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  1. #1

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    Default Any electronics gurus in here - HELP Please!!!

    I have a bit of a situation on my hands. I think it's hopeless, but I've got to try and get it resolved. This is extremely important, and I'd be willing to pay someone who could help me out.

    I have an external hard drive that won't power up. So I took it apart and here's what I found:

    It actually just uses a regular internal hard drive, and uses a standard IDE cable and the standard 4 pin power connector, so I know a little about what I'm working with. My first step is to try and see if the problem is with the actual hard drive or the enclosure.

    So I pulled the hard drive out and hooked it up to my main PC here. When I turned the PC on with the hard drive plugged in, the whole PC just immediately shut down. OK, sounds like there's a problem with the hard drive itself then - that's not good. Just to confirm, I plugged in a regular CD ROM drive to the hard drive enclosure, uses same power pinout, and it works fine. So the enclosure is fine, I can put that to the side.

    Now the hard drive. Like I mentioned, when I plug it in the PC and try to turn the PC on, the whole PC just immediately shuts down, like it's shorting it out or something.

    The adapter on the supply for the drive has a little green light on it that comes on when power is supplied to something through that adapter, then it fades off when power is disconnected. It doesn't turn off immediately, but rather the light fades from green to off in a few seconds or so. However, when I plug in the hard drive in the enclosure, the light just turns to a faint flicker...

    So my question, does any one have any clue what's wrong and is there anything I can do about it? This is a 200 GB hard drive. I had just MOVED my data ALL of it to this drive while I was re-arranging partitions on my PC. So I don't have this data anywhere except on this drive - and I have tons on stuff on there that is not replaceable. I've got roughy 1000 hours of my time in digital artwork that I've created, all my music, all my documents, bills, etc etc....

    Any help or ideas would be GREATLY appreciated.
    Last edited by AsSiMiLaTeD; 08-28-2005 at 10:25 PM.
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  2. #2

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    Ouch...

    There are companies out there that restore data from "crashed" or broken drives, but they ain't cheap.

    This post is not helpful.
    If you will it, dude, it is no dream.

  3. #3

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    What is the power difference between the two adapters? If your laptop adapter draws more power, you may have input too much power to the ext hard drive and subsequently toasted the hard drive..
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  4. #4

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    The drive sounds toasted, I doubt data recovery is an option as they charge thousands of dollars so ive heard, 1 -3 G a pop.. mostly for large companies after a fire or what not.. I build computers on the side, Fwiw i think your screwed, that's why the light just flickers... the board on the drive is fried.. that handles the power. The pc shuts down because it see's a short or trouble code from the drive, same thing as if you power up with no memory or bad ram.. it will either shut down or beep like crazy.. The true tests you have already performed.. powering up in the pc outside the enclosure. The external case just adapts the power plug and ide cable connection.. nothing special about them and they dont have any moving parts or circuit boards. plus you tested that to work also... I guess i didn't help except maybe confirm your fears
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    I'm pretty sure Faster is right, hard drives are pretty much disposable anyways, once something wrong happens is better to get a new one because fixing the damage is not possible (in most cases) especially when it comes down to the heads/platters and the Power Supply/Circuitry.

    I guess the electronic board is fried so the only possibility would be to take out the Magnectic Discs and put them on a different board... and this, my friend, doesn't even sound like a real possibility...

    Sorry about that...
    <|>

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    yep, basically what I figured...and I doubt I'd be able to order another logic board directly from maxtor...
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  7. #7

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    Try giving them a call, tell 'em what happened. If the drive is still under warranty, maybe they have some coverage that would cover the cost of data recovery. I know it's a long shot, but at least give it a try.
    Last edited by Mike682; 08-28-2005 at 02:17 PM.
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    Unfortuantely, the warranties given to you by drive manufacturers never cover the data contained on the drive. Sometimes it takes something drastic to learn the importance of backups! A buddy of mine lost 3+ years of digital pictures because his drive crashed and he had no backup. He still has the drive in case he ends up with some spare cash to send it in to one of those recovery joints...
    Ludicrous gibs!

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    I lost 4000+ mp3s plus software plus school projects a few days ago... My hard drive started clicking and then stopped working... hard drives, even nowadays, are not completely reliable...

    So backing up your data in another Hard Drive is a good idea but not the best one since the Back Up Drive might fail any time as well....
    <|>

  10. #10

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    Yep, know all about the importance of backups. I was actually in the process of re-arranging partitions when this happened. On any other day, I'd still have all this data on my main PC and I'd just be out the cost of a hard drive...but not this time...
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  11. #11

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    Sounds like you probably cooked a diode, surface mounted no doubt. Call the OEM and see what they recommend. You may get an identical drive and swap platters. May do more harm than good. Thats why I like good old-fashion film for photos. Color will last 55-80 years. Black&white about 300+. Gonna be a lot of digital photos of an entire generation lost this way. Good luck.

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    I agree with Polkersince85 it sounds like a Diode but the drive circuitry (chips) could be cooked, if you can look at the circuit broad on the drive. Looking for any cracks in chips or anything that smells / looks odd. A diode could be used for reverse voltage protection, but I doubt that a HD would have that because I assume that is done in the Power Supply itself. I'm thinking it's more of a high voltage protection device that is blown so looking just after the power connector is there a device that is mounted to the outer pins to the center pins it maybe shorted. These devices are like diodes that short out if blown. Report back of what you see or post a picture.

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  13. #13

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    Here's a thought... buy the exact same brand/model of drive, and try swapping the circuitry out. If you're sucessfull, RMA the new drive w/ the DEAD controller, and lose none of your data :)
    Ludicrous gibs!

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    Update I looked at several HD here at the house not finding anything like protection near the power connection. On a Maxtor HD 160g I think the Q501 could gone south but everything else looks a capacitor near the power connector, for a design point of view that make sense. The Power Supply should stop this voltage problem so this is slowing the lack of design here.

    So I end this way, You're F'd.

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  15. #15

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    Even if you could fix the board, swap parts or what ever, all it takes is a piece of lint or dust to hit a platter and mess up the driver later anyways... got a sterile enviroment and a hair net? then it might work, that's if you didn't get corruption from the voltage spike which would leave the drive unreadable... Its the data at hand i assume he needs not getting the drive replaced.. They would warranty it no problem, I bought one from my neighbor and it went bad and was just out of warranty and they warranteed it for me..
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  16. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by nadams
    Here's a thought... buy the exact same brand/model of drive, and try swapping the circuitry out. If you're sucessfull, RMA the new drive w/ the DEAD controller, and lose none of your data :)
    I think this is something that can't be done, unless you have a Electronics Lab in your basement... the platters will be damaged by just looking at them in a weird way...
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  17. #17

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    No, no... the board that's screwed to the bottom of the drive is likely where the problem lies, not the stuff inside the sealed drive. The board on the bottom should come off easily with just a few torx screws removed and maybe a connector or two to pull apart... I've done this before on other drives, but you have to make sure the donor drive is the EXACT same model. (size, speed, revision, all make a difference)
    Ludicrous gibs!

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    nadams is correct. Swapping the board can be done with the exact same model, the drive is never opened. We have done this at work to retrieve data.

    Although I don't agree with the idea of returning the drive afterwards, not exactly honest.

  19. #19

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    I too agree with Nadams the board could be swapped, so he not completely F'd.

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  20. #20

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    Hmm. I must say that acquiring an identical drive and popping the new control board on the old drive sounds like the best idea. Sounds like that's most likely where the problem is, and it seems that this should work. I'd certainly try that before doing anything else.

    Good luck!

    P.S. Oh, and I agree; doesn't quite seem honest to return the drive after that.
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    Give it a shot... at the end you'll have a new HD no matter what... hopefully this will work and you'll be able to get your data back "on your hands"

    I have never tried this before, so we all can learn from your experience...
    <|>

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    Quote Originally Posted by audiobliss
    Hmm. I must say that acquiring an identical drive and popping the new control board on the old drive sounds like the best idea. Sounds like that's most likely where the problem is, and it seems that this should work. I'd certainly try that before doing anything else.

    Good luck!

    P.S. Oh, and I agree; doesn't quite seem honest to return the drive after that.
    Be careful though. I think most drives have at least one screw that is required to open the drive covered with a foil like sticker. I believe this would void the warranty and any returns.

    Something to consider
    Last edited by Mike682; 08-28-2005 at 03:32 PM.
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  23. #23

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    Well I took apart the drive - the circuit board just popped right off with a few screws removed.

    I hooked up the circuit board alone to the same power adapter, and get the same thing, the green lights turns to a dim flashing green when the power is turned on. So MAYBE the problem is just with the circuit board. I wonder if Maxtor would send me a new board - I doubt it...

    I can go to the store and grab one, but this is a $250 drive, so if I can get my hands on the board alone, I'll try that first...

    Thanks for the suggestions nadams
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  24. #24

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    I would call Maxtor and see if they'll at least sell you one of those boards. That'd be awesome. However, not everybody's CS is as good as Polk's, so you might hafta buy another drive. Could be worth it, though, if you really need that data.

    Good luck!
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  25. #25

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    Quote Originally Posted by Polkmaniac
    I hooked up the circuit board alone to the same power adapter, and get the same thing, the green lights turns to a dim flashing green when the power is turned on. So MAYBE the problem is just with the circuit board. I wonder if Maxtor would send me a new board - I doubt it...
    Does anything on that board look fried? Any of the chips have a tiny burn mark?... would look just like an abnormal speck on those surface mount chips.
    Your best bet would be to get a replacement board from Maxtor. Unless the new drive is _identical_ to yours, you will have problems. Even the same capacity from the same manufacturer will have differences between batches and several models to choose from.

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    I can't tell that anything on the board looks bad...

    I sent an email to maxtor support asking if I could order a replacement board - we'll see what they have to say...
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  27. #27

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    What is the exact model of drive? I want the model of the HD, not the casing that went around it... I'm guessing you can get the replacement drive for much less than it cost you for the whole external dealy.
    Ludicrous gibs!

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