USB HDD Enclosure - Turning a frown upside-down

About a month ago, I was at work thinking about how I was going to take care of my increasing backup requirements. I originally used CD-RWs until my profile got too big. Since then, I have been using DVD-RWs with reasonable success. They fail unpredictably but it was the only mass storage I had. Now it is not enough to backup profiles and photos, not to mention the other 20Gb of other stuff that was never backed up.

Speaking of other stuff, check out the BMW Movies site. It is a couple of years old, but way cool.

I started to look at external USB hard disks. My problem was that I wanted a lot of data to be portable and synchronised between the disk and a computer. I didn't want to spend lots of money and it was going to cost a lot for a nice 2.5" drive and enclosure.

I remembered that I had an 80Gb 3.5" Seagate sitting at home in my desktop, not being used. If I got an enclosure for that drive, then I would be set. It would be a little heavier and couldn't be USB powered (although it seems that a lot of the 2.5" drives need mains power anyway). A $10 eBay win (don't ask how much the postage was...) and I have a present from China.

I put it together and fire it up at work on the work laptop. The computer picks it up and it works like a charm. Later, I connect it to my laptop. I get a connection once, then never again. It knows there is a disk there, but thinks it is uninitialised and then fails to initialise it.

So I am down a little bit of money and have a solution that doesn't work. There isn't much on the internet about it other than suggestions that the cable or the enclosure is faulty or there are bent pins somewhere. After exhausting all software tinkering, I crack the enclosure open to look at the connections and pins. It all looks ok and I check that the jumper setting is set alright. It is on master which is supposed to be correct. I remembered though, that the little slip of engrish that came with it mentioned cable select or master. I put it over to cable select and bingo, my laptop can read it like a dream.

I haven't checked it out on the work laptop yet, but it would be a minor inconvenience if that didn't work, not a deal breaker.

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