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Author Topic: electro-mechanical hard drives :: will it be a deadly winter for them?  (Read 940 times)

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Offline legacy

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so, I happen to have a few machines with electro-mechanical hard drives, located in my attic, I can't move them downstairs, and this winter is so cold that the temperature inside the attic has gone near +1C. Never under zero, but I wonder if it's a deathly condition for my hard drives.

Currently unplugged & unpowered, the winter is cold, and they are not working as heaters, they are sleeping, waiting for the spring.

Will they wake up Alive? Dead? Should I have to be afraid of any damage? :-//


Edit:
I am also afraid about the relative humidity 
« Last Edit: January 12, 2017, 09:01:22 AM by legacy »
 

Offline Sal Ammoniac

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Re: electro-mechanical hard drives :: will it be a deadly winter for them?
« Reply #1 on: January 12, 2017, 08:51:48 AM »
Just based on my own personal experience, you shouldn't have a problem. I've stored machines in the garage unpowered for years (including a PC/AT dating back to 1986) and they booted just fine when I've started them up. Garage temperature ranges from 5C in the winter to 50C in the summer.
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Offline mmagin

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Re: electro-mechanical hard drives :: will it be a deadly winter for them?
« Reply #2 on: January 12, 2017, 10:31:40 AM »
The best way to answer your question is to look up a spec sheet for the drive and see what the non-operating storage temperature range is.
As an example, this random range of seagate desktop drives says -40 to 70C: http://www.seagate.com/www-content/datasheets/pdfs/desktop-hdd-8tbDS1770-9-1603US-en_US.pdf
 

Offline legacy

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Re: electro-mechanical hard drives :: will it be a deadly winter for them?
« Reply #3 on: January 12, 2017, 10:37:18 AM »
I will check up spec sheets. I have different models of hard drives, made by different vendors. But yes, I have a couple of Seagate. They are Barracuda 2U, 40Gbyte/SCSI-SCA. Barracuda is a strong fish, die hard  :D

I also wonder if the low temperature will kill CMOS batteries like DALLAS DS1386. Those chips are used to keep the date and time for UNIX, and also the environment's setup for the bootstrap. There is a battery under the plastic of the chip.
 

Offline mmagin

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Re: electro-mechanical hard drives :: will it be a deadly winter for them?
« Reply #4 on: January 12, 2017, 11:50:52 AM »
I will check up spec sheets. I have different models of hard drives, made by different vendors. But yes, I have a couple of Seagate. They are Barracuda 2U, 40Gbyte/SCSI-SCA. Barracuda is a strong fish, die hard  :D

I also wonder if the low temperature will kill CMOS batteries like DALLAS DS1386. Those chips are used to keep the date and time for UNIX, and also the environment's setup for the bootstrap. There is a battery under the plastic of the chip.

If they're all modern drives, I suspect the storage temperature range is similar.  I think you will be fine with CR-style lithium cells at moderately cold temperatures.
 

Offline james_s

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Re: electro-mechanical hard drives :: will it be a deadly winter for them?
« Reply #5 on: January 23, 2017, 04:45:51 PM »
The cold temperature should extend the life of the batteries, although if they're near end of life it might cause the voltage to drop far enough that the memory contents are lost. It is actually possible to replace the batteries in those Dallas chips although it requires some surgery.

Hard drives will generally be fine, I've stored old computers in unheated spaces many times. The thing you'd want to watch for is bringing a cold machine into a warm room, moisture will condense all over inside and out.
 

Offline mjs

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Re: electro-mechanical hard drives :: will it be a deadly winter for them?
« Reply #6 on: January 25, 2017, 04:21:00 AM »
I've stored some HDDs in finnish outdoor temperatures, i.e. down to -25°C. No problem. Closer to 0°C you may want to add some small heater to keep relaive humidity from condensing and rusting the steel parts or moving 'stuff' like particles to platters/heads.

If you plan on taking them indoors, put them to a ziplock bag for warmup so that the cold drive does not gather moisture.
 

Offline james_s

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Re: electro-mechanical hard drives :: will it be a deadly winter for them?
« Reply #7 on: January 25, 2017, 02:09:36 PM »
I'm not sure I'd want to use ziplock bags. It will probably be ok, but they're not exactly ESD safe.
 


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