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Hard drive repair (longish)

Discussion in 'Electronic Repair' started by PlainBill, Mar 25, 2005.

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  1. Asimov

    Asimov Guest

    "PlainBill" bravely wrote to "All" (26 Mar 05 09:05:55)
    --- on the heady topic of "Re: Hard drive repair (longish)"

    Pl> From: PlainBill <>
    Pl> Xref: aeinews

    Pl> The new drive (and the old hda with the new
    Pl> electronics board) spins up as soon as power is applied. The old
    Pl> drive, (and the new hda with the old electronics board) won't spin up
    Pl> under any circumstances.

    I'd bet the motor controller/driver IC is the culprit and not the data
    detection circuits! Perhaps you could try to swap a new motor IC onto
    the old board if you are equiped to desolder surface mount IC's?


    .... Integrated Circuit (n): a device used to protect fuses.

  2. I didn't write this, JURB did.
  3. JOHN D

    JOHN D Guest

    If only you still had the negatives.
  4. Me

    Me Guest

    Hi PlainBill,
    There have been many excellent posts in this thread,
    and after a few days of thought, I would like to toss out a so called
    "Hail Mary" pass... You did say the HDD spins up with the new, albiet
    incorrect control board. Perhaps, just perhaps, this problem can be
    solved with a software solution. What I am talking about is to install
    the HDD in a machine with a CDR Burner on the second IDE Channel, and
    with the HDD on the first IDE channel. I then purpose booting from a
    Symantec Ghost 2003 (or later) boot disk, which should recognize the
    HDD (hopefully) and if it does, choose to dump the HDD to the
    destination CDR Burner. If you are sucessfull with this, then
    presuming you have the full version of Ghost, install Ghost with Ghost
    Explorer onto a good machine. Then, you could take the CD Ghost image,
    and with Ghost Explorer open up the Ghost Image, and, with the
    Explorer View, choose all of the folders you wish to save, and dump
    them to a folder of your choice on your Hard Disk.. Anyway, I have
    saved a few peoples disk information with this process, however, I can
    only in theory guess this might work for you.. In years past, I have
    tried many of the things the above posters have tried, with basically
    the same results. The only thing I may take exception to is last year,
    just for fun, I took apart a 2.1 GIG WD HDD, and left the top off, and
    not only put fingerprints all over it, gently tweaking the pickup arm,
    then using windex and a soft cloth then to clean the disk surface, the
    darn thing kept running for days with the top off, sitting on the
    bench, with no data loss or corruption. I certainly don't live in a
    clean room, but the darn thing still works fine to this day.. I tried
    to break it just for fun, and found it just wasn't as "fragile" as
    most people claim HDDs are.. Anyway, My two cents worth, hopefully,
    Ghost will work for ya! Best Luck! Anthony, Cleveland, OH.
  5. Ray

    Ray Guest

    Hi there.

    What does the bios report for the name of the drive on boot. The drive may
    have gone into "safe mode". You can check this by googling the the drive
    info reported by the bios. Check any articles that include the word "Ace".
    Apparently, only part of the data needed to access the drive information is
    in the firmware - the other part is on the storage platters. If there is a
    discrepancy, the drive kicks into safe mode and your data appears gone. The
    only way to recover the data is to edit and rematch the data in the two

  6. PlainBill

    PlainBill Guest

    I'd like to thank everyone who made a suggestion, and give a status
    update on this. First of all, if you made a suggestion; thanks. For
    the record, setting a drive limit jumper does not help.

    Through a little chicanery I obtained a second DiamondMax 10 200 Gig
    hard drive. Unfortunately, that also was the same firmware as the
    replacement. So I started to do some research.

    Surprisingly, there are only 5 ICs on this drive. There is a L7250E
    motor / voice coil controller, which is quite well documemted, and
    does not have any memory. There is a 40003 IC, which I have not been
    able to find any solid data, but did find a siggestion that it might
    be a pwm encoder / decoder (possibly r/w data?). There is a
    K4S641632H 8 Mbyte memory chip - obviously buffer memory. There is
    the 25VF010 1 Mbit serial flash memory. And lastly, we have an Agere
    040116600; which would have to be the controller.

    As the next experiment, I swapped boards between the two working
    drives; a quick test seems to indicate there is no HDA specific
    information on the board.

    I compared all the numbers on each IC with it's equivalent part on the
    other boards. In all cases, each number was either identical on all
    three ICs (part number, revision level, etc) or different on all three
    ICs (date of manufacture, lot number, etc).

    The conclusion: The flash memory does NOT contain a map of bad
    sectors. The firmware is either in the flash menory, or in the main
    controller IC. For my next experiment I will try swapping this
    between two boards with DIFFERENT firmware.

  7. This makes no sense. Flash memory is memory, and is bound to be
    where the map of sectors is. Because this is drive specific, it is
    in changeable memory. There would be no difference visually between
    the boards because the part numbers would not change for the
    differing bad sectors.

  8. PlainBill

    PlainBill Guest

    Think about it: A 200 Gig drive has 280 MILLION sectors of 512 bytes
    each. If only .1 % were bad, that is still 280,000 bad sectors (most
    drives had far more than .1% bad sectors). Please describe the
    algorithm that would allow placing such a map of bad sectors into a
    128 Kbyte memory. It is far, far, more likely that the bad sector map
    is on the platters themselves.

    On the other hand, 128 Kbytes of firmware would seem much more
    reasonable especially if the processor itself has a block of bootstrap

  9. Ken Weitzel

    Ken Weitzel Guest

    Hi Plain (may I call you that? :) :)

    Sorry to hear you haven't quite got your pics back; glad to
    hear that you're still trying and learning...

    Another idea to perhaps rescue your pics if I may?

    If you can now easily get the drive to spin up, but bios
    still won't recognize it, how about opening it via api calls
    as a device? I think a few hex editors are capable of doing
    this for you, I know that WinHex will. (Use the tools, disk
    editor option rather than Open; then choose the phyical device
    rather than the logical device option [the logical device
    won't even appear])

    At this point it should be relatively easy to search for
    pic headers (and footers); then simply write them to some
    imaginary filename on a good drive.

    Course it could be a *lot* of work going through 120 gigs,
    but if your grand daugher and her pics are as important to
    you and her family as mine are to us, then....

    Hope that helps, and as an aside... thank you. Kinda like
    taunting you about locking the barn door, but your plight
    has caused us to start burning and snail mailing pics on CD's
    between family members far more often. (my kids live in
    different cities) Darn, CD's are virtually free; so is postage,
    so well worth it for the duplicity and off-site advantages.
    Thanks again! Now praying for your success! :)

    Take care.

  10. PlainBill

    PlainBill Guest


    Thanks for the advice; it might yet come to that. I believe Linux
    might be an ideal OS for this - and give me the incentive to learn a
    LOT about it.

    At this point I have several alternatives. I've been practicing my
    rework technique on a spare card, and chipquik makes removing 8 pin
    SMT chips a snap; once I demonstrate I can swap a pair of chips twice
    without damaging anything, I will be ready to do it for real.

    Two other alternatives also present themselves: Several vendors
    claim to have the 6B200R0 drives available. Locally, several retailers
    carry the drive in the internal kit, I believe I've 'cracked' the
    labling and may be able to identify if the drive in the kit is a
    6B200R0 (B4GBA firmware), or a 6B200P0 (B2GBA firmware). Lastly, ads
    for the Maxtor drives appear to indicate the 6B200R0 drive is
    optimized for multimedia; I just might try to get Maxtor to send me
    the correct replacement.

  11. James Sweet

    James Sweet Guest

    Have you tried any of the off the shelf data recovery programs yet? There's
    a few of them that even let you download a somewhat functional demo to see
    if it sees anything off your drive.
  12. Guest

    I have done this before and it can work slowly, but well. If the drive
    is recognized by your BIOS, this may work. This is the same idea as
    using Ghost to take an image of the drive and then look at the image on
    another computer.

    Under Linux (and most Unixes), almost all the devices in the system are
    represented by special files in the /dev directory. Typically, the
    first primary partition on your first IDE hard drive is /dev/hda1 , the
    second primary partition is /dev/hda2 , etc. The entire disk as a
    string of bytes can be accessed through /dev/hda , which works even if
    you don't have a partition table on it.

    If the data of interest has a published file format (which is true for
    JPEG, TIFF, PNG, and GIF - probably the types of the pictures of interest),
    you can write a program to open the file that represents the whole hard
    drive and scan through it looking for the headers of files you are
    interested in. Most of these file types have headers of a defined
    length and either store the overall length data in the file or indicate
    the end of data with a unique marker, so you can also find the end of
    each file. You then copy each file to another drive. As Ken said, you
    will lose the original filename doing this, but that is easy to fix. If
    the pictures are straight from a digital camera in JPEG/EXIF format, and
    the date and time on the camera were set correctly, the date, time, and
    other info like flash and shutter speed are stored inside the JPEG file
    by the camera. Thse can be viewed with standard tools and may help you
    to decide when the pictures were taken, so you can decide what to rename
    the files to.

    I would suggest Knoppix ( ) as a good way to try
    this with Linux. Knoppix is a complete Linux system that runs from a
    bootable CD; it doesn't require any installation on your hard disk at
    all. You can download it for free and burn it to CD. Here is how I
    would proceed:

    - Decide what PC you are going to use. Make the Knoppix CD, then boot
    it on this PC, making sure it works reasonably well. It deals well
    with most newer PCs (less than 3 or 4 years old); it might not have
    the right drivers for all the hardware in older PCs. If the sound
    card doesn't work, who cares, but if it can't see the CD or the hard
    disk, you might have trouble.

    - Power down and attach your broken disk to this PC. Make sure the
    master/slave jumpers are set correctly.

    - I would recommend having a place to put a copy of the broken drive.
    This isn't strictly necessary - you can work directly from the broken
    drive - but it's better to work from a copy. The obvious answer is
    the original hard drive for that PC, but I have had mixed luck with
    the support in Knoppix for writing to NTFS drives. FAT32 drives work
    better. If you have a working disk at least as big as your broken
    disk, the simplest thing is probably to format the working disk as
    FAT32 and attach it to the PC as well.

    - Boot up Knoppix. Figure out where your hard drives are. There will
    probably be an icon on the desktop for your non-broken drives, but
    your broken drive may not show up.

    - Assuming your broken drive came up as hdb, do something like this to
    figure out if you're going to have any luck at all:

    grep 'JFIF' /dev/hdb # for regular JPEG files, or
    grep 'Exif' /dev/hdb # for digital-camera JPEG files, or
    grep 'GIF' /dev/hdb # for GIF files

    It may take a little while, depending on where the first picture is
    on the disk. If it comes back and says 'Binary file /dev/hdb matches',
    then there is hope.

    If you are going to make a copy of the broken drive:

    - Assuming that your recovery drive came up as hdc1 , do something like
    this to take a complete copy of your broken drive. This is similar to
    what programs like Norton Ghost do. This step may take a few hours:

    mount /dev/hdc1 /mnt/hdc1 # make recovery drive available to system
    # copy entire contents of hdb to "whole-drive.bin" in the root of hdc1,
    # ignoring any read errors:
    dd if=/dev/hdb of=/mnt/hdc1/whole-drive.bin conv=noerror

    - Power down and disconnect your broken drive. You'll use the copy you
    made on the recovery drive from now on. Go on to the next step,
    writing a program.

    If you are NOT going to make a copy of the broken drive:

    - You need to write a program to scan through the broken drive (or the
    copy of it) and extract the pictures of interest. This can be in
    anything you know and have a compiler for; if you want to do it on
    the Knoppix system, I know it comes with C and Perl at least. If you
    have a compiler for Windows, and you made a copy of the broken drive,
    you can attach the recovery drive to a Windows system and recover the
    files there.

    - When I have done this, I have it name the output files with a serial
    number: 00000000.jpg, 00000001.jpg, etc. These numbers will be
    assigned in the order that the pictures are found on the disk. You'll
    also need to turn on whatever support your compiler has for files bigger
    than 2 or 4 GB, since the copy of the broken drive will be bigger than
    that. The program will look something like this:

    open whole-drive.bin or /dev/hdb

    while not end-of-file:
    advance one byte
    found image file header?
    yes: read file length if it's in the header
    while not file length or file footer
    copy byte to output file
    advance one byte
    end while
    close output file
    no: proceed
    end while

    close input file

    - If you're going to recover files on the Knoppix system, you'll need a
    place to put the recovered files. If the recovery drive still has
    lots of space free (or at least as much space as you think the
    pictures will take), it can be a good spot. Another option would be
    to recover some files to the RAM disk that Knoppix sets up, then FTP
    them to another computer. I believe Knoppix includes CD-recording
    software, so you could also burn the recovered files to CD, if you
    have at least one CD-ROM and one CD-R drive. (The Knoppix CD has to
    stay in the CD drive while you're running the system.) Or, if you
    have a USB drive, you could recover files to that, possibly dumping
    them on another computer if the USB drive is small.

    - Anyway, write your program, fire it up, and let it extract a few
    images. Look at them in an image viewer program (several to choose
    from on Knoppix or Windows) and debug as required. When you're
    happy, fire it up again and let it sit. It'll take on the order of a
    few hours to chug through the whole drive.

    - When you're done, power down. If you recovered files to a drive,
    attach it to your daily driver and copy the files to its hard disk, or
    CD, or whatever. Use your favorite image viewer to look at the files
    and rename them to something sensible.
    Yeah, they put plastic over the platters so your pictures and movies
    don't get thumb prints on them. :) All this probably means is that the
    on-drive buffer is bigger, so it's not a very big deal if you can't get
    the "correct" drive.

    Matt Roberds
  13. PlainBill

    PlainBill Guest

    Well, it's time to bring this long, sad story to an end. I've given
    up and returned the original drive to Maxtor. For anyone who wonders,
    Maxtor will NOT attempt to repair a drive.

    I obtained a fourth drive, with firmware identical to the original.
    Much to my dismay, ALL controllers reported the original hda as a 250
    Gig (not 200). All working controllers reported all hdas correctly,
    and would read a partition table and data correctly on them.

    The only possible conclusion was that when the original controller
    died, it altered something on theplatters, rendering parts of it
    unreadable. An attempt to do a byte by byte read of the original
    drive failed, several recovery utilities failed to find a usable
    partition table.

  14. James Sweet

    James Sweet Guest

    Bummer. Well it's possible that the motor bearings were binding and not
    allowing the drive to fully spin up, might be why the original motor driver
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