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Western Digital (WD800JB) 80GB-8MB Cache ATA Disk weird behaviour

Posted on 2006-06-14
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Last Modified: 2016-06-26
I do not know if anyone with this disk type (the whole exterior casing of the disk is black) had any problems but I have two of them and they both have the same problem. The disk seems to slow its spinning cycle, stop completely, the windows freeze for some seconds and then the HD starts spinning again making the same sound like you have just opened the PC! After HD spins up again, Windows unfreeze and behave normally. This happened for quite some time and often eventhough both disks have adequate cooling. The only way to completely solve the problem was to turn them upside down and screw them back to position. Has anyone faced this problem before? Is this partiqular batch of disks from Western Digital defective in anyway?
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Question by:skapodis
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rindi earned 60 total points
ID: 16900586
I've had similar problems with disks of other makes. The cause was allways either a too low powered PSU, which could n't supply the disk with enough power, or a molex connector that wasn't contacting well. Usually pushing the metal contacts of these molex connectors closer together and also exchanging any Y cable extenders if there aren't enough connectors from the PSU helped. Sometimes also resoldering the power contact which come from the molex cable to the pcb of the drive helps too.
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by:skapodis
ID: 16900755
I have to check about the PSU. However the power consumption is not a lot since the only things I have on my machine are the MB, 2 x 256 400Mhz DIMMS, 128MB AGP VGA, 1 HD and 2 DVD Drives, nothing else. PSU is 350 Watt. I do not have any cable power extenders/splitters to the PSU power plugs. What I do not understand is why the problem disappears once I turn the disk upside down. The same happens if I install the other drive as well.
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by:rindi
ID: 16900767
When upside down the stress on the contact could be different.
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by:Disorganise
ID: 16902191
Are the drives fairly old?  It could be that the motor is wearing out and turning them upside down relieves the stress.  Funny to have 2 going the same way though.  the case isn't to blame is it?  ie, the HD enclosure is such that pressure is being brought to bear on the casings when the drives are oriented in one direction?
the other possibility is that the cooling is to blame - The fans were blowing directly onto a part of the HD which was causing component stress, and now they're sheilded by being upside down.  Conversly there was a hot spot which is now addressed.
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by:Hyppy
Hyppy earned 20 total points
ID: 16902426
A 350W PSU doesn't mean much.  Some companies sell 350W PSUs that only put out 150W on a normal day, but "peak" 350W when they're brand new and under lab conditions.  Just something to consider here.
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by:pyroman1
ID: 16902566
I can't speak for this drive in particular; however, I have had drives in the past that didn't like being mounted in certain positions.  An old Maxtor drive I still have doesn't like being mounted sideways, which is a pain because that is the way the hard drive cage is designed to hold it.  I have to just let the drive sit freely at the bottom of the case in the cage.

My suggestion is to just leave them upside down as it will not hurt them to do so.
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by:callrs
callrs earned 20 total points
ID: 16903091
POWER SUPPLY QUALITY!

Avoid the cheap $15-$20 ones! They've fried motherboards I've had to replace, while one unit also blew out the hard disk. If that is what you bought, take it back, or throw it out.

Spend at least $35-$50 on a good, stable, decent power supply.

You can often compare power supplies by weight: the heavier, the better. The lightest ones cause much havoc. I recommend one that runs silently.

And be sure to use a DECENT surge protector, not a cheep $5 one, but one that protects against lightning.

Good power supply, good surge protector....would avoid many problems (and bring less points for us experts to earn LOL).

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by:jdietrich
ID: 16903099
Question for all experts related to this:  Isn't "upside down" actually right side up?  I always believed the controller is truly upside "up" when sitting on top of disk.  When I took apart an old samsung, that put the head above the platter, like a record player.....I agree with Pyroman1, it definitely will not hurt the drives, I've had them this way for years....   :=)
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by:pyroman1
ID: 16903367
@jdietrich - Interesting question.  Personally, I think that as long as the label is up or down it should have very little effect on the drive from a centrifugal force standpoint.  But perhaps having the head below the platter reduces the risk of the head crashing into the disk by removing the strain from gravity.  Mounting a drive sideways introduces the risk, albeit likely very small, of additional strain to the drive if it is not perfectly straight.  Try spinning a bicycle wheel and hold it diagonally without moving it.  It's very hard and is the concept behind why motorcycles don't fall when leaning into a turn.  The force of the spin makes the wheel want to turn so it doesn't fall.

On a side note, I am venturing into water cooling this weekend and will water cool my hard drives.  The block I am using requires one drive to be "upside down" so that it can cool two hard drives at the same time.
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by:rindi
ID: 16903412
The heads are usually both sides of the platter(s), so for that there is no difference how the disk is oriented. The single thing that defines up or down is the screw holes used for mounting the disk in the case.
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Author Comment

by:skapodis
ID: 16927727
Well I bought a brand new PSU 350W (peak output 400W) and problem solved! Thanks.
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