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Hardware question: hard drive circuit board overheat?

Posted on 2012-03-31
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Last Modified: 2012-04-18
Hi, I am working on a computer that has a problem on startup- the bios screen shows up longer then normal then it says disk error.

But if you keep rebooting it (after you get that error), eventually it does work (maybe after 10-20 times on powering it up).

So I took the hard drive out and noticed a slight discoloration on the circuit board (attached to the hard drive). I removed the board for further inspection (which I have done with other drives plenty of times before) and when I flipped the board over,  it was like a rainbow in certain areas on the board. I have seen this many times before in many systems that overheated, just never this severe (not even close).

Below are some photos:

Amazingly this desktop had very little dust inside, so I cant say dust caused this one to overheat. But from the photos would anyone agree that it is not normal and appears to have been overheated?

FYI- the make and model is:  WD 3200AAKS 320 GB drive (full size)

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Question by:hydrive1902
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by:IanTh
IanTh earned 500 total points
ID: 37790878
I think your right the hdd is kind of knackered I dont rate wd these days I have seen numerous problems with that many I only use samsung as I think their customer support is spot on
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awaggoner earned 700 total points
ID: 37790887
Definitely not normal, and definitely caused by heat.

Question is, where is the heat coming from.

Most likely the hard drive, but I would suspect from the mechanical part of the drive instead of the board itself.

Have you contacted western digital support?  This may be a know issue and you may get a replacement drive.
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by:IanTh
ID: 37790915
yes look at the heat its all round the screw holes so the heat is deffinately coming from the drive
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by:willcomp
willcomp earned 300 total points
ID: 37791032
Even though there was no excessive dust buildup, how much clearance was on the bottom of drive for ventilation? Were there any air intakes around drive? It does appear to have overheated.
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by:hydrive1902
ID: 37791169
I have not contacted the mfct. of the drive because its over 3 years old, but its worth a shot I guess. The ventilation was very good, the computer was sitting on a wodden stand (about 4 inches off the ground). I originally figured the problem may be the mother boards capacitors so I removed the side door on the desktop and inspected the board but all caps looked fine. It was then when I pulled the hard drive and noticed the discoloration.

The odd thing is this is one of the cleaner computers I have seen, cant tell you how many I have seen that are packed with dust. Not this one however. When I removed the side cover it looked very clean, not even a single clump of dust was found.
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by:Alan Henderson
Alan Henderson earned 240 total points
ID: 37791563
The cleanliness leads me to wonder whether the machine has suffered an extended lack of ventilation at some stage prior to your investigation. Intakes previously blocked? Vent fan failed in the past?
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by:nobus
nobus earned 260 total points
ID: 37792486
>>  But if you keep rebooting it (after you get that error), eventually it does work   <<   use a smart reader to read it's S.M.A.R.T data, it may tell you more
http://community.wdc.com/t5/Desktop/Data-Lifeguard-Tools-SMART-DATA-and-quot-WARRANTY-quot-field/td-p/104222
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by:hydrive1902
ID: 37863775
No blockages or anything, I assume HD failure. Thanks everyone!
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