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WD External hard disk failure...

Discussion in 'Electronic Components' started by Jay, Dec 13, 2005.

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  1. Jay

    Jay Guest

    I have a Western Digital 160 GB External USB 2.0 HDD (Model #
    WD1600B008-RNN). It was working well and good and suddenly it stopped
    working when I wasnt around. My brother was using it and he says he may
    have changed the polarity for the DC input. I had a DC adapter which
    can accomodate multiple heads. I changed it to right polarity and
    switched it on.

    When I switch it on, both the green and red lights are always lit, PC
    identifies that there is a USB device connected, but it cannot "see"
    the Ext HDD. Windows Drive Information did not list this drive.
    Normally, the lights are lit and then the red light goes off. Only when
    we start access the disk the red light blink.

    I tried with WD Data Lifeguard Diagnostic for Windows program that lets
    the PC to identify the drives but the drive did not show up. I tested
    the input from power cable and it is working.

    I suspect there is a board failure as the DC polarity was mixed
    up.Since I dont work much on storage hardware, I suspect that there
    should be a control mechanism/fuse which may prevent the board/hard
    drive from being fried.

    So as I read from the group, the next logical thing to do is to open
    the enclosure and connect the drive directly to a PC?? I have a Dell
    700m laptop, so I dont think I can plug it in as a secondary drive.

    What would my options at this point of time?? Please suggest!!
    1. Get another external enclosure
    2. Try IDE-USB adaptor and use it in my laptop itself
    3. Connect the drive to a PC as a secondary drive

    I really appreciate your help on this!

    Thanks very much!!
  2. Paul

    Paul Guest

    It is not good news, I suspect.

    Looking at the back of the enclosure, it uses 12VDC. That same
    12VDC _could_ be connected directly to the controller board
    (current for the motor) on the disk drive, as well as powering
    a converter to make the necessary +5V to power the rest of it.
    That means both the bridge board in the enclosure and the drive
    itself could be damaged.

    When placing an Adaptaplug in an appliance, a smart engineer
    would place a diode, to prevent accidental polarity reversal.
    This kind of plug is really a brain-dead solution, and should
    have stayed at Radio Shack. The plug would be fine if it carried
    raw AC, but polarized DC is just stupid. Any connector with a
    keying mechanism that prevents reversal would be better than
    that. Adaptaplugs tend to make flaky contact after years of use,
    and would not be my first choice as a solution. I have enclosures
    here that have a four pin connector (+5, +12, GND, GND), and it can
    only be plugged one way. That would have been a superior

    Try option (3) from your list first, and see if there is
    any response from the drive. If the drive still works, then
    you can consider (1) or (2).

  3. Yup, sure sounds like he blew it up. Don't do that...
    Those are pretty much your options, other than sending it back to WD
    for service. Even if it is under warranty, and you didn't void the
    warranty by usingthe wrong power adapter connected with the reverse
    polarity, and they do "fix" it, your data will be gone.

    I'd open it up and look for blown-up stuff (traces, components, fuses)
    and then one of the above.
  4. Jay

    Jay Guest

    Ill try that suggestion Paul! I hope option 3 works :(

    And from no on, Im going to build it myself, get a HDD and build an
    enclosure for it!!
  5. Quaoar

    Quaoar Guest

    Keep your brother under control.

  6. kony

    kony Guest

    I'd have to disagree here, a diode is a GREAT idea, far
    superior to a polarized plug. With the polarized plug one
    is forced to use only the mating socket, limiting power
    sources, and limiting viability of the support for reuse
    some day.

    These special plugs and sockets may easily cost more as
    well, more than adding a diode which is a trivial cost.

    So what if the diode drops a few tenths of a volt? "Easy"
    and "Cheap" are not always brain-dead, it's worked well for
    years and would've this time too. This might be more of an
    issue on very low voltage portable battery-powered devices.
  7. Dave Platt

    Dave Platt Guest

    Another protective method is to install a reverse-biased diode
    between the power rail/wire and ground, and place a fuse between the
    power jack and the board. When power is hooked up correctly, there's
    no voltage drop and no loss of power in the diode. If power is
    hooked up in reverse polarity, the diode conducts (hard!) and the fuse
    blows immediately, limiting the amount of reverse voltage applied to
    the circuit to a volt or so for a small number of milliseconds.

    The original poster might check to see if this is what happened to his
    drive (I infer that his drive is a standard parallel-ATA with an
    outboard USB 2.0 adapter-thingie on it?). There might be a blown
    surface-mount fuse, near the power-cable connection point on the
    adapter. If so, simply replacing this fuse might get the adapter and
    drive working again.

    I tend to prefer to use self-resetting polymer "fuses" in this sort of
    application - nothing to replace if the fuse "blows" due to a reverse
    polarity event - but they're more expensive than standard fusible
  8. Another thought would be to try plugging it into a different USB port. If
    you have another working USB device try swapping the drive's USB port with
    the other device.

    The chances are more that the external drive enclosure's USB/IDE interface
    blew but it's worth a try.
  9. Paul

    Paul Guest

    I don't know if I made myself clear enough or not.

    I'm referring to the fact that many companies use the circular
    two contact plugs, and some of them make the center pin (+)
    and some make the center pin (-). That is a recipe for disaster
    if the appliance is not protected with a diode, as the consumer
    can mate any wall wart that even remotely resembles the right one.

    If you go to Radio Shack, there are about 15 different kinds
    of Adaptaplugs. At least a couple of them will fit in holes
    they really shouldn't, which means the size of the plug, doesn't
    provide a means of preventing the wrong things being plugged
    together. And if I want, I can connect a 12V supply from one
    product, into the 7V socket on another product.

    On the "Radio Shack end" of the stuff they sell, there are two
    styles of pins. Some Adaptaplugs have asymmetric pins, which
    prevents installing a Radio Shack adapter on one of their power
    bricks the wrong way. Other kits from Radio Shack have symmetric
    pins, which causes the center conductor of the Adaptaplug to
    be either (+) or (-) without the customer knowing. In fact, for
    some of this style of product I own, I use my multimeter to
    verify the center pin is the right polarity, before each and
    every use of the product.

    Such a connector concept is "for the birds". Each voltage should
    have its own connector style. Each connector should be designed
    so it cannot be reversed. A requirement like that would prevent
    the proliferation of 15 very similar connectors/sockets, and then
    perhaps personal electronics would have fewer operating voltages.

    This is the right way to build a disk enclosure. No mistakes here.
    No brick. Just an AC power cord.

    This is the second best concept. It uses an external brick, but
    the power plug is "DIN-like" and the pattern unique enough that
    there is only one way to connect it. I have seen a similar
    molded 1x4 style plug as well, for disk enclosures.

    This, on the other hand, is the height of absurdity. This is
    fine for hackers, or home rocket-scientists, but for people
    who want their stuff to "just work", what were they thinking ?

  10. Krazy (or hot-melt) glue is your friend for this kind of application,
    if you don't mind dedicating your Adapta power supply to that
    particular application.

    And yeah, there oughta be a standard, but there isn't, which is why I
    label all the wall-warts with the device they belong with...
  11. kony

    kony Guest

    Ah, now I see. Yes that's certainly a problem... think RS
    just went for the lazy generic approach.

    I have a few old SCSI boxes like this, retrofitted one for
    USB2 and while it's definitely built like a tank, it's too
    large for most people's taste, and such a design for a new
    product is probably too expensive to be very competitive in
    the consumer market.
  12. Yes. This is 'historic'. Basically, US, and UK kit will tend to use tip
    +ve, but stuff from Japan, uses tip -ve. Even here there are exceptions
    with companies electing to 'buck the trend'.
    There has been a system offering this for some years. There is a
    'standard' family of connectors, very like the round wall-wart power plug,
    except the centre pin is the other way round. This comes in four or five
    different sizes, and the standard specifies what voltage is associated
    with each plug size. Some kit in recent years (especially things like
    mobile phones), have started using this design. However 90% of kit still
    uses the old style tubular plug, because it is so cheap, and so readily
    Also the cost to make the supply work, and be approved 'worldwide' is
    prohibitive. The advantage of the wall-wart approach, is that from the
    point of view of the company making the kit, it does not have to be
    approved as a 'mains' appliance.

    Best Wishes
  13. kony

    kony Guest


    Typical DC coaxial connector in US has always used center
    positive and sleeve ground. This includes products made in
    Japan. There have been some ill-conceived products using
    reverse polarity but never enough to be anything other than
    a rare annoyance.

    Many of those are used in space-constrained designs, not
    quite what's being faced on the external storage boxes,
    where I'd tend to think the durability of a larger connector
    is better. Voltage - keying mind be a reasonable approach
    when a device does have a specific input requirement but
    many devices today regulate down the voltage further so the
    keying is in itself a potential problem if one loses the
    power supply or it fails, making it possibly much more
    expensive to replace. For example, right now my cable modem
    would run off of any of more than a dozen spare wall-warts I
    have lying around, because it uses a standard connector ...
    but it also has a diode in series on the power so a reversed
    polarity connection wouldn't be problematic.

    I'm not entirely sure about that, generally such devices are
    engineered to the highest common denominator - IE, to pass
    in any country they might be sold in. This only for
    approval, for the voltage differences I suppose in some
    cases it might be cheaper to produce different supply rather
    than one full-range supply.

    This may be the biggest advantage, though I also tend to
    think it's cheaper due to the commodity status of a common
    wall-wart, even switchers these days, rather than having to
    spec and buy or build custom supplies.
  14. Jay

    Jay Guest

    Well, in my case too, the center was positive and the wrap around was
    negative. Actually it wasw my bad to get this, after i lost the OEM
    adapter, I didnt want to spend $25 to get an adapter that just works
    for my External drive and now I'm repenting for it. Its my wal-mart
    mentality bang for the buck kinda thingy that went wrong.

    It does have a fuse right after the power supply get in to the board,
    but I'm not sure whether its blown or not, I alreayd opened the cover
    but I dint have the instruments to check the voltage.

    Another thing is, the lights are lit when I plug in the power source,
    that makes me think that the fuse is fine.

    But anyway, ill remove the drive (its a standard WD Caviar IDE drive)
    and hook it up to a PC.

    Incase that does not work out good, any alternative methods to recover
    the data? As I searched in the news group I see professionals charging
    $100 per gig. :(((
  15. Jay

    Jay Guest

    I did try it in different machines, the USB recognizes it as a mass
    storage device. But I'm getting a code 10, which means the device
    cannot be started.
  16. kony

    kony Guest

    You didn't need to spend $25, only to get one that was
    suitable. For example, you take the output labeling on the
    original and find a close match (if not exactly same)
    voltage and at least as much amperage. If it is a simple
    unregulated transformer type wall-wart rather than a
    switching type, do not overshoot much on the amperage unless
    you're sure the device regulates down the supply further
    since a lightly loaded simple-transformer will have a higher
    voltage in such uses.

    So for example if an original supply had 12V and 800mA
    output, seeking another 12V 750-1000mA rated supply
    (considering switching vs unregulated as mentioned above)
    with the same common polarity and barrel connector would
    work- and can generally be found for anywhere from $1 to $10
    online, a bit more for those outputting multiple voltages.
    If none with a suitable connector can be found, one might
    get a connector from Radio Shack or online separately-
    though too many separate online purchases and you're close
    enough to the $25 mark again as the individual shipping
    charges start to add up.

    I would be hesitant to buy same adapter you already had
    fail, since the failure is an indication this specific
    make/model may be prone to problems for whatever reason.

    Without a multimeter and a bit of troubleshooting skill, you
    are left to swap parts around, trying the drive in another
    system an another drive on that system.

    If it is a fuse on the input, for the entire device, yes it
    would clearly indicate the fuse is not blown. I don't know
    exactly what yours is like though, nor see what you do-
    there are other various reasons for fuses, like a fused
    connection if it has a hub and USB port(s) integral.

    If the drive is damaged it's most likely the circuit board,
    in which case you could try to source another identical
    board and swap them... though I don't know details about
    that model of drive, just how similar any two models have to
    be to find a compatible board, nor which /what PCB markings
    to use to find this.

    Otherwise, if the drive won't work you have no options left
    except the recovery service, or "maybe" trying to reverse
    engineer the PCB/components and find the specific fault, if
    it were only one thing faulty. I glanced at a different
    drive here (maxtor 80GB) and it had a protection diode on
    the power intake, AFAICT, I didn't look really carefully
    onlly long enough to see the diode since it wasn't same
    model and wouldn't be diretly applicable.

    I would suspect at least the USB board in the enclosure is
    fried, but no guess about the drive itself.
  17. Graham W

    Graham W Guest

    A third way to use a diode which is also lossless is to interrupt the
    supply wires inside the equipment with a the contacts of a relay
    and drive the relay coil from the upstream side via a series diode
    arranged in forward conduction polarity from a correctly applied
    supply voltage. If that supply is reverse polarity, the diode doesn't
    conduct and the relay won't close so the equipmemt is protected.

  18. Sjouke Burry

    Sjouke Burry Guest

    In another case somebody suggested getting an identical drive,
    (as you did not mechanically damage the drive),and use its
    electronic board to try and readout this drive.Might not work,
    as the head amplifiers could be inside, but it is less expensive
    then the data recovery service.(even if it costs you a new drive).
  19. kony

    kony Guest

    That would work too, though I tend to believe the most
    predominant issue in these low-cost inclosures is the cost
    to implement any kind of protection, I doubt the budget
    would accomodate any decent relay, especially if they were
    cost constrained so much that they didn't even add a low
    dropout diode alone. We can't even necessarily consider
    the diode a "loss" per se, because if the supply is kept at
    constant voltage and downstream is lower, the downstream
    parts can tend to use less power at this lower voltage... or
    crash if the voltage is TOO low, but given something like a
    schottky you'd be looking at about 2% voltage drop on 12V or
    higher supply which shouldn't be a problem.
  20. Jay

    Jay Guest

    I got a multimeter from work today...checked all the voltages and
    currents, its all perfect, uptill the point where it goes to the HDD :(

    I cannot switch boards as I heard that WD drives have some information
    specific for each drive embedded in those boards, dont know how far its
    true, but i dont want to ruin my changes of recovering the data.

    Ill try mounting this drive thro IDE on a PC and let know how it
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