Western Digital MyBook Pro Edition II 1TB second try goes up in smoke

After this experience I finally made it back to CostCo to pick up another $g(Western Digital MyBook Pro Edition II) and get back to work backing up my images and video. I got the software installed (again) and plugged the MyBook into the wall then plugged the Firewire 400 cable to the MyBook then into my Dell 530. Right after making the connection I noticed a small curl of smoke rise up from the back top edge of the brick, right above where the Firewire 400 plug is located on the back of the MyBook, and that’s where it ended. I immediately yanked the plug on the, now literal, Firewire cable and pulled the MyBook power cable from the wall. I guess they don’t call it Firewire for nothing. Unlike last time, where I never actually saw smoke but thought I smelled that unique scent of electronic smoke, this time it was clearly visible and now I’m fairly certain something rather catastrophic must have occurred in the previous go-round and I’m guessing today’s experience is probably related.

I tried powering up the MyBook again without any I/O cables attached and the circular indicator lights no longer respond. I also tried reconnecting my external Sony DVD burner into the same rear Firewire port and Windows failed to acknowledge it’s existence. Switching to the front Firewire port worked just fine. Great, so now, not only do I have a second MyBook which is now toast, I’m down to one built-in Firewire port on my machine.

I’m pretty darn frustrated at this point and my confidence in the MyBook hard drive enclosure, specifically the enclosure, has taken a severe beating. This has left me wondering what if the Firewire failure had occurred at some later point when the machine was unattended (even five minutes later)? Would it have actually caught fire? The MyBook was two inches from a stack of recorded family DV tapes sitting here on my desk. Ok, I don’t want to think about that anymore.

Anyway, just prior to all this MyBook stuff I had successfully copied several DV tapes from my Sony Digital HandyCam to my machine without any problems using this same Firewire port so I’m pretty sure the MyBook is somehow related to it’s demise.

Ok, one last thing, I’ve now purchased two MyBook Pro Edition II’s and upon opening each box I noticed the devices had the same odd smell which I think I’d describe as “solvent-like”. It wasn’t particularly strong though it did cause me to actually sniff the enclosure to ensure that’s where it was coming from. The first thing that came to mind was that of airing it out before sitting in the same room with it for any extended period of time. I know PC’s typically have a unique smell when first unwrapped/installed/booted but this smell distinctly stuck out to me as something I didn’t want to be inhaling for any length of time.

7 thoughts on “Western Digital MyBook Pro Edition II 1TB second try goes up in smoke

  1. I’ve built a nice 1TB file server using some commodity hardware, some Seagate SATA disks and OpenFiler (http://www.openfiler.com/) it supports several protocols (i.e. SMB, iSCSI, WebDAV, etc.) and has a nice UPS support to avoid file loss due to blackouts – and it does not try to create some…

  2. The "smell of a new electronic device" you mention is most likely the anti-flammable coating.

  3. Some of these drives shipped with defective cables, which route power to the data lines. So it’s not really the enclosure: your HandyCam would ‘Firewire’ too if you used this cable.

  4. I have the smell too, in my brand new MyBook Pro. In fact I haven’t been able to use it – I have been airing it out since I opened the package, because the smell was just too much. It’s really not the "New computer smell" or anything like that. It’s extremely strong, like you said solvent-like and I couldn’t imagine being in same room with it. And I’m not the kind of person who thinks electronic devices smell bad when new (I have plenty of them). I’ll probably take it back to the store. Hope they’ll take it. How are you doing with your MyBook smell?

  5. Ok, I thought that you finally had some luck with it (them). Thanks for your answer anyway, and better luck with your next hard drive!

Comments are closed.