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 Post subject: WDC SATA disc failed at new owner's site
PostPosted: July 31st, 2015, 12:12 
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Joined: July 31st, 2015, 11:53
Posts: 6
Location: F.Rep.Germ.
Hi!

My 5yo WDC SATA disc failed at its new owner's site.
Then he sent it back and wants that we both pay half of the damage.
When I used it the last time, smartctl did an "extended offline" test, that "completed without error".
Then I put it in one of those silverish bags and stuck it in Amazon's plastic hard disc holders (one for each each end) and put it into a parcel.
After a week the buyer told me, that his first attempt to power it up resulted in an unresponsive computer. The hdd never spun up. Then he undertook several other attempts (including a SATA-USB thingy).

When it came back, I found that it smelled slightly fishy.
Then I loosened the screws of the PCB and found a burn mark on the rubber foam.
And below the foam were some more traces of a short circuit.
And the SMOOTH chip does not look smooth...
I attached some pictures of the part.

Can someone tell me, what caused that damage?

Thx.

Bye
Arne


Attachments:
File comment: sticker on the part
hdd2.jpg
hdd2.jpg [ 97.04 KiB | Viewed 3026 times ]
File comment: exposed layer of the PCB
hdd1.jpg
hdd1.jpg [ 177.72 KiB | Viewed 3026 times ]
File comment: burn marks
hdd0.jpg
hdd0.jpg [ 226.78 KiB | Viewed 3026 times ]
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 Post subject: Re: WDC SATA disc failed at new owner's site
PostPosted: July 31st, 2015, 13:01 
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Joined: November 29th, 2006, 10:08
Posts: 7215
Location: UK
Possibly caused by a suspect PSU in the PC or to the USB adaptor/enclosure.

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 Post subject: Re: WDC SATA disc failed at new owner's site
PostPosted: July 31st, 2015, 13:29 
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Joined: July 31st, 2015, 11:53
Posts: 6
Location: F.Rep.Germ.
pcimage wrote:
Possibly caused by a suspect PSU in the PC or to the USB adaptor/enclosure.

yup... but his other 2 discs survived the first attempt...
-arne


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 Post subject: Re: WDC SATA disc failed at new owner's site
PostPosted: July 31st, 2015, 13:45 
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Joined: November 29th, 2006, 10:08
Posts: 7215
Location: UK
So he says!

Or maybe he's trying to pull a fast one and palm you off with a burned PCB from a failed drive of his, so he can fix his?

Please excuse my cynicism but it comes from 30 years of dealing with lying customers!

Also, what do mean "half of the damage"? He wants half the money back and keep the drive? Or return it to you for a 50% refund?

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 Post subject: Re: WDC SATA disc failed at new owner's site
PostPosted: July 31st, 2015, 15:22 
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Joined: July 31st, 2015, 11:53
Posts: 6
Location: F.Rep.Germ.
pcimage wrote:
So he says! Or maybe he's trying to pull a fast one and palm you off with a burned PCB from a failed drive of his, so he can fix his? Please excuse my cynicism but it comes from 30 years of dealing with lying customers!

I find it weird, too...
He just told me, that he mentioned nothing special coming from the disc, when he tried to spin it up the first time.
Is that possible? I mean: It needs electrical power to cause such burns (it even turned white).
And since I didn't hear anything when I turned it off the last time, then he (or his computer-repair-man, who was also present) should have heard or smelled something.

pcimage wrote:
Also, what do mean "half of the damage"? He wants half the money back and keep the drive? Or return it to you for a 50% refund?

It already came back today. Now he wants half of his money back.

-arne


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 Post subject: Re: WDC SATA disc failed at new owner's site
PostPosted: July 31st, 2015, 16:28 
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Joined: April 3rd, 2011, 0:19
Posts: 1870
Location: Providence, RI
This is why I sell through ebay and not amazon. At least on ebay there's buyer accountability because you, the seller, can leave negative reviews on them too.

Sometimes drives fail like this on their own, but it is often the result of a bad power supply. And, as pcimage mentioned, wouldn't surprise me at all if it's actually just some cheat trying to get a free replacement pcb and give back their already burned one. It's why many sellers now put a tamper evident sticker over one of the screws.

Do you have a picture of both sides of the original drive? To compare the sticker.

If not, perhaps someone with the proper equipment can still verify if the ROM code matches the drive. If not, you know he's a liar.

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 Post subject: Re: WDC SATA disc failed at new owner's site
PostPosted: July 31st, 2015, 16:41 
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Joined: September 8th, 2009, 18:21
Posts: 10949
Location: Australia
The damage is consistent with an overvoltage on the 5V supply. If TVS diode D3 is shorted, then this will prove that the user, or his equipment, was at fault.

Catastrophic failures in Western Digital PCBs:
http://www.hddoracle.com/viewtopic.php? ... 119&p=5033

See my FAQ for measurement/testing instructions:
http://www.users.on.net/~fzabkar/HDD/TVS_diode_FAQ.html

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 Post subject: Re: WDC SATA disc failed at new owner's site
PostPosted: July 31st, 2015, 17:25 
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Joined: July 31st, 2015, 11:53
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Location: F.Rep.Germ.
data-medics wrote:
Do you have a picture of both sides of the original drive? To compare the sticker.

Nope... I thought it would be unnecessary, because legally i do not have to give any money back, because i am not a commercial vendor (i just sell parts, that i do not use anymore, so that i do not have to dispose parts, that still work...)...
But the buyer seems to think, that i could be responsible for the damage...
At the same time the buyer says, that the age of his computer (2008) might be the cause of the damage...

data-medics wrote:
If not, perhaps someone with the proper equipment can still verify if the ROM code matches the drive. If not, you know he's a liar.

That would be cool...

fzabkar wrote:
The damage is consistent with an overvoltage on the 5V supply. If TVS diode D3 is shorted, then this will prove that the user, or his equipment, was at fault.

I attached a picture which shows the points that i tested...
Between A and B i found 0.1Ohms (polarity of the probes did not matter). And between A and C I found 15kR.

But why didn't that also fry the buyer's other discs and his mainboard?
On Wikipedia someone guessed, that it might have been a reversed PATA-to-SATA power plug, before they showed me this site...

Luckily there was no important data left on the device (I cleared every sector, that I could reach, in order to avoid password theft... and there were no reallocated sectors...), so that the damage is relatively low...

-Arne


Attachments:
File comment: resistance measurement
hdd3.jpg
hdd3.jpg [ 68.04 KiB | Viewed 2938 times ]
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 Post subject: Re: WDC SATA disc failed at new owner's site
PostPosted: July 31st, 2015, 18:12 
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Joined: September 8th, 2009, 18:21
Posts: 10949
Location: Australia
The shorted 5V diode proves that the drive was killed by an external event, namely an overvoltage, or reversed polarity, on the 5V input. This can happen if the user replaces the PSU but retains the old PSU's modular cables. These cables do not have standardised pinouts, so it is quite common for 12V to appear on the 5V pins. This also explains why some devices are damaged while others are not.

The date of manufacture on the label is 18 Feb 2010. However the date of manufacture of the PCB is "4609" (near U2 and U5). This codes for week 46 of 2009. That's mid November, a difference of 3 months. I can't see the markings on the Etrontech SDRAM and Marvell MCU, but the SMOOTH chip appears to have been manufactured during week 6 of 2010 (006). That's mid February, so it is consistent with the label. If any of the chips were manufactured after 18 Feb 2010, then that would suggest that the PCB was not original.

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 Post subject: Re: WDC SATA disc failed at new owner's site
PostPosted: August 1st, 2015, 6:09 
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Joined: July 24th, 2015, 1:57
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Location: kenya
i guess power connector attached when PSU was on ! or user attached it reverse Accidentally.Maybe when he attached with PSU on there was loose connector or no parrallel.


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 Post subject: Re: WDC SATA disc failed at new owner's site
PostPosted: August 1st, 2015, 15:30 
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Joined: March 19th, 2015, 15:01
Posts: 1405
Location: isreal
fzabkar wrote:
The date of manufacture on the label is 18 Feb 2010. However the date of manufacture of the PCB is "4609" (near U2 and U5). This codes for week 46 of 2009. That's mid November, a difference of 3 months. I can't see the markings on the Etrontech SDRAM and Marvell MCU, but the SMOOTH chip appears to have been manufactured during week 6 of 2010 (006). That's mid February, so it is consistent with the label. If any of the chips were manufactured after 18 Feb 2010, then that would suggest that the PCB was not original.

Still the best way will be as data-medics suggested by verifying the ROM
data-medics wrote:
If not, perhaps someone with the proper equipment can still verify if the ROM code matches the drive. If not, you know he's a liar.


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 Post subject: Re: WDC SATA disc failed at new owner's site
PostPosted: August 3rd, 2015, 13:52 
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Joined: July 31st, 2015, 11:53
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Location: F.Rep.Germ.
The buyer thinks he did connect the hdd correctly...
WDC strongly recommends not to loosen the screws and thinks, that a blackout could be the cause...
And Amazon thinks, that the hdd is not from WDC, although i bought it from Amazon... :D
-Arne


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 Post subject: Re: WDC SATA disc failed at new owner's site
PostPosted: August 3rd, 2015, 15:57 
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Location: Australia
Riddicc wrote:
The buyer thinks he did connect the hdd correctly...
WDC strongly recommends not to loosen the screws and thinks, that a blackout could be the cause...
And Amazon thinks, that the hdd is not from WDC, although i bought it from Amazon... :D
-Arne

It's not your responsibility, assuming that you did indeed supply a working drive to the customer. That's all you need to know.

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 Post subject: Re: WDC SATA disc failed at new owner's site
PostPosted: August 3rd, 2015, 16:45 
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Joined: July 31st, 2015, 11:53
Posts: 6
Location: F.Rep.Germ.
I zero-ed the disk, then i did that S.M.A.R.T test, then i created a single partition with a FAT fs...
then i powered it down and put it in the box...

powering down is a little bit like a blackout...
but i think that WDC meant something else (maybe a blackout caused by lightning)...
a hard disc should tolerate brownouts and blackouts... :D

-Arne

PS: i do an incremental backup every 5 minutes... :wink:


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