Saturday, 28 February 2009

How To: Disassemble a LaCie Little Disk – Photo Guide

LaCie 301830 320GB LITTLE DISK USB 5400 RPM 8MB FW400While looking for a disassembly guide for the LaCie Little Disk 320GB so that I could use the SATA hard drive within to replace the faulty and failed hard drive in my Acer Aspire One netbook, I read many reports that it was very difficult and gave up trying to find a guide.
Instead I decided to look at it logically, and found it to be very simple.  Here is how to disassemble the LaCie Little Disk 320GB.

1.  Here is the LaCie Little Disk, its just a little bit scratched and there are a few fingerprints, but otherwise it is a very nice looking - LaCie Little Disk 320GB Hard Drive Removal (0)
2.  Remove the front cover and set it aside, now take a look at the what you see.  You will find a tiny notch just at the seam as indicated in the - LaCie Little Disk 320GB Hard Drive Removal (2)
3.  I used a penknife for this, but any similar, flat bladed item will do, such as a credit card. Insert your chosen blade between the two housings just above the notch, be gentle.  Now, twist it slightly until you hear a pop like noise.  This is simply the glue separating from the two - LaCie Little Disk 320GB Hard Drive Removal (3)
4.  Slide the blade along to the right until it stops, then give it another twist as before.  Once again you should hear the same pop.  Now, slide the blade back along to the left and do the - LaCie Little Disk 320GB Hard Drive Removal (4)
5.  Flip the drive over and repeat the process on the other side.  Once you have done this, you are ready to pull the drive free of the housing.  Give it a good, firm tug. - LaCie Little Disk 320GB Hard Drive Removal (9)
6.  I forgot to take a photo of the drive with this rubber band attached, but here it is set aside.  If you decide to reuse the caddy, perhaps with a smaller capacity drive, then make sure you take notice of where it is situated, you will need to put it back on.  [UPDATE – As you may read in the comments, not all LaCie Little Disk’s have this rubber band] - LaCie Little Disk 320GB Hard Drive Removal (11)
7.  You will need to remove these two screws to remove the SATA/USB converter PCB. - LaCie Little Disk 320GB Hard Drive Removal (12)

I replaced the 320GB drive in this caddy with a smaller 80GB drive from an old laptop.  When I put it all back together it worked fine.
And that is all there is to it, it’s really no more than a 10 minute job at most.  Of course, I have to say at this point that if your drive does not work after you have carried out these instructions then you must not hold me responsible, it’s your drive, your warranty and your responsibility!
Have you found this LaCie Little Disk disassembly guide useful?  Would you like to share it with others – just use the icons below?  Please leave your comments below.
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  1. Thanks for the guide. I was baffled by how to open the thing until I found this. I didn't think they would close the case just using glue. The inner part is actually held in place by the foam and then sealed in with spots of glue.

    BTW, mine only had 2 glue points - on the upper side. There was no glue on the underside. Also, it took considerably more force than I thought it would to break the adhesion on those 2 points - I was really worried about the case cracking first - luckily it didn't.

    I think I also slightly damaged one of the components on the PCB, right next to where the glue is applied. There are a pair of tiny copper coils on there, and I slightly damaged the plastic that they're wrapped around. Luckily it still works, but it's worth the warning that when you put the knife inside the case, you need to keep it against the inside of the case, and make sure it doesn't catch on anything.

    Also, mine didn't have a rubber band around the hard disk mechanism. Instead, it has foam strips which are stuck to the drive with adhesive. I'm guessing LaCie don't ever plan to repair these drives - only replace them.

    Thanks again!

  2. @Anon Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment, it's good to know that this little guide has helped someone!
    The differences is manufacturing are surprising, given the Little Disk is quite an expensive product I'd have thought that it would have been put together in the exact same way throughout it's time in production... I guess I was wrong!
    One question for you - What have you taken the LaCie apart for (as mentioned above, I used the hdd to replace the faulty one in my aspire one netbook)?

  3. I was wondering about doing the same thing. It sounds easy enough but i was wondering if there is any problems that I will encounter as I am running a Powerbook G4 and want to make sure the HD is compatible. (it makes no sense for it to not be, but just want to make srue)


  4. @Sean From my five minutes of Googling I would not recommend using the LaCie Little Disk's HDD to replace the one in your Powerbook G4.
    It seems that the drive in your G4 is actually an IDE drive, not a SATA drive, which is in the LaCie LD Caddy.
    Taking it apart for the purpose of a swap would not work in this case (unless your G4 is a SATA model, which seems unlikely).
    Instead, buy yourself a cheap 2.5" IDE drive as a replacement.
    Good luck with taking apart the G4 though, seems like one hell of an exercise, that must be performed with a great deal of caution!

  5. Thanks for the tutorial, this really helped me understand how to take it out. I wanted to take out my 500gb drive so I could put it in a refubished mac mini I just bought.

    I think I found a slightly easier way to get the drive out. I used a small & thin 1.25in putty knife and simply pushed it in along the upper edge. That just sliced through/cut the glue and made it so I didn't have to do any prying what so ever.

    Also my drive has the rubber band thing--go figure.

  6. @ Tristan...
    What an excellent idea! I never thought to use a putty knife, but then I wouldn't have (I don't own one!).
    That's the good thing about writing a guide like this, you can put forth your own technique and then find out how others accomplish the same task.
    Thanks for sharing your tip, I hope others find it useful too!

  7. Thanks for the tutorial. I just try it but it seems that my LaCie has two notch for each side that prevent me from sliding the HDD out. I improvised by sliding two credit card on both sides to rise the cover above the notch and then slide out the drive.

    PS. My LaCie use Toshiba HDD. How about yours?

  8. Thanks for the instructions, saved me from a more drastic case-opening procedure I was about to start that involved a hammer.
    I opened mine up because I was getting an intermittent connection. Sometimes it would work and sometimes it wouldn't get recognized. Looks like the USB cable wore itself out where it makes the turn inside the case.
    Also I had the foam strips in place of the rubber band thingy, and my drive's a Hatachi.

  9. All the above are correct. I've read and applied! However my plastic card goes all the way to the 3 corners-ends of the plastic case. I can't slide py plastic card on the 4th corner-end;the one where LaCie is stops to the beggining of the letter 'C'. I've put massive strength, hit the card against a desc but this is as far as the card slides to. isn't it supposed to go till the end of the corner? i also heard only one pop from the top side;bottom side had no glue spots. what should i do ? I also 2 plastic cards to release the clips but couldn't pull the disk off.

  10. Many thanks for this tutorial...
    I used that hard drive to replace the one of my PS3 60 Gb.

    It is definitely quite easy to remove the case.
    Once the glue has gone I found it easy by using two credit cards on each side to extract the disk from the case smoothly.

    I noticed the disk used in the LaCie Little Disk 500 GB was a Seagate (like in the PS3).

    It really takes less than 10 minutes according to your tutorial.

    Great job !

  11. Thanks a lot, it worked for me! The HD was failing and nothing appeared when connected to the computer. I tried several cables and guessed that it was the internal USB connection. Just opened with an average knife, put the HD into another USB-SATA 2.5" case and it works heavenly! So thanks, mate, very useful for me...

  12. My usb cord is broken (physically severed... or at least beginning to sever up near the plug, and I imagine it's also damaged) so I'm planning to take it apart and put it in a new casing. I've started to loosen the glue with my fingernails.
    Looking forward to seeing if it works. I've never done anything like this before. If it doesn't, no loss here - it was a free drive. I wouldn't have picked it myself :D

    I'll let you know how it goes

  13. Thanks for your guide! I used a box cutter to cut the two glued points on the upper side. The disk was very easy to pull out of the case.
    My disk had a rubber part covering the end of the disk. Seems that there are big differences in how Lacie assembles these....

    Now the Hitachi Travelstar found inside Lacie is in my PS3 and I have a 40G backup Seagate, thanks!

  14. So does anyone know how to replace this usb cable? Mines definitely broken, and I did have a temporary fix by soldering it, but now it broke again and Id like to replace it if thats possible but I cant figure out what kind of connection it is. Any help?

  15. Hi,
    Not really an answer to your question (yet), however mine is also on the way out through much overuse.
    I will be looking to find some way to replace it soon, probably when it properly breaks.
    If I do find a way to do this I shall post a new how to showing how to replace it.

  16. Hello, I just found this blog entry and was happy to see a solution.
    However, my 500GB Little Disk refuses to open.
    I tried a putty knife, a credit card, an ordinary knife - no way.
    I can slide it in but on the right side it stops at just about the "C" of the LaCie imprint and on the left side it goes no further than about 6mm left of the notch with the blue LED.
    The bottom side appears to be completely free.
    I also tried to find out what this "F" labeled button does, the manuals don't mention it.
    Meanwhile the case shows little marks of "abuse" from trying to open it,
    so I'd guess I can't send it back to LaCie anyway. ;-)
    Should I break it?
    I think the controller and/or power regulator chip died and the disk still could be of some use.
    Thanks for you posting, Michael.

  17. Hi - thanks for your fast reply!
    This is how far I can go with the knife to the left
    and to the right:
    I now even tried a screwdriver since anything else is too weak when twisting hard.
    The case is about to crack (and already shows marks of abuse) which tells me that it's maybe not the way to open it.
    On the photo above you also can see the push button I mentioned, I can't see what it does and the manual also gives no indication about it.
    However, pressing it (maybe it's part of an opening mechanism?) doesn't help either, so it's probably just wishful thinking.
    Meanwhile I gave up the idea to send it in and get it repaired/replaced, I'm sure I already voided warranty. ;-)
    But using the disk for something else would be nice!
    Thanks for your time! Michael.

  18. i just want to say thank you. this helped me =)

  19. Thanks a lot man!! I was looking everywhere for a tutorial like this.
    It heleped me a lot.
    Thanks again :D

  20. greetings

    where can i find a replacement usb cable that connect to the board ?


  21. Excellent, helped a lot! I guess there is now way to replace my defect USB cable? But I'm at least able to use the disk, thanks again!

  22. Thank you Diesel for your'e excellent guide.

    The onboard USB cable has seem to given up on me, now I am unable to use the USB for transferring data and the only way is to go with the firewire400.

    I have opened my Lace LD 320GB and spotted the red wire has broken, not sure if i'll be able to fix or replace it. The way the USB cable is connected to the HD seemed very clumsy and sloppy and I think its very sensitive to wear-tear. So for me, no more Sam Hect designs in the future.

  23. thanx for this topic, it helped a lot if not saved my poor, lon gone precious datas, 

  24. muchas gracias from spain! 
     Thanks a lot!

  25. Hey, thanks for this article! The usb cable also gave up on me - very poor design, indeed.

    I guess you could disassemble on of these and then use a regular usb-cable. couldn't find a male usb-to-strip adapter, though.;PROVID=2402


  26. Now I'm sure I can do this myself thanks to you!
    WMA to MP3

  27. Thanks for posting this tutorial! It was really hard for me to disassemble such a disk and leave it unharmed.

    Image Editor

  28. Thank you!!!
    (even if that "pop like noise" actually stopped my heart for a while :-) )

  29. Thanks so much for documenting the steps. You're truly a lifesaver.

    mpg to mov video convert

  30. I found it very helpful as it gives a chance to solve problem by own...
    Plastic cards ..

  31. Great, you saved my little disk! :D


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