MADDOG MegaVault 3.5″ hard drive enclosure

Update September 2009: My MadDog enclosure has died. I’ve replaced it with this.

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Update March 2009: It looks like MADDOG itself has expired. Warranty service appears to be non-existent. Calls to their hotline go unanswered and emails get no response.

Link here, and here to Rip-off Report (this takes a while to load).

My MADDOG hard drive enclosure is still working fine, but I can no longer recommend any of their products.

In my opinion, stay away from MADDOG and AcomData.

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Since last week’s AcomData fiasco, I’ve had an eye on obtaining another 3.5-inch hard drive enclosure. For ten bucks more than the AcomData, I discovered the MADDOG MegaVault version – Model MD-AEN350COM. It’s a nice little package with a black anodized case. The huge power-on indicator is up front, and the switch and connectors are located on the back.

It comes with USB2.0 and Firewire 1394 support. Power and both interface cables are included. For those of you still using Win98, a CD with drivers is included for USB1.1. The manual even shows how to format and partition the drive if you’ve not already done that.

After the simple task of installing my hard drive (don’t forget to set the jumpers to “master”) into the MADDOG, I plugged into the desktop, powered up the MegaVault, and voila! The drive appeared. If I want to use the drive with Firewire on my laptop, I’ll need to get a 6-pin to 4-pin FW adapter. That’s not a major problem since it also supports USB2.0.

The drive can be stored flat, or on edge with the supplied clear plastic stand. The stand isn’t the greatest, but it works. I’ve noticed that the hard drive appears to run substantially warmer when on its edge, so I set the drive flat on my table for the coolest running. I’ve had the drive running for a couple of hours now, and there’s no excess heat buildup since laying it flat.

I’m happy with it.

AcomData 509 3.5-inch USB2.0 hard drive enclosure – junk

Updated: Go here to read about my MadDog replacement enclosure. It finally failed also, but two years later.

And here’s what I used to replace the MadDog hard drive enclosure. I’m currently using a LanDisk GXT-MS348S.

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Go here to read the reports of others with AcomData problems at ripoffreport.com.

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I have an 80-gig hard drive that I would like to use as a backup medium for my XP operating systems. I figured I could cut the drive in half and use it for both my laptop and desktop O/S backups. I spied an AcomData 509 aluminum hard drive enclosure with USB2.0 support, and since the price was right, I picked it up. According to the tiny manual that comes with it, it’s supposed to work out of the box with XP – which is obvious, considering XP supports USB2.0. After installing my backup drive in the AcomData, plugging the USB cable into my desktop and powering up – nothing, other than a spinning drive and a blue LED indicating power-on.

I removed the drive from the AcomData, installed it in my desktop, powered up, and the drive was good. Shut down again, remove it from my desktop, reinstall it in the AcomData case, plug in to the USB port and power it up. Nothing other than a blue power LED and a spinning drive.

I must have gotten a case with a bad motherboard in it.

After doing a couple of online searches, I discovered that the AcomData 509 drive case appears to be unusable. Not only that, but there is absolutely no support from the company, according to some online comments. Email requests for assistance and phone calls go unanswered, and calls are not returned.

AcomData hardware is manufactured by Dura Micro, Inc., in Pomona, California, although I suspect China may be closer to the mark. Apparently, and I quote, “Dura Micro is the world’s leading designer and manufacturer of external, desktop hard drives.” Their “Vision and Mission” statement has a lot of nice whoop-dee-doo verbiage, but nowhere does it mention quality.

I clicked on their “Quality Management System” page, hoping to see something about striving to manufacture the most reliable equipment for the end-user, but I didn’t really see anything along those lines there, either.

Oops, wait just a minute! On their 509 Series HDD Enclosures page, they say “…the 509 projects solid quality and reliability.” It may project, boys and girls, but it doesn’t work out of the box. You might want to go back and reconsider some of those homilies you so eloquently “project” on your web site.

Tomorrow, the AcomData 509 3.5-inch USB2.0 hard drive enclosure will be returned from whence it came.

Thanks for nothing, Dura Micro and AcomData.