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External HD Enclosure Compatible w/ Mac Mini 2010 Footprint
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geeji
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 20, 2011 2:03 pm    Post subject: External HD Enclosure Compatible w/ Mac Mini 2010 Footprint Reply with quote

...well, sort of !

My inquiries in a precedent thread for such an enclosure were fruitless, the only enclosure coming (imperfectly) close being the Stardom Safe Capsule SC2-B2; but this one was for 2 x 3.5" disks, not one.
So I decided to take my own advice and convert a broken Time Capsule into an external USB2 3.5" disk enclosure. The only reason I selected USB2 is that the Time Capsule enclosure has already a USB cut out, but with some more work Firewire could probably be accommodated instead.

To do that you will need :
. a Time Capsule case (bought "broken, for parts" on eBay)
. a SATA HDD 12V+5V DC-AC Power Supply (on eBay)
. a SATA HDD to External USB Adapter (on eBay)
. a short (10") SATA Data Cable Straight to Left Angle (on eBay)
. a USB male type A to USB male type A cable (on eBay)
. some circuit board to mount the female USB2 Type A socket
. adequate (de)soldering ability

I took out all the broken original circuitry from the Time Capsule, keeping only the fan and the front blue LED, and extracted from their plastic cases the new Power Supply and USB2 Adapter.
Some simple additional circuitry allowed me to turn the fan and LED on when the USB2 bus is powered on. The fan is running quiet and slow with the insertion of a 2V1 zener diode on the 5V supply line.

The total cost was a little more than $100, most of it for the broken Time Capsule, and it took me about two days to do it. The reason it took me so much time for such a simple adaptation is that there is actually very little place outside of the 3.5" hard disk in the Time Capsule (see picture below), so you have to adjust everything very tightly to cram the power supply and USB2 adapter into the case.

The performance is the one you get from an external USB2 hard disk, a little slower than a Firewire enclosure but enough for my needs (Time Machine + Videos).

The pictures below show the inside of the modified Time Capsule, the outside connections (USB2 and 110/220v power), as well as the original look of the Power Supply and USB2 Adapter in their original plastic cases.
Note that I used a female USB2 Type A socket on the Time Capsule for the incoming data connection, and not the Type B you are supposed to use for slave connections, but the cut out would have then been different from the original Time Capsule; from an electrical point of view, there is no difference (+5V is powered from Mac Mini Type A, sinking into the HDD Type A socket).

All in all I would not recommend this adaptation to the unexperimented hobbyist, since the tight fit into the case makes it more delicate that I initially expected...
...but once I started, I had little choice except go till the end Very Happy
And now that I have finally a HDD case matching the Mac Mini 2010 (except for the corners radii as billb rightfully noticed), some manufacturer will likely offer one for half the price within the next 2 months... Confused

AFTERTHOUGHT : although USB2 and FireWire400 performances are not that different, FireWire has a major advantage to USB when connecting a HDD : you can put the Mac to sleep, and then power-off the HDD, WITHOUT waking up the sleeping Mac. But with USB, powering off or unplugging the USB attached peripheral wakes the Mac up, without any way to circumvent that unfortunate behavior.
Unfortunately, FiweWire/Sata adapters are harder to find, and finding one small enough to fit into a Time Capsule case may be even more difficult.




The Power supply and USB2->SATA adapter in their original plastic cases :



Last edited by geeji on Tue Nov 15, 2011 2:56 am; edited 2 times in total
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billb
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 20, 2011 7:17 pm    Post subject: A Round Peg In A Square Hole Reply with quote

Hi geeji, nice work.

I have a SafeCapsule. Its corners radii
don't match the corners of the 2010
Mac mini. The SafeCapsule was designed
to stack under a TimeCapsule like yours.

I guess what I'm saying is, the radii of
your TimeCapsule shouldn't match those
of a 2010 Mac mini either.

Isn't the purpose of your enclosure hack
supposed to match the new Mac mini or
am I missing something?

Still a good, no a great job.
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geeji
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 21, 2011 11:55 am    Post subject: Re: A Round Peg In A Square Hole Reply with quote

billb wrote:
I guess what I'm saying is, the radii of your TimeCapsule shouldn't match those of a 2010 Mac mini either.

Unfortunately you are perfectly right : the radii ARE different, in addition to the Mac Mini 2010 being in aluminum instead of white plastic.
But at least, the width/depth/height are identical Wink

Anyway, the Time Capsule was the closest fit I could get, a perfect fit would be a Mac Mini Server 2010 case (minus the DVD slot), but finding one sold cheaply for parts is trickier than for the (noticeably unreliable) Time Capsule.
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billb
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 22, 2011 12:14 am    Post subject: 2010 Mac mini SERVER Housing Reply with quote

You now have the insides.
How about the outside?
$109.00
Your Link

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Last edited by billb on Tue Feb 22, 2011 2:25 am; edited 1 time in total
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geeji
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 22, 2011 2:03 am    Post subject: Re: 2010 Mac mini SERVER Housing Reply with quote

billb wrote:
You now have the insides.
How about the outside?
$109.00 OUCH!!!![/url]

Gosh, I wish I had seen that AppleComponents.com link ! Sad
It is exactly what I needed, but I had no idea you could buy the case alone for such a "moderate" price (considering it is an Apple part), so I did not even look for it. Congratulations for finding such a cheap source, the "regular" price for this 922-9566 case seems to support my initial prejudice ($605 at discountmicrosales.com for instance...).
Furthermore, it may be even simpler to adapt than the Time Capsule, since it would arrive naked and you would not need to strip it first.
And there is a FW cut out, so you would have that option instead of USB2.

At that point thou I am reluctant to start again and fork 109 more dollars.
But if you are tempted, I would gladly help you transpose my adaptation to that perfectly matching case Laughing
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billb
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 22, 2011 2:15 am    Post subject: Enclosure Is Beyond Cool Reply with quote

Live with your enclosure for a while.
If it ends up annoying you then see
if you could sell it on aBay. If it sells
and you get a little ahead then spring
for the stock enclosure and you'll
have exactly what you want and
you'll be the ONLY person with a
matching HD enclosure. That would
be BEYOND COOL and it may not
cost you any extra.

BTW, I'm not tempted..........YET.
Also, the black plastic back portion
with the USB and Firewire cutouts
I think are part of the internal tray
that holds the guts together. That
would be and additional part as well
as the plastic bottom if you wanted
that to.
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geeji
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 23, 2011 2:26 am    Post subject: Re: Enclosure Is Beyond Cool Reply with quote

billb wrote:
Also, the black plastic back portion with the USB and Firewire cutouts I think are part of the internal tray that holds the guts together. That would be and additional part as well as the plastic bottom if you wanted that to.

I found the Bottom Cover [Apple Part #: 922-9567] for $19 more but thanks to welovemacs.com I sadly confirmed that the back I/O frame with all the connection sockets is not sold separately from the motherboard, although it can be unscrewed from it.
So if you also want a "clean" back, you are back to the "broken, for parts" eBay option.
Sigh...
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camyam27
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 05, 2011 11:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good information here...i should try do build for my own one Time Cap.
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ICARUS
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 09, 2011 9:21 am    Post subject: Found some from china Reply with quote

I was surfing and found some chinese companies that made external hard drive enclosures that were shaped to the exact footprint of the 2010 mac mini. Thought i saved the site but lost the link now have trouble finding it again. Anyone able to help?
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macmanmacman
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 14, 2011 10:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nice mod dude really nice mode glad to here you got it working so nicely...
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geeji
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 03, 2011 9:30 am    Post subject: Re: Found some from china Reply with quote

ICARUS wrote:
I was surfing and found some chinese companies that made external hard drive enclosures that were shaped to the exact footprint of the 2010 mac mini. Thought i saved the site but lost the link now have trouble finding it again. Anyone able to help?

Can't find it in the "history" page of your browser ?

Revently announced but overpriced Iomega Mac Companion Hard Drive is "almost" compatible (width but not depth; corners ?).

Note that with the 2011 Mac Mini, HTMac users also need a DVD writer enclosure compatible with the Mini...
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tatuanui
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 04, 2011 7:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I came across this post via Google as I am looking for an external HDD and/or Blu-Ray device that looks like a Mac Mini unibody with slot (mid 2010).

Searching on e-Bay I found this which I'm thinking about getting and then working out how to install a slot-loading Blu-Ray drive and a HDD.

http://cgi.ebay.com.sg/New-Apple-Mini-Mac-PC-Computer-Intel-Desktops-Case-Only-/320749372428?pt=Apple_Desktops&hash=item4aae27040c#ht_2513wt_1049

Found this technician's guide also - could be very handy...

http://www.scribd.com/doc/58408888/Mac-Mini-Mid-2010#outer_page_135

And this is handy too...
http://www.ifixit.com/Teardown/Mac-Mini-Model-A1347-Teardown/3094/1

31 Oct - Received two of these today after finally getting around to ordering them. If they're not the real thing then they're a very good copy! They include the rear connector panel and the under-bottom cover unlike if you order the case from official channels as a spare part (from what I understand). At some stage I'll get around to getting a slot-load BD and some HDDs to put inside as a companion to my Mac Mini Server media centre.


Last edited by tatuanui on Mon Oct 31, 2011 7:56 am; edited 2 times in total
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philiparcario
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 04, 2011 11:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

tech guide is nice. you know you may be able to put a dvd player and a hdd in that shell. if you remove both black round disks to your new mini and the shell you would have access it may allow a nice looking mod.
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 14, 2011 3:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

tatuanui wrote:
I came across this post via Google as I am looking for an external HDD and/or Blu-Ray device that looks like a Mac Mini unibody with slot (mid 2010).

Searching on e-Bay I found this which I'm thinking about getting and then working out how to install a slot-loading Blu-Ray drive and a HDD.

http://cgi.ebay.com.sg/New-Apple-Mini-Mac-PC-Computer-Intel-Desktops-Case-Only-/320749372428?pt=Apple_Desktops&hash=item4aae27040c#ht_2513wt_1049

--- SNIP ---

31 Oct - Received two of these today after finally getting around to ordering them. If they're not the real thing then they're a very good copy! They include the rear connector panel and the under-bottom cover unlike if you order the case from official channels as a spare part (from what I understand). At some stage I'll get around to getting a slot-load BD and some HDDs to put inside as a companion to my Mac Mini Server media centre.
Has anyone actually tried mounting an HDD and/or an optical drive in one of these?

I'm thinking both a 7200rpm 3.5" HDD to the FW800 and an optical drive to one of the usb slots in a new i5 mini s/be fairly easily accomplished.

Opinions? Advice, anyone?
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geeji
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 15, 2011 4:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

There is not enough place in the Mac Mini aluminum housing to cram an optical disk drive + a 3.5" HDD. There may not even be enough to cram a single 3.5" HDD since the internal height is less than 26mm when a 3.5" HDD is 25mm.
You MAY be able to cram an optical disk (12.7mm or preferably 9.5mm) and 1 (or 2) 2.5" HDD (or SSD).

But there will be very little space left for :
- the power supply (the Mac Mini one, ref 661-5654, would fit, but is not cheap : $89)
- a firewire->SATA adapter for the HDD (small ones are hard to find, like this one)
- a USB->mini-SATA adapter for the ODD (or a very small Firewire hub)
- the connecting cables (you need small ones, with the proper "angles")
- a custom printed circuit board to support USB/Firewire sockets at the back and a power On/Off switch.

The challenge is not the electronics, it is the (too) tight fit !
If only somebody could have manufactured a dual/treble height Mac Mini case into which we could have an ODD, a 3.5" HDD, and a FW/USB/Thunderbolt Hub...
The HTMac market must be too small... ?!
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