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Western Digital External SATA controllers inside drive case overheat, temporary disconnect from sata interface

Posted on 2009-03-30
Last Modified: 2016-06-26
I have been working on trying to find out why backup programs cannot validate or restore from Western Digital Drives using SATA on Western Digital Drives drives.  They appear to work fine using Firewire and USB.  But Western Digital  SATA controllers inside the drive overheat inside case causing them to shut down via internal thermal control.  I discovered this by placing a fan next to the drive and setting it on it's side to allow air flow. This is a serious engineering flaw.  I am going to post this information on the experts exchange website so others are informed.  This is a serious error that should have been detected long ago and the device should have had a fan installed inside it.  Or at least offer a "mating" external fan unit.
Question by:GoldySJSU

Expert Comment

ID: 24026512
Thanks for the heads up but i have a few questions.
Are you saying that if the drive is external it's OK but if it's internal i shuts down after a period of time?
Are these drives in a server or a desktop machine?
What Drives Specifically? they make lots of them including the raptor which is 10000rpm and gets HOT without sufficient cooling.
Whats the airflow like in your case?
Have you run the diagnostic software from WD on the drive to see if there really is an overheat condition?
I ask all of these questions becasue i have 4 of the WD10EADS 1TB drive sitting on top of each other (in drive bays of course) inside the case but there is a case fan in front of them and they are ALL cool to the touch. Turn off the fan though and they get HOT - Quick. but then so would any drive.
LVL 92

Expert Comment

ID: 24026652
i would report this issue at WD - should interest them

Author Comment

ID: 24032036
Follow up:

These are My Book external drives.

It appears to be a universal bug on all operating systems.  However, it is much more pronounced on Server systems.  I have been testing it with Sataraid monitoring by setting it as a Sil Concatenation.  Basically a stand alone non-raid drive so I can moniitor its availablility.  It shuts down when you try to burst read the drive in SATA interface mode only.  Firewire works fine.

I have no air conditioning now, but my room is 62 F and I have a fan on.  The design is such that the air vents are on the top and bottom.  But if you set them on a table or shelf like a normal book, you block one of the vents, the bottom.  Clearly they could have installed a fan in the bottom part with an air inlet and set up a good top vent to keep it in operating state.

They worked too hard and keeping it short, it could be 3 inches taller and stil be a great product.

Otherwise this is the only shortcoming I can describe, I just am surprised that WD didn't take this into consideration in the production engineering phase.

LVL 12

Expert Comment

ID: 24127508
This happens with serious usage on External hard disk enclosures using green hard disks.

I've seen it a couple of times before.

I recommend, if you are going to run this long backup to an external WD enclosure, doing differential data to the western digital drive instead of full backups.

Hope this helps,


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ID: 24508249
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