D-Link Network Storage > DNS-343

Looked DOA but wasn't - installation experiences and observations


Just got my DNS-343 and have some observations:

1)  Installed per instructions but POWER button did not turn on unit.  Green light on power block.  DC In seemed firmly seated.  Then noticed 1/8 " gap between DC plug and back of unit.  VERY firm push closed gap and POWER button then worked. See 6) below.

2) Firmware is version 1.01. ADVANCED RAID CONFIGURATION PAGE allows selection of EXT 2 or EXT 3 format.  Wonder why my DNS-323 with firmware 1.05 does not offer EXT 3 Format.

3) Check Seagate drives to ensure that jumper is removed to get full drive speed of 3 Gbps.  As shipped, jumper limits speed to 1.5 Gbps.

Added 6/29
4) When I installed the 343, I slid in a Seagate 500 GB hard drive until the 2 1TB drives arrive.  I started wondering if the EXT 3 formatted drive would be recognized in my 323, so I powered off and unplugged the 343. Flipped the lever to eject the drive in Bay 1 (top).  Drive slid easily forward about one and a half inches then further forward movement was blocked.   I could not find any obstruction preventing removal.   After trying to extract the drive for quite a while I decided that it was impossible to remove the drive without some disassembly.  I removed the 14 small screws that hold the front frame to the unit.  This gave better access but still an obstruction prevented removal of the drive.  The fit on the top drive is close and I decided the cause of the obstruction was most likely the metal strips with bent spring tabs between the top of the drive the case.  I cut two strips from a cereal box about two inches wide.  I used cardboard to prevent scratching the drive top.  With the drive back in the locked position I was able to work the cardboard strips between each of the metal strips and the drive top.  Flipped the lever and the drive pulled out easily.   Total time to remove stuck drive in bay 1 was a little over three hours.  Next time I should be able to do it in under 15 minutes. See 10) below.

The height of removed Seagate drive and other dimemsions are identical to several other Seagate drive models that I compared to it.  I will not be inserting any more drives in the 343 until my 1TB drives arrive.  Note that the firmware insists that the first drive go in the top bay.   

5) I spent hours staring into my 343 and have the following observations.
    a) The case top, bottom, and sides are one piece molded metal or extrusion.  Should a drive become stuck in bays 1, 3, or 4 then one or two of the five screws holding the mainboard to the case are blocked.    To remove the struck drive you have to either get by the obstruction or get a saw.  Just kidding about the saw that might void the warranty.   Of course, removing the 14 screws probably voids it too if you can't get the cardboard strips in without removing the front frame.  Never tried it that way.
    b) In a 323 the drives are mounted on edge.  Both drive have very good airflow over their tops and bottoms.  In the 343 the drives are mounted horizontally.  Drives 2 and 3 have good airflow over their tops and bottoms.  Drive 1 has good airflow over the bottom and none over the top.  Drive 4 has good airflow over the top and none under the bottom.  I believe that the 323 drive mounting should have been used on the 343.  Because, if Drive 1 fails it will have to be removed and well see number 4) above.

Added 7/2
6) DC plug went in easily this time.

7) My two Seagate 1TB drives arrived today.  Examined inside of 343 to be sure everything OK and it was. The two metal strips in Bay 1 looked and felt OK.  Did not do any bending as that would probably make things worse. Removed 1.5 Gbps jumpers from both Seagate drives.  Drives slid in easily.  Tried to eject drive in top bay and it could not be removed.  Again blocked about inch and half from locked position.   Without removing front frame, slide in cardboard strips, working them between metal strips and drive top.  Pulling out drive and strips together allowed the drive to slide out of 343.  Was able to remove drive in Bay 1 in less than a minute.

8. With two Seagate 1 TB drives installed, began format process from IE 7 browser.  Selected RAID 1 EXT 3 format.  Format stopped at 94% according to OLED display.  Waited half an hour but % did not change. Switched to FireFox 3.0 and selected RAID 1 EXT 3 format.  Format completed successfully. Remember that Bay 1 previously had a 500 GB drive installed.  The two new 1 TB drives were unformatted.  Got the idea to try a different browser from a thread in the 323 forum.

9) Inserted Seagate 500 GB drives in Bays 3 and 4 then began format process from IE 7 browser.  Selected RAID 1 EXT 3 format. Format completed successfully.

Added 7/3
10) Removed Seagate drive in top bay with cardboard strips.  Inserted Western Digital WD704 drive in Bay 1.  Removed and inserted drive a few times without any problems.  Inserted Seagate drive back in top bay.  On first try, drive ejected easily.  Removed and inserted drive several times without any problems. Insertion of WD740 must have bent the spring tabs so they did not interfere with removal of Seagate drive.

Added 7/4
11)  My 323 Firmware 1.05 has two Seagate 500GB EXT 2  RAID 1 drives and my 343  Firmware 1.01 has two Seagate 1TB EXT 3 RAID 1 drives and two Seagate 500GB EXT3 RAID 1 drives.

Copied all of the data from the 323 to both volumes of 343.  Temperature in 323 stabilized at 109 F/ 43 C and in 343 111 F / 44 C.  According to XP Pro Task Manager  Link was 100 Mbps, Network Utilization 99%, Bytes sent per interval (Normal Update Speed) 13,409,000 Received 13,404,000. After copy:

323 Drive Info (EXT 2)
Volume Name:  Volume_1
Total Hard Drive Capacity:  490402 MB
Used Space:  192464 MB
Unused Space:  297937 MB

343 Drive Info (EXT 3)
Volume Name:    Volume_1
Total Hard Drive Capacity:  981858 MB
Used Space:  192498 MB
Unused Space:  789360 MB

Volume Name:    Volume_2
Total Hard Drive Capacity:  489326 MB
Used Space:  192498 MB
Unused Space:  296828 MB

12) Removed all the drives from the 343 and inserted one drive from the 323 into Bay 1 of the 343.  Rebooted 343 and was able to access all the files.

Put one of the Seagate 1TB EXT 3 drives from 343 in Bay 1 of the 323. When I rebooted and went to the 323's webpage it said:

   Backup your files before proceeding!

   To stabilize operation, please login and select TOOLS ---> RAID to reformat your device with an EXT2 file system.

13) Put back one EXT 2 drive in 323 and rebooted.  Status page on 323 now said:

Total Drive(s):  0
Volume Name:  Volume_1
Volume Type:  RAID 1
Sync Time Remaining:  Degraded
Total Hard Drive Capacity:  490402 MB
Used Space:  192464 MB
Unused Space:  297937 MB

Looks like 323 has trouble counting drives sometimes.

Added 7/5
14) Simulated a drive failure in the 343 by shutting down and removing the drive in Bay 2.  On reboot Status page showed "Sync Time Remaining:  Degraded".  Nothing on the page indicates what that means and what should be done to correct the problem. 

Suggestion: When a RAID is degraded show the meaning and what should be done to correct the problem in the Support column of the Status page.

At this point the 343 with its OLED display provides less information than a 323 with its LEDs.  The 323 always displays the current drive status with its LEDs, while a 343's screensaver flashes "D-Link" hiding any problem indication.

Suggestion: When a RAID is degraded or Syncing, change the screensaver to display "RAID Degraded - Replace Drive x  with unpartitioned drive" where "x" is drive number or "RAID Syncing".

15) At this point I had Degraded RAIDs in both the 323 and 343.   http://support.dlink.com/faq/view.asp?prod_id=2797&question=DNS-323 explains that "The new drive must be blank with no partition on the drive."  No tool is provided to create such a drive.

I put the 343's drive in a USB case and deleted the partitions on an computer running XP Pro.   Put the 323's  drive in a USB case and deleted the partitions on an computer running Vista.   

When its blank drive was inserted in the 343 it rebuilt the RAID.  When its blank drive was inserted in the 323 it rebuilt the RAID but also created a 1GB JBOD.  Used the Tools - RAID page to Set RAID Type and Re-Format.  When completed RAID 1 was full size. Copied all of the data from the 343 to the 323.  Temperature in 323 stabilized at 113 F / 45 C and in 343 102 F / 39 C. 

Suggestion: Provide a tool to create a blank drive with no partition on the drive.

16) While formatting a drive on the 343, if another browser is started to the 343 webpage then the second browser displays a "HARD DRIVE CONFIGURATION" page where you can "change the hard drive configuration or format the newly inserted drive."  This page gives no indication that a format is in progress. 

Suggestion: While a format is in progress, display that information to anyone opening a webpage for the 343. Do not let anyone start a new format or shut-down the 343 while a format is in progress.  Change the 343's screensaver to display "Formatting".

This is a wonderfull Post. I thank you very much for this information, I will look further into these design flaws and see what can be done in the future to remedy them,.


--- Quote from: MasterChiefDutra on June 30, 2008, 12:26:45 PM ---. . . I will look further into these design flaws and see what can be done in the future to remedy them,.

--- End quote ---

The airflow and mounting problems that I mentioned are the result of compromises made to accommodate the OLED display.  My guess is that marketing insisted that adding a sexy OLED display would improve sales.  If you lose the OLED display then you can:
1)  Without changing the case dimensions,  add half of the height of the display above Drive 1 and below Drive 4.  That gives good airflow to all drives, increasing the expected life of both Drives 1 and 4. 

2) Rest the unit on its side, making it more stable and allowing the 323 drive mounting technique to be used. 
3) Reduce the unit cost by the cost of the OLED display and associated circuitry.
4) Reduce the firmware size, making more memory available for buffering.
My recommendation is lose the OLED display and you can improve the 343 in meaningful ways. For me the 323 lights are all that I need.

Thank you again for your input.. I will pass the work along.

Another thing I've noticed, is that unlike most other D-link products, every time you log in to the configuration page, it puts you in the Setup Wizard, vs. the Status page like most other D-link routers, etc.

I'd change the landing page when logging in after the initial setup has been completed.

Just a pet peeve.



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