Hard drive pcb troubleshooting

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shillyard
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Hard drive pcb troubleshooting

Post by shillyard » Sun Oct 15, 2006 12:21 am

I have a western digital 120 gig hard drive that has failed. The platters still spin so i figured its a problem in the pcb. I have googled for repair info but all get is software websites or data recovery websites. I dont need data recovery this drive does not have anything important on it i just hate the idea of throwing it away. I just thought i would try to git some trouble shooting advice before doing something that may dammage it further. If anyone knows where i can git some info or has any advice i would appreciate the help.
thanks.

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dacflyer
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Post by dacflyer » Sun Oct 15, 2006 10:39 am

good luck on finding any...its almost impossible to find any repair info on them things.. even harder to find any replacement parts..
your best bet perhaps is to find an identical drive and try to swap boards...

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Post by Robert Reed » Sun Oct 15, 2006 4:51 pm

Hard drives are so cheap nowadays, its hardly worth the bother of repair. First you need the schematic and then the 'road map' ( board layout) is almost as critical due the fact that these devices have a certain sequence in dissasembly and reasembly. Then parts might be difficult to get once determined, and all this with no guarantee that the fix will be %100 sucsessful . I know you didn't want to hear this but expenses and time of repair could add up pretty fast on this. There is a point where it is time to swallow your pride and throw in the towel :sad:

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MrAl
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Post by MrAl » Sun Oct 15, 2006 11:49 pm

Hi there,

I've taken these things apart but never repaired any, but dont you
need a "clean room" in order to put the thing back together correctly?
The gap between the head and surface is so small that even the
slightest dust partical would crash the disk again anyway.
LEDs vs Bulbs, LEDs are winning.

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shillyard
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Post by shillyard » Mon Oct 16, 2006 12:36 am

A clean room would be needed to open it up to git into the platers. I am only going to troubleshoot the pcb. The drive is not locked up the platters spin. I think the head controller is bad.

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MrAl
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Post by MrAl » Mon Oct 16, 2006 12:58 am

Hi there,


Good point...the pcb should be outside the platter chamber.

What are the package sizes they use for the ic? Do you have the
soldering equipment to change out an ic?
LEDs vs Bulbs, LEDs are winning.

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shillyard
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Post by shillyard » Mon Oct 16, 2006 8:59 am

Thats a good point Mr Al after taking a closer look I dont think I could solder this board even if I did find the problem. The drive is history.

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Post by hp » Mon Oct 16, 2006 3:35 pm

Just a note: Modern hard drive controller boards are loaded with data that is unique to the drive's specific hardware specs. This includes bad sectors, timing, etc.

This may seem kind of odd, but even a perfect hard drive has bad sectors. These are generally found at the manufacturing line and loaded into the controller board. The controller board then just skips over these sectors. (Back in the old days, people had to manually enter these specs into the computer by hand.)

You can read up more on this at: http://www.grc.com/sranalysis.htm .

Harrison

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shillyard
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Post by shillyard » Mon Oct 16, 2006 4:12 pm

Thanks for the replies. Its getting to the point that everything is disposable. I have been a electronics hobbyist 14 years. I'm doing less and less recently. A lot of the time I'm just trying to think of ways to use the expensive equipment I have collected. I hate seeing it sitting there collecting dust. This weekend I trashed two large boxes of scavenged parts. Maby its time to find a new hobby.

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Post by Robert Reed » Mon Oct 16, 2006 4:26 pm

Shil
Its not just electronic devices, as it seems everything is becoming non-repairable any more. I am a "repair freek" for anything and spent a lifetime learning my "Trade". Nowadays, it seems as though my knowledge is useless in most cases :sad: .

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haklesup
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Post by haklesup » Mon Oct 16, 2006 5:18 pm

There are so many things that can fail on a HDD beyond the spinning of the platters its not funny. A mechanical open or short on the PCB is probably among the least likely culprits (though the read/write heads often terminate in a connector that's worth looking at)

ESD damage, long term IC failure modes, Failure of passive components. Failure in the ATA controller, failure of the sense amplifier and most likely of all is failure of the MR heads that read the disk. ESD discharge, head crash, particulate contamination, drop, strong fields all can damage the heads.

If you look around you can find low level format and diagnostic tools on the website of the HDD manufacturer. Start there. If the Diag dosen't help, it's trash unless it still holds irreplacable data, then you need to transfer the platters to an identical working drive to get the data back.

And Robert, though people like us don't find as many opportunities to fix stuff, our stuff tends to last longer because we know how not to break them as well as how to fix them. Am I right?

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Post by Robert Reed » Mon Oct 16, 2006 8:43 pm

Hacklesup

You've got that right!
power lawnmower - 20 yrs.
27" television - 14 yrs. and counting
Automobiles,power tools and a host of other devices - 10-25 yrs.
However these are older devices that were made to be repairable as long as parts (including jury rigging) are still available.
unfortunately, the newer items (2-3 yrs.) I have bought do not look to be that repairable. But I'll keep trying!

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MrAl
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Post by MrAl » Tue Oct 17, 2006 2:49 am

Hi again,

Robert and others...

I like to repair everything i possibly can too, because i cant
see wasting something that is 'almost' working where one tiny
problem is keeping it from use. I had hard drives crash too,
to where they arent even seen in the bios anymore, but i wont
touch them because there is just too much that can go wrong.
After a head crash i wouldnt even know what to change
(maybe one of the platters, but then where would i get another one).

I have a few old drives laying around someplace that crashed.
I took one apart just for the fun of it and it's pretty neat to see
what they are made of, but i dont see repairing them in my future :smile:
LEDs vs Bulbs, LEDs are winning.

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jollyrgr
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Post by jollyrgr » Tue Oct 17, 2006 8:37 am

I've been dealing with computers since an upgrade from 1K to 8K was a big deal. And I'm taking RAM. I've been dealing with hard drives for many many years. Forget repairing boards for drives. I have swapped main boards on drives and it has saved my bacon more than once. But this has been in a corporate environment where I've had spare drives to search through to find other main boards.

I would NEVER trust a drive that had been repaired longer than it took for me to back the data up off of it. (I have two drives in such a state within arms reach on my desk.) These will be destroyed when I have time. This prevents anyone from accidentally using them. As cheap as drives are it would probably be better to buy a bunch of drives or head down to the computer "recycle" shop and buy a old drive and hope the swap works. Trying to repair a dead drive is not likely going to be possible as the schematics are not public knowledge in many cases and getting the parts will be next to impossible. I'm not saying it can't be done. But it is likely something that you'd want to leave to the experts at ON TRACK or similar.
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Janitor Tzap
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Re: Hard drive pcb troubleshooting

Post by Janitor Tzap » Tue Oct 17, 2006 6:24 pm

shillyard wrote:I have a western digital 120 gig hard drive that has failed. The platters still spin so i figured its a problem in the pcb. I have googled for repair info but all get is software websites or data recovery websites. I dont need data recovery this drive does not have anything important on it i just hate the idea of throwing it away. I just thought i would try to git some trouble shooting advice before doing something that may dammage it further. If anyone knows where i can git some info or has any advice i would appreciate the help.
thanks.
I have too agree with what most of what the others have said.

But have you checked with Western Digital too see if they will replace this drive?

Western Digital, Seagate, Maxtor, and several other Hard Drive Makers
have revised they're warranties on Internal Hard Drives.
Now it's 3 to 5 years on some models.

So you might still be able to get a replacement from WD.


Signed: Janitor Tzap

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