Friday, January 21, 2011

Disassembly instructions for LaCie 301304U "Design by Neil Poulton" external hard drive

Neil Poulton may be an award winning "industrial designer," but he's not an engineer. This thing is 
a bit tricky to disassemble.
The black shiny plastic top is a single piece cover over a metal bottom plate. It is held in place by 
plastic bumps on the inside edges of the cover that fit into slots in the metal bottom's vertical walls. 
There are no screws.
There are two bumps along each of the long edges of the plastic cover, and two similar ones on the 
short side with the LED light underneath. There are two smaller bumps placed closer together on 
the power/USB/switch side of the drive, and between those is another sort of vertical grapple that 
holds the cover down more firmly on that side.
First, here is what the top (plastic) part of the casing looks like, turned upside down. The various 
snappy things are hilighted. We will release the BLUE ones first, then the GREEN ones, and finally 
the rear RED ones.

To open the case:

1. Use a thin plastic or metal thing (like a putty knife) to pry the plastic away from the metal 
bottom on one of the long sides. Insert a CD or a credit card that you don’t care about into the 
gap to hold it open.

2. Do the same thing with the other side. Your enclosure should now look like this:

(The masking tape isn't related to this procedure; I just like to 
note the voltage and polarity of the power supply on devices 
that don't come with such a label.
[12 volts 2 amps, + on the inside, - outside for this drive.])

3. Pry the side with the blue LED light under it (not the side with the power and USB connectors); 
you should be able to get the drive to fall partway out of the cover on this side if you hold it 
close to vertical and gently pry & rock the casing back & forth. Like this:

4. Carefully wiggle the cover around until it comes free of the back part. The power switch, USB 
port, and power connector are not attached to the top cover, but you should still be very careful 
not to break them. Eventually the middle post/grapple thing should let go and the cover will 
come off completely. Be careful not to drop the drive!

5. Remove the screws and the LED connector.

6. Gently, and very slowly, slide the drive forward away from the SATA connector. The connector 
is soldered onto the board, so if it breaks you’ll need to re-solder a lot of tiny connections. 
Remember to put the four screws back in when you reassemble the drive, otherwise the 
only thing holding it in will be the SATA connector and it will probably break from the 

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