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hard drive failure- drive makes buzzing / clicking sound.  FLIR thermal photos included in post

Posted on 2014-09-17
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Last Modified: 2014-10-04
Hi, I have a friends hard drive and I was trying to recover data for him. I plug the hard drive in and it makes a buzzing sound (almost sounds like the drive is having a hard time building up speed) then 10 seconds later I can hear the actuator click once. It does this about 3-4 times in a row then it just turns off completlety.

I was wondering if I replaced the board on the hard drive (if I can locate a match) if it would be worth trying?

The drive is a seagate barracuda 7200.7 80 gb drive.

I have a similar spare drive (seagate barracuda 7200.9 80 gb) and allthough the PCB's look very different on both drives, it looks like they all have similar components mounted to the board. So I have a FLIR thermal camera and I took a photo of both drives. On my drive (the 7200.9) I can see three main chips heating up. But on the defective drive only two main chips heat up. It appears one chip is staying cold on the defective drive (the chip is shown in the photo below with the red x marked on it).

So from looking at this to me it appears that the circuit board may be damaged on the defective drive. Does anyone agree or disagree? If it is likley that the board is damaged I will try to locate a replacment to see if replacing it will allow the data to be recovered.

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Question by:hydrive1902
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by:noxcho
ID: 40329174
You can replace the logical board but not the one that is on this drive. Because the one that you have on this drive will not work. As a spare drive you need the healthy drive from the same serie of drives which have similar serial number.
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by:William Fulks
William Fulks earned 125 total points
ID: 40329198
From your description, it sounds like a mechanical problem with the motors failing inside the drive. Replacing the circuit board won't fix that.
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Rob Hutchinson earned 125 total points
ID: 40329213
Actually, if you really want the data off of the drive, it's recommended that you never swap the circuit board as this is unreliable( although I have to admit, I've done this myself successfully so I may have been lucky)

A couple good sources of info:

Detailed info about hard drive recovery:
http://www.deepspar.com

Reliable data recovery company( although pricey):
http://www.krollontrack.com/data-recovery/

On the other hand, if you do not have any money to pay for repairs, and do not plan on spending any money on repairs...and the data is not that critical:
This is an interesting youtube video on data recovery at home
http://youtu.be/F5Y7BniaRXg
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LVL 48

Assisted Solution

by:dbrunton
dbrunton earned 125 total points
ID: 40329641
Relevant link http://www.deadharddrive.com/

I agree with William Fulks on this that this is a motor problem rather than a board problem.  We both could be wrong though.

I'd try the following:  (Warning:  Do at your own risk)

While holding the drive in your hand, tap the side of the drive - not the top or bottom - with a block of wood several times.  The shaft of a wooden shafted hammer is ideal for this purpose.  You may have a jammed actuator and the shock may free it.  If it does then get the data off as quick as possible and then buy a new drive.

Note the warning I give above.
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Assisted Solution

by:nobus
nobus earned 125 total points
ID: 40329718
if you want to replace the logic board, you must look for an identical one first, same model, and firmware number.  and it is not sure even then it will work, since many drives have their architecture stored on board, as well as bad sectors.
if the data is worth recovering, i would use one of these :
http://www.300dollardatarecovery.com/                        data recovery Company
http://www.gillware.com/                                 "           "                   "

and be sure to have a backup at all times!!
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Author Closing Comment

by:hydrive1902
ID: 40361542
thanks for the help!
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