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Installing An External Hard Drive

Adding an external hard drive to your system using our External Drive Housing is a quick and simple procedure. Here we'll show you the basic steps involved in installing a 3½" IDE hard drive into one of our housings.

In this example, we have used a 5¼" housing which is suitable for adding CD-ROM, DVD and IDE hard drives. We also supply dedicated 3½" external drive housings.

We are going to concentrate on the actual hardware side of the installation procedure only. You will need to format and configure the drive according to your computers operating system. 

What you need?
1. Any 3½" IDE hard disk drive
2. Our External Drive Housing
3. Philips screwdriver

First of all, take care when handling your hard drive; if it's dropped onto a hard surface it can easily be damaged.

Let's explain the connections on your hard drive...

Power Socket – The power connector in the drive housing plugs into here, notice the way it's shaped, this is to prevent the connector being plugged in the wrong way round.

Jumper Block - Small plastic 'jumpers' are placed on configuration pins here to tell the drive whether to act as a Master, Slave or 'Cable Select' drive. For the purposes of installing a drive into an external housing the Master setting should always be selected.
IDE Connector - The ribbon data cable in the housing plugs into here. This is the interface from which the data on your hard drive is transferred to your computer. Pin 1 is closest to the power socket.


Now let's take a look at the connections inside the external housing...


Power Connector - This connector plugs into the socket on the hard drive.
IDE Ribbon Cable - This is the data cable which plugs into the hard drive. It is designed with a plastic tab on the connector to aid correct insertion. There is a red line down one side of the cable, this indicates pin 1. This matches up to pin 1 on the hard drive.
Audio Cable - This cable is used to connect to the audio port of a CD ROM drive. When you are installing a hard disk this cable is not used.


Let's install the drive...


1. Check the hard drive jumper is set to the master position

The position of the jumper block will depend on the make and model of your hard drive. Usually the location will be printed on a label on the top of the drive. If not, you may need to look in the manual for your drive, or alternatively check the manufacturer's web site.

When you have located the jumper block you need to make sure the position of the plastic jumper corresponds to the Master or 'MA' setting. If you are having difficulty moving the jumper, you may find it easier to use tweezers or a small screwdriver.


2. Plug in the connectors

Now it's time to plug the power and IDE connectons into the drive!

Here, we are plugging the IDE cable into the socket. Match the plastic tab on the top of the cable with the 'cut out' in the drive. Ensure the cable is securely plugged into the socket; the red stripe on the cable should be adjacent to the power connection.



Notice how the shape of the power connector matches the socket. It’s very difficult to plug this connector in the wrong way round.


When the power connector is correctly plugged into the socket it will look like this.


3. Secure the hard drive in the external housing

Within the housing there are several 'cut outs' which allow different types of drive to be fitted securely. It is important to use the screws provided to secure the drive. If you use longer screws, you may damage your drive!


When the drive is correctly installed in the housing it will look like this.

Replace the cover on the drive housing and secure using the screws provided. Plug the external power and USB cable into the housing and connect the USB cable to your computer.

NOTE: This is the hardware side of the installation complete. Your drive will need to be configured depending on the operating system of your computer.

Click here to see the full range of our External Drive Housings.


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