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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?

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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!

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  • 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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