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IS it possible to replace circuits on a hard drive board?

Discussion in 'Electronic Repair' started by David D, May 20, 2007.

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  1. David D

    David D Guest

    Ok, I have a major dilemma here. My seagate SATA hard drive's circuit
    board is toast. There is a black burn mark on it.
    So, I did what anyone would do when they panic, I called DATA RECOVERY
    and of course, it is going to be $450.00+ to recover, plus the cost of
    a hard drive.
    So, now being a person that doesn't have that kind of money lying
    around and very much needing the data on the drive, I unscrewed the
    circuit board and found that it is only burned on the top part - not
    underneath and it looks like it is ok on the actual hard drive part -
    no burn or blemishes. Is it possible to change the circuits, if I can
    get another one for the board and it will be ok?
  2. Since the drive is relatively new, it should be pretty easy to locate
    an exact duplicate. I have not seen the drive in question, but I expect
    that the connections from the drive to the controler board (which is
    what is toast) are removable. If that is the case, then you can remove
    and unplug it from another drive and install it on your drive.

    If you are lucky whatever burnt was not caused by a problem with the drive
    part, and it will work.

    As for replacing individual components, it's possible, but the work
    need to remove and replace the surface mount components is considerable
    for someone who does not have the proper equipment and skills. You may
    also need a custom component that is available only from Seagate if at

    It sounds to me by the way you asked the question you do not have
    the skill to remove and replace the controller board. IMHO since you
    want the data on the drive, it would be better to find someone who will
    do it for you, then "learn it by doing".

    Good luck.

  3. In the long run it would be easier just to recover your data off of
    the backup CDs.
  4. bz

    bz Guest

    Yes, IF it is the same model *exactly*.
    If not, it probably will not work.
    Maybe. Maybe not. Only one way to find out.

    There is a company in canada that does 'hard drive repair' for a flat rate,
    depending on the model of the hard drive and its symptoms.

    They will replace the electronics and recover your data and send you the
    fixed hard drive with the data on it.

    Don't remember their name but google on 'hard drive repair' 'flat rate'
    'canada' and you should find them.

    If worse comes to worse, there are some nice strong magnets in the drive. I
    like to salvage the magnets. BE CAREFUL, they are strong enough to 'bite'
    if you get a thin piece of yourself caught between a couple of them.


    please pardon my infinite ignorance, the set-of-things-I-do-not-know is an
    infinite set.

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  5. Marra

    Marra Guest

    Why on earth didnt you back things up ?

    I keep my data on 2 hard drives, a flash drive and on DVD's too.
    I never throw old DVD's away just in case, they are all dated for

    I always unplug the flash drive when not in use in case the PC PSU
    goes and fries all the drives.
  6. Franc Zabkar

    Franc Zabkar Guest

    If the burn mark corresponds to a motor driver IC, then a replacement
    board may suffer the same fate, assuming the motor is shorted.

    Otherwise I'd be worried about SMART and bad block data. If these data
    are stored in an EEPROM, then a board swap may be tricky.

    - Franc Zabkar
  7. People are forever looking for certain types of drives to do this
    sort of repair, but we rarely hear much about their success.

    Last year, someone asked here, and actually continued in the thread,
    and his results were not successful. The thing that hadn't been thought
    about was that the board as unique to the drive. It had an eeprom to
    store information about bad sectors, and drive a that went bad would
    not have the same combination of bad sectors that drive B supplying
    the replacement board had.

    The scheme of replacing boards might have worked twenty years ago,
    when every hard drive came with a chart on it listing bad sectors
    from the factory, and you'd have to include that information when
    getting the drive going. But, it's been a long time since drives
    were so raw. Now, the actual controller is on board the drive,
    and the bad sectors are locked out from the factory.

    I suspect the matter of replacing hard drive boards has become
    mostly an "urban legend" at this point, people seeking exact
    drives for replacement boards because they have seen people
    doing this already, and they are desperate for some solution
    to recover the data on the drive that should have been backed
    up long before the problem. But just because people seek
    drives with the same board does not mean they are actually
    successful (in finding matching drives, or in getting the bad
    drive to work again).

  8. Terry

    Terry Guest

    Learn a hard lesson and back up your dataa in the future.

  9. Clint Sharp

    Clint Sharp Guest

    Umm, no, not urban legend, it can work, I have done it successfully
    three or four times now. I have also had it fail more times but I
    suspect that's because the drive mech itself was toast. Never guaranteed
    to work and I'm always pleasantly surprised when it works. As for
    backups, people should know better, one person I tried to help with data
    recovery (it went to a lab in the end) lost their job over the lack of a
    backup and it was only good luck that the affair didn't make the
    I have recovered data but have never relied on the failed drive again so
    I don't know if it was a long term fix or not, they've always been
    clearly marked as not to be used with permanent marker.
  10. Gary Tait

    Gary Tait Guest

    (Michael Black) wrote in
    It works for me.

    I have two nearly identical WD drives (the only difference is one is 40GB,
    the other 80), one with a blown motor driver chip on its board. I can move
    the one good board between the drives with no ill efffect to either drive,
    other than I can only use one at a time.

    FWIW, the Drives are WD400AW-0DDK1 and a WD800AW-0DDK1, from the perfomer
    line (from my TiVos)
  11. Meat Plow

    Meat Plow Guest

    I did it years ago with a couple Connor RLL drives that weren't identical
    but had the same electronics.

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  12. Andy Cuffe

    Andy Cuffe Guest

    If the board is the only problem, then it might work. Some drives
    will tolerate a board swap, but others won't. There's no way to know
    until you try it. The good news is that it won't damage anything
    unless the old drive caused the board to fail. Both drives must be
    exactly the same model (even identical looking boards from different
    drives won't work).
    Andy Cuffe

  13. David D

    David D Guest

    Yes, right now I am trying to find not only the exact drive (easy),
    but the exact firmware and P/N as well...easier said than done.
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