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Damaged harddrive pins. How can I fix this myself?

joeystarr1
joeystarr1 asked
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Last Modified: 2010-04-27
Here is the story...
     My friend originally had an "Operating System Not Found error". This was on a brand new Seagate Barracuda 7200.7 120 Gig IDE drive. His last drive suffered a bad fate due to his computer. Anyway, at that point he had a very fixable issue, problem is... he wasn't patient enough to call me for help. Instead he took it to a "computer expert" who in turn made the problem worse. This "expert" thought the controller card was bad and proceeded(without permission) to try and swap the controller card. This idiot ended up losing on of the pins and apparently tried to solder 4 others. THAT is when I got called. Since he opened up the drive, the warranty was voided. Seagate doesn't repair drives, they only swap them. Swapping is not an option since my band's demo is sitting in this drive and represents two months of hard work that hadn't been backed up.
     I examined it and this is what I found...
The drive spins perfectly as if there was nothing wrong with it. Heck, it sounds better than the working drive that I have in my own computer. The problem is that no BIOS will recognize the drive(I'm thinking because of the missing pin and/or the soldered ones). Anyways, I already called Seagate and hit a brick wall. Data recovery companies are way too expensive. I am fairly certain that swapping the printed circuit board with an intact one AND/OR fixing the missing pin(and maybe resoldering the funky ones) could fix this problem, because the hard drive seems otherwise perfect. Is this feasible? How would YOU go about doing this? Can I find instructions for doing the swap myself? This is pretty urgent because that data(both my demo CD and his also are at stake). I would be happy to send all helpful answers a free copy of the completed disc. :)
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CERTIFIED EXPERT
Top Expert 2012

Commented:
Yes, this is feasable, but not guaranteed, depending on what other damage was done.  If you are competent in soldering small circuits and post closeup pictures, we could probably help you (I have one of these drives myself).
Luc FrankenEMEA Server Engineer
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Commented:
Hi joeystarr1,

> This idiot ended up losing on of the pins and apparently tried to solder 4
> others. THAT is when I got called. Since he opened up the drive, the warranty
> was voided.
Opening up the drive killed the drive, no way you will be able to get any data of yourself, and also, don't, I mean DON'T connect this drive to any computer anymore. Get it to a recovery agency to get your data off.

Here's a small list (taken from CrazyOnes list)


http://www.ontrack.com/datarecovery/
Ontrack offers a full range of data recovery solutions to address your data loss needs. Unlike other data recovery companies, Ontrack provides exclusive and patented solutions that do not require you to send in your media for recovery. In situations where the hardware is functioning normally, our patented Remote Data Recovery service and EasyRecovery software solutions can solve your data loss needs safely and effectively in a matter of hours. If another company claims that there is no alternative to shipping your drive, it's because they don't offer an alternative. For situations in which the hardware is physically failing, our In-Lab services will utilize our Class 100 clean-rooms to retrieve your mission critical data.

or

FLAT RATE DATA RECOVERY PRICING INCLUDES!
http://www.i-t-s.com/datarec/datarec_pricing.htm 

or

Total Recall
http://www.recallusa.com/
Our recovery and forensic technology is used by support and call centers as well as data recovery providers world-wide.

ESS Data Recovery
http://www.savemyfiles.com/
ESS Data Recovery, Inc. has been removing barriers in the data recovery and computer forensics market ever since its inception

Greetings,

LucF
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Top Expert 2012

Commented:
Just to be clear, was the sealed hard drive case opened, or just the controller board altered?  If the case itself was opened, there is no way you can fix that, but if it's just the controller board, there is a slim chance.
This one is on us!
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rid

Commented:
Changing the drive's circuit board to a board from an EXACTLY same model drive (size, revision whathaveyou) should be quite possible. It's normally not very complicated and it may even be worth buying a new drive of the same model just to get the board.
/RID

Author

Commented:
For clarification...
     The drive wasn't opened. That was bad wording(and a little paraphrasing) on my part. None of the insides of the drive were exposed(thankfully). All the idiot did was alter the controller board. My theory on how the pin was damaged was that he had a hard time lifting the board out delicately. This guy was quoted at saying, "The issue here is definitely the controller card"(he hadn't even touched the drive yet at this point). "If I can't fix it then noon can."(what a jerk. The first thing anyone with sense would have done was trying the drive in another computer).

When I get home from work I will take some close up shots of it with my digital camera to show. BTW, this is my first time using experts-exchange and I must say that the response time and the volume of information so far is quite impressive. I am already glad that I signed up.

I already have quotes from Data Recovery centers, they are just way too high priced for us. That's why I would like to try to fix this myself if it seems reasonable.
Luc FrankenEMEA Server Engineer
CERTIFIED EXPERT

Commented:
Sorry about misunderstanding you...
In that case just follow everyone elses advice.

LucF

p.s. did you allready kicked that "idiots" butt? If not, I suggest you to do it now ;-)

Commented:
If it was new... why not simply contact Seagate?

Let them know you took it into a company that sold Seagate Hard drives and they made it worse.

Try the easy steps first :)

Commented:
FYI you can get a new 120 gigger for 30$  if you know where to look..

http://www.fatwallet.com/forums/messageview.php?start=0&catid=18&threadid=279136
Jayca, did you hit your head today?
Luc FrankenEMEA Server Engineer
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Commented:
@buckeyes33, ?? Explain ??... I think it's a good suggestion to just explain to Seagate what happened. If they do care about their customers, they'll try to help joeystarr1 with this problem. And make sure his "computer expert" won't sell a drive anymore... let alone repairing...

LucF

Author

Commented:
It WAS a good suggestion. I think buckeyes33 was alluding to the fact that my opening post states I called Seagate already but had no luck there. Their answer is stated in the first paragraph, my calling them is in the second. I agree that a major drive company is likely to take a little loss even, to save a customer. Unfortunately the best they could offer me was to replace the drive at a cost. That would still leave me without the data.

I will try the changing of the circuit board in a few days. The guy who owns the drive is currently hunting down an identical drive so that we can try it. Should I wait till I've tried it before closing the question, in case I have more to ask on this problem? Or should I accept an answer now and make a new question if I have no luck? Ah, life as a newbie. 0:-)

JS
CERTIFIED EXPERT
Top Expert 2012

Commented:
It's up to you - many of us will monitor this even after it's closed, in case you have unforseen problems.  It's a matter of honor for some of us.
>>And make sure his "computer expert" won't sell a drive anymore... let alone repairing...
that does need to happen.  The person is probably not a registered seller.


Someone gave a link to a good tuturial on this a while back. but i don't remeber who.  It would probably help out a lot.  

Ebay would be a good place to look for hard drives.  
CERTIFIED EXPERT
Top Expert 2012

Commented:
I just looked at my Seagate 120 - those pins on the IDE connector are extremely small, and they are spaced about a hair's breadth apart from each other!  I hope you have a very fine soldering iron, because if you don't, you'll need it.  I don't even know why the connector had to be changed - it's attached to the controller board and goes wherever the board goes.  Finding or buying a same model drive for the controller looks better and better.  You'll need a torx screwdriver, too.
dbruntonQuid, Me Anxius Sum?  Illegitimi non carborundum.
CERTIFIED EXPERT

Commented:
If you are talking about the pins on the drive where the cable goes then the following MAY work.  This comes from a thread in this area some time back.  I take no responsibility if it doesn't work and does your drive in.  On the other hand if it does work ....


Get a needle the same diameter or as the broken pin and press it alongside the broken pin so it is touching.  Using a GOOD pair of pliers cut the pin so that it is the same length as the other pins.  Carefully place IDE cable onto pins and try the drive.  If it works get your data off.

Author

Commented:
The "expert" didn't sell my friend the drive. Best Buy did. The "expert" "fixed" the drive. I think all we can do about him is to tell all of our friends about the bad experience so that they avoid this guy like the plague(they should all come to me anyway, right? ;-) ).  

Yeah, I had seen that thread a few days ago. I will definitely try the card swap first.


Thanks for all the input. Ill let you know how it goes.


JS
Luc FrankenEMEA Server Engineer
CERTIFIED EXPERT

Commented:
all I can say is: Good luck!

LucF
good luck and be carefull.  

Author

Commented:
Just a quick update...

I made a deal with my friend to re-record the tracks. We have some good ideas on making it better than what is on the inaccessible drive; so we aren't gonna bother anymore with that drive issue. I did however accept one of the responses, as it was the one I was going to use to try fixing this drive anyways. Thanks to EVERYONE for trying to help, and when I have the said demo ready, I will shoot out a few emails to the parties involved for mailing information if they are interested in hearing the demo.

joeystarr1

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