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Barracuda 7200.11 500GB Drive Failure

This is a discussion on Barracuda 7200.11 500GB Drive Failure within the Hard Drive Support forums, part of the Tech Support Forum category. Hi, Drive Details Seagate Barracuda 500GB ST3500820AS (see attached PDF) Was part of Seagate FreeAgent external drive Symptoms Drive ceased


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Old 09-28-2009, 05:20 AM   #1
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Hi,

Drive Details
Seagate Barracuda 500GB ST3500820AS (see attached PDF)
Was part of Seagate FreeAgent external drive

Symptoms
Drive ceased working without warning
Drive does not spin up but makes intermittant "humming" noise
Drive is not recognized as a USB device

Analysis to Date
I have removed the USB to SATA interface and connected directly to a PC. Same symptoms and drive is not recognised by BIOS when PC is booted.

I removed and examined both sides of the PCB on the drive - there are no visible signs of damage.

I have also inspected the platters. The drive is definitely not spinning. The head is not parked but is over the platter. There is no visible damage to the platter surface (at least not the top platter) that would indicate a head crash.

The drive was sitting on a desk when it failed. It has never fallen over or been subjected to impact forces etc.

I checked the drive on the Seagate website - it does not seem to be a firmware issue.

I have performed detailed Google search for similar problems reported. It seems that the 500GB FreeAgent has experienced lots of problems but I cannot find any that match the symptoms I am seeing. In most cases it seems to be the result of an inadequate enclosure with poor ventilation which results in overheating and damage to the PCB. Usually the drive is reported to be spinning.

Question
I am now considering sourcing another drive, changing the PCB and swapping in the original ROM. However, I am unsure whether this is a PCB problem or a motor problem.

Based on the above information is it likely that this is a PCB problem or a motor/spindle problem? It would help to know before investing time & effort replacing the PCB. If it helps I can post a recording of sound that the drive makes.

Many thanks.

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Old 09-28-2009, 05:23 AM   #2
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PDF now attached.
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File Type: pdf ST3500820AS.pdf (28.2 KB, 154 views)

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Old 09-28-2009, 06:54 AM   #3
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A recording would be great, if it is a humming, and not spinning up, then likely it is the spindle motor/bearing has seized. When you say you inspected the platters, do you mean you opened the drive? Hopefully that was in a clean room. If you opened it and powered it, did the platters try to spin up at all.....
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Old 09-28-2009, 08:32 AM   #4
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Thanks for quick reply.

Am aware of the inherent dangers of opening drive in non-clean room environment but I had to know whether there was a head crash and the general condition of the platters. As the platters were not spinning there was very little movement/circulation of air and the open time was very brief.

Platters do not spin nor even given the impression that they are trying to spin.

I will post recording later today.
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Old 09-28-2009, 01:42 PM   #5
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Apologies for the poor quality but the sound from the disk drive is actually quite low. The static (white) noise that you hear is from the microphone itself which is not very high quality. However, the recording is fairly faithful reproduction of the sound that the drive makes when connected.

Note it only makes this sound when both the power and data connections are in place.

Converted to RAR archive because TechSupportForum would not accept an mp3.
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File Type: rar Disk Drive Hum.rar (230.6 KB, 88 views)
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Old 09-30-2009, 02:43 AM   #6
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Would you prefer the sound files in a different format?
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Old 09-30-2009, 04:17 AM   #7
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No just got a chance to listen to it, that sounds like spindle. If it is the PCB you rarely get the sound since the drive usually doesn't even try to spin up. Could also be caused by stiction of the heads, tho that is a rarer case today it still happens. That being said, yes it COULD still be a PCB issue, but if I had this one in the lab I would be taking it to the clean room since it is unlikely to be PCB and more likely internal.
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Old 09-30-2009, 11:21 AM   #8
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Many thanks for taking the trouble to look this for me - I really appreciate it. I looked long and hard on the internet for information but found nothing even closely resembling this forum! It really does live up to it's "Tech Support" name.

Once again many thanks.
Conor.
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Old 11-19-2009, 06:26 AM   #9
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Hello Conor,

My drive does not work since yesterday. I first noticed that I could not access the drive in Windows. It could still see the drive letter but I got some error message when trying to access. I rebooted but then the harddrive did not start again. I hear the same sound that you recorded on your file and I suspect that I have same problem that you had.

My drive is a Seagate Barracude 7200.11 1TB (ST3100340AS).

Firmware is SD15.

I just wonder if you were able to recover the data in some way from your damaged drive? How did you do it?

I have not yet opened my drive and I guess I should try to avoid it even if Im tempted to open it and see if I can do something.

BR,
Daniel
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Old 12-30-2009, 04:56 PM   #10
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Hi Conoro, Raptor & Daniel and first of all thanks for sharing this information,

My hard drive (Seagate Barracuda 7200.11) just stopped a week ago and I'm not able to make it go again. I thought it'd be interesting also to share this information on this post and see how your experiences have gone so far to see if you were finally able to recover your information. As in the case of Conor it has never been subject to forces or fallen over.

I just happen to have the same HD, exactly the same code ref ST350082AS (as shown in the previous pdf), but different Firmware SD25 in my case (conor's case SD81). I checked the Website of Seagate for an update of the firmware and seems there is nothing for ST350082AS with SD25.

In my case the noise is a bit different and it seems that the motor works ok, there is no extrange noise I'd say. It starts and it looks like it's going to start but windows explorer doesn't recognize the USB connection. Even I bougth an iomega prestige 500Gb (I thought exactly the same... but as I explain later below it was just similar) and both make exactly the same noise... so I'd say everything is OK in terms on noise.

I bougth myself a new HD as I thought that with a HD exactly the same it'd be just a matter of changing the PCB (hoping the physical internal components were OK). Well... I quickly discovered when opening the new HD to try replacing the old board for a new one that these are different models with different refs, and firmware and even different physical dimensions.

So back again to the starting point.

I have tried finding the PCB model through the Internet but don't seem to find a place where you could get those components separatly.
I have also thought I could get another HD exactly the same with the same refs, firmware etc ... I just wouldn't know how or where to start my search with this specific requirements and if that's possible.

So, basically would any of you know how to proceed to find a exactly similar PCB?. I'm almost sure the prob is in the electronics, so I need to find a new PCB and try recovering all the info ... just don't know where to get this.

Many thanks in advance to all of you,

PS:I attach images of my HD, PCB etc in the next post
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Old 12-30-2009, 05:06 PM   #11
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These are pics showing the front a back apearence of the HD.
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Old 12-30-2009, 05:07 PM   #12
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Ref of PCB
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Old 12-30-2009, 06:07 PM   #13
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As a general rule, if the drive spins up on Seagates it is an outside chance that a PCB swap will solve the issue. First thing to do is get the USB board off the drive and get it attached to a SATA port directly in a desktop, this will eliminate the translation of the USB interface and the USB ports themselves as potential problems.
You will probably not be able to buy a PCB alone for this drive - there are some companies out of Asia that sell PCBs, the problem is there is no way to verify teh board you get is any good if the parent drive didn't come with it. You always want to be able to test the donor drive for functionality before harvesting it for parts - otherwise if it fails you always have the nagging question - was it any good.
Now as far as matching the board. On Seagate for board swap you must match model number, firmware, site code. Seagate uses a date code, if you google seagate date code, you will find on line apps to translate this into a readable date you want to get as close as possible on the date, usually within a couple of months. If you can match the first three of the serial number, this is even better, but not an absolute, the others are.
Now as to the chances of success - probably a bit better than 50% but not a lot , and here's why. Certain parameters of the drive are specific to each individual drive, based on tolerances and individual differences in the manufacturing process. Almost all platters have defects, these defects are remapped to good spare sectors and stored in the drives p-table, if the service area of the drive, the area which contains a lot of the boot code, cannot be located at the desired normal location, this area is moved and the new location is in the part of the firmware stored in the ROM/NVRam chip on the PCB. There are a lot of other 'adaptive' parameters that are specific to each drive - preamp bias voltages, control voltages for the head angle based on the zone map. A lot of this info is in the rom chip so it is often required to move the rom chip from the patient board to the donor board, or to use special hardware to read the rom and reprogram the donor board's rom.
Now as far as procuring the replacement. Basically you will have to purchase used.
Here is one sorce for PCBs only, but they may not have newer drives...
http://www.hdd-parts.com/
You can try ebay, find a close match on the drive, then contact the seller to make sure other parameters match. Hopefully you get the correct drive from the seller.
You can also try googling "used hard drives" or other keywords, then contact the vendors who have a lot of the parameters already recorded, because they sell to Data Recovery shops. Be aware, you will probably pay considerably more from a vendor for the used drive than you would for a new one. I have ordered 80GB 2.5 inch matched drives that cost $145.00 - 1TB drives can go for 350 - 450 each for a match. EBAY will probably be cheaper, but i have gotten some drives that were not a solid match, even after contacting the seller, and if the info wasn't in the ad, you may have a tough time getting your money back.
So there it is in a nutshell. First thing I would do is get the drive mounted in a desktop, directly to SATA ports and see if the drive is identified correctly by mdel number and capacity in BIOS. If it is ID's correctly, then it is almost definitely NOT a PCB issue, but you can't tell for certain with teh USB connection.
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Old 12-30-2009, 10:26 PM   #14
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Hi Raptor,

Thanks for your response. Seems that I might have to spend more money ! In any case I will keep trying as I have important information in that HD.
I forgot to say this, but I already git the HD mounted in a SATA port in a PC and does not work neither so I will try getting a HD with exactly the same characteristics calling sellers and making as sure as possible the HD matches what I'm looking for.

Thanks again for your response. That was very helpful

Rober
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Old 12-31-2009, 06:24 AM   #15
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Does BIOS show anything for the HD as far as detection? You say the drive does spin up? Just trying to make sure the PCB is a likely failure point. Can you post a clear, closeup pic of the component side of the PCB, particularly the area immediately behind the SATA power adapter, and the area around the Smooth chip? (Should be a square chip with "Smooth" or a big S on it) )
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Old 01-02-2010, 10:46 AM   #16
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Thanks for that. I will take a picture and will post it here. I haven't got the drive with me these days but as soon as I get a chance I will also see if the BIOS detects something. Answering your question the HD does spin up.

BTW - Happy new year all !
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Old 01-24-2010, 02:54 AM   #17
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Hi Raptor,
Here you have more pictures of the HD as requested. I hope they are better than the other ones. Not sure if I’m taking pics right and if it can be seen the area you would like to see closer (the area immediately behind the SATA power adapter). I wasn’t able to find any Smooth chip. Maybe you mean I should detach the PCB from the HD and take a picture of the other face?
Thanks in any case.

PS: more pictures attached in next message/s.
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Old 01-24-2010, 02:56 AM   #18
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pictures I
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Old 01-24-2010, 02:57 AM   #19
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pictures II
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Old 01-24-2010, 02:58 AM   #20
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pictures III
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