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WD External Hard Drive-No power

This is a discussion on WD External Hard Drive-No power within the Hard Drive Support forums, part of the Tech Support Forum category. My Western Digital external Hard drive 80 gig USB 2.0 lost power, I need the files on the drive. The

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Old 02-02-2009, 10:24 AM   #1
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My Western Digital external Hard drive 80 gig USB 2.0 lost power, I need the files on the drive. The story of how it happened follows after the three things I would like help with:

a) [File Recovery] I am unemployed and need the backup files to do my taxes (old tax form saved on HD) and cannot afford to call repairman

b) [Power Supply Resolution] find a way to turn on External Hard drive again because as I said unemployed and can't afford buying new External Hard drive.

c) [Avoid Complications] avoid using my computer that requires opening it up in any way because it is on the edge of not working itself and I really can't afford to buy a new one or lose the one I currently have. The only other computer I have is a new compaq that is under warranty and is owned by a Non for profit I help run so I cannot even begin to touch it

I am a near expert at software resolution but only a mild hand at hardware resolution (can replace ram, add video and sound cards) which is why I want to avoid opening the computer in case I fumble

How it happened:
Recently while trying to reestablish a connection after moving computer to new room, I connected the WD External HD to the surge protector when a power surge from unknown source (probably WD drive) went through and shut down battery backup/surge protection, from the wd drive I heard one loud click as if a fuse had popped. After checking everything and insuring that the battery backup and surge protection functions were up to par (including calling company), I tried plugging the WD in and discovered that it would not take power, thinking that maybe it may be a cord problem I bought a universal and found that it still had the same issue, no power. I believe whatever I did may have fried the hard drives power coupling but I did not hear any problems from the drive itself (it's old but only recently used Out of Box as a replacement to a much older external Hard drive)

Thanks Q
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Old 02-02-2009, 12:59 PM   #2
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It may be a gamble as the surge that fried the power for the External drive may have damaged the drive itself as well but there are 2 options that I can think of.

1. Buy another External Hard Drive enclose with power supply and move the drive from the old enclosure and place it in the new.

2. This option is free if it an EIDE drive if its SATA you may have to get an additional SATA cable. Remove the drive from the existing enclose and place it directly into your machine as a secondary drive as long the drive is the same type (EIDE or SATA) as the one in your machine this should work without an issue. This is pretty much as easy as installing RAM, Video Cards, Etc.

Both of those are assuming that the drive is not fried as well.
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Old 02-02-2009, 01:02 PM   #3
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OK basically to answer your questions, not likely to get a resolution with out opening the computer as well as the external case. Based on your description, there are two possibilities,
1) a fuse or protection in the external drives power supply circuit. There may or may not be one.
2) The TVS ( transient voltage surpressor diode ) on the PCB of the hard drive itself inside the external case.
In either case, you will have to open the external case to get the HD out. The TVS will be a diode located near the power connector. if you heard a pop, and it was the TVS it will probably be obviously damaged by the overvoltage. If you identify the blown TVS, then you can remove the TVS from teh board with a soldering iron and solder wick. This will allow the drive to function BUT IT SHOULD ONLY BE USED TO RECOVER YOUR DATA TO ANOTHER DRIVE in this state! Once you remove the TVS there is no longer any protection on that line ( there are two TVS one for 5 v one for 12 v ) and the next surge will hit the more complex and expensive components.
Now it could be a fuse or TVS on the extrnal housings board too, but my experience is it is usually the TVS on the drive. You won't hear naything from the drive except the pop of the TVS, when the TVS clamps or does it's thing to protect from the overvoltage, it will show a short in both directions using a VOM.
Once you have the drive itself physically functioning, you will need to connect it to the PC, which will mean opening it to recover the files you need, and you will need another drive to recover those too. Recovering to the same drive could overwrite data you want to recover; destroying that data. If you can find a comparable TVS based on teh numbers on the diode, then you could replace the TVS and the drive should be protected, but even tho the TVS did it's job, the preamp or other circuits could have been hit with some overvoltage and may eventually fail.
Wish there was an easy fix for this, but unfortunately there isn't a magic software bullet...
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Old 06-19-2009, 08:59 PM   #4
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Thanks guys found an online solution wanted to try it and my computer died before could. Apparently the battery was bad on the motherboard. Fixed that situation now back to the hard drive problem will pop her open and try to connect her to computer. Thanks
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