Temperature controlled enclosure?

It is important to have an off-site backup, because a fire could destroy everything.

I know I can keep my hard drive in my detached garage if it is not operating. But, ideally, I would like to use a Wifi interface that I have on a router that will support a USB drive. The record temperatures in my area range -17 to +102 DegF. I have read that ideal operating temperatures for a hard drive is 77 to 102 DegF. So, the main thing is to provide heat in the cold weather.

I was considering the idea of simply using an ice chest, and adding two holes and a thermostatically controlled fan for ventilation. The heat normally produced by the hard drive and the router would be the heat source. If the heat loss through the walls, and any that comes escapes through the holes is less than what is generated, then I can keep it warm enough to use. And perhaps also monitor the temperature to shut the drive down if it goes outside of the acceptable operating temperature.

While I know that climate controlled enclosures exist for industry, they are way to costly for most individuals. The system I described above should be fairly low cost. Does anything as simple as what I described above exist? I hate to make my own system, when I can buy it at a reasonable price.

If I do make my own, I would really need to know how much energy is consumed by the electronics, so that I can calculate if the system I described is even viable. But, I have not been able to find that information on WD’s web site.

As an aside, in regards to storing a non-operating drive in the garage; I should mention that I have read that it is important to let a very cold drive in storage, be permitted come to room temperature gradually, before attempting to use it.

Thanks for any comments.

Here are the basic problems with drives and electronics in general and the environmental elements:

  1. extreme heat - thermal degradation of parts, sweating
  2. extreme cold - condensation (liquid) shorting of components
  3. dust/dirt - causing overheating, poor cooling of components
  4. shock - vibration and physical damage to hardware

In your garage scenario you have 1, 2 and 3 to worry about. I’d NEVER want to see a drive get to freezing temp, but have seen them get to 47C/117F in use in devices like a TiVo for prolonged periods 24/7 always writing/reading and still function for years at a more or less constant temperature.

The ice chest might work but you need to be certain that it does not also promote the condensation it is trying to prevent, which can also happen in an enclosed space. Plus a fan will pull in dust from the garage and It needs a filter and still it’s going to be dirtier that in the house. It can’t be completely enclosed or it will sweat inside your enclosure (ever open a fridge that has been sitting in storage unused and smelled inside).

One thing you have going for you is the power bricks and strip can be external to the enclosure so it’s just the drive or router that are generating heat or you can play with moving both the adapters to get a happy “zone” for the range.

Do yourself a favor and get a sample chest or enclosure to try out, plus a inexpensive thermometer/humidity sensor that logs max/min measurement values from a hardware store, eBay or Amazon so you will know what the ranges really are rather than guessing BEFORE you ever attempt to use it for a drive.