Will a hard drive immersed in non-conductive fluid or oil work properly?

Discussion in 'General Hardware' started by Adrian Wong, May 26, 2008.


Can a hard drive immersed in non-conductive liquid work properly?

  1. Yes, I think it's possible.

    0 vote(s)
  2. No way! No way in hell it will run.

    0 vote(s)
  3. I don't really care or wish to guess.

    0 vote(s)
  1. Ischemia24

    Ischemia24 Newbie

    Test the hypothesis

    I guess I'm a little late in suggesting it, but why not dry off the hard drive as best you can, then disassemble it and check for signs of oil inside?

    I can't post links yet, but if you go to oilpc dot net and click on "Test to see if the hard drive will be able to function in the mineral oil" on the right, it seems that someone was able to adequately seal the hard drive so that it functioned in mineral oil indefinitely.

    Not sure if anyone's posted this yet, but you can purchase a PC that's fully submerged in liquid (including solid state drives) on hardcorecomputer dot com.
  2. Spanner

    Spanner Newbie

    I think too much drag on the platters would reduce the performance of the drive and slow it down.....
  3. Max_87

    Max_87 huehuehue

    The oil is not suppose to go inside the hard drive... If that happens the drive would most likely fail instantly.
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2008
  4. Rotarizer

    Rotarizer Newbie

    The drive heads make use of the GMR effect to read data off the platters. They must be calibrated for an air gap between the drive head and the magnetic film on the platter. If the magnetic permeability of the media between the head and the platter is different, it may have trouble reading the bits and bytes accurately. Just my guess only.

    This is is apart from the problems of viscous drag on the heads and the resulting strain on the actuator arm/motor.

    But an interesting experiment nonetheless.
  5. malmal

    malmal Newbie

    The read head "flies" on a cushion of air. Thats why there is a altitude restriction.
    I wonder how hard drives are prepared for space situations. like the Hubble or ISS or even the rovers on Mars.:)
  6. mikegas

    mikegas Newbie

    Maybe a tape drive is used. ... :lol: I don't think they want to use something in space station that is possible of failing ...
  7. Chai

    Chai Administrator Staff Member

    What about SSD? :mrgreen:
  8. Adrian Wong

    Adrian Wong Da Boss Staff Member

    I thought they used rad-hardened flash memory? :think:

    Other than the risk of radiation, flash memory should be the best storage solution for the rigors of space.
  9. malmal

    malmal Newbie

    SSDs werent around when Hubble went up. 1990 ? Dont know about flash in 1990.
    How about a sealed nitrogen hard drive.:)
  10. PsYkHoTiK

    PsYkHoTiK Admin nerd


    The Hubble went up with tape recorders as a means to record data. But subsequent service missions (namely Service Mission 2 and 3A) replaced the tape recorders with *tadaa* solid state drives.


    Page 14 and figure 2-12.


    Just because its not feasible for most users to use SSDs at the time (SSDs go way back to the late 70s I believe), it doesn't mean it's not feasible for groups like NASA.
  11. jamotto

    jamotto Newbie

  12. mikegas

    mikegas Newbie

    Well, when I was working for FSL micro. They are producing microcontroller for cars much like the HC11. For all these chips, all striving for 0 dppm (defect part per million). Of course it is not achievable but manage to get it to 5 dppm in which is quite good. I can tell you that Japanese auto customer, like to use very very old microcontroller like 10-15 yrs old model. Why do they do this because, these are more stable and simple chips in which is more reliable. US auto customer however uses the latest chips, and lots of them in a single car, in turn :lol: sometime stall the car hehehe. We did have military and aircraft customer much like the NASA, in which is tough. All electronics goes through a very tough stress to ensure their quality before they are use. That's why they would not want to use something like 1000dppm (end user product) HDD for space craft .. ;)
  13. Adrian Wong

    Adrian Wong Da Boss Staff Member

    Yeah, one thing about space "computers" is that radiation hardening, reliability and power efficiency are more important than performance.
  14. NArkshaRK

    NArkshaRK Newbie

    No it won't. It's pointless to even have a thread like this. Ask a harddrive manufacturer a question like this, not a bunch of geeks on a computer forum. Even though the answer is no, you should only refer a question like that to an engineer who designs harddrives.
  15. Adrian Wong

    Adrian Wong Da Boss Staff Member

    It's just a fun thread for people to express their views on whether it is possible.

    And frankly, it has been proven that yes, you CAN run a hard disk drive that is immersed in non-conductive liquid.
  16. lee_what2004

    lee_what2004 Just Started

    where the proof ? have a link ?
  17. Chai

    Chai Administrator Staff Member

    Hmm the article was never posted, but there's a video showing it.
  18. mikegas

    mikegas Newbie

    :wave: Here! Here! .. Engineer :haha:
  19. Chai

    Chai Administrator Staff Member

    I guess he didn't even read the thread. :haha:

    Funny that you are really a WD engineer. :haha: pwnt
  20. Adrian Wong

    Adrian Wong Da Boss Staff Member

    Sorry, the article hasn't been posted. Will get right down to it. :mrgreen:

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