Cold storage – hard drive edition

Computers & Mobile Science

Youtube user petesteg has a great cabin fever project. It is an interesting/stupid/noble experiment for the winter months: put a hard drive in a plastic bag, put some rocks on it to hold it down at the bottom of your ice rink, and make a video of it throughout the winter. When the thaw comes in the spring, you get to find out if the drive is a formerly frozen paper weight or a happy storage medium.

Keep in mind that I am a trained storage professional, this drive is not intended to be frozen in ice. Please do not try this at home.

It seems to be holding up well, but what can you tell, it’s in the ice, I guess…It’s hard to tell how it’s doing…we’ll find out in the Spring…”

Then on the coldest day in years:

So the drive’s out there. I’m not going to go out there, I’m just going to show you.

100 days of sub zero Celcius weather. This is kind of a maker version of the 365 projects on Flickr.

What were your winter projects? Are you keeping good documentation of them? Do you think the drive will survive the winter? Have you tried an experiment like this? Have you made a backyard ice rink? Post up your ideas in the comments, and contribute your photos and video to the MAKE Flickr pool.

22 thoughts on “Cold storage – hard drive edition

  1. buzZubie says:

    What is the purpose of this? There is a nice juxtaposition here: “Keep in mind that I am a trained storage professional, this drive is not intended to be frozen in ice. Please do not try this at home.” It looks like anyone can try it at home–put the hard disk in a ziplock bag and freeze it…ok again, but why?

    As for his years of data on there, he more than likely has it backed up. It would be pretty foolish to do this experiment on non-backed-up data.

    1. Capileira says:

      Yes sounds a bit foolish. Who of us is going to visit the North Pole to use his HD there?

  2. tmfark says:

    Even if it’s DOA (or is that DOT(haw))you should try it powered up and running next year- Data collect a weather station feed and maybe some timed pictures.

  3. Stu says:

    Does he have a specific date of retrieval and testing in mind? I dont think he mentioned one in the vids. Or did he?

    My vote is that it will work, provided the bag remains sealed properly enough to prevent water ingress, and even then, HDs are themselves hermetically sealed so can tolerate a bit of water exposure.
    It could end up being a test of the plastic bags abilities!

  4. Tim says:

    Looks like it might be an attempt at ‘viral’ marketing. The ‘Samsung Freeagent Go’ seems pretty out of place.

    He did say it’s a copy at the start though.

  5. says:

    I’m not too sure hard drives are hermetically sealed. They Are sealed well, but what about the vent holes? (“Do not cover”?)

    As for the hard drive, it should be fine. The real test would be to run a 2.5″ hard drive in a metal housing on the end of a USB cable, frozen at the bottom of the rink. Talk about a heatsink! :)

  6. buzZubie says:

    The ice will expands as it freezes from above, or freezes and floats up. Eventually, it will meet the non-ice that is the hard disk, so the drive will meet some forces.

  7. Pete Steege says:

    Hi all,
    Thanks for following my lark. The drive stayed frozen in the rink for 101 days. I cut it out and thawed it yesterday. I’m posting my “reveal” video today or tomorrow – stay tuned.

  8. MAcsSNAcs says:

    Even in SouthEast Ontario, 18.9 F is nothing (only about -7 C) We typically get -20’s and -30’s up here… Now THAT would be a project! ;)

  9. gear head says:

    I think the probe says -18.9F

  10. San Diego Website Design says:

    18.9 F is a too low value, I can’t believe how it’s possible to live any animal with that condition.
    Admin from San Diego Website Design

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