challenging as they tend to
be smaller and often have only a vertical bay without much
space behind it (usually mATX cases).

I've done something similar a few times.  The basic idea
behind mine was to make most of the case air intake flow
through the hard drive rack.  If the case has a strong
exhaust and the ambient temperature is low it won't require
a fan at all, but if a fan is desired then you simply need
to cut the appropriate sized hole in the front wall of the
case and make the HDD rack an inch longer to allow clearance
for the fan.   You shouldn't need to attach fans directly to
each drive if the case allows doing this.  The following
were made of 0.062" sheet aluminum, the fans were very low
RPM, standard 92mm x 25mm.

Some cases are poorly enough designed that their front
(usually plastic) bezel also needs the air intake area(s)
increased for maximum effectiveness.

Another option is to use drive rails to adapt the 3.5" drive
to an external 5.25" bay size.  Mount the drive in one of
these optical drive bays that was unused, and either drill
some holes in that bay's plastic faceplate or replace that
faceplate with something that allows air intake there like a
piece of perforated metal or a piece of filter material.

So far as doing it to make maintenance easier, it's likely
you would end up spending more time making and installing
the bay than the total amount of extra time for maintenance
without the bay.  Hard drives just don't need much
maintenance, perhaps upgraded or replaced during the life of
the system but beyond this simply making a fan bracket
without the new bay can be enough if they're running too
hot.  A fan bracket is simple enough to envision, just take
a piece of metal thick enough that it doesn't flex from the
fan's minor vibrations, trace a curve on one side to which
the fan frame screws, then put a right-angle bend in the
other side where you screw or bolt  it to the case wall
(having drilled a couple corresponding holes in the case
wall for this purpose).

Re: Installing custom hard drive bays


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(a bottom front view of this case pictured previously) -

Re: Installing custom hard drive bays

Thanks for all the ideas and suggestions.  I think ultimately I'm
going to have to get a custom case, but for now, the ideas and
suggestions presented will work.  I'm going to work on it this weekend
and see what I can come up with.  If all goes well I'll post some
pics. If not, well, it's back to micro center and some case
shopping :)

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