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External Hard Drive Self-Repair


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#1
Jdub992

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Ok, so i know it is risky to even open up a hard drive and attempt to repair it your self but i tend to be a risk taker, especially when the cost for data recovery is through the roof and i dont even think my drive is what is broken. I opened my drive, plugged it in and what most call the click of death ( normally an issue with the Head coming off line) appeared to be of completely different, invisible origin. The platters themselves werent even spinning and my head did not budge a nanometer yet the drive still clicked away. This makes me think it is a problem with the board or the connections, not actually a problem with the tricky-to-fix components of the drive. Now that I have seen the true state of the drive, i dont want to screw with the head or platters much at all. For this reason i am writing to see what the best next step would be. Can you buy replacement boards? Is there some connection I should find and check? I would appreciate any reply concerning this matter.
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#2
PedroDaGR8

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Check ebay. You need to find an EXACT replacement for your board. It is pretty hard, you often need to use date codes, not just model number, to make sure they match.

Edited by PedroDaGR8, 29 May 2009 - 04:36 PM.

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#3
Jdub992

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The more I think about it, how logical is it that both of my boards failed at the exact same time as each other?

What could have caused this, is it possible that it is a problem with the Iomega board ( the board that gives power to and transfers data from the hard drives) or something...

Is this a common issue with harddrives, it seems like i just need to reset them or something... a noise, coming from under the arm magnet/motor just keeps clicking away like it keeps trying to start up...
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#4
rshaffer61

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When you took the drive apart and started it what did you plug into the drive to start it?
Being that you had the drive apart I would believe that the only thing connected to the drive would be the power connector if I'm not mistaken. That being the case then the MOBO has nothing to do with the HD making noise.
I wouldn't understand why you would hook the ribbon up to the drive if it was opened up as transferring data at that point would not be an option but to only test the drive for the noise.
The ticking sound you are hearing is probably the armature gear skipping under the platter. The drive is most likely dead and short of a professional data recovery company I do not believe there is any way to get the information off of it.
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#5
Digerati

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Drives have controller cards on them - with firmware for that drive. These boards can be replaced, BUT the board has to be an exact replacement. The problem is, Western Digital, just as an example, may make the same drive, same model number - but in two factories - one in China, one in Taiwan - one using revision A board the other revision B. If you order two of the same model drives from Newegg a week apart, you may get two different revisions.

The bigger concern I would have now is contamination since you opened the drive. A speck of dust may do you in. You said the platters were not spinning - how do you know the drive motor's bearings had not seized?
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#6
Jdub992

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I don't know that they haven't siezed and i dont neccesarily know what that means other than the obvious by definition. Here are the facts.


I have been backing up my dvd collection onto my 1T hard drive ( a task that has so far taken 4 months).

Three days ago I was transferring movies from my computer to my drive. It transferred many files but then got to one and showed Error 36. The drive remained mounted and i tried to send other files instead of the one it stopped on. All these files also resulted in error 36 after having transferred all but the last 2 or 3%. when i realized it was all of the files i ejected the drive, shut it down and let it sit. I also reset the PMU on my mac. I go to plug the drive back in after a few hours and it wont mount. In fact i dont even think the fan was turning but the led light did. No matter what i did the drive would simply not be read by my mac or my other mac. This seemed to tell me that it was a problem with the drive and not the connection to the computer ( i tried a different usb cord). none of this worked so i opened the case of the external hard drive to check for loose connections. There were none but it was then that i started to hear the very faint clicking. I researched what it meant for a hard drive to be clicked and immediatly called media recovery companies. The one with the flat rate said it would be 1000 per drive plus any parts needed and the one with an hourly/labor rate said it would start at 600 dollars. Though i loved my digital movie collection my time, sadly, is not worth the 2000+ it would cost to recover the media. I let my drive sit for a few hours then realized i could either fix it or it was going into the trash. Partly curiousity and partly stick-to-it-edness led me to open up the drive casings and try to determine the origin of the clicking which was not what everyone told me it was. Seeing this made me a little more hopeful and a little more dedicated so i turned to the forums to find an answer.

What does it mean if the bearings siezed?

Why did they both stop ( 1 TB RAID0 system with 2 500 gb seagate barracudas) at the exact same time?

How can I fix it if it is even possible. I have looked for replacement boards but it doesnt seem like there is anything compatible for sale. Though i havent checked new egg.
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#7
Digerati

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When motor bearings seize, that means they stop turning, and motor binds and stops turning. I don't why they stopped at the same time. And yes, data recovery can be very expensive.
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