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I have a 1.5TB Seagate 7200.11 that died. The platter still spins up initially when attached to a machine, but then the drive clicks and spins down. Then the cycle repeats. I've found a few sites that sell replacement PCBs, however I don't know if the PCB is the issue, or something else. Given the symptoms above, is it at all likely that a PCB replacement would help? If not, I won't waste my money on the PCB replacement.


Note: I put the drive in an external ESATA controller and tried hooking it up to a Linux box here at work and got some error messages in the logs. I can post them if anyone thinks it will help in determining whether a PCB swap would fix the problem I'm running into.

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6 Answers 6

up vote 7 down vote accepted

First, lots of Seagate 7200.11 drives were affected by a firmware problem, which results in drive being inaccessible. This specific problem can be solved by a firmware flash, which can be done using a special cable & adapter, but it is not for the faint of heart. If you have this specific problem, you might try fixing it yourself, or maybe RMA disk to Seagate.

Second, generally speaking replacement of PCB board is possible, but complicated. You need to reflash the firmware, copy data from old PCB to the new one, PCB must be from the same model and series, etc:

Firmware is unique to the PCB this controls calibration and track information so it is very rare to be able to interchange the same model PCB with one that has another firmware revision.

My advise is: if your data on that disk is worth more than several thousand dollars, it is worth going to a professional data recovery company. If not, then messing with the PCB replacement will most probably not be successful.

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If you need to get some data off the disk really badly, then you could try the PCB replacement. If not, I would say that it's not worth it and you should just replace the drive.

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My understanding is that the answer is "no". The hard disk controller is more than just a controller, it keeps track of SMART, bad sectors, and other stuff that I couldn't get a hardware recovery company to reveal ("that is our IP").

So putting another PCB on a drive only works in a small percentage of cases - and that is even if you can get hold of the exact same controller with ideally the same firmware revision.

The clicking sound is ominous, and I take it to indicate a mechanical issue of some kind. I think you may have to just accept the loss.

If you have another drive that is the same model, you could try the pcb swap if you are happy to sacrifice the other drive (again, just my understanding, but it seems that you can mess with the controller swapping it to another drive to the point that it may well not work if you put it back on the old drive).

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Replacement the PCB will not solve the problem below:

  1. The drive will power up normally (no ticking noises, errors etc) but will not be recognized by the computer.
  2. The drive will power up normally and be recognized correctly but will report a size of 0 bytes.
  3. The drive will power up but report SMART errors on boot

I am very lucky, I successfully fixed my wd drive by a pcb replacement. swaped the BIOS, and the drive is restored. you can search the seagate barracuda 7200.11 pcb here on their site: http://www.hddzone.com/seagate-barracuda-720011-pcb-c-8.html They are trusted.

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Rather than going for a complex fix, that might require a lot of effort, you might want to try simpler solutions first

You said it spins then ticks and then its done for, right? Well, sounds to me the disc was thrown off balance or there is dust particles in it. For real, I'm being serious.

Before you do anything, tap it with slight pressure a couple of times on each side and swallow all your spit (to ensure you do not make it worse by spitting on it) and gently blow on it. It sounds odd but I have brought back several things from the grave, and one of Apples documented ways of fixing " hitting it hard on the back right side", so its not unprecedented

If it still doesn't work connect it to your computer as a secondary / storage drive and boot into your os that you have on another drive (not the broken one) and in sessions copy your data off the broken disk. Doing it this way improves the chance of a successful data extraction as the drive does not take as much power nor spins as fast. Avoid xcopy and robocopy or equivalent as that will spin your disk harder than you want, and try to go into the disk then using right-click copy/paste or its equivalent instead.

Your way though, honestly, with consideration to money, time, and labor, you ought just get a ssd instead... But just try what I am saying because it is already busted so if I am wrong you are out nothing if i am right!

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I'd disagree with getting an SSD as a solution, and the other things seem somewhat plausible, though i'd suggest them as a last resort. I've heard of freezing as another last resort method, but your mileage may vary on this –  Journeyman Geek Jun 4 '12 at 10:53

In reply to Journeyman Geek; I actually was able to recover my data several years ago on a 2.5" IDE HDD by placing it into an anti-static bag and put it in the freezer for 2 hours. Since this was a last resort, I didn't care if it got damaged, but it worked. I recovered about 100 GB of data this way. Sounds unbelievable, but I saved my valuable data at the time. I suppose lowering the temperature shrink the platters or affect the electronic components in some way.

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I can vouch for this method. However consider it the last method to try because this is not healthy for the disk in any way. Also, when the disk get hot again the effect will wear off so decide what you want to get out of the disk if it works before taking it out of the freezer. You will probably not be able to take out everything that is on the disk before the effect dissappears. –  Mogget Dec 31 '13 at 20:05

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