[SOLVED] Know if external hard drive dead?

Dec 17, 2019
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I'm an assistant editor and today one of our 10 TB G-Drives stopped working. Light turns on but disk does not spin, not readable by computers. I happened to have an OWC bare drive dock in the office, so I disassembled the G-drive and mounted it in the dock via SATA. As soon as I connected the drive, I got this pop-up: "The disk you inserted was not readable by this computer." In Disk Utility, the drive shows up as "ASMT109x- Config Media" with a 104.9 MB capacity, SATA connection. This is obviously not the 10 TB volume that I'm trying to access.

DiskWarrior was not helpful, and I'm currently doing a scan with Disk Drill Pro.

Any hunches about whether I need to, for instance, replace the PCB? I've mounted bare SATA drives before, but that's the most "advanced" stuff I've done with hard drives.

Mac OS 10.14.4
G-Drive 0G05016
Western Digital P/N: 0F27452
MDL: HUH721010ALE600
 

rforce

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Nov 26, 2007
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The drive does not have custom firmware, but the USB bridge might do the sector size adjustment on the fly. But, that would result in the drive showing 1/8 the capacity and not the 104.9MB that is showing. That suggests that the drive itself has failed and/or is failing.

Don't go back to the manufacturer, unless you are only looking to get it replaced under warranty. They will not assist with the recovery of your files.

If you value your data, seek the assistance of a professional data recovery lab. But, be prepared for it to be quite expensive, if the heads need to be replaced. Your drive model (HUH721010ALE600) is a helium filled drive and not even supported by the majority of professional labs.
 

hang-the-9

Titan
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Mar 25, 2010
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The drive may have custom firmware to work with the dock it has, drive may have built in encryption or some other firmware tricks it does to enable the computer to read large disks. You are better off contacting the vendor support for it if you want to recover files from it than trying to mess with it yourself.
 

rforce

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Nov 26, 2007
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The drive does not have custom firmware, but the USB bridge might do the sector size adjustment on the fly. But, that would result in the drive showing 1/8 the capacity and not the 104.9MB that is showing. That suggests that the drive itself has failed and/or is failing.

Don't go back to the manufacturer, unless you are only looking to get it replaced under warranty. They will not assist with the recovery of your files.

If you value your data, seek the assistance of a professional data recovery lab. But, be prepared for it to be quite expensive, if the heads need to be replaced. Your drive model (HUH721010ALE600) is a helium filled drive and not even supported by the majority of professional labs.
 
The fact that the drive doesn't spin usually points to a PCB fault. Alternatively, it could be a stiction fault (heads stuck to platters). Can you hear any faint noises if you place the powered drive close to your ear?

Another possibility is that the helium may have leaked out. Some models won't spin if the helium sensor detects a leak.

If the PCB is faulty, there may be a simple, zero-cost DIY fix. Can you show us a photo of the component side of the PCB?

BTW, was the external drive overvolted with the wrong adapter. People sometimes mistakenly use a 19V laptop adapter. This usually results in a damaged TVS diode and fuse.

One other thing to check is whether 3.3V is present in the SATA power cable/connector. If so, then some drives will see this as a power disable signal.

If it turns out to be a PCB fault, then the worse case scenario is a replacement PCB and firmware transfer for US$50 or thereabouts.
 

popatim

Titan
Moderator
If it spins in the OWC dock then it isn't likely to be a TVS diode issue but probably an issue with the G-drive enclosures interface board imo.

If it's not spinning, then the 149MB space which could be the read cache on the drive.

Best bet is to mount it within a PC to ensure there is no 3.3v going to the sata power connector (using an adapter cable as needed) and verify it's spins and see if it is now detected properly.
 

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