Is it the PCB or the heads?

Jan 29, 2019
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My 2.5" HGST hard drive is malfunctioning.

I have the majority of stuff backed up but there are still one or two non essential things I would like to rescue. It was beeping so I opened it up (yes I know dust etc you don't have to tell me I've wrecked the drive) to check were the heads stuck on the platter, they weren't, the drive spins and head moves up and down but doesn't seem to read anything .

Does anyone have an idea, is this the PCB or the heads? I have a donor drive, should I try replacing the head first? I don't solder so I'd have to get someone to change the bios chip on the PCB for me
 

Darkbreeze

Titan
Moderator
Well, apparently you DON'T know, as you put it, so I'm going to tell you again because it doesn't matter whether it's the board or the heads, or the platters, or your girlfriend's shoestring, because you're not going to fix it unless you have brand new components and a clean room, and even then, there would be very little chance of getting your data back.

I've seen about twenty people, fairly intelligent folks, not just some rooty poot flash in the pan dodo head, try replacing the boards in their drives. Not one has resulted in a resurrected drive. In fact, I personally have seen a great many people try this here, and none, not one, has ever been successful. I'm sure that you believe you'll be the first, and possibly there have been others, but in all the other threads I've read and all the ones I've participated in, even where people went to some pretty crazy extremes to try and replicate a clean room, they have never ever ever had any success.

It's not like, say, soldering new capacitors on a power board to resurrect a tv. This is a completely different ballgame and there are only a very few players allowed to use the equipment.
 
@darkbreeze, the OP is aware that a straight board swap will not work. That's why she said that she would need to find someone to transfer the "bios chip".

@maryminihan, the fact that the drive spins up and loads heads would suggest that the PCB is most probably OK.


"Adaptives" -- why a straight PCB swap doesn't work in modern hard drives:
http://www.hddoracle.com/viewtopic.php?f=56&t=2600&p=19090#p19090

The hard drive -- a computer-within-a-computer:
http://www.hddoracle.com/viewtopic.php?f=56&t=2600&p=19090#p19087
 

Darkbreeze

Titan
Moderator
All of which makes it more expensive than simply replacing the drive, especially if, as she said, the remaining data isn't critical. Getting two more pics of your kids (Yeah, yeah, it was just an example) when got 48 of them already doesn't seem like something you'd want to spend a lot of time and money doing, if you could even find somebody willing and capable of doing it. If it was something irreplaceable or mission critical, it MIGHT be different.
 
Jan 29, 2019
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Thank you for actually answering the question and not just calling me an idiot for even attempting it! You were right, it wasn't the PCB, I went ahead and did the head swap and was able to get the data off it.

In case anyone else is wondering if their PCB is the problem, I read a way to maybe get an idea online (I tried it with a known good board and bad board and it works) is to take the PCB off the hard drive and plug it in to your sata disk reader if there is any recognition of it in any form on device manager in windows, its probably not the PCB
 

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