MuntyScruntfundle
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What to do with 4 old sata drives?

Mon Nov 27, 2017 3:50 am

I have 4 old internal 80Gb sata drives, not much value in them, but they're all identical and good quality. So why not build a raid I hear you say! Well, I was thinking the same thing.

I've found some 'reasonably priced' converters from sata to usb, as I never use a monitor or keyboard with the pi in question I can utilise all 4 ports, the question is, will the pi handle the power required? I'm guessing not!

Can anyone think of a way around this without buying ssd's which defeats the point of the exercise?

Thanks.

ejolson
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Re: What to do with 4 old sata drives?

Mon Nov 27, 2017 4:51 am

MuntyScruntfundle wrote:
Mon Nov 27, 2017 3:50 am
I have 4 old internal 80Gb sata drives.
If these are 3.5" drives taken from desktop machines, you will need to use powered USB enclosures, in which case there is no problem hooking four to the Pi. If they are 2.5" notebook drives, use adaptors to place them in powered enclosures for 3.5" drives. People will tell you that the USB controller on the Pi is not well suited for building a 4 drive RAID array. For this reason, it would be very interesting to hear what the actual performance is with such a setup.

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Imperf3kt
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Re: What to do with 4 old sata drives?

Mon Nov 27, 2017 6:46 am

80Gb sata is old?
Damn, I don't know what to do with my 426Mb IDE HDD from 1995 now.
http://stason.org/TULARC/pc/hard-drives ... -FAST.html
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Heater
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Re: What to do with 4 old sata drives?

Mon Nov 27, 2017 7:17 am

80Gb is indeed old.

I don't buy spinning disks anymore. Except... I picked up a USB hard drive from the bargain bin at the local computer mega-store for use as scratch transfer space. Three frikken tera bytes !

Somewhere I have my old 1GB Quantum Bigfoot, from the late 1990's. It's huge 5.25-inch. Might be fun to hook that to a Pi and see if it still works. Bet it does.

broe23
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Re: What to do with 4 old sata drives?

Mon Nov 27, 2017 10:17 am

Imperf3kt wrote:
Mon Nov 27, 2017 6:46 am
80Gb sata is old?
Damn, I don't know what to do with my 426Mb IDE HDD from 1995 now.
http://stason.org/TULARC/pc/hard-drives ... -FAST.html
The old Corvus 10MB made by IMI was even better, but not as well as the DEC platter drive units.
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HawaiianPi
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Re: What to do with 4 old sata drives?

Mon Nov 27, 2017 4:05 pm

You definitely won't be able to power 4 hard drives from the Pi's USB ports. Even laptop drives will consume more current than available. The Pi B+/2B/3B USB ports have a maximum current output of 1.2A for all 4 ports combined. With power hungry devices on all ports you will end up with around 300mA per port, which is significantly below the USB 2.0 standard of 500mA per port, and well below what a typical portable HDD requires.

The solution would be to acquire 4 powered HDD enclosures, a single 4 bay powered enclosure, or connect the drives to a powered hub.

About half of the many portable hard drive enclosures I own have power jacks, but only 1 actually came with a power supply.

A 4 drive RAID enclosure will likely cost more than the drives are worth, but non-RAID enclosure might be affordable enough (just make sure it is Linux compatible, or compatible with whatever OS you are using to build your RAID). I recently received a Sabrent 4 bay enclosure that might work for your needs, but I am still in the process of shucking some of my external drives to fill it, so I haven't even fired it up yet. I'll try to remember to see if it works on my Pi3 and post a follow-up message here.

FYI: I have tried the Pi as a NAS in the past and found its performance unbearably slow.
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Heater
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Re: What to do with 4 old sata drives?

Mon Nov 27, 2017 4:28 pm

Actually, I think the most fun that can be had with 4 old 80GB drives is to crack them open and take the motors, platters and magnets out. Beautiful engineering to be seen inside. At least for the 3.5 inch jobbies, I have never opened a laptop sized drive.

Just now I have two such sets of platters and motors on my desk. Wondering how I can drive the motors from a Pi. At least they make good fidget spinners.

The head drive magnets stick to the fridge like crazy!

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Imperf3kt
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Re: What to do with 4 old sata drives?

Mon Nov 27, 2017 9:23 pm

Heater wrote:
Mon Nov 27, 2017 4:28 pm
Actually, I think the most fun that can be had with 4 old 80GB drives is to crack them open and take the motors, platters and magnets out. Beautiful engineering to be seen inside. At least for the 3.5 inch jobbies, I have never opened a laptop sized drive.

Just now I have two such sets of platters and motors on my desk. Wondering how I can drive the motors from a Pi. At least they make good fidget spinners.

The head drive magnets stick to the fridge like crazy!
Be aware that once you open them, you can never put them back together. HDDs are manufactured in a dust free environment, such as a vacuum.

Only do this if you are sure you don't want the drive. 80GB is still useful!
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Heater
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Re: What to do with 4 old sata drives?

Mon Nov 27, 2017 9:37 pm

Well, yeah. Of course.

80GB is still useful. But if it involves buying adapters and this and that it's not worth worrying about.

I might get my 1GB Quantum big foot working with a Pi one day. But only as a historical curiosity.

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Imperf3kt
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Re: What to do with 4 old sata drives?

Mon Nov 27, 2017 10:00 pm

An externally powered SATA to USB breadboard can be had for $1 with free shipping from China, a 12v, 1.5A wall wart will set you back $5-10 with free shipping, a micro USB cable is probably floating around the house already.
Congrats, you now have a (bulky but reliable) 80Gb USB thumbdrive.
Or you could buy a 64Gb one brand new for about $50.
Your choice.
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Heater
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Re: What to do with 4 old sata drives?

Mon Nov 27, 2017 10:14 pm

Tough call Imperf3kt.

I'll take whatever is floating around me at the time.

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Imperf3kt
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Re: What to do with 4 old sata drives?

Mon Nov 27, 2017 10:23 pm

I'm probably just a scrooge, I can't stand wasting perfectly functional electronics even if they use more electricity >.>

I mean, I used an old CRT monitor from ~2006 until 2015!
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Heater
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Re: What to do with 4 old sata drives?

Mon Nov 27, 2017 10:43 pm

I'm totally with you there Imperf3kt.

If it's in place and working. Let it be. That costs nothing much.

It's just that in the case the OP wants to recycle a pile of junk. Which will require adapters and power supplies and time and effort.

Is it worth it?

Perhaps for fun.

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Mortimer
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Re: What to do with 4 old sata drives?

Mon Nov 27, 2017 10:58 pm

Imperf3kt wrote:
Mon Nov 27, 2017 9:23 pm
Be aware that once you open them, you can never put them back together. HDDs are manufactured in a dust free environment, such as a vacuum.

Only do this if you are sure you don't want the drive. 80GB is still useful!
Many moons ago, a work laptop had a hard drive problem. It was a 2.5" IDE drive, can't remember what capacity it was. I do remember it had Windows 2000 on it. We took the drive out to find a small dent in the metal cover. It wasn't working so we thought there was nothing to lose by taking the cover off, pushing the dent out and reassembling it. Inside it was similar to 3.5" drives, just smaller.

Well, the operation was conducted on an office desk, the only precaution was to try not breathing on it, and not sneeze.

It went back together, and the laptop booted fine and worked for several years before the machine was retired, at which point the drive was removed, and I think is languishing at the back of my desk drawer.

I might dig it out and see if it is still working.

Heater
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Re: What to do with 4 old sata drives?

Mon Nov 27, 2017 11:30 pm

Wow, that is an amazing story.

I recall that in 1982 I was allowed to use an Intel Development System with a 10MB hard drive. The size of a washing machine. In the manual it showed a diagram of the read/write head hovering over the platter. Along with a particle of smoke that was three or four times bigger than the gap between the head and the platter.

The message was, keep this drive in a clean place.

I'm amazed you had things working at a time these spacings were 10, or more, times less.

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Imperf3kt
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Re: What to do with 4 old sata drives?

Tue Nov 28, 2017 12:45 am

Mortimer wrote:
Mon Nov 27, 2017 10:58 pm
Imperf3kt wrote:
Mon Nov 27, 2017 9:23 pm
Be aware that once you open them, you can never put them back together. HDDs are manufactured in a dust free environment, such as a vacuum.

Only do this if you are sure you don't want the drive. 80GB is still useful!
Many moons ago, a work laptop had a hard drive problem. It was a 2.5" IDE drive, can't remember what capacity it was. I do remember it had Windows 2000 on it. We took the drive out to find a small dent in the metal cover. It wasn't working so we thought there was nothing to lose by taking the cover off, pushing the dent out and reassembling it. Inside it was similar to 3.5" drives, just smaller.

Well, the operation was conducted on an office desk, the only precaution was to try not breathing on it, and not sneeze.

It went back together, and the laptop booted fine and worked for several years before the machine was retired, at which point the drive was removed, and I think is languishing at the back of my desk drawer.

I might dig it out and see if it is still working.
Its not just dust though. A lot of HDDs now include some kind of inert gas such as helium. Open it up and bye bye helium.
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rpdom
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Re: What to do with 4 old sata drives?

Tue Nov 28, 2017 6:08 am

Heater wrote:
Mon Nov 27, 2017 11:30 pm
I recall that in 1982 I was allowed to use an Intel Development System with a 10MB hard drive. The size of a washing machine. In the manual it showed a diagram of the read/write head hovering over the platter. Along with a particle of smoke that was three or four times bigger than the gap between the head and the platter.
I remember diagrams like that. They also had things like a human hair and a bit of dust and for some reason a prawn cocktail flavoured crisp.

I had a failing 3.5" 20MB drive that I installed a very minimal Debian system on once. I took the lid off it to see what happened. I ran a kernel build on it. The build failed due to lack of space, but the disk kept working for a few more days. I do not recommend trying this!!!

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Mortimer
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Re: What to do with 4 old sata drives?

Tue Nov 28, 2017 6:38 am

Heater wrote:
Mon Nov 27, 2017 11:30 pm
The message was, keep this drive in a clean place.

I'm amazed you had things working at a time these spacings were 10, or more, times less.
So were we frankly, especially when you consider that the reason the drive wasn't working was because the metal cover was touching the platter and stopping it spinning. We surmised that it must have been touching the platting at the very edge and no where on the writeable surface.

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Mortimer
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Re: What to do with 4 old sata drives?

Tue Nov 28, 2017 6:43 am

Imperf3kt wrote:
Tue Nov 28, 2017 12:45 am
Its not just dust though. A lot of HDDs now include some kind of inert gas such as helium. Open it up and bye bye helium.
Not back then I don't think.

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HawaiianPi
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Re: What to do with 4 old sata drives?

Tue Nov 28, 2017 10:35 am

In the way back when days I used to work at a shop that built custom computers, and one day I connected an old hard drive to a computer on our display floor, and then pulled the cover off. I was able to install an OS and the drive kept running day after day. People were fascinated by the inner workings of the drive as they played with the computer. I had a sign on that display saying not to shut it down, and it ran for almost a week before someone did shut it down to see if it would boot up again (it didn't).
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HawaiianPi
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Re: What to do with 4 old sata drives?

Tue Nov 28, 2017 11:42 am

Heater wrote:
Mon Nov 27, 2017 10:43 pm
Is it worth it?

Perhaps for fun.
Isn't "fun" reason enough. I experiment with stuff just for fun. It often costs me money to build something I don't have a use for, but if I learn something, or at least have a good time doing it, then is has some value.
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Re: What to do with 4 old sata drives?

Tue Nov 28, 2017 3:43 pm

For a while I was doing in-service support and regularly visited a Naval training establishment in the UK.

In a corridor between classrooms there was glass cabinet inside of which was the guts of a PC spread out inside.

This included the hard drive with cover removed.

This was always operating when I passed by, and assuming the drive wasn't being replaced in between visits, it too appeared to operate for many years, until I stopped visiting.

MuntyScruntfundle
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Re: What to do with 4 old sata drives?

Tue Nov 28, 2017 9:19 pm

Wow, lots of feedback, thank you so much folks.

I went ahead in blind hope and bought some sata - usb adapters but everyone is proven right, and as I had thought, no where near the current available to power 1 never mind 4, I'll look for some cheapish enclosures. And another 4 way power block.

As a dry run I tested with 4 cheapo usb flash drives today. Amazing results. I turned a bunch of slow, cheap usb sticks into a drive that was blazingly fast and only slightly slower than the internal micro sd haha! I'm sure with better quality sticks you could get a pretty respectable speed out of this setup, but as I wasn't sure it would work I didn't want to spend any more than £5 on each stick. But I now have an extra 16Gb on my dev pi!!

As a side note, following instructions on a link I've just lost (which is a shame because it's excellent and I'd like to give some credit to the chap) the setup was extremely easy and took about 5 minutes. Part of the setup was adding the config to the fstab file, which mounts the drive perfectly at startup, defying all the posts I'd previously found about the usb ports being slow to initialise.

Anyway, that was this afternoons test run. When I have the enclosures I'll report back.

Thanks again for all your input folks, I haven't read it all yet, I'm going to wheel my sorry ass to bed in a mo from where I will read every word. I promise! o)

MuntyScruntfundle
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Re: What to do with 4 old sata drives?

Tue Nov 28, 2017 10:19 pm

Or, .... on closer inspection these are 2.5 drives in a caddy for a 3.5 connection into a 5.5 bay! Blimey it gets complicated!

So, on the back of these caddies there are the two sata connections, and an 8 pin connector:
. . . .
________ __________ . . . .
| |

I hope that makes sense, I don't have anyway to link a picture at the moment.

Does anyone know what power I need to provide and which pins? I have all the bits and bobs here to make up connections.

Thanks.

MuntyScruntfundle
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Re: What to do with 4 old sata drives?

Tue Nov 28, 2017 10:28 pm

Ignore me, I'm being an arse. These are the legacy Primary/Secondary/Linked drive jumper pins. I could wire up a bunch of sata power cables and power supplies, but to be honest......

Enclosures ordered!

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