A little over a year ago, I had a chilling experience: I came into my office and the external drive connected to my desktop was making nasty clicking noises non-stop.  You may already know what this means; the drive is dead.

This time was little different though, partly because this box has 2 drives in a striped RAID for a nicely fast and large total, and partly just because I really liked it. What really made this time different was that I noticed that the power supply was really HOT.  (The power supply was in a black plastic brick that sits outside the drive box.)

When I picked it up, I thought I heard something, so I put it up to my ear.  Surprisingly, there was a buzzing, arcing noise coming from it that had not been there before.  So, maybe the problem is only the power supply?  It had 4 pins which were supposed to be +5 volts and +12 volts according to the printing on the brick, but they didn’t say which pin was supposed to have which voltage, so I couldn’t really check it with a volt-meter.

On a hunch, I Googled for the product number listed on the brick and got lucky.   UnityElectronics.com had them as individual parts for a reasonable cost. (About $30 after shipping and all.)  And they take PayPal, which was convenient for me since I had a little more than that in my PayPal account.

The cheap shipping took several days to make it across the country, but when it arrived, I put it in place of the old one and PRESTO! My drive was back in all its glory.  YES!

So now fast-forward to 2 weeks ago.  I again came into my office to the sounds of clicking from my cool external drive.  I gave it a moment of silence thinking it to be dead, but then remembered what happened before.  Once again, the power supply was making that arcing noise.

I did a quick search for the product number again and found the original receipt.  I looked up the company and found they still had the product in stock. Not only was it cheaper than when I bought it last time, there was a yet cheaper version if I didn’t buy the power cord that connects it to the outlet.

Once again, the new power supply saved the day. My drive is again chugging away.

Sadly, I noticed that the receipt was about 1-year and 1-month old.  So power supply #2 made it just over its 1-year warrantee. No free replacement.

So, now the moral?  I have to remind myself that in all the time I’ve worked on computers, I’ve learned (and re-learned) not to trust hard drives, but their deaths never fail to be inconvenient.

But at least when an external dies, it might not mean your data died. The drive inside might be fine. You can put it in another box or inside a computer to see.   In my case, the box had done the RAID work as well, so it wasn’t that easy.  Thankfully it was as easy as buying a new part (as long as the part was available.)

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