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Salvaged Circuitry

Adventures in Tinkering

Data Switch External Hard Drive

I received a whole bunch of really old electronic gear from a family friend, and some of the coolest (yet probably most unuseful) items were the parallel data switches. These data switches were used to transfer data between devices/machines over parallel ports. Today, Ethernet is used to connect machines on a network and net work attached devices usually consist of USB and Ethernet peripherals (NAS storage). So what I thought would be a really neat project would be a data switch external hard drive. The data switch enclosures were entirely metal, usually aluminum, and looked like stock 1980's tech, so I went ahead and built one.

Now, I'm not going to tell you that this project was a birthday present for a brother who loves old school technology, or that he had a hard drive enclosure that was held together by duck-tape. Rather, I'm going to describe the procedure I took to build the external hard drive while preserving the nostalgia of old school DB-25 technology.

First off was to pick a data switch enclosure big enough for a hard drive, power supply and an IDE-to-USB adapter (I did not have any sata drives at the time). Also, I wanted to focus on the look of the drive, and make sure it did not look too plain for a data switch. I wanted writing. This is what I found.

It was a pretty nice case. All aluminum. Now I just needed a power supply to use, an indicator led for power, a USB to IDE adapter and a metal replacement back panel that would match the case.