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Repairing Maxtor hard drive - possible to DIY?

Discussion in 'Electronic Repair' started by GS, Mar 26, 2007.

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  1. GS

    GS Guest

    I have a pile of old drives from some P3's I have just retired, and am
    going through them one by one to make sure there is no data on them I
    need before I reformat them and give them away or use them to back
    images etc. up to. I bought one of those inexpensive external drive bays
    that hook up via USB as its a lot easier than constantly replacing
    drives and rebooting, and it works quite well.

    I have 2 Maxtor Drives, one 20GB and one 40GB - both of them make that
    dreaded "clunking" sound when powered up, but after that it does sound
    like they start to spin, but I'm not 100% sure. Anyway, the laptop I am
    using to read them will not see these disks, not even in the disk
    management module. I was wondering if its possible that there could be
    something obvious I could see if I popped the cover off. I've got the
    external drive bay taken apart so that the drive is just sitting on the
    table, so it is in plain view when I power it up. Can the disk be run
    with the cover off?

    I have some photo's that I can't find that may be on one of these disks,
    but there is nothing on them critical enough that I'd pay money to get
    them recovered, so I really have nothing to lose, and I am curious about
    taking them apart. Is there anything obvious to look for with the cover
    off the drive?

  2. Tim Phipps

    Tim Phipps Guest

    Don't go opening the drives up just yet. There were certain models of
    Maxtor drives that had a firmware corruption problem. The firmware
    would get corrupted and the system would no longer recognise the drive.
    There is a freeware tool that can fix certain models available here.

    Please read the user manual - you will need to jumper the drive to 'safe
    mode' otherwise the repair will not work. I would suggest that you
    should connect the drives directly to a PC and not via a USB enclosure
    as I'm not sure if the repair tool will work that way. I have used this
    on a 20gb Maxtor drive I had a while ago and it seemed to work ok.
  3. GS

    GS Guest

    thanks! I'll give that a whirl first! would that explain the "clunking"
  4. Jeroni Paul

    Jeroni Paul Guest

    The tool from Salvationdata mentioned before will fix the 20 Gb
    models. I've a 40 Gb Maxtor that failed the same way and still found
    no way to repair it. Tried everything I found in it.
    Opening the disk will result in dust stuck between the head and disk
    and there is nothing to repair there.
  5. James Sweet

    James Sweet Guest

    There's nothing you can repair inside the sealed compartment, there's
    some cool magnets and bearings to salvage though.
  6. Tim Phipps

    Tim Phipps Guest

    Hard to say without hearing it myself. The drive I had made an unusual
    noise IIRC but not a loud clunking type of noise.
  7. Guest

    Youre having a problem with the controller, which is the uncovered
    pcb. The sealed up bit is the drive machanics, which
    a) arent the problem
    b) wont survive long once opened, as the average piece of house dust
    will cause a head crash.

  8. Extremely unlikely. In fact, you will kill the drive for certain by
    opening it. Removing the cover on any modern high-density/high-capacity
    hard drive, outside of at least a Class 100 positive-pressure clean-
    room, is a sure recipe for disaster.
    Again: No. Definitely not. Not for more than half a minute or so,
    anyway. There's a reason those drives are sealed so well. At the minimal
    heights those heads fly at, a dust grain that you could barely see with
    the unaided eye looks like a fifty-foot high boulder to the heads.

    Of course, if you want to see the actual physical result of a head
    crash, go right ahead and try operating a drive with the cover off.

    Now, what you CAN try is swapping circuit boards between similar
    drive models. You may or may not end up with a working unit.

    Given that they're Maxtors, though, I'm not sure I'd bother in any

    Happy tweaking.
  9. cmdrdata

    cmdrdata Guest

    You didn't say the drive size, but if they are 3.5" version, I suspect
    that your laptop
    USB port is not able to fully power the HD. USB port I believe can
    only provide
    5V/500mA max, and your drives may need more. I think 3.5" drives need
    5VDC and 12 VDC.

    On the noise issue, I've taken apart a 2.5" drive that no longer
    worked, and with
    the cover opened, while applying 5VDC to the power pins I can see the
    moved into position trying to read data repeatedly for about 20 times,
    then it
    goes to "park" position. The disk, which has lost most of its magnetic
    continue to spin. As mentioned, this drive is toast, since the disk
    itself no
    longer has a magnetic coating in 90% of the surfaces.
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