Mapower Warps 5.25" External Enclosure

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Does not hold all CD ROMs – Joe

SUMMARY: Sturdy, attractive 5.25″ drive enclosure that only fits some CD ROMs.

Warps

Size: 180 x 254.5 x 48 mm

The good guys at Mapower Electronics were nice enough to send their 3.5″ external drive enclosure model # Map-KC51 to try out. This unit can hold either a CD ROM or 3.5″ hard drive (with extra drive rails).

Key features include:

  • IEEE1394 FireWire, USB 2.0 high speed, Audio left/right ports
  • 40 mm cooling fan
  • Aluminum Construction
  • External power supply
  • Screwdriver
  • Driver disk for W98
  • Power LEDs at each side of the front

The back

Back

Back Ports

shows the power switch, power plug, FireWire, audio, USB ports and cooling fan; I should note once the drive is mounted and the top secured, there is precious little room for air to enter the enclosure – makes you wonder how effective this fan really is. Unscrewing the top (the included screwdriver is a nice touch but not really necessary)

Open

reveals the ribbon cable and PCB:

PCB

Parts that ship with the enclosure include all the required cables, driver disk, screwdriver and the external power supply – everything needed to get going.

A Problem

The drive is held in place by four pins

Pins

on each side of the case – simple enough; hook up the cables and drop the drive in place. However, as it turns out, it’s not that simple. While the screw hole locations, width and height of all CD ROMs are standardized, the LENGTH is not:

CDs

As it turned out, the first drive I tried was too long to fit in the enclosure. The rear of the drive was so close to the PCB that the ribbon cable’s connector would not allow the drive to fit. I measured the distance from the rear pin to the PCB

Rule

and found it to measure 2 7/8″/74mm. If you measure the rearmost screw hole to the rear of the drive on a CD ROM and it exceeds 65mm, you have a problem – it won’t fit.

Distance

Matt Kwan from Mapower Electronics responds:

“All 5.25” optical drives that have been manufactured within the last couple of years are within 20cm in depth. Only the older (very old) drives do you find depths that are longer than 20cm. We have stuck with this dimension because drives are manufactured shorter and shorter these days so we are designing our enclosures for such a trend.

We apologize for not accommodating older drives but the market necessitates us to adapt to the majority of the market. That majority unfortunately does not include longer aged drives. We have taken note of this limitation and have stated so on our website. We will also mention this on packaging and any manuals that will be shipping with the KC51 enclosures.”

CONCLUSIONS

This is a pretty sturdy product – in normal use, this enclosure should give enough protection to a 5.25″ drive so that throwing the enclosure into a briefcase or backpack should not be a problem. Overall, the build quality is very good.

However, considering that not all CD ROMs will fit¹, it’s a hit or miss purchase; about half the drives I have will not fit this enclosure. If this unit is redesigned to correct this problem, we’ll report on it.

Thanks again to Mapower Electronics for allowing us to try this out.

¹I’m no design engineer, but it seems to me the fix is obvious – design a PCB that’s half the width of the current one.

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