Disassembling the Buffalo LinkStation

I own an original Buffalo Linkstation, often called a Linkstation-1, or an HDLAN. Since I orignally posted this page, the "Linkstation" product line has grown to many models and evolved through many versions. This pictorial may not be accurate for later versions or models.

If you are new to investigating the workings of your Linkstation or any other device considered an "NAS" (Network Attached Storage) device, you should check out a great wiki located at nas-central.org.

Like many consumer electronic devices, it is deliberately tricky to disassemble. Here is how I took mine apart

First, notice that there are these little locking tabs beside the trim piece on the top and bottom of the unit. By pushing in the tabs a slight amount, you can then pull the trim piece towards the front of the unit...

... But there are two screws hidden behind the mirror-finish label on the front of the trim piece. The normal solution for this is to peel the mirror-finish label off and remove the screws, but I didn't know any better at the time so I had a more barbaric solution: I simply pried the whole trim piece off, stripping out the screws as I went! It turned out the screws were not very strong and pulled out moderately easy. Now I have a trim piece that still looks nice, yet pops on and off the Linkstation by simply working the top and bottom tabs and pulling it towards the front of the unit.

UPDATE: So I guess most people peel the front sticky label off the front, remove the screws properly, then stick the label back on. Perhaps you should too.

Next there is a much bigger screw hidden behind the model#/certification sticker on the back of the unit. If your Linkstation is still in warrenty you might want to peel the label back very slowly so you don't tear it and can put it back. Once peeled back, I removed the screw.

Finally, with the trim piece removed, there are more tabs along the top and bottom of the Linkstation, that once pressed, the case can be separated by pulling apart the sides of the case from the back.

Once inside, things are much more straightforward: Take out 4 screws to remove the processor circuit board. If you don't want to remove the hard drive cables yet, you can simply hinge it back to expose the hard drive and power supply.

Note that the power button will tend to fall off, as well as the clear plastic piece that directs the LED lights to the outside of the case. So check them out now so you'll know how they go back on.

At this point it is easy to unplug and service or replace the fan if you need to. Sorry I didn't get a good picture of this however.

To remove the hard drive, you must remove the power supply, as shown here. It is only held by two screws. After that the hard drive mounting frame can swing out of the case.

Oh, and be careful not to let the bottom of the circuit board drag accross the metal frame that is attached to the hard drive. The 160-volt capacitor tends to hold a charge even after the power cord is pulled. I once blew out my power supply this way and to took me awhile to find and replace the damaged component. Note that someday many of these electrolydic capacitors on the power supply will wear out. Look for the tops bending upwards, although this is not always a reliable sign of ones wearing out.

Finally there is a single screw holding the drive to its mounting frame.

You can now take the hard drive out if you wish for modification or replacement if this was your goal. Note however that the drive's jumper is in "cable select" mode.

Other Linkstation specific links that might interest you

Last modified on March 23, 2008 by James Stewart who considers it in the public domain