If you a long time reader you know that we take backups very seriously. We usually talk about the backups you have to do to your data at home, but it is equally important to backup while on the field.
Of course you can lag a laptop and a card reader and copy everything over, but if you want a small and slick solution, instructables user blorgggg shares a hack that will give you unlimited storage and easy redundancy (i.e. have each memory card backed up to two or three locations and stored in separate bags).
blorgggg went on a month-long trip to Madagascar and needed a solution that is low-power, stores lots of data and can withstand intense jostling. This is what he came up with.
The key to obtaining this ‘unlimited’ storage is using a hacked-up $190 WD My Passport Wireless which will turn the unit into a swappable-drive unit as well as provide battery access so you can always change batteries.
The first step involves prying open the WD passport and drilling a hole where you can change the drives. This is really a hack&slash kinda job so make sure you measure twice, if you nuke he enclosure there are no second chances.
Next you would have to pull the battery and remove some springs (use these photos to help with the tear-down process), and Voila! Your WD unit is now hot swappable.
The other half of the hack includes making your hard drives fit the enclosure without using any screws. blorgggg suggests adding tape pull tabs which both allows to pull the drives out of the enclosure and also provide some writing space (like drive01, drive02, and so on) to make the drives distinguishable.
blorgggg uses a trio of Corsair Force 240GB drives to eliminate the danger of moving parts. He also backs up each card to all three drives before going ahead. But testing shows that many other 2.5″ (SSD or regular) drives work pretty well.
Once the transformation is done, backing data up is really simple:
First setup your hard drive to “Automatic SD card copying”
Turn on your drive. Wait for the lights to stop blinking. And then pop in your SD card. It will start blinking white, and then stop when it has finished copying over.
I noticed some weird slowness when trying to copy over exfat formatted SD cards, but otherwise seemed to go fine! It also remembers your SD cards uniquely and will just copy over new files, so you can keep backing up and not wasting tons of time with the same SD card! How nice! #
There are store bought solutions like the Sanho HyperDrive, but the price difference is significant – those are around $260 without any drive, while the WD passport is around $190 with 2 TERA of storage. But more importantly, the HyperDrive is not hot-swappable.
If you want to carry external drives case and all, you can use a solution similar to RAVPower’s FileHub $39 card to drive connector. It is a bit slower and requires full enclosures per drive, but if you don’t like hacking things it may be the solution for you.
[Unlimited SD Card Backup in the Field | Thanks for the tip, Jason]