Need to repair fried hard drive...

Hi,
A couple of years ago, I fried my external Maxtor One Touch 120gb drive by plugging in the wrong plug. I could smell the board being burned up. Anyway, it is obviously no longer operational but I feel confidient that all my data is still on the platters. I have some valuable pictures on it but I decided long ago that I'm NOT paying $500 or more to have the data recovered.  

Instead, I am considering swapping out the platters from the dead drive to a working drive. I found one site in which a guy successfully did this but his instructions were vague. Do any of you have experience with doing this or can you direct me to a set of instructions?
barnett76Asked:
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Irwin SantosConnect With a Mentor Computer Integration SpecialistCommented:
determine if it is the USB board OR the actual drive.

If you remove the drive and attach it internally to your desktop computer...are you able to see the drive in the BIOS?

If so...good shape.your drive is working.

If not... best to send your drive in for data recovery.. that would be more prudent to do.  Planning to attempt a platter swap?  Maybe your pictures are not that valuable to you, that is a HIGH RISK!!  Granted it can be done, but then once you go forward, there is no turning back.
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Irwin SantosComputer Integration SpecialistCommented:
http://www.gillware.com

Before you swap anything out...
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Lee W, MVPConnect With a Mentor Technology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
People don't swap platters, they swap circuit boards.  As irwinpks suggests, if you open the drive up and can see the platters you can pretty much kiss your data goodbye - even a $$$$ hard drive recovery service probably won't be able to get your data then.  Drives need to be handled in clean rooms - and I don't mean one you just vacuumed.  I mean expensive clean rooms where the number of particles is in the air is 1000 times fewer than after you vacuumed (probably more than 1000x).  You can try to swap the circuit boards if you can get an identical drive, probably off e-bay, but other than that, you're probably out the pictures.

Before swapping circuit boards however, I DO agree with irwinpks' suggestion - try removing the drive from the enclosure and putting it in a desktop directly.  It's possible you only fried the USB enclosure and not the drive.
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barnett76Author Commented:
Gillware services for $379 is a whole lot better than the $500 to $1000 that I've been seeing for other recovery companies.  

It seems like I did try to put that drive in a computer and it did not work but since it's been so long I'll try again and let you know how that goes. I did also see an article about replacing the circuit board...I may go that route if it's possible.  
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Irwin SantosComputer Integration SpecialistCommented:
just make sure you have the correct jumper settings.
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scrathcyboyConnect With a Mentor Commented:
You can be successful changing the firmware logic board.  If you are careful with the delicate ribbon connectors you can remove the entire logic board without opening the sealed disk enclosure, as said above, never do that.  You can get a drive like it (it will have to have the same PCB version number) on EBay for under $40, and you can go through this procedure.  If all is successful, you have a 75% chance of success.  The lost 25% is in the read heads, which are inside the sealed platter case.  If those got enough power surge to burn out the heads electronics, then the PCB swap was a great academic exercise.  If the data is that valuable, give it a shot, as long as you dont open the drive body enclosure.
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scrathcyboyCommented:
Before you do, look at the ribbon cables between the logic board and the drive enclosure with a 10x lens, if there is any burning of those fine leads, the heads are probably gone.  And if this works, how about backing up your data more often?  Dont rely on USB drives, they are less reliable than internal HDDs.
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barnett76Author Commented:
Okay...I tried the hard drive and it is dead in the water.  I looked at the circuit board and one of the chips is even charred from where it burned up (back when I first fried it).

I then went to ebay and found numerous Maxtor DiamondMax Plus 9 drives with various capacities.  I looked at the 80gb drive which is obviously the cheapest and noted that everything on that drive and mine look identical. Will a board work within the same series or do I have to go with same capacity and everything?
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Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
I would always use identical sizes.  Theres no guarentee it will work, but if it is going to, you want to give yourself the greatest chance.
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Irwin SantosComputer Integration SpecialistCommented:
same series.......but man....if you actually do it...I'll bow down to you..  :-(

If you consider the pictures you took are priceless....like you will never ever ever get that back...and once you open that drive....it could potentially be dust in the wind.  Is it really worth you saving a few hundred bucks? Can you deal with missing any of those pictures?  What about if you just tossed the drive away...will you be able to sleep at night?
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scrathcyboyCommented:
To get the same IDE sector translation, it will have to be identical in capacity -- sorry, but it is the logic board that governs all the sector reading, and if it is not right, you wont read anything.  So it must be the identical logic board.
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scrathcyboyCommented:
so to be clear, it needs to be the same series, yes, and same model, but also, the drive capacity will have to be the same.  Note there were slightly different HHD capacities in the 80GB range, even a slight dirrence will not work.  Read the heads/sectors/cylinders off the drive top, and the exact capacity.  Ask the eBay sellers to confirm they have the same readings on top. and the same version number.  Dont rush it, with time you will find the identical drive if you have patience.
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MalleusMaleficarumConnect With a Mentor Commented:
I had an external "Backpack" USB hard drive that went south on me.  When I opened it, I found it to be a Seagate drive with what I called a "neoprene skin diving suit".  The whole drive had this rubber wrapper that covered the logic board.  Anyway, upon examining the LB, I realized one of the surface mount components had fried itself into oblivion.  

I was able to swap the logic board out and get my drive running again.  What was really cool about this drive was there was no ribbon cable, the logic board made contact with the hard drive using these metal pressure pins, which was nice.  Took a Torx t-8 driver to remove the screws on the old board (sears hardware sells these if u can't find one anywhere else), installed the new board and was able to copy my data.

Note:  My hard drive did NOTHING before the swap.  Didn't spin up, no lights, nothing.  After the swap, it came back to life.

HOWEVER!!! I had to get the EXACT same: Hard drive, model, capacity and FIRMWARE version!!! Yes, this is where most people fail!  I bought 3 different hard drives on Ebay before I figured this out.  Finally before the fourth purchase I spent weeks emailing the sellers asking them to read to me the firmware version # on the drive, and if they did that for me, I'd paypal them a few extra dollars for their trouble in the event that they had the firmware I needed.  

Can you get away with firmware 1.2.3 if you have firmware 1.2.2? "Maybe?" (Firmware numbers used are just examples, any similarity to real firmware #'s is strictly a coincidence)

In the end, ask yourself if the $ saved in buying a few hard drives on Ebay is worth the risk to the  data should you get the wrong logic board...   All I had to lose was 4 years of MP3's... Your data might be worth more than that.

P.S. Oh yeah, don't try to replace the blown little tiny chip on the blown logic board with the same chip from a logic board that isn't the right firmware.  I've never seen a chip vaporize into a blinding flash of light before, and I hope to never see it again.

Good luck!

__Mal
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nobusConnect With a Mentor Commented:
are you referring to one of these :

http://www.deadharddrive.com/                              replace hdd logic
http://hddguru.com/content/en/articles/2006.02.17-Changing-headstack-Q-and-A/
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MalleusMaleficarumCommented:
YES! http://www.deadharddrive.com/  was the site that inspired me to try my procedure.  I couldn't remember/find the site, but this guy has a great write-up.
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barnett76Author Commented:
irwinpks...I won't consider actually opening the drive after what you have told me. I am only considering replacing the logic board.  Thanks to your links and advice, it seems quite stupid to think of trying to swap out platters. On the other hand, I think that I can change the logic board without exposing the the platters. Correct?

Others...thanks for the advice and links to replacing the logic board. It makes sense to try this and I always have the $400 recovery option if I cannot match up the drive.
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nobusCommented:
let us know the outcome !
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barnett76Author Commented:
Thanks to all of you who pitched in to educate me on the workings of a hard drive. I'm going to patiently watch on ebay and at some point I may save up the money and send it in for recovery. I have since learned to back up my stuff...I even keep a backup with streamload as a central place to access my stuff. I wish they would cross the enormous file availability of streamload with the great UI of xdrive.
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Irwin SantosComputer Integration SpecialistCommented:
"I think that I can change the logic board without exposing the the platters. Correct?"

yes...and let us know as nobus' said.

Sometimes there is good when you scrape the bottom of a barrel, but I rather have someone else do it.  Happy Guinea-pigging!  ;-)
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scrathcyboyCommented:
ao you actually ended up following my suggestions, right? which is not reflected in how question closed.
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barnett76Author Commented:
scrathcyboy,
I followed the cumulative suggestions of most here so I am sorry that I missed you on the points total. Lots of answers and I quickly awarded points.
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