12-10-2010, 11:37 PM
I tried to summarize with "the short of it". Guess I didn't accomplish that.
I installed the internal OEM HDD and brought it up to 10.6.5 - no issues. I was also able to access the "crashed" internal HDD via FW800 enclosure on my MacBook Pro. Not sure what specifically rendered the HDD unbootable, but the files were still good. Since that worked on the MBP, I decided to try mounting it on the Mini. It worked and I used Migration Assistant to return it to pretty much where it was before the issues.
The Acomdata took longer. I powered it up and down maybe 10 times after work with same blinking light errors - no joy. Tried powering up with no connection to the Mini and while connected to the Mini. Decided to hook it to the Mini via USB too. That time it didn't mount but the platter spun up and no blinking light. Tried the USB connection to the MBP and it spun up but was unreadable, but no blinking light. Tried the FW800 connection to the MBP and it spun up and was readable. Wasted no time and copied as much as possible to the MBP and recovered the important VM's, software images and family photos/video.
When I had only 60GB of the 320GB MBP disk left, I stopped - didn't want to run out of HDD for paging and sleep images. I left the Acomdata powered up, ejected the volume and then plugged it into the Mini - works fine now. Very odd. I'm guessing the external drive is tanking in addition to the Mini's internal drive.
Moral(s) of the story...
-RAID 1 is better than a desktop caliber HDD in a fanless enclosure.
-DVD backups are probably in my future for important stuff
-Keep your original storage media. The $40 you'd get selling is far less than it's worth to you when you need a known working drive ready to drop in at 10:30 PM
-Hardware behaves differently even on the same manufacturers platform so experiment...