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What voltage to test drive spindle motor?

Posted on 2010-09-22
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Last Modified: 2016-06-26
I have a Western Digital 80 GB drive that has very important data on the drive. I have found a replacement PCB online for $49.99, but before I spend that money I want to be reasonably sure that is the problem. The drive is not spinning and does not show up in the WD diagnostics software.

Can anyone tell me what voltages I need to apply to the motor connectors to make it spin? I have checked the pins with power applied to the pcb and get nothing in any combination I test.
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Question by:dgerler
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Expert Comment

by:ken2421
ID: 33736125
These drives are 12v.

Ken
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Author Comment

by:dgerler
ID: 33736766
There are 4 contacts. Any ideas which contacts get ground and power?
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Expert Comment

by:Dave Baldwin
ID: 33737147
Those motors are probably 3-phase brushless DC motors that need control circuits to run.  Which are on the PCB of course.  Plain DC motors with brushes would create to much electrical noise.
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Expert Comment

by:Duncan Meyers
ID: 33739599
If the data is truly important, stop what you're doing now before you do more damage and send it to a recovery house like Kroll Ontrack: http://www.krollontrack.com/ and pay the $$$ to get the data recovered from the drive.
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Expert Comment

by:ocanada_techguy
ID: 33749702
Indeed quoting your statement  "has very important data on the drive" and mucking about in such a way are incompatible.
If you have a circuitboard for the same model drive with the same firmware (perhaps the last character or two of the firware could vary and it would still work but ideally the same firmware) you can try swapping the board.
If the firmware were different, then conceivably the subblocks containing geometry and bad sector spare and mapout information that are stored on the drive won't be laid out the way the firmware is written to expect in that revision and chaos could ensue not limited to the possibility of overwriting or altering same or content rendering the drive even more useless and difficult to recover, surpassing the abilities of many techs at the data recovery lab even.  Because of that danger, small though it may be, the warning to swap same HD boards is well advised.
If upon swapping it fails to operate, best you can do is see if the dimple pressure contact points that make the connections between board and drive chassis are properly seated to make contact, otherwise if it still does not operate you'd be best to then use a lab, or shelve it until you can raise the funds to use one.  You may find gillware might be somewhat less expensive than ontrack.
Be wary of supposed data recovery services that are some guy working out of his/her garage.
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wingatesl earned 2000 total points
ID: 33750728
There is no harm in swapping the PCB on WD drives. If you move the PCB and the drive clicks when starting up, you will need to move the adaptive data from the patient PCB to the donor. If you upload a picture of the suspected bad PCB (hi res if possible) it would be easier to help. It is possible that the existing PCB can be repaired instead.
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Author Comment

by:dgerler
ID: 33753066
Thank you gentlemen.  I have ordered a replacement PCB. It does match WD800BB-53CAA0.

I guess you might say I am that guy working out of his garage or rather basement. Which is why I am asking the experts before doing anything.

Would you say I am safe at replacing the PCB as long as it is the matching one as stated above?
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Author Comment

by:dgerler
ID: 33753085
GTW. while it is important stuff the owner doesn't even want to spend $300 on it so I am positive he won't want to spend the money to send it to one of the recovery labs.
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Author Comment

by:dgerler
ID: 33778624
Received the new PCB. Installed. Drive powers on and shows up in Disk Management. However, when I attempt to assign a drive letter, it returns and error "The operation was canceled due to an internal error." and the drive letter drops from the available list.

Any thoughts?
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Author Closing Comment

by:dgerler
ID: 33801358
I was able to get the data off after replacing the PCB and rebooting the computer I was trying to attach the drive to.
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