Author Topic: Replacing the ROM chip on a hard drive PCB  (Read 10957 times)

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Offline pBoev

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Replacing the ROM chip on a hard drive PCB
« on: February 04, 2016, 10:38:21 am »
Hello,

I'm trying to extract the data from an HDD. The HDD appears in Device Manager but I can't navigate to it. My hopes are it's a PCB fault and the magnetic disks aren't damaged. I spent some time digging and it turned out that all modern hard drive PCBs have unique ROM. Is it a straight forward operation of replacing the ROM chip of a new PCB with the one from the damaged HDD? According to videos online that would work, but I'd like a second opinion as well.

Regards
« Last Edit: February 04, 2016, 10:40:31 am by pBoev »
 

Online wraper

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Re: Replacing the ROM chip on a hard drive PCB
« Reply #1 on: February 04, 2016, 10:55:53 am »
HDD repair is very unique to particular model. What you can do with one model, won't work or destroy another.
 

Offline pBoev

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Re: Replacing the ROM chip on a hard drive PCB
« Reply #2 on: February 04, 2016, 11:07:59 am »
I can see the PCB's serial number and can find it online or I'll purchase the same HDD and extract the PCB. Is it only the ROM that's unique to the PCB?

Also, are there resources on hard drive operation/repair? I couldn't find a book/guide on it,  it's mostly forum posts and online videos.
 

Offline ovnr

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Re: Replacing the ROM chip on a hard drive PCB
« Reply #3 on: February 04, 2016, 11:29:01 am »
Is the data actually important to you? If so, send it in and have professionals fix it. You're most likely just going to make it worse.

Of course, if the disk is just a pile of junk you want to poke for fun, have at it.
 

Online amyk

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Re: Replacing the ROM chip on a hard drive PCB
« Reply #4 on: February 04, 2016, 11:57:35 am »
The HDD appears in Device Manager but I can't navigate to it.
If it gets detected correctly it means it operates well enough to load firmware from the platters. Have you tried taking a raw image of it, and seeing what type of error the drive returns? It could be as simple as a corrupted filesystem, which is entirely a software problem and (although it could be caused by) has nothing to do with the hardware.
 

Offline Kjelt

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Re: Replacing the ROM chip on a hard drive PCB
« Reply #5 on: February 04, 2016, 12:08:58 pm »
Did you use a S.M.A.R.T. Monitoring Tool to see if you can find out what error/fault occurred, this could tell more about if it is worth while buying a second identical hdd and replace the pcb (which I would do as a last cause).
A dedicated professional recovery firm is very very expensive, I asked for a quote for a friend of mine who'se family foto's where on the drive and it was more then $500 and only for the quick recoverable files.
 

Online wraper

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Re: Replacing the ROM chip on a hard drive PCB
« Reply #6 on: February 04, 2016, 12:34:52 pm »
The HDD appears in Device Manager but I can't navigate to it.
You need to recover the data, not change the PCB. If the PCB is faulty, you will see anything in the device manager. Check what the disk management shows, SMART. Probably you have some bad sectors and FS failure. Check if some data recovery software con do something about recovering you data.
 

Offline pBoev

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Re: Replacing the ROM chip on a hard drive PCB
« Reply #7 on: February 04, 2016, 01:16:49 pm »
Well, the HDD starts beeping when plugged in. And in all fairness I dropped it on the ground  |O. However, it was off so it shouldn't have caused additional damage. That being said, after dropping it, I can also hear the dreaded clicking sound from the needle.
 

Online wraper

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Re: Replacing the ROM chip on a hard drive PCB
« Reply #8 on: February 04, 2016, 01:26:08 pm »
Well, the HDD starts beeping when plugged in. And in all fairness I dropped it on the ground  |O.
:palm:, you dropped the HDD and suspect a faulty PCB? What do you mean by beeping as there is no buzzer in the HDD?
Quote
However, it was off so it shouldn't have caused additional damage.
:palm: Just bent spindle and crashed heads.
Quote
clicking sound from the needle.
He's dead, Jim
 

Offline pBoev

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Re: Replacing the ROM chip on a hard drive PCB
« Reply #9 on: February 04, 2016, 01:33:03 pm »
Well, the HDD starts beeping when plugged in. And in all fairness I dropped it on the ground  |O.
:palm:, you dropped the HDD and suspect a faulty PCB? What do you mean by beeping as there is no buzzer in the HDD?

I mean an actual beeping sound like what you'd hear from a PC motherboard. I was surprised by it as well, I've never hear an HDD beeping.

Anyway, it was beeping before dropping it, hence I suspect a PCB fault. The HDD stopped working after plugging it into a Mac and then the beeping sound started.
« Last Edit: February 04, 2016, 02:55:33 pm by pBoev »
 

Offline HAL-42b

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Re: Replacing the ROM chip on a hard drive PCB
« Reply #10 on: February 04, 2016, 01:37:41 pm »
If the HDD is detected use 'dd' in Linux.
 

Offline macboy

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Re: Replacing the ROM chip on a hard drive PCB
« Reply #11 on: February 04, 2016, 03:53:07 pm »
Hello,

I'm trying to extract the data from an HDD. The HDD appears in Device Manager but I can't navigate to it. My hopes are it's a PCB fault and the magnetic disks aren't damaged. I spent some time digging and it turned out that all modern hard drive PCBs have unique ROM. Is it a straight forward operation of replacing the ROM chip of a new PCB with the one from the damaged HDD? According to videos online that would work, but I'd like a second opinion as well.

Regards
If the disk shows up in Device manager, don't mess with the controller PCB, it is probably perfectly fine.

How does the disk appear in Disk Management? (Right click "Computer" on desktop or in start menu, select "Manage", pick "Disk Management"). It could be that you just need to assign a drive letter. This usually happens when the disk in question comes from another system and had used the same drive letter(s) that are already used by other disks on your system.
 

Offline macboy

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Re: Replacing the ROM chip on a hard drive PCB
« Reply #12 on: February 04, 2016, 04:01:44 pm »
...The HDD stopped working after plugging it into a Mac and then the beeping sound started.
Hm, you didn't click 'yes' to any dialogs of the nature "you need to initialize this disk before using it" when you plugged it into the Mac, did you?

The "beeping" is a high frequency mechanical sound. Maybe the spindle failing to spin up. Maybe the heads trying to move. It is not from a "beeper" per se.

Any damage from dropping the HDD is almost certainly to the mechanism, not to the PCB. In any case, please do try to find the disk in Disk Management and report back.
 

Offline orbiter

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Re: Replacing the ROM chip on a hard drive PCB
« Reply #13 on: February 04, 2016, 04:13:58 pm »
If you NEED that data get the drive recovered professionally!  Only a month or two ago I had a Seagate that just died on me whilst in use (no physical shock or abuse.) I had noticed a slight clicking
noise the previous day but It went away. I thought it was just the PSU fan as that did click sometimes (It not unheard of in the 1250W Enermax Revolutions.)

Anyway I checked further and on closer inspection I realised it was a drive. So I shut the machine down and left it till the next day. When I started the computer up again my
first task was going to be to back up the data from all the drives, but a cold restart was obviously too much for that HDD and it started clicking immediately and was disappearing from device manager. 

I took the drive out as I knew I had a couple of other perfectly functional ones of exactly the same make & model etc. I swapped the PCB's over hoping that, that may have been the issue as the
drive had never been bounced etc, however my attempts were futile as after replacing the PCB the drive made exactly the same noise :( 

Offline rob77

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Re: Replacing the ROM chip on a hard drive PCB
« Reply #14 on: February 04, 2016, 04:24:25 pm »
clicking sound is a busted head - the electronics drives the voice coil attached to the arm with heads and the control loop interprets the data read by the heads in order to find a lock to a track... if the head is gone, no data, no control loop and it smashes the head to the endstop.. and starts over and over again - that's your clicking noise.
so in other words.... there is NO WAY to recover the data at home (unless you are well equipped for repairing hard drives - but in that case you wouldn't be asking here).
if the data is really important then use a pro HDD recovery service (not cheap).
 

Offline onesixright

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Re: Replacing the ROM chip on a hard drive PCB
« Reply #15 on: February 04, 2016, 04:27:07 pm »
If you van find a identical disk, replace the platters? If the head didn't scratch the platter your should be able to read it (i think).
 

Offline rob77

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Re: Replacing the ROM chip on a hard drive PCB
« Reply #16 on: February 04, 2016, 04:30:28 pm »
If you van find a identical disk, replace the platters? If the head didn't scratch the platter your should be able to read it (i think).

that falls into the "well equipped for HDD repairs" category... you will never ever make it work with a screwdriver in your lab/room.
 

Offline orbiter

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Re: Replacing the ROM chip on a hard drive PCB
« Reply #17 on: February 04, 2016, 04:58:24 pm »
clicking sound is a busted head - the electronics drives the voice coil attached to the arm with heads and the control loop interprets the data read by the heads in order to find a lock to a track... if the head is gone, no data, no control loop and it smashes the head to the endstop.. and starts over and over again - that's your clicking noise.
so in other words.... there is NO WAY to recover the data at home (unless you are well equipped for repairing hard drives - but in that case you wouldn't be asking here).
if the data is really important then use a pro HDD recovery service (not cheap).

Clicking can be caused by a broken head yes, but it can also be caused by malalignment of the platters etc causing the read heads to thrash around
looking for specific sector data. Changes to the location of the platters relative to the heads will almost certainly render the drive dead. 

Online wraper

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Re: Replacing the ROM chip on a hard drive PCB
« Reply #18 on: February 04, 2016, 05:01:06 pm »
If you van find a identical disk, replace the platters? If the head didn't scratch the platter your should be able to read it (i think).
There is one problem. You won't be able to replace the platters at home in a way that HDD will work after that.
 

Offline mich41

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Re: Replacing the ROM chip on a hard drive PCB
« Reply #19 on: February 04, 2016, 10:32:18 pm »
True. The platters have to be perfectly centered and aligned with each other.

Anybody who thinks about tinkering with HDD platters may want to watch this:

« Last Edit: February 04, 2016, 10:34:59 pm by mich41 »
 

Offline Alexei.Polkhanov

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Re: Replacing the ROM chip on a hard drive PCB
« Reply #20 on: February 04, 2016, 11:02:19 pm »
You can fix your hard drive in moderately equipped home lab. There are plenty videos on Youtube with people showing how to do that. I found that it is challenge to keep the dust out - baby air humidifier set to Max helps a lot if your lab is a small room.

Don't forget to reinstall the NSA firmware patch back to a disk OS when you fix the plates and replace the controller board  :D

http://www.kaspersky.com/about/news/virus/2015/equation-group-the-crown-creator-of-cyber-espionage
 

Offline nidlaX

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Re: Replacing the ROM chip on a hard drive PCB
« Reply #21 on: February 04, 2016, 11:25:33 pm »
If you dropped your hard drive and you care about the data onboard, you should have immediately stopped using it and considered either sending it to a professional recovery service or following a tutorial to DIY it.
 

Offline RobII

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Re: Replacing the ROM chip on a hard drive PCB
« Reply #22 on: February 05, 2016, 01:27:32 am »
That "beeping" noise is the head arm actuator trying to move. Ive heard it many times. Like others have said, could be misaligned platters or the head arm is damaged. Either way, its toast.

Sent from my GT-P5210 using Tapatalk

 

Offline pBoev

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Re: Replacing the ROM chip on a hard drive PCB
« Reply #23 on: February 05, 2016, 10:10:46 am »
Sigh, I was hoping on a more positive outcomes. But anyway, no harm in stop trying. I thought about sending it to a data recovery place but I'm uneasy handing my personal data to someone else. I'm sure they have better things to do than to look through my photos but would rather suck it up than spend my life in paranoia.

The disc doesn't appear on EaseUS partition master which is similar to the tools mentioned earlier. What I still can't figure out is how Windows manages to see the drive and Linux doesn't  :-//

Anyway, something else happened yesterday - I opened the hard drive to have a quick look on the platters and they seem fine or at least no evident scratches or bends. If I power the disc while open the head doesn't move at all and the drive stops spinning after 10 sec or so.  Then starts spinning and stops again. If I secure the metal cover, the head starts clicking again. It's probably a wild guess but could the head driver be overheating and having the metal cover on cools it just enough to power the head?
 

Online free_electron

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Re: Replacing the ROM chip on a hard drive PCB
« Reply #24 on: February 05, 2016, 11:10:45 am »
Dropping the drive probably bent the chassis enough so the cover plate locks up the headstack. The beeping sound is the PWM driving the voice coil trying to move the stack.

it's dead jim. bury it.
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Any comments, or points of view expressed, are my own and not endorsed , induced or compensated by my employer(s).
 


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