[clug] Hard Disk selector - Any commercial variants?

Robert Edwards bob at cs.anu.edu.au
Tue Mar 11 22:55:21 GMT 2008

Actually, a commercial equivalent I have used in the past (too
unreliable for production use) is a removable IDE drive bay.

You can load a couple of carriers with different drives and plug
which-ever one you want to use into a slot in the front of the

The main reliability problem (other than people tugging on the
handle whilst saying "what's this?") is that most recent/current
hard disks rely on thermal contact with the case for some cooling
and these things are generally made of plastic. Some have fans and
there are metal variants, but the plastic ones seem to allow (some)
drives to get quite hot.

Again, the machine "should" be powered off whilst unplugging and
plugging anything on the IDE cable (although many stories abound of
people doing it "reliably" whilst the system is live).


Bob Edwards.

Robert Edwards wrote:
> This is an interesting idea but I can only see very limited application.
> If you want to dual-boot, you can with a single drive. Better
> alternatives these days are to use virtualisation and to run one O/S
> inside of another. Also, with lots of cheap (second-hand) hardware
> available (give-aways etc.), running two completely separate systems
> is also viable in many situations.
> If you want to be able to connect drives for other than booting
> purposes then the availability of USB (1/2) to SATA or IDE adapters
> makes connecting a second (or third etc.) drive externally compelling
> (hot-swap works etc.).
> So, from an electrical engineering point of view, I can't really see
> much point in this "selector" and can see many potential pit-falls.
> There is probably a reason these are not readily available commercially.
> Cheers,
> Bob Edwards.
> steve jenkin wrote:
>> Stumbled onto this link today - a DIY "hard disk selector" - mod a 'Y'
>> cable to selectively power one of two hard-drives.
>> <http://imhdd.ms11.net/switch/sw01.html>
>> [I like his idea of switching the power from drive to drive, BUT he
>> doesn't offer a warning to do it only with the system powered off. The
>> transients or sparking might be dangerous for the drives or the power
>> supply.]
>> Does anyone on the list have a solution they'd like to share?
>> Anyone know of commercial ATA or SATA 'selector switches'.
>> The oldest solution I know is 'disk carriers' or removable trays - which
>> can be problematic (limited contact life).
>> With external SATA, the problem eases - it is supposed to be 'hot
>> swapable', but I've never played with SATA.
>> Anyone know about m'boards settings for booting off SATA - especially
>> external SATA?
>> [I'm guessing that e-SATA only comes as a PCI card.  Anyone know of SATA
>> to e-SATA adaptors?]
>> cheers
>> s

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