Help, I need a Caddy!

by Alex Kuretz on November 14, 2012 · 4 comments

in Guides

The following is a guest article written by forum member Dan “Nomad” Muzenjak. Thank you, Dan, for sharing your hard work with us.

The HP Media Vault Gen2 and MediaSmart Server were originally released by HP back in 2007. Since then HP upgraded them with different hardware and software, put in larger drives, different firmware but one thing remained the same, the hard drive caddy. This proprietary little piece of plastic has been the scourge of many trying to repair a stripped unit, or one just picked up from an auction that is missing the caddies.

The caddy (HP part no. 5070-3836) for the most part is not built very well and is easily broken. This key part it is nearly impossible to find new or used. You can find them on eBay from time to time but usually sell for ridiculous money and don’t come up on auction very often. Forget trying to get one from HP, that’s a dead end as well. If you are lucky enough to find one on the internet they are usually already broken or just the wrong part. I just had a friend that ordered one from Europe, after a few weeks it arrived and was the wrong caddy. (Always check the pictures if you do find one)

The 5070-3836 caddy was used in the MediaSmart Server, Data Vault and the Gen 2 Media Vault and one other obscure offering. There were some minor differences between the caddies (such as locking tab color) but for the most part they are all interchangeable between platforms.

Enough history, what’s the solution!
OK, since can’t get the real thing how about a substitute? This really was easier than I thought and just took a little thinking outside the box. The big issue with the caddy is fitting into the case properly and to provide the proper pin alignment on the SATA drive connector. The electrical connection must also be reliable.

Little did I know the solution would be a caddy used in another HP product. The HP Workstation XW6000, 8000 and 9000 series used a drive caddy (part no. 406006-001).
The mounting and side rail of the replacement caddy is very close to the originals. Best of all these XW caddies are readily available and cheap!

The XW caddies came in 2 flavors, plastic/metal combination and all plastic. The one I used in this article was from an XW8200 and is a plastic metal combo. I prefer the metal over plastic caddy because the metal is a little thinner and provides a little more clearance between the bottom of the drive and caddy . This allows slightly better air flow and makes it easier to slide the caddy/HDD into the server.

These XW caddies hold the hard drive much like the original caddies, carefully pull the side away and slide the drive into the retaining pins. But before we install the drive into the new caddy some small modifications are required depending on the platform.

Since the tabs on the new caddy are a bit long they will hit the units cover preventing it from closing. The solution is easy, simply trim the excess length or using a heat gun carefully bend the tabs back.

I will break this down into 2 sections, one for the Media Vault and the other for the MediaSmart Server/Data Vault.

Media Vault Mod: I wanted to have a convenient way to remove the drive so I decided to bend the tabs back. Using a heat gun carefully heat up the end of the caddy. Then bend the tabs toward the center. This will allow the cover to clear the tabs and give you and easy way to insert/remove the drive. You could easily just cut of the excess length but it makes it much more difficult to remove the drive.

MediaSmart Server: First let me mention that the internal rail support system is a little different than the one used in the Media Vault, as a result additional modifications are required. The other downside is that the drives do not slide in as nice as they do in the Media Vault. The original caddy has some metal tabs on the front bottom side of the caddy. Because of this the caddy gets lifted a little bit helping in the alignment of the rear SATA connector: When installing a drive into the MSS extra care is required (and slight upward pressure) to get the drive to seat properly. This is easy to do, slide the drive in, using the green tabs apply some force so to lift the rear of the drive, the connector will mate and the drive will seat. If your MSS is not connected simply lay it on its back panel and install the drives vertically, they will drop right in. Another solution is to put a small drop of epoxy on the lowest point on the bottom of the rail. I experimented with this and was able to slide the drive right in without any effort.

To use the caddy in the MSS you will need to grind off some material of the top and bottoms of the front of the rail. This allows the caddy to clear some metal work inside the chassis. See the picture. We will need to bend the tabs over to allow clearance for the door to close properly. Use a heat gun to accomplish this. Note: if you have both a MV and MSS if you do the MSS mod you can still use the caddy in the MV.

Some would point out this solution lacks the locking mechanism of the original caddy and yes you are right. I have experimented with the replacement caddy in 6 different media vaults and 2 different MediaSmart servers. For the Media Vault this new caddy fits snuggly and really doesn’t need the locking mechanism. It easily slides and lines up perfectly without any effort by the user. The snugness is not as good in the MSS. As I mentioned earlier the MSS has a slightly different internal design the additional play allows more side to side movement so the drive relies on the connector to hold it in place.

Just remember, no locking tabs!!! Don’t walk around with your MV or MSS with the front access door open!!

Where can I find the XW Caddies?
The XW caddies are literally everywhere and cheap. I purchased 4 of them a few weeks back for $15.00 including shipping on eBay. That’s under $4 bucks apiece.
Simply search on “XW8200 Caddy”, you could search on HP 406006-001, XW6400 XW8400, XW9300, or XW9400 HD Mounting Caddy/Tray.

Summing it up:
No doubt if I could choose between the original caddy and this modified replacement I would go with the originals. But if the originals were available and at a decent price we wouldn’t be talking about it.

The XW replacements are reasonable alternatives to the original and while the are not perfect they do work and will allow you to use your platform.

My thanks to those who take the time to share their work making these solutions possible for all.

Article by

I'm Alex Kuretz, and I'm the founder of I was the Lead Test and Integration Engineer at HP for the MediaSmart Server until April 2008 when I moved on to other opportunities outside HP. I've kept active in the Windows Home Server community, creating several add-ins and helping users make the most of their Home Servers.


JohnBick November 18, 2012 at 7:30 pm

Nice…. Thanks!

JohnBick November 21, 2012 at 9:43 pm

I just cannot resist — been thinking about saying this since I first saw the articel but had refrained…


Comp1962 November 26, 2012 at 2:42 am

I have never personally broken any of my caddies but I have been known to swear at those small grounding clips at the bottom of them. Another alternative for a caddy is what erail modified for his MSS Port Multiplier

Michael March 19, 2013 at 6:13 pm

Thank you for the article. I’m from germany and looking for these trays…

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