Well, seeing as I purchased four of the 6Tb MyBook drives, you didn’t think I would just leave them in their external cases, being strangled by a USB 3.0 bus without UASP, right?
Well, of course not. The main reason I went with the external enclosure versions was because I could get them delivered for about AU$5 less per drive than buying the bare drive with a 2-year warranty. In the external enclosure configuration, they have better shock resistance in transportation, and they have an extra year of warranty. As a bonus, once I’ve extracted the drives inside, I would have some enclosures with bridge chips that do the odd 4kB sector translation, and a few 12v switching power supplies to use in hobby projects.
Of course, it goes without saying, that if you take out a hard drive from its enclosure, you automatically lose any warranty on the unit. The serial numbers are coded specifically, and if the unit is returned with evidence of tampering, the warranty will be void. As a result, you really do have to make a decision to forego your warranty before even considering attempting this.
It makes sense then, to stress test the drives and qualify them prior to this. This would likely catch any transit-damaged infant-mortality cases, but is no guarantee. I’ve performed my commissioning testing on the four units, which achieved satisfactory results, so I have made the decision to forego the warranty.
However, I do not take any responsibility for what happens if you follow these instructions, and I certainly don’t advocate doing this unless it is absolutely necessary.
The WD MyBook enclosure for the 6Tb units I have is made with a screwless design. It doesn’t have any obvious clips which can be depressed through the vent-holes as with previous WD models. Instead, this drive is basically a game of prying it open, and it’s easier than others I have tried previously.
The enclosure design is pretty simple, with a central frame and a C-shaped wrap-around frame which has rails which interlock with the central frame. The interlocking notches are not evenly spaced, and from some experimentation, it seems easiest to start in the corner of the curved section on the bottom first.
By wedging an extremely stiff plastic spudger, or a flat-head screwdriver in my case, into the gap in the casing near the curves, I managed to exert enough force on one corner to start sliding the case out of its rail. Start from one corner, until you hear a loud “click” as the notch in the rail is disengaged. Repeat for the other corner, flip the drive over, and repeat.
You will find undoing the rails on the top of the case requires more lateral movement, but soon enough, it will give way and the C shaped cover will just slide off without any broken clips, although possibly with screwdriver marks on the casing such as with my first attempt above.
Be very careful while handling the drive frame, as it is only secured in two of the holes by rubberized grommets, whereas the other two holes are “drop-in” and the drive can “drop-out” if you’re not careful. As expected, the green drive is visible above, sitting in its frame.
Similar to a Toshiba drive I took apart earlier, the bridge board itself is very small, and occupies a corner of the drive.
To take the assembly apart, you should ease the drive out of the frame by pushing it up, and then pulling it horizontally away from the rear. Then, you can pull out the light-pipe from the underside mounting hole, and undo the bridge-board securing screw with a Philips screwdriver. The board disconnects by sliding upwards.
A closer look at the board reveals the use of a customized Asmedia controller, labelled ASM1051W, likely related to the plain ASM1051. A Winbond SPI flash containing the firmware can also be seen. The top segment appears to house the power conversion circuitry to provide the 5v rail to the drive.
The light pipe structure seems quite interesting, as there appears to be a push-through-fit rubberized “chamber” which connects the light-pipe to the LED.
The other side has the SATA connector with a sheet of insulating plastic to stop any potential shorting of the PCB against the rear of the drive. This board is dated Week 20 of 2015.
The grommets themselves slide off the studs which are screwed into the four corner mounting holes of the drive. The screws are done up with a decent amount of torque, so a quality Torx T10 screwdriver is recommended to undo them.
After this, you will have your desired drive, ready for internal usage inside a computer or storage unit, although due to the sector size difference, re-partitioning and reformatting will be necessary.