Seagate Expansion 3TB External HDD – What’s Inside?

The majority of external hard drives are nothing more than a case, a USB-SATA adapter, and a standard 3.5″ or 2.5″ hard drive. Despite having this extra hardware, they sometimes actually cost less than their bare counterparts. Why might this be? External drives usually only carry a 1 year warranty, while the average desktop drive today might get 2 years of coverage.

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Above is a 3TB Seagate Expansion external hard drive. It has a USB 3.0 interface, and accepts 12VDC for power. I bought this a few years ago for $10 less than a bare 3TB SATA desktop drive.

Western Digital released a line of external hard drives where, when you take it apart, you don’t find a normal drive inside. Instead, the control board is actually a USB interface, not SATA.

Out of curiosity, and because I might put this drive inside my server in the future, I decided to tear it apart to see what I was working with.

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Tuesday, January 27th, 2015 computers, electronics No Comments

Server upgrades, exams

Hello all! This evening I upgraded the server a little bit. Last Saturday I ordered two 750GB drives, on sale for $69.97 at, and tonight I set them up in mirrored RAID. Now there are five hard drives in the server: amazing. (By the way, for those who don’t know why the hell I’d do this, the server is my back up device, so I can access my files from anywhere, and in case drive failure occurs on my already RAIDed desktop. As well, I store all my media on the server to share within the whole house.)

I’m only waiting for the power supply to die, but Thermaltake power supplies are incredible: they don’t die. This one is rated for 420 watts, and the one in my desktop is rated for 430 watts, and for my desktop, I’ve got three hard drives, two optical drives, and a 9800GT graphics card. Anyway, enough product placement, here are the innards of the server:

Side view of server with 5 hard drives

Awesome. So now there are: two 750GBs, a 200GB, a 320GB, and finally, a 20GB Quantum Fireball, which has Windows installed on it, along with all software. Amazing. This drive has got to be about 9 or 10 years old, but I don’t see it dying any time soon, and its running 24/7. They don’t make ’em like they used to. Here is a last beauty shot:

Front of Big Blue

Now, as for exams. They begin for me next week, on Thursday. Wednesday is a day off, a “study day”. My last exam is December 17th, after which I get exactly a month off, from the 18th of December to the 18th of January. 🙂

In terms of class projects, I have only had one since the last posts: the AM/FM radio. I’ve finished mine, and I plan on providing a detailed overview of it quite soon. I should cover the phone as well. Perhaps over the break I shall! Here again is a shot of the radio. Expect an update soon!

Back of half-ass(embl)ed AM/FM radio

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Friday, December 4th, 2009 computers, electronics, projects, school No Comments