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what way to orienate harddrive?

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  • what way to orienate harddrive?

    I've gone through 2 harddrives now, not because of corrupt data but because the read write heads just die. I've been mounting my harddrives on their sides instead of laying them flat because I figured any large vibrations or bumps coming in the vertical plane wouldn't affect the drives as much. Since I've lost two now I'm begining to wonder if my strategy is a little off. Any input?

  • #2
    I would say to mount them flat.... but you run the risk of the head deflecting and hitting
    the platters... not that I have any idea how likely that is to happen...

    But I would think that sideways would be putting major strain on the head arm's motion
    when you are hitting potholes and nuke it.... more probable than first thought.

    All theory.. mines laying flat... laptop drive.. so far so good...
    CarPuter: Dell P3-500 Laptop; D-Link WiFi; Deluo GPS; D-Link Radio; iMac DVD w/ ide2usb
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    • #3
      Ah, the old religious "drive orientation" debate. Been at least a few weeks since this one cropped up.

      Many will give you different answers. Flat mounted (upside down as it happens) has worked for nearly 5 years for me. Running a 6.5Gb Hitachi laptop drive.
      Old Systems retired due to new car
      New system at design/prototype stage on BeagleBoard.


      • #4
        Hmm, maybe I'll just put it at 45 degrees and get the best of both worlds.... OK, I'll try flat next time for my system, at least the harddrive is under warrenty anyway.


        • #5
          Hard drives have to be installed horizontally if they will experience shock.

          The heads on a hard disk actually fly a few microns above the platter and a thin layer of air seperates them. During a shock the head is 'bounced' near to the platter but the air exterts a great seperation force the closer they get and so it takes a very big shock to actually get the head and platter to touch.

          When mounting vertically. although you minimise head to platter contact, the head (which is gimballed to allow it to traverse across the disk) is shocked away from it's intended position far more easily (cos it is intended to move across the head normally) which results in read and write errors.

          Hard drives are intended to be mounted horizontally which is even more important when in a harsh environment.

          Not sure whether mounting upside down is a good idea though - they don't spec the shock survivability for upside down installs


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          • #6
            where do you have your HD mounted? in the tail light? mount the HD somewhere in the middle of your car, like in a center console, to prevent it from being bounced around as much i'm sure you'll have better luck


            • #7
              Mine's been horizontal in a drive caddy for over a year and hasn't suffered any damage yet. I'll move up to 7200rpm disk soon, maybe they're more likely to get hurt? Not sure... Works for me anyway.
              89 Celica, CarPC installed, 1st bday :)
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              • #8
                The drive is located inside my dash, which is about as close to the center of the car as it can get. Oddly enough I just realized that my front struts are blown, but I'm pretty sure that isn't why the disk went. I think SteveC's on the right path, now I just have to wait until I can RMA my drive and reinstall. The only question is, should I use this as an excuse to ditch windows and head to linux?...


                • #9
                  Not knowing this information about the drive head riding on a layer of air I mounted my first car player effort (back in 99-00) vertically and put 20-30k miles on my car and it was working when I took it out a little over a year ago. I think in all that driving I hit two HUGE potholes (enough to make me think wheels/alignment damage could have occured) that caused the machine to lock up. But I was running Win98 lite and the only time I think the drive ever moved was on song load. Maybe you guys that have a lot of of software running are going to run a bigger risk that the head is moving when you are hitting bumps. I could even drive over railroad tracks at a moderate pace and be fine; also the car was a Z28 so it isn't like I had the cushiest of suspension either.