if I decide on a docking station would I still be able to use the orginal 515 HDD inside the DS?
Yes, as long as the docking station supports 3.5" sata hdd's.
The warranty sticker is on the back with all the inputs and outputs between the black cover and gray case. I tried to delicately peel it back but it leaves a "void" on the cover. I've never tried heating it up though.
The connector that attaches to the hdd inside the case is taped to a small circuit board and will need to be cut.?are you just cutting the adhesive and not the wire correct?
I just cut the black adhesive tape that holds the hdd connector to a small circuit board. It made it easier to work with. There are no electrical wires that need to be cut.
I think to simplifile the upgrade I would prefer a external HDD w/ it's own power supply. besides simplifing wound'nt this also put less strain on the 515 PS?
Yes, it would but the 515 power supply is already designed to handle the power of the hdd. For me, one less power cord in the tangle of cords is a plus, it frees up a spot on the surge protector and you save on your electric bill (however miniscule that may be).
I followed the guide written by scottypa
even though it's for a mag 2160. He used different connectors and cables but the idea is the same. After I modified my 515, I started to write a quick quide but I kept getting sidetracked. Here's a link
that TRIES to explain the different sata's (2nd from the bottom). The connector inside the 515 that attaches to the hdd is a FEMALE sata. So if you decide to use an Esata hdd enclosure, make sure the cable inside the 515 is a 7 pin (Data only) MALE Sata cable and the one to the enclosure is the appropriate (Male or Female) Esata connector. The amazon sata-esata cable you linked to should work on the inside of the 515. The esata side depends on your enclosure.
The hardest part is securing the cable inside the case because the connector that attaches to the hdd is not rigidly attached to anything. The hdd was holding it in place. Scottypa has his cable taped to the bracket that holds the hdd (the first photo), which could be sufficient if your using a docking station that doesn't get moved around. But for my hdd enclosures, the cable constantly gets moved so it had to be securely fastened.
I have no experience with the DVR type hdd's. I would check first if you can replace the hdd inside if you ever needed to. I used the 2.5 (AV-25) version of the 3.5 Western Digital AV-GP hdd that the 515 came with. It is designed for 24x7 video streaming, stays cool in my enclosures without any fans and uses about ¼ the power of the 3.5. I'd rather spend a little extra to get a better product than cut corners.
I recommend that when you're ready to modify the 515, you open it up and verify what you need to do BEFORE you buy any parts for it. Also, an extra pair of hands can be helpful to hold some of the parts while you're tinkering inside the 515.