Mr. Scott, I understand you’re having difficulty with the warp drive. How much time do you require for repair? -Captain Spock, Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country

While writing my next sales process post for PRSPX, I was feeling a little un-directed and unmotivated. For me, that typically means it’s time to build or fix something. So, I opted for a quick fix for the Zyxel NAS540.

I picked up the NAS unit a while back. The Zyxel NAS540 holds 4 drives, has 2 Gigabit Ethernet ports, and two USB 3.0 ports. And it has 4 drive bays. The specs outline that the unit is capable of using the 6 TB drives. Currently, I’m using 4TB drives for a total of 16 TB. But that could change soon.

Zyxel NAS540 NAS Cloud Storage Connector View

One thing I found unnerving, however, was that the system would regularly produce a loud buzz.  All of the reviews I read before buying the device proclaimed that it was “whisper quiet”. So I knew something was not right. The D-Link DNS 325 would also buzz on occasion, but it took three solid years of operation before reaching that point. I haven’t used the the Zyxel unit for 3 months yet.

Typically, moving or vibrating parts are the cause of equipment buzz or hum. In this case, the only moving parts in the system are the fan assembly and the disk drives. So that’s where I focused my search.

Zyxel NAS540 Easily Replaceable Parts

The fan is a 120mm 12volt fan supplying at least 60 CFM at 2000 RPM. I first tightened the fan assembly to the housing, since the fan shouldn’t have required replacing this soon. However, when the time comes, here’s the type of fan that I’ll use as a replacement.

Zyxel NAS540 NAS Cloud Storage Opened Back

Zyxel NAS540 Opened Back

 

Zyxel NAS540 NAS Cloud Storage Fan Unit

Zyxel NAS540 NAS Replaceable Fan Unit

This buzz, however, was caused by the disk drives. This NAS unit uses a plastic caddy to allow for easy HDD mounting. A simple plastic bar anchors the drive in the caddy with two pins on each bar fitting into the drive’s mounting holes. Because snapping the bars in place is quick and easy, the tolerances are loose resulting in loose drives. The result is an HDD that vibrates in the system during operation.

Zyxel NAS540 NAS Cloud Storage Plastic Drive Caddy

Zyxel NAS540 NAS Cloud Storage Plastic Drive Caddy

Zyxel NAS540 NAS Cloud Storage Drive Caddy Retaining Bar

Zyxel NAS540 NAS Cloud Storage Drive Caddy Retaining Bar

My solution was to remove the retaining bars and screw the drives in place using standard 6#-32 HDD screws. I recommend using four screws per drive to insure a solid fit.  Once I had my drives anchored, the unit ceased all vibrations and it has operated silently since.

Zyxel NAS540 NAS Cloud Storage Drive Caddy Anchored with HDD Screws

Zyxel NAS540 NAS Cloud Storage Drive Caddy Anchored with HDD Screws

Zyxel supplies 16 screws with the system to secure 2.5-inch drives. These won’t work for the 3.5-inch HDD. So use the standard mounting screws that came with your 3.5-inch HDD.

If you don’t have the screws, you can easily get them through Amazon in bags of 100 pcs. As Bruce Wayne said in Batman Begins, “Well, at least we’ll have spares.”

A simple fix for a noisy problem. But remember, you’ll be trading convenience for silence.

 

Zyxel NAS540 Cool Master Jetflo HP Fan Uxcell 6#-32 HDD Mounting Screws