Which PSU is the right one for my external hard drive caddy?
June 7, 2011 9:33 AM   Subscribe

Which PSU is the right one for my external hard drive caddy?

So, a year or so ago I bought an external hard drive enclosure, in order to be able to hook up the HDD that was in my old PC to my shiny new Mac Book Pro. That all worked fine at the time.

A year flies past, I need to look for something on that old HDD in the caddy, and dufus here had stuck it - complete with disconnected external power supply - into a box that had lots of other power supplies in it. Now I'm not sure which one to use; I don't want to fry the HDD, and if I can avoid simply chucking this caddy in the bin and buying another, that'd be great. The first thing I did was go to the manufacturer's site; what I bought was one of these. But the PSU specs aren't in the information there, and (classy) the downloads don't work. And there's no way to contact the manufacturers I can see.

The HDD inside the caddy says 'RATED: 5V 500mA. 12V 700mA'. I've got several power supplies knocking round here which would fit (pin > socket wise), but none of them appear to say exactly that. (One says 'Output 12V' (then a squiggly line symbol I don't recognise) then 600mA). As you can tell I'm no expert at this :(

Is there a... standard for HDD's in caddies? Could I attach the one described above? Thanks for any help.
posted by Hartham's Hugging Robots to Computers & Internet (7 answers total)
The key thing is to get a PSU rated at higher current than the drive is likely to draw - it will only draw as much of that maximum as it actually needs. So I'd see if any of the other PSUs are either rated @ > 500mA if they're 5V or > 700mA if they're 12V. If so, try them.

If not - you can probably run the drive on a 600mA current, so that one is probably the original...
posted by momentofmagnus at 10:01 AM on June 7, 2011

Sorry, forgot to mention you should check if any of the spare AC adapters are AC-AC rather than AC-DC. The HDD will be expecting 5V or 12V DC. Do not use an AC-AC adapter, should you happen to have one lying around.
posted by momentofmagnus at 10:06 AM on June 7, 2011

Response by poster: Thanks, MoM. Have stepped away from my computer right now, but I'll check them out when I get back.

Thanks again!
posted by Hartham's Hugging Robots at 10:22 AM on June 7, 2011

The power supply is likely 12V or better. Doesn't the caddy have a power rating near the power connector? Typically there's also a diagram showing whether the connector is center-positive or center-negative.

I'm not sure if this is a typical power rating, but the AC adapter on my Thermaltake Blacx SATA docking station (silliest computer accessory branding ever) is 12V, 2 amps. Most cheapo AC adapters are rated quite a bit lower, like the 600 mA one you mention, so this should probably narrow it down.
posted by neckro23 at 10:40 AM on June 7, 2011

Best answer: The link on the manufacturer's website will work if you remove the .tw extension. Here is the datasheet PDF. It says it wants a 2 amp (2A), 12 volt DC power supply. So if you have one of those in the box, that is a good candidate.
posted by exogenous at 11:56 AM on June 7, 2011

Response by poster: Thanks very much to all three of you - exogenous in particular for spotting a way to get to the datasheet! Yes, one of the supplies that I have says Output 12V, 2000mA - so here we go, let's see, plugging this in as I type... and there's the hard drive icon appearing on my desktop :)

Ask Metafilter scores again... thanks again to all of you!
posted by Hartham's Hugging Robots at 2:22 AM on June 8, 2011

Yay! BTW I read somewhere a neat trick for preventing this sort of problem: use a metallic silver Sharpie marker to label the black plastic power supply as to what device it goes with.
posted by exogenous at 6:01 AM on June 8, 2011

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