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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
model: ST9250827AS

I was downloading torrents over wifi on my notebook computer and it slipped out of my clumsy hands. The battery was knocked out of the unit from the 3-4 foot fall when the laptop crashed on the hard floor. Fortunatly the motherboard wasn't damaged but now the hard drive makes a wierd phaser noise similar to this video: YouTube - Weird Hard Drive Noise.

My seagate drive has 2 platters, the r/w heads are stuck on the center of the platters instead of on the landing zone. I attempted gently turning the platters but it appears if I use additional pressure that the head on the top platter will tear off.

Essential it looks and sounds very much like this video (before he rips the head off) YouTube - Laptop hard drive stuck heads to patter - but I want to avoid doing what this guy did. Possibly I will have no choice but replace the heads from a donor drive but I can't speak from experience. I will post a video shortly, I'm just clearing old footage off my camcorder so I can shoot the video. Any advice is appreciated (that doesn't involve spending hundreds of $$$$ for someone else with experience to do it) Thanks.
 

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Most likely, you will destroy any chance of recovery, this is a very common problem with these drives when dropped. We have about a 50% success ration in freeing the heads. Also understand, the drive will not be useable even if you do succeed in the recovery. You ware probably talking somewhere around 200 - 275 for the donor drive. I just ordered an 80 GB WD 2.5 and it was $160.00. When turning the platters, turn ONLY in the direction the armature points, or you will rip the heads off. You must apply even stedy force and a very slight side pressure to the heads in the direction of the parking track. Do not stop spinning the drive until the heads are parked.
Good luck
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I'm prepared to accept that I've already lost everything on this drive and am just making a last ditch attempt to save the data prior to disposing of it. Having the funds to pay a professional is unfortunately not an option for me but I hope to learn something trying this on my own following sound advice.

Since we had a huge thunderstorm last night I waited until this morning to continue trying this. Thanks to your guidance and after a lot of time and patience last night I was eventually able to free the heads and get them into the parking track. I didn't bother making a video of that process since it looked exactly like the 2nd video I posted above (I just didn't use a screw driver to pry it off or leave a scrape/head stuck on the platter like above) As far as I can tell there is no visual signs of damage to the platter or heads.

The first time I attempted powering the drive up via a USB enclosure the controller was detecting by windows and it showed ST9250827AS but it didn't go much further than that, made a non standard noise and it couldn't read the data drive. I decided to stop at that point last night because of the thunderstorm and fear of causing further damage.

This morning I tried plugging it in again but the usb controller wasn't detecting and the actuator arm wasn't making the same movements and sounds as it was last night. This is what it looks like now:

YouTube - HDD after freeing stuck r/w heads

My guess is there was some damage done to the heads even though I can't see it and and I'll need to swap them from a donor drive. I don't have access to pc3000 or other diagnostic hardware though. What are your thoughts raptor_pa?
 

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It appears the heads are not returning correctly, this drive also appears to have aparking ramp, rather than using the inside track as a parking track on the surface. Witht he cover off, you may not have enough of an air bearing created to float the heads, or to release the parking lock of the drive. Spin the platters and move the heads gently onto the parking ramp. Replace the cover and try. It looks like that bridge board should unplug and expose standard SATA ports so you could connect to a desktop. It may be not enough current available via the USB to un.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Sorry I didn't include a clip of the heads returning correctly. I've made a new video that shows the heads returning correctly to the parking ramp (which I incorrectly referred to as the landing zone earlier). It also shows me powering the drive with the cover both on and off, pcb facing up and down as well as cover open connected to both usb and sata interfaces.

Excessive stiction can cause physical damage to the platter and slider or spindle motor.

YouTube - more of the same
 

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OK don't spin that one up again. sounds like you definitely have a head dragging. head swap may work, but I wouldn't hold my breath on this one. The momentus drives pretty much self destruct when dropped. The one we had in the shop wasn't a stiction issue when we opened it this afternoon, heads were on the ramp and moving freely. Next step would be a set of heads. Match the model, firmware and country of origin...
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I was pretty sure that sound was something dragging along the platter that's not visible on the surface. I remember reading about matching that info somewhere.

So I'm looking for this info for a head donor:

Model: ST9250827AS
Firmware: 3.AAA
Country of Origin: Product of China (or am I looking for close to Date: 08333, Site: WU?)

anything else relevant to matching heads?

I was looking at these for a donor. (but the model is ending in 315AS instead of 827AS) Otherwise I found these identical ones. Will have to inquire about matching other info.
 

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Site WU
Close to the date is preferred, but not as critical on Seagate's. The first three of the serial is good, but again not a deal breaker, I usually call three or four vendors and see who has the best match if I don't have it in stock
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Original Seagate Momentus 5400.4 250GB
Model: ST9250827AS
Firmware: 3.AAA
Site: WU
Serial: 5RG0KKXR

Before I purchase a brand new drive, I have another one here out of warranty on the shelf that's a Seagate Momentus 5400.3 120GB
Model: ST9120933AS
Firmware: 3.ALD
Site: WU
Serial: 5MA20BAM

Is there any way I can tell if it's got 2 platters and will work or would it just be a waste of time and better off getting the exact match?
 

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You'll need an exact match on the Seagate. Also, keep in mind, you will be buying a used drive as a donor. A new drive, no way to tell what the match is like.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Just out of curiousity, approximately how many drives do you have in stock at a data recovery place? I've got about 25 3.5" sata drives (various makes/models/sizes) and 25 3.5" pata drives (various makes/models/sizes) and 8 or so 2.5" drives (sata & pata) and a stack of 1.8" ipod drives. I don't even do data recovery so I imagine you must have tons.
 

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We have a group here that does asset management, including end of lifecycle replacement and data destruction. So on a given day we can have several hundred to a couple thousand drives in stock. Of course it's rare the one I'm looking for is there LOL - Murphy's law.
 

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Seagate Momentus 5400RPM SATA III 2.5' ST9160314AS
I want to replace the patter of another drive (read/write head damage) into a functional one.
If I _expertly_ disassemble the drive and remove the platter, is it technically possible to replace this platter into a new drive? I have determined a procedure to remove the platter, causing as little movement to the head, and have repeated this several times so that I could do this with a functional drive with greater accuracy. Before I apply more resources into this option I would like to confirm that platter swapping is first possible, even if the success factor is low.
Would a different sized platter on a drive, say from 250GB to 160GB, be acceptable (no since in obtaining the same size if a smaller one works) as long as the platter sizes are the same?

Also, is the side the platter is installed (top/bottom) relevant? The data is written from the bottom of the platter or above? Is cleaning the platter from finger prints with moisture and a clean soft cloth, maybe not recommend, but detrimental or beneficial in any way?
 
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