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Replacing Inspiron 1545 HD. Inspiron fights back.

Hi. The original 250gb hard drive in my daughter's Inspiron 1545 (a refurb she bought with her own money) started developing bad sectors. I got her a replacement (500 gb this time) and swapped the old drive out. Booted to BIOS setup area. No drive recognized. Replaced old drive, there it is.

The old drive is 12.5mm thick whereas the new one is thinner, 9.5 mm. After swapping back and forth several times I began to think it didn't feel like the new one was actually engaging the internal SATA connector. So I temporarily slid the new drive in without the tray and bezel until I thought I felt a positive engagement, then supported it in the drive bay with a few folds of the anti-static bag it came in, laid the laptop down flat, and booted. Voila, 500gb HD recognized.

But I haven't been able to get the SATA connectors to engage with the new drive properly mounted in its caddy tray with the bezel attached. The best I can do is slide the tray in place unattached to anything and with some (lots of) trial and error get the mounting screws through through the holes in the laptop case, through the holes in the tray, and securely in the holes in the drive. (Luckily these are the only ones that have threads.) That secures the drive and the tray, but the bezel is just pressed into place for looks and held there by gravity, friction, and hope. A working fix but an ugly one. All it needs is some duct tape and bubble gum.

Q: Has anyone had this experience when replacing a 12.5mm-thick drive with a 9.5mm one? Did you figure out a way to get the SATA connectors connected WITH the tray caddy and bezel properly mounted? Or is there an appropriate 9.5mm tray for a 1545 that I should have purchased along with the bare drive? Or what?

Any advice, experience, or war stories welcome. Thanks very much -- Jim

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