I just installed two Seagate Ironwulf NAS harddisks of 4 TB in an Icy Box enclosure, Raid 1 set-up. I've setup a single partition using parted, and set up an ext4 filesystem. It's connected to a Raspberry Pi 4 running Raspberry Pi OS.

As soon as I mount the drive/partition, I hear the drive spin up as expected, and then a sound like a heartbeat can be heard - like the head is moving two times per second. I can share a recording if that would help.

This happens both when mounting manually via sudo mount -t ext4 /dev/sdb1 /mnt/IcyBox and when automounting. This 'heartbeat' stops as soon as I unmount the drive. It seems I can successfully write to the drive - the heartbeat continues.

Now, since I'm just mounting the drive, and no programme supposedly is using it, is there a way to find out why the drive is spinning? And/Or would such a heartbeat sound be normal behaviour?


It would be useful to know more exactly the behaviour of your noticed "heartbeat" noise. Are you sure it is not the "normal" click sound of modern harddisks, doing a head park every 6 to 30 seconds (increasing S.M.A.R.T. value "LCC" - load cycle count)? LCC can be avoided for a longer HDD life by installing some tool or batch. Did you made all possible checks of the drives without using anything between (icy box, etc)? Another thing: Large modern drives use SMR (shingled magnetic recording) - if you only write little data, the drive can be busy for a very long time and several restarts (and won´t have a long life btw.). Some options you have to checkout - give more data about your problem!

  • Allright, while I don't have any way to check the drives without anything in between, I connected the IcyBox to my Ubuntu laptop, and after some initial activity it gets quiet. No heartbeat sound. So it definitively is something in Raspberry Pi OS. Here's the sound: cloud.koenglotzbach.nl/s/YY5ADtHdSsQD2J4 This doesn't sound like every 6-30 seconds, so probably not LCC?
    – Koen
    Aug 28 '20 at 8:21

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