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ATN-999 Black Mobile Rack Review

Bosco    -   May 25, 2003


Installation

Installation of this unit is very simple. A a gentle lifting of the handle will "disengage" the housing unit from the connector, and allows you to slide it out of the rack.


Raising the handle


The connectors on the two pieces


The housing unit

The top cover of the housing unit can be easily opened by pressing down on the clip that keeps it in place. Inside, we find the rest of the product's items, mainly the keys, a small instructions leaflet, and enough screws to mount the hard drive to the housing unit, and the rack to the drive bay, as well as some moisture-absorbing desiccant (no, it's not edible).


Sliding cover


Everything's here

Inside the housing unit, we see the IDE and power connectors, the "topside" of the exhaust fan, as well as a small thermocouple that's fixed to the circuit board behind it. The fan itself is connected by a 3-pin motherboard connector, and allows for RPM monitoring via the blue-backlit LCD screen.

NOTE: The thermocouple (at best) will only touch the shell of the hard drive unit - by no means is that adequate enough to determine the temperature of the unit, and is better suited for reading the ambient temperature of the housing instead. Although the housing unit is also equipped with an psuedo buzzer alarm, it is set to go off only in relation to the ambient temperature of the housing, *not* to the actual temperature of the hard drive. This causes the overheating alarm to be very inaccurate and very delayed, as ambient temperature does not rise as quickly as an overheating hard drive does, and by the time the alarm sounds, the hard drive itself may have already overheated to damaging temperatures. However, the alarm also goes off in the event that the fan spins slowly or not at all.


The fan and the connectors


The thermocouple

Getting the housing ready with a hard drive is as simple as connecting an HD to the connectors and securing them with screws.

NOTE: You must make sure that the hard drive is secured by the screws before attempting to close the cover. With my Maxtor hard drive, I noticed that the hard drive can still slide back a little ways if it is not secured, enough for the drive's edge to sit right underneath the locking clip. If you allow the hard drive to slide back into this position with the lid closed, then the drive will obstruct the clip when you try to push down on it, effectively preventing you from opening the housing cover, unless you manage to get the hard drive back down to its normal position, which is *very* difficult to do, since the IDE and power cables have a tendency to push the hard drive towards the circuit board. A very poor design flaw here.


Nice and snug


This is asking for trouble - the thermocouple barely touches the hard drive as well

Heading back to the rack, install this part of the unit into a free 5.25" bay as you would with any other drive of that size. After that part is complete, simply insert the housing unit back into the rack. Once it feels like it cannot go in further, push down on the handles back into the closed position, and the hard drive will lock into the connectors. Finally, using the included keys (or your own creative lockpicking methods), turn the lock into the closed position. Part of the circuitry is fixed to the lock, and unless you lock the housing unit to the rack, the entire unit and hard drive will not power up. This is to prevent accidental removal of the housing unit while the system is still turned on, causing a power cut to the hard drive, and possibly damaging it in the process. However, when I tried to raise the handle with the lock engaged (with my system turned off, of course!) it still appears that the drive has come out far enough for the connectors to lose contact, but I have not verified this.


All connected


Installed into the bay


Turned on

Notice the slight protrusion of the unit. If you install this unit at the top drive bay of a Chenming (Antec, Enermax, Aspire, etc.) case, the protrusion will prevent you from closing the door completely. If you use any other bay, you can avoid that problem. There's a possibility that this problem will occur on any other similar case with a front door.

The backlight on the LCD appears to be from two LEDs, and together make the display readable even with the lights out, although a fullscreen backlight such as IndiGLO would probably be nicer.




  1. Introduction & Specifications
  2. Installation
  3. Testing & Conclusion
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