Hard drives in the RV

Offroad Usable data storage with shock absorption

Foreword / Update 2016

We have a year 2007 External 3.5″ Decided disks, since the time available 2.5″ Had hard drives to small capacity.

This has now changed fundamentally and for the average use mobile hard drives are offered with sufficient capacity.

We also use for several years small external hard drives (pairs wg. Reflection) and reflect important data in addition to the permanently installed 3.5″ Hard drives. Very we have good experience with the USB hard drives My Passport WD (Western Digital) made. So far, none of the drives died, wherein the first 2008 originates!

Actual (2016) We primarily use a mirrored pair with My Passport 4 TB / USB 3.0. For now somewhat older notebook (USB 2.0) was for a StarTech.com 2 Port ExpressCard SuperSpeed ​​USB 3.0 Acquired Card Adapter, to reflect the data faster.

Incorporation of 3.5″ Hard drives can still be useful today, when 3.5″ HDD has left. In the depths of technology compartment built hard drives have the advantage, that they are not so easily found in a break. Thus, a remains at least one data fuse, when the notebook and the external hard drives are stolen.

That is why we leave this Website still temporarily online.


For capacity- and security reasons, we want to rely not only on the built-in notebook hard drive. So it had to be built into the vehicle, additional external USB drives. Particularly for longer trips more space is required but after careful consideration, than originally believed.

What kind of data should be saved?

  • new photos of the road
  • new video on the go
  • Data backup of notebooks with modified Generationenprinzip
  • Images of Windows & Drivers. For new installations also better prepared CDs / DVDs should or. be a USB flash drive to install it!
  • Images of the most important programs, if reinstallation is required
  • the indispensable music from its own collection as MP3
  • enough free space for copying data
  • Other data

General considerations

  • there are two disks are mirrored (z.B. With FreeFileSync.org)
  • Encryption of all data Truecrypt
  • fixed installation in the vehicle, so that the HDDs "cleaned up" are
  • yet simple installation / removal, if driving is required
  • USB socket and switch on the panel, so any installation in the technology specialist possible
  • Built with Vibration- and shock-absorbing bearing

Requirements for the Disk Hardware

  • true on / off switch, switches the power supply (So no button), so that the hard drive also turns on when power is supplied via a switch panel
  • Separate power supply: primarily 100-240 VAC / secondary: 12 VDC. Thus, the operation with 12 VDC in the vehicle or carried around the world mobilized to the mains
  • Metal case for shielding due to the installation in the technology specialist
  • compact as possible
  • noise, possible fan
  • USB 2.0 With Highspeed

Which hard drive meets all the criteria?

From the technical data sheets of the manufacturers usually not apparent, whether the hard disk has a genuine on / off switch and the power adapter to a power supply socket on the HDD enclosure with 12 VDC is connected.

Because of the time of purchase limited storage capacity of 2.5″ HDDs (max. 160 GB), the choice fell on 3.5″ Desktop-HDDs. When all the criteria be met by model Freecom had the storage capacity of the models of 160 – 500 GB will not affect the housing size. Therefore we chose the model with 500 GB.

Considerations for installation

The disks are mounted directly on the floor assembly in engineering specialist at a free location. To avoid expensive designs, to the shock absorption are mounted between HDD and soil.
Thus, the shock absorption must be stable enough, to carry the weight of the hard disk, On the other hand elastic enough, to absorb the energy from vibrations and impacts in all directions. It must be borne in mind, that cools the fanless drive via the housing, So should not be comprehensively "wrapped in cotton wool". Furthermore, the hard drive for mobile applications is made easy- and be installed.

Ultimately, the following, give constructive rather simple and economical solution. Practice will show, whether this solution is suitable for long term. The pipe insulation can be used but replaced quickly and inexpensively with fatigue.

Vibration- and shock-absorbing mounting

The shock absorption comprises the following components:
• Rubber feet (Baumarkt)
• garden hose ½” (Baumarkt)
• webbing B:25mm (Baumarkt)
• eyelets, Inner diameter ca. 5mm (Baumarkt)
• Screw, which fit through the eyelets (Baumarkt)
• PE-Rohrisolation as. d = 50mm / opening ca. d=25mm (Baumarkt)
• clamping lock straps L:50cm/B:20mm, z.B. of Fasty (please refer AUBU AG)

Through the opening of the pipe insulation is a piece of ½” Out garden hose, through which the upper strap around the hard drive is running. The length of pipe insulation and garden hose is a little shorter, as the hard drive is wide. Are pipe insulation and hose is too long, is the strap laterally not more properly to the hard drive on.

Another belt is below the tubing only by the pipe insulation (NOT through the hose!) out and very nearly right and left of the pipe insulation screwed by pre-riveted into the belt loops on the vehicle floor. The cooling of the hard drive is guaranteed, because the pipe insulation covers little surface and for a great distance from the bottom of the compartment ensures Technology, favoring the air circulation.
The transparent adhesive feet to the top of the plate prevent the tension belts or. the hard disk from slipping.


Materialwert as. 20 EUR for 2 Hard drives (naturally without hard disks), Time required approx. 2 Std.

Crash Test

Drop tests from ca. 15cm height loss and hard drive have not impressed.

Minus Grade

When unheated overwintering of the vehicle hard disks should be strengthened. If the vehicle overwinters frost-free, can the hard disks normally remain in the vehicle. In any case, the specified temperature range of the hard disk used must be observed.

Practical experience

The hard drives are now since 45.000 km in use. So far, no problems have occurred. Only the clamping lock straps were tightened somewhat, since these had slightly eased, However, what was uncritically.

Installation Disk into the motorhome

Below are some pictures of the installation of our hard drives with shock absorption in the vehicle.

Other pages about vehicle

WLAN & WiFi in the RV, Caravan and mobile Expedition
Unicat Expedition Vehicle MAN L2000 8.224 LAEC
All technical details
Links & Addresses of professionals for the expedition vehicle

“Expect difficulties, but do not fear them.”