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mcoliver

Reviving A Hard Drive With A Toasted Circuit Board

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Hi guys.

My PC's PSU gave up the ghost but decided to take all three of my Seagate Barracuda's and a CD Writer with it. It toasted all the drives and now everything is lost.

Before I knew what the problem was, I tried giving power to one of the HD and noticed smoke coming from a chip (pic attached, the one marked FA450-PV). I checked the other two HDs and can see damage to the same chip (the others were labelled differently but in the same location).

I've already emailed Seagate to inquire. And while waiting for their reply, I was wondering if anybody has experienced getting this sort of damage repaired.

Appreciate hearing it. Thanks.

post-1333-1158125241.jpg

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Hi guys.

My PC's PSU gave up the ghost but decided to take all three of my Seagate Barracuda's and a CD Writer with it. It toasted all the drives and now everything is lost.

Before I knew what the problem was, I tried giving power to one of the HD and noticed smoke coming from a chip (pic attached, the one marked FA450-PV). I checked the other two HDs and can see damage to the same chip (the others were labelled differently but in the same location).

I've already emailed Seagate to inquire. And while waiting for their reply, I was wondering if anybody has experienced getting this sort of damage repaired.

Appreciate hearing it. Thanks.

Mcoliver,

The device you photographed looks like a surface-mounted capacitor/passive IC device... I will try to look it up tomorrow at work and confirm what it is. The alphanumeric designator probably represents a 450 microfarad device used to condition the power incoming to the drive. If this is true, its destruction probably protected the rest of the devices on the board and in the drive. If all three drives blew this same component (or similar components) then you probably had a power spike that hit all drives simultaneously. Power supply is probably the culprit; they are high-failure items, widely available and relatively inexpensive.

IF YOU WANT TO TRY TO FIX IT YOURSELF:

Recommend you start by replacing your power supply with a known good unit. Then, there are three ways I would look at fixing this: (a) desolder and replace the device (would require good soldering/fabrication skills and equipment), (B) replace the entire greenboard assembly (if you have access to it and a class 100 cleanroom in which to dissassemble the case), or © replace the entire drive with another unit (simplest, probably your best bet). Seagate could do any of these at their discretion, but will probably want to see the drive before deciding. The drive manufacturer will probably not cover data recovery (so I hope you have a good backup).

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If that is the only part damaged, you are lucky. It is just a simple capacitor or diode and should be relatively easy to replace by someone who can work on surface-mounted devices. If more parts are damaged, chances of repair are much less likely. A picture of the back side of the PC board would be nice, but that would require removing the board. I'd change the part and hope for the best. You can remove the circuit board by taking out the torx screws and lifting it off, but observe ESD (static electricity) concerns or let someone else do it.

Edited by 1911user

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If you have a matching hard drive that is good, it isn't unusal to try swapping the circuit board. At least it wasn't, I haven't had to mess around with data recovery in a good long while, so no idea if it's still relatively easy. However, you need the same drive with the same firmware and config, whcih can be a pain to come up with if all your drive fried.

I don't know how well replacing the burnt component will work. It had a job to do, and it failed, i wouldn't count on the damae necessarily being contained.

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Thanks for the input guys.

The last time I actually had to use the soldering iron for it's intended purpose was in high school several years back. But I'd like to think I can still do the de-soldering and soldering stuff.

I'll probably spend the weekend scouring the surplus shops in my area for similar drives. Hope I can find a matching model.

I've thought about replacing the whole circuit board. But I wanted to check, if I remove it from the drive I'm guessing it's connected to the inside of the drive via a ribbon cable? And I won't be exposing any of the internal, delicate stuff (platters, heads, etc.)?

This is a big lesson for me. I actually held off buying an external drive as backup thinking I had three drives inside. They're not suppose to die all at once, right? ... :(

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The circuit board very likely isn't soldered to the drive. Springy metal fingers make the connection for easier/faster assembly. Replacing the entire board effectively would require the luck of finding a needle in a haystack.

I have a relative that worked for seagate engineering in the past. I went through a similar process when I damaged a hard drive circuit board and thought about replacing it. Evidently, firware is changed often and you'd have to find an exact match to even have a chance at recovery. I'm fairly sure that any bad sectors are stored in a chip on the board so replacing the circuit board would only be for data recovery purposes.

I think your best chance would be to carefully replace the burnt part.

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I have swapped out the circuit boards from one hard drive to another without any issues. Matter of fact all of the drives I have done it on were Seagate. It is a pretty straight forward process, just remove the torx screws and swap the boards, be gentle and wear an anti static arm band or make sure you are grounded. This saved my ass big time when a server was hosed and I thought I lost all of the customers data.

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It's an A450 EMI filter. The particular filter on your drives is made by Fairchild Semiconductor. Basically it's a capacitor along with a few other devices all integrated into one IC.

That's why it's connected to ground. Anyway, now it's shorting whatever it used to filter to ground, which is why you see smoke when you power it up. You can replace the component if you choose. Honestly, I'd bet you a beer that if you simply removed it, that you could power up the drive long enough to get whatever you needed. Otherwise, you can order some new components from Newark, Mouser, or Digikey or the like and resolder them on the board.

P.S. The polarity marking on the component is there for a reason. Make sure you install the new one with the ||| on the same side or you won't be happy.

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Get a similar Seagate drive and change the board. I think this is the best bet. I have done this with IBM & WD HD's with mostly positive results.

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I checked the boards again, this time more closely and with better lighting. Turns out there are some components (resistors, I think) that also show signs of being burned.

I checked the voltage output of the suspect PSU and found out that one pair (5V leads, I think) have 0v and the other have 24v readings.

I think I can do a board swap. Just need to find out if these models are still available. I have some questions though:

1. I need to get a board with the same model AND Firmware, right?

2. If I get one from a known drive that has crashed, will it's board still be useable?

3. If I do a board swap and it works will the drive be again good to go? Thinking of putting it in another computer and use it, if I can get it to work again. But this time, only replaceable data will be saved in it.

Thanks for all the help.

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1. Maybe. Maybe not.

2. Yes.

3. Just buy new drives - or only use the drives for unimportant work. Why risk it?

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