Tip & How-To about Buffalo Technology BUFFALO 500GB Black External Hard Drive

How I fixed external hard drive

Recently my external hard drive decided to stop just like that. No warning, Nothing.
I have been down this road before and happened to have a USB universal adapter setup that allows me to power up a loose hard drive and search it using my lap top or PC. Mine is called EZ connect which I got at a local computer store. I would recommend spending the money to get the top of the line setup. I am somewhat disappointed that the cheap one I bought was less than perfect. There were issues at first with the different adapter plugs not fitting where they were supposed to. Anyhow that's another story.
I started trouble shooting by testing the transformer for the external hard drive to see that we were getting the power we needed. Amazingly the power transformer for the backup drive supplies 5 volts and 12 volts to the plug on the back so there are actually 4 separate wires for the two circuits. Checking power with the multimeter, both circuits seemed to be OK so I knew the transformer was good and the issue was inside the case.
So I took the backup drive enclosure apart. After removing one screw it basically unsnaps all the way around. Once the cover pieces are removed the inner frame is revealed. By removing a few more screws the Western Digital 500 GB hard drive could be unplugged. Then a couple more screws and the little circuit board comes off also. When I plugged the 500 GB hard drive into the adapter mentioned above, and then plugged the USB into my PC it read just fine, so I figured to troubleshoot the other simple stuff first. Much like the first thing they tell you to check if your lawnmower won't start " is there any gas?"
By doing a couple of voltage checks with the multimeter I could tell power was getting to the switch but only one side of the switch was conducting when in the on position. Bad switch. A continuity test confirmed that.
An internet search on the numbers printed on the side of the switch gave me several suppliers which would gladly sell me 1000 switches for 49 cents each. Not gonna happen.
I went down to the local Ace hardware and found a Double pole single throw (DPST) on/ off toggle switch rated for 3/4 HP 16 amps 240 volts. It was about 4 bucks. It was ugly and twice as big as the little plastic toggle which had gone bad but it will probably last far longer than the hard drive itself so I'm OK with that.
I unsoldered the wires from the defective old switch and soldered 4 new leads to the remaining wires coming from the power inlet plug on the back of the case. I did have to drill a hole in the front of the steel frame and plastic front cover of the backup drive enclosure to install the switch.
After reassembly it works just like before except now I have a power switch that I can actually see on the front.

I put a piece of red tape over the hole where the old switch lived to keep mice out.

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