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Missing Pin on 2.5" HDD - How to fix/replace??

Posted on 2006-07-16
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Last Modified: 2008-02-01
I was trying to get my laptop back up and running.  The root of the problem seemed to lay with the hard drive, so I have ordered a new one.  However, the files on the original HDD are very important to me and I'm trying to get it running temporarily to be able to retrieve the files off of it.

I bought an enclosure and am using that to test it and backup the files once it starts working.  While examining the hard drive ( a Toshiba MK6026GAX model (2.5" 60 GB) ), I noticed one of the pins on top seemed to be missing.  Upon researching the Toshiba site's pin diagram, I believe that Pin 2 is missing, which is a ground pin.  My friend says this is related to power and would be the reason it is not activating/spinning/powering up.  At first, he had some wire, which we stuck in the pin 2 slot on the enclosure's female receiver and tried to align it with the miniscule nub on the male end.  When hooked up to a computer, this made the HDD spin very faintly for a few seconds at a time.  Without the wire, the HDD doesn't spin at all, and I also tried aluminum foil (B.S. solution recommended on a random forum) and the copper end of a coaxial cable, but it's very hard to get it to fit right for conducting.  I believe that this is the main cause of the problem, and with the right conductor it could work because if it was faint before, the right conduction could get full usability at least long enough to backup.  My next move is to buy a broken 2.5" drive on ebay to take an actual pin from and replace the old one.

My concerns are is this even the right logic to take?  If anyone has done this repair before and it worked please let me know!!  Would soddering be involved (I have never done that before, and have no iron to facilitate it), or could I stick the piece in the female end and attempt to line it up with the nub on the male end??  I'm at my wit's end and just want this hard drive's files so I can move on with my life!....OK a bit melo-dramatic, but still, I really could use the help on this.  If soddering is the best option, is this Cold Heat I see online a good option, and easy to use?  Anyway, thanks guys for any input!!
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Question by:JF0
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garycase earned 62 total points
ID: 17119507
It's "soldering" - not "soddering" :-)   ... and yes, to properly repair it, a pin should be soldered in place; but I do NOT recommend you attempt that as your first-ever soldering task.

If the data is important, the safest way to recover it with a broken connector is to send it off to a professional data recovery company.  Gillware (www.gillware.com) is an excellent one, and is reasonably priced (by data recovery standards -- $378.99).  If the data's not worth that, then you can attempt to insert a pin with needle-nose pliers => if you can get it to make a good contact while you plug in an adapter, it MAY hold, and IF that's all that's wrong, you may be able to recover the data.   Quite frankly, if the only broken in is a ground pin, that may not be the only issue.   There are a lot of ground pins; and I'd expect the drive to at least spin up in the absence of only one of them.
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by:nobus
nobus earned 63 total points
ID: 17120123
alternatively, you could use conductive glue to glue the pin back on the disk connector, then you do not need to solder.
Be careful with either method, not to short pins !
http://www.halfbakery.com/idea/MetalGlue_20-_20Conductive_20glue
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Expert Comment

by:mcandmar
ID: 17129806
Best way to get data off a disk in that situation is find another HDD of the same model and swap the controller board over, copy data off and then bin it. Any data recovery company will do just that is the disk itself is ok.
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Expert Comment

by:nobus
ID: 17130901
it can work, replacing the logic boards, but on the more modern disks i have not seen it done successfully yet
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