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Last post Author Topic: Hard Drive electrical failure... trash it?  (Read 14231 times)

Armando

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Hard Drive electrical failure... trash it?
« on: September 04, 2008, 06:49:37 PM »
When I came back from my holidays, I plugged in my external drive. It briefly lit up, then stopped. I thought it was the enclosure, so I bought a SATA/IDE to USB adapter, and... It's dead. Yup. Nothing happens.

So it really seems like something burned in the hardrive external circuits... It smells, well, funny.

Now what? Should I try to bring it back to the store for "recovery"? It's only a backup drive, but I fear there might be something important on it that I forgot about and in a year I'll go : ooooooh noooooo!!!!! It'd be very very surprising though as I'm pretty well organized. It also might be very expensive to recover the data...

I could always keep it in a drawer, just in case...

Anybody with similar experience?

mouser

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Re: Hard Drive electrical failure... trash it?
« Reply #1 on: September 04, 2008, 06:52:32 PM »
Quote
I could always keep it in a drawer, just in case...

that's what i'd do.

Edvard

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Re: Hard Drive electrical failure... trash it?
« Reply #2 on: September 04, 2008, 07:09:58 PM »
 ;D ;D ;D
Guilty as charged...

i have a whole shelf full "I think it's dead, Jim" drives, thinking that one day I'm going to be in need of a backup drive and I'll plug one of them in and it will miraculously spring to life.
Guess what?
It never happens

So stick it in a drawer with a dated post-it stuck on the top and if you pass a year without any regrets, chuck it.

Armando

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Re: Hard Drive electrical failure... trash it?
« Reply #3 on: September 04, 2008, 07:27:06 PM »
Thanks Edvard and mouser. I think I'll do the drawer + sticker thing. Chances are, I'll trash it in 2009 at some point.

PS : An update : the brand new SATA/IDE to USB adapter started to smell funny too... and its AC adapter became VERY VERY hot.  :mad:  Hopefully it's not when I plugged this SATA/IDE to USB adapter on my HD that I burnt it.  I plugged another adapter in the same wall socket. Everything seems fine. So have I been unlucky and bought a faulty SATA/IDE to USB adapter too???  To be followed. :(

Edvard

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Re: Hard Drive electrical failure... trash it?
« Reply #4 on: September 05, 2008, 10:59:53 AM »
uh-oh.

Hot adapter means a short. Bad.
Does it get hot when nothing's plugged in? (adapter plugged into wall, nothing plugged into adapter)
Do you have a voltmeter to check what power it's putting out?

In any case, I wouldn't plug anything into it until you get a new one.

f0dder

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Re: Hard Drive electrical failure... trash it?
« Reply #5 on: September 05, 2008, 05:10:49 PM »
If you're hardcore, you can exchange drive circuit boards if you can find an identical match... people have done that with the quantum fireball disks and others.
- carpe noctem

steeladept

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Re: Hard Drive electrical failure... trash it?
« Reply #6 on: September 05, 2008, 05:30:24 PM »
If you're hardcore, you can exchange drive circuit boards if you can find an identical match... people have done that with the quantum fireball disks and others.
I have successfully done that at work, but usually it is not worth the effort unless you *know* there is something you need off it and don't have a backup.  My usual method?  Dismantle it and keep the magnets.  They are ultra strong and can be useful in a steel company (that is where I work :P).  Platters get scratched w/ sandpaper, then the rest it all gets trashed.  (The sandpaper is an insurance measure, just in case).  Lastly we recycle it in the blast furnaces I believe, but am not sure.  Even if it has little/no steel in it, it goes in and then just comes out as so much slag.  Either way, you aint get'n thar data.... :Thmbsup:
« Last Edit: September 05, 2008, 05:33:25 PM by steeladept »

4wd

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Re: Hard Drive electrical failure... trash it?
« Reply #7 on: September 05, 2008, 08:58:26 PM »
If you're hardcore, you can exchange drive circuit boards if you can find an identical match... people have done that with the quantum fireball disks and others.

Actually, it might be even simpler than that.

I've had faults where it's just the protection diode has either shorted or gone open and it's just a matter of removing it or bypassing it.

Given that there are indications it's a short, isolating the protection diode might bring it to life long enough to transfer any data off of it.

Any chance of a high-res pic of the HDD pcb?

Who knows, maybe one of us has an identical HDD lying around we can send you the pcb off of.
« Last Edit: September 05, 2008, 09:00:58 PM by 4wd »

Armando

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Re: Hard Drive electrical failure... trash it?
« Reply #8 on: September 06, 2008, 12:47:32 PM »
Hi guys. Thanks for your suggestions.

Before doing anything, I will eliminate all variables. There's a short, that's for sure, but where... I followed 4wd's suggestion, and I believe there's something weird on the hard drive... What do you think?

IMG_2700-zoom-comp.jpg

I have a question --> Could a hard drive's bad circuit board (ie : short circuit) burn an external AC adapter ?

What I also have to find out is if 

1- the problem is ONLY with the hard drive,
2- or if I've been unlucky and either or both my enclosure and brand new sata to USB converter went bad and one (or the other) destroyed my hard drive at some point. It's possible, isn't it?
3- and/or my enclosure destroyed my hard drive, and then my hard drive destroyed my STA to USB converter...

of course, I'm afraid to exchange my burnt SATA to USB converter  and burn the new one too -- could a bad drive really do that???

Now what...  :)

I could follow 4wd's suggestion and bypass the diode... Is the diode what I "circled" in the picture?
« Last Edit: September 06, 2008, 12:53:07 PM by Armando »

Armando

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Re: Hard Drive electrical failure... trash it?
« Reply #9 on: September 06, 2008, 12:52:13 PM »
Edited my last post for much improved clarity -- not that it's now limpid, but...

Shades

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Re: Hard Drive electrical failure... trash it?
« Reply #10 on: September 06, 2008, 04:14:08 PM »
if you trace the connection from the circled piece back to the big black connector on top you will see that some of these tracks (at the line of holes) have directed a lot of current to the component that is burnt to a crisp. Those holes are discolored (there is a group of three and next to the group is another one)..

This isn't a good thing, because these holes usually mean that the board has more than one layer of circuitry. So it will be hard to tell if and which other component(s) have been damaged as well.

Buying replacement(s) for the damaged component(s) will not be your biggest problem (price wise). However, the labor from the technician is, given the replacement value of a SATA harddisk.   


Armando

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Re: Hard Drive electrical failure... trash it?
« Reply #11 on: September 06, 2008, 06:36:23 PM »
Thanks for your diagnosis, Shades. Now I wonder:what did that...  a faulty enclosure ? the Sata-USB adapter ??? How can I prevent further damage to any other equipment that I'll have to buy/replace ?

Gothi[c]

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Re: Hard Drive electrical failure... trash it?
« Reply #12 on: September 06, 2008, 06:45:51 PM »
You're so lucky, you have visual damage!
Even though it's unlikely that that little smd there is the only damaged part, it's worth spending the $1 on replacing the smd part. If it works you just fixed your hard drive for $1 and 5 minutes of soldering in a new smd part :)

If you don't know how, here's a video tutorial ;)
http://www.youtube.c.../watch?v=kAADFKkmqUg
« Last Edit: September 06, 2008, 06:48:12 PM by Gothi[c] »

Armando

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Re: Hard Drive electrical failure... trash it?
« Reply #13 on: September 06, 2008, 06:54:57 PM »
Thanks Gothi[c]. Unfortunately, I'm afraid it would take me much much longer than 5 minutes, as I'd have to search for the burnt part, then maybe buy another (more precise) soldering iron, and finally make the operation a success...  :-[ I've done similar stuff before on a previous laptop motherboard, but it was a bigger connection (AC input).
I'll think about it.
I'm afraid of loosing more time and money on this, so in the end I might just buy a new cheap external HD at future shop... I don't know what I'll do with my current empty enclosure as I don't know how find out it it's guilty or not.

cranioscopical

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Re: Hard Drive electrical failure... trash it?
« Reply #14 on: September 06, 2008, 07:39:12 PM »
Quote from: Armando
I'm afraid of loosing more time and money on this, so in the end I might just buy a new cheap external HD at future shop... I don't know what I'll do with my current empty enclosure as I don't know how find out it it's guilty or not.
Time's money.
Play safe and dump it.
Or, set it aside until such time as you have both the opportunity and inclination to try again (which will probably resolve into never).
Sorry you're having grief, but a short, sharp pain in the wallet is often better than a lengthy and uncertain course of treatment.
Mind you, I certainly admire those with the skill and persistence to do Gothi[c]-type surgery on on the guts of such pieces of esoterica as routers.  :o

Shades

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Re: Hard Drive electrical failure... trash it?
« Reply #15 on: September 06, 2008, 09:00:08 PM »
When I was the happy owner of such a similar device, I noted the inscriptions on the power supply. It needed to deliver 12 Volt and 1 Amp for the harddisk (3,5 inch). After an hour my power supply was also hot as hell.

My power supply broke because of too harsh conditions...in summer the ambient temperature rises easily to 45 degrees Celcius. If I ever going to buy such a device again, it will be a small one that uses a notebook harddisk, which requires no more power than what is coming out of an USB port.


cranioscopical

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Re: Hard Drive electrical failure... trash it?
« Reply #16 on: September 06, 2008, 09:47:47 PM »
in summer the ambient temperature rises easily to 45 degrees Celcius
That's a bit too hot for me! Humid as well?

Armando

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Re: Hard Drive electrical failure... trash it?
« Reply #17 on: September 06, 2008, 10:14:33 PM »
When I was the happy owner of such a similar device, I noted the inscriptions on the power supply. It needed to deliver 12 Volt and 1 Amp for the harddisk (3,5 inch). After an hour my power supply was also hot as hell.

That is exactly it. But not getting as hot... Here, it's not 45 celcius though...  :)

cranioscopical  : thanks for your advice. That's what I'll end up doing. The only thing I have to figure out now is if I'll trash the enclosure too... Maybe. Unless there's some way to safely test it.

Shades

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Re: Hard Drive electrical failure... trash it?
« Reply #18 on: September 06, 2008, 10:23:03 PM »
Mostly not, but you notice it immediately if rain is the neighborhood... :tellme:

Once I spend a two week holiday in the Domenican Republic during their rain season. Ideal!  :Thmbsup:
Why? Because it was the whole day excellent weather and between 19:00 and 20:00 it would rain. You could set your watch on that...amazing. So all people went out eating during that time to have a good 'base' before partying all night  ;)

It is one of the pearls of the Carribean and I can recommend the southern and eastern part for the beautiful beaches, sea, food and Latinas (any combination is allowed  ;))

4wd

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Re: Hard Drive electrical failure... trash it?
« Reply #19 on: September 07, 2008, 04:22:06 AM »
I have a question --> Could a hard drive's bad circuit board (ie : short circuit) burn an external AC adapter ?

That depends, any decent external switchmode adapter will shut itself down when it sees a short.  However, with the cheap PSUs they generally supply with external cases anything could happen.

Quote
What I also have to find out is if 

1- the problem is ONLY with the hard drive,

Follow what I say below regarding removing/identifying the component and then plug it into a decent ATX PSU - you don't need anything else plugged in.  You can start the PSU by shorting the green wire in the ATX motherboard connector to any black wire, (ie. signal /PS_ON to GND, ATX pinout).  Then just let it run for a few hours by itself - all ATX PSUs will shut off if they see a short.  If the PSU is still running at the end, then all that remains is to see if you can get data off of the HDD.

Quote
2- or if I've been unlucky and either or both my enclosure and brand new sata to USB converter went bad and one (or the other) destroyed my hard drive at some point. It's possible, isn't it?

More likely, the adapter that came with the enclosure.

Quote
3- and/or my enclosure destroyed my hard drive, and then my hard drive destroyed my STA to USB converter...

of course, I'm afraid to exchange my burnt SATA to USB converter  and burn the new one too -- could a bad drive really do that???

Used HDDs are cheap, (very cheap), grab one from a PC repair place.  AU$5 for a used 40GB SATA HDD is about the going rate here.  You can use it to test the converter first then the external enclosure.  Use a known working ATX PSU or adapter before you even think of testing using the adapters that came with the converter/external case.

Quote
I could follow 4wd's suggestion and bypass the diode... Is the diode what I "circled" in the picture?

First you need to ascertain whether the component is in fact a diode.

Do this by removing the component, any soldering iron with about a 2-3mm spade bit will do.

Then grab your multimeter, set it to resistance scale, put one probe on the (ex)diode pad on the right then check for a short to some of the pins on the SATA power connector.  The pad on the left already goes to what is +5V on the SATA power connector, (SATA power), the pad on the right should go to GND.

If you get a short from the right pad to some of the power connector pins that correspond to GND then it's 99.9% probable it was a protection diode, (it's there to protect against the power being reversed).

Check once more to make sure there is no short between the left and right diode pad.

You should be able to plug the drive into a PSU and retrieve data off of it - I recommend you plug it into a spare connector of a real ATX PSU.  They are far better than the cheap adapters supplied with external cases.

There's no problem running the drive like this, my mate has run one this way for a couple of years.

As above, that diode is only there to sacrifice itself if you happen to reverse connect the power.

BTW, which connector was used to supply power when it fried (SATA or 4pin molex) ?
« Last Edit: September 07, 2008, 05:39:31 AM by 4wd »

4wd

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Re: Hard Drive electrical failure... trash it?
« Reply #20 on: September 07, 2008, 05:48:14 AM »
If I ever going to buy such a device again, it will be a small one that uses a notebook harddisk, which requires no more power than what is coming out of an USB port.

Two USB ports actually.

USB ports are rated at 0.5A @ 5V each.  Modern 2.5" hard drives require at least 0.8A @ 5V to spin up.

Always plug in both USB A plugs before you even consider plugging in the external 2.5" drive otherwise you run the risk of blowing the protection on a single USB port, (usually a fusible link).

Mind you, I certainly admire those with the skill and persistence to do Gothi[c]-type surgery on on the guts of such pieces of esoterica as routers.  :o

I choose to repair things, (doesn't matter what it is: electronic; electrical; mechanical; two pieces of wood; anything), because today's throwaway society is just fundamentally wrong.

Or maybe it's because I'm too cheap to pay for a replacement for something that should of damn well worked in the first place :D
« Last Edit: September 07, 2008, 06:12:49 AM by 4wd »

cranioscopical

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Re: Hard Drive electrical failure... trash it?
« Reply #21 on: September 07, 2008, 12:00:43 PM »
I choose to repair things, (doesn't matter what it is: electronic; electrical; mechanical; two pieces of wood; anything), because today's throwaway society is just fundamentally wrong.

Or maybe it's because I'm too cheap to pay for a replace

I, too repair a whole lot of stuff. It's my first response to a failure. I keep a reasonably well-equipped workshop for just that purpose. So I'm with you in principle.
But... there comes a point where the return isn't worth the investment (either of time or of money).
I think that, like all else, it's a matter of balance.
Also, I know my limitations and I'm not prepared to gamble on the success of a repair that's beyond my scope.
Both money and technology play into it that decision as well. When I was starting out in life I repaired everything. I had to. There was no money to do otherwise. Fortunately, I'm not quite so hard pressed today. Also, for example, nobody else ever laid a tool on any car of mine -- but today's auto electronics are simply beyond my ability.

Quote from: Armando
The only thing I have to figure out now is if I'll trash the enclosure too... Maybe. Unless there's some way to safely test it.
My exhortation to walk away was intended to refer to the enclosure, not just the drive.


Edvard

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Re: Hard Drive electrical failure... trash it?
« Reply #22 on: September 08, 2008, 06:08:17 PM »
...
I have a question --> Could a hard drive's bad circuit board (ie : short circuit) burn an external AC adapter ?
Yes. If the adapter gets hot with nothing plugged into it, it is definitely toasted. If not, get a voltmeter and test that it's pumping the juice it should.

[quote}
I could follow 4wd's suggestion and bypass the diode... Is the diode what I "circled" in the picture?
[/quote]
It is most likely a diode.
As far as 4wd's suggestion, it worked for his friend, but I'm not that brave.
Quote
...As above, that diode is only there to sacrifice itself if you happen to reverse connect the power...
That may be true, (I used to do that all the time with stuff I built) but it's not all that diodes do. They also rectify AC voltage and introduce a 0.6V voltage drop (unless it's a zener) and your electronics downstream can sometimes depend on that. I would NEVER bypass a diode, unless I knew exactly what it was there for and could make a solid call that it didn't matter.

If you really want to get your hands dirty and hack this thing, check your adapter first and if it's alright, try soldering in a replacement diode. It's got a high chance of not working, it'll probably involve a magnifying glass and a steady hand, but the experience may well be worth it. I bet you got a spare diode around somewhere, maybe even cannibalize one from a really dead drive.
 8)

Armando

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Re: Hard Drive electrical failure... trash it?
« Reply #23 on: September 08, 2008, 09:24:05 PM »
Hey thanks guys! It's been an informative thread for me. I'll keep all these info for later as I don't have enough time to perform a surgery on a hard drive these days... But I might, eventually, just for the fun of it.

The AC adapter for the SATA-->USB thingy was definitely toasted. Brought it back today. funnily, there were like 30 boxes on the shelf Thursday, and today... NONE! My feeling is that they removed from the shelves because people experienced problems. When I got out of the store with my money back, I felt a bit  stupid for not complaining that their device burnt my drive (which could be what happened). Who knows... I might've got a new one for free?  :)

I don,t know about the enclosure... Does it still work? I'd have to test it with a voltmeter etc. as I don't want to sacrifice another drive. So I'll keep it somewhere with my seemingly dead drive.

Now, I won't know what happened until I perform tests on the hard drive AND the enclosure (and even then...).

One of these scenario likely happened :

1-only the enclosure's ac burnt; the hard drive was still okay, but I killed it with the SATA-->USB adapter; OR
2- the enclosure is/was actually still "okay" (but maybe a bit too generous in terms of volts...),  my hard burnt because of some internal defect, and the hard drive's short burnt the SATA-->USB thingy; OR
3-the enclosure shorted and burnt the hard drive with it, and then... the grilled hard drive's also killed the SATA-->USB adapter. Typical Greek tragedy plot. So this is probably what happened.

Of course, it could also be a ghost in my house, or my own super charisma.


If I ever going to buy such a device again, it will be a small one that uses a notebook harddisk, which requires no more power than what is coming out of an USB port.

Two USB ports actually.

USB ports are rated at 0.5A @ 5V each.  Modern 2.5" hard drives require at least 0.8A @ 5V to spin up.

Always plug in both USB A plugs before you even consider plugging in the external 2.5" drive otherwise you run the risk of blowing the protection on a single USB port, (usually a fusible link).

I didn't know that. I'm always plugging it in only one USB port only as it seems to work... Of course, I now understand a bit more why it could be risky... :-[

So how do you convert these charts (in watt) into volts and amperes ?
« Last Edit: September 08, 2008, 09:25:44 PM by Armando »

4wd

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Re: Hard Drive electrical failure... trash it?
« Reply #24 on: September 09, 2008, 02:28:38 AM »
Yes. If the adapter gets hot with nothing plugged into it, it is definitely toasted. If not, get a voltmeter and test that it's pumping the juice it should.

Switchmode PSUs really require a load in order to regulate correctly - therefore you'll need to plug it into a HDD before you can accurately measure the voltage.

Quote
That may be true, (I used to do that all the time with stuff I built) but it's not all that diodes do. They also rectify AC voltage and introduce a 0.6V voltage drop (unless it's a zener) and your electronics downstream can sometimes depend on that. I would NEVER bypass a diode, unless I knew exactly what it was there for and could make a solid call that it didn't matter.

We are talking about a HDD.

A normal HDD doesn't run on AC, (and one diode is not sufficient to fully rectify it anyway), and a HDD doesn't need a 0.6V voltage drop, which is only relevant for generic silicon diodes - it could be from approx. 0.2-0.7V depending on diode type, (discounting zener diodes).

On a HDD, the diodes connected to the power connector are only there to protect against reverse biased power - it is assumed you are using a fully-functioning, fully-regulated PSU with a correctly wired plug.

Quote
If you really want to get your hands dirty and hack this thing, check your adapter first and if it's alright, try soldering in a replacement diode. It's got a high chance of not working, it'll probably involve a magnifying glass and a steady hand, but the experience may well be worth it. I bet you got a spare diode around somewhere, maybe even cannibalize one from a really dead drive.

Just make sure the cathode, (the end of the diode with the band), is connected to the +5V rail and the other end is connected to GND.

But personally, I wouldn't bother replacing the diode.  Remove it, power it up on a real ATX PSU, get your data off and then toss it if you don't want to live with it like that.
« Last Edit: September 09, 2008, 03:15:02 AM by 4wd »