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 Post subject: Old 2GB HDD, starts spinning & shuts down, possible DIY fix?
PostPosted: January 9th, 2018, 5:59 
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Joined: November 22nd, 2017, 21:47
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Location: France
Hi,

I have an old 2GB HDD (Seagate ST32122A if that's remotely relevant) that someone let me a long time ago (2007) as it seemed to be in a hopeless state. At the time I repeatedly tried to power it up, but it always showed the same pattern : it would start up normally, I could hear the regular spindle noise, and then it would shut down all of a sudden... then after a few seconds it would start up again... and so on... Sometimes, a rattling sound could be heard briefly, meaning (I guess) that the spindle speed had reached the required threshold for the heads to start moving onto the platters (right ?), but then it would shut down anyway. (Also, at that time, not knowing any better, I tried some foolish things I had found on teh internetz, y'know, putting it in the freezer, bumping it on one edge, the other... very bad, I know, I'm retrospectively ashamed ! :oops: ) I tried it again recently, and it was still exhibiting the exact same pattern. (I could send an audio recording if it can help with the diagnostic.)

– So, what's the likely cause of such a failure ? Can it be caused by head stiction ? Or is it the motor that no longer has enough power for the spindle to reach its full speed ?
– Depending on the likely cause (or causes if several are possible with the same symptoms), can a DIY recovery involving an opening of the case be attempted with good odds of success on such an old model with low density platters ? (Considering that the guy who owned it has long forgotten about it, and even then he sure wouldn't have paid a hefty fee to get a professional recovery ; he told me back then that he had his work from his first years studying informatics engineering in West Africa on it ; and I haven't spoken to him since he left the area. So, if I manage to get it back, he'll probably be happy, if not it won't change anything.)


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 Post subject: Re: Old 2GB HDD, starts spinning & shuts down, possible DIY
PostPosted: January 9th, 2018, 6:10 
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Joined: May 21st, 2007, 16:10
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Location: Gothenburg/ Sweden
Hi, if it's spinning it's not sticktion...most probably head failure.

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 Post subject: Re: Old 2GB HDD, starts spinning & shuts down, possible DIY
PostPosted: January 9th, 2018, 13:10 
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Joined: December 12th, 2017, 4:27
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Location: Poland, Warsaw
If the hdd is old - remove an electronic board and clean all connection. Be careful and do not break any tape.
I would start from this

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 Post subject: Re: Old 2GB HDD, starts spinning & shuts down, possible DIY
PostPosted: January 9th, 2018, 16:46 
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Joined: December 19th, 2006, 8:49
Posts: 9981
Location: Portugal
- ST32122A is a Seagate Medalist ! I do have some of those very old Medalist drives. One good thing, they do have terminal port !!!

http://www.hddoracle.com/viewtopic.php?f=83&t=1073

- If you plug the drive by TTL what is the output of the terminal ?

- Please post a sound clip. Is the drive making head sound ? Meaning are the heads moving at all ? DO NOT OPEN THE DRIVE IN CLEAR AIR. By heads moving i mean sound !!!! Can you ear clicking of the heads hitting the limiter ? Again DON'T OPEN THE DRIVE !

- If heads were stuck the motor wouldn't spin at all. If the motor doesn't hit full speed heads will not leave the parking zone (or they shouldn't). There should be errors on terminal that will help you out ! Maybe the drive can't read firmware and shuts itself down ? If so the heads should calibrate, attempt to read (without strong "clonk" sound or click sound or whatever). Heads must go to the correct place on platter (track) and not go up untill the end of the platter because they can't find servo. If they go to the end they will hit the limiter and you will ear a caracteristic sound.

- You would need some donnors for that drive assuming you are going to do a head stack replacement and finding a drive so old like that will most likely be expensive .... Then you need to practice .... Then you need the clean enviroment that you can get and forget about bathroom full of vapor of hot water .... you do have some chances if you work in a place that doesn't have many dust particles but it's still risky.

I was able to retrieve data from up to 80 GB drives (2.5 ones) by opening them up on clear air in the past so .... a 2 GB Medalist shouldn't be that impossible at all but ..... PRACTICE FIRST .... WITH DONNOR DRIVES.

Get several of those Medalist drives and swap heads on open air. Then do a full mhdd scan on those drives ..... Can you still access the data ? If NOT forget about opening the drive you want to recover .....

This assuming faulty heads of course but you have to start by a TTL log so that you are sure that the problem is indeed heads.

You don't want to swap heads or open the drive if the problem is for example firmware related or PCB related.

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 Post subject: Re: Old 2GB HDD, starts spinning & shuts down, possible DIY
PostPosted: January 9th, 2018, 21:01 
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Joined: November 22nd, 2017, 21:47
Posts: 166
Location: France
Quote:
- ST32122A is a Seagate Medalist ! I do have some of those very old Medalist drives. One good thing, they do have terminal port !!!
http://www.hddoracle.com/viewtopic.php?f=83&t=1073
- If you plug the drive by TTL what is the output of the terminal ?

OK, so I would have to get one of those adapters first. They're cheap, and apparently very useful for diagnostic purposes. One particular model / source (seller) you'd recommand ?
And what is physically the terminal port on that range of models ? I only see the IDE connector, the power connector, and the jumper connector in between.

Quote:
Please post a sound clip. Is the drive making head sound ? Meaning are the heads moving at all ? DO NOT OPEN THE DRIVE IN CLEAR AIR. By heads moving i mean sound !!!! Can you ear clicking of the heads hitting the limiter ? Again DON'T OPEN THE DRIVE !

See attachment. Or here : https://www.cjoint.com/c/HAkaGkXQ5p7
As I said, there is a slight rattling sound, I couldn't say for sure if it corresponds to a movement of the head stack. No distinct clicking.

Quote:
If heads were stuck the motor wouldn't spin at all. If the motor doesn't hit full speed heads will not leave the parking zone (or they shouldn't). There should be errors on terminal that will help you out ! Maybe the drive can't read firmware and shuts itself down ? If so the heads should calibrate, attempt to read (without strong "clonk" sound or click sound or whatever). Heads must go to the correct place on platter (track) and not go up untill the end of the platter because they can't find servo. If they go to the end they will hit the limiter and you will [h]ear a caracteristic sound.

Is the firmware located on the platters, or on the PCB ? Aren't there calibration informations in the firmware, or are these two completely distinct things ?

Quote:
You would need some donnors for that drive assuming you are going to do a head stack replacement and finding a drive so old like that will most likely be expensive .... Then you need to practice .... Then you need the clean enviroment that you can get and forget about bathroom full of vapor of hot water .... you do have some chances if you work in a place that doesn't have many dust particles but it's still risky.

Would you be almost certain that it requires a head stack replacement, from the informations I provided and the audio sample ?
It could be expensive if buying from a parts seller, but I could be lucky and find one in classified ads for very cheap... (Haven't searched yet.) Anyway, it would be interesting from an educational point of view, if I manage to get it done for up to 50 Euros it'll be worth it (and he'll probably be happy to cover the expenses if I can do a full recovery of his younger self's memory – assuming that he's still alive :shock: ).
Are there cases where it's the motor itself that's faulty ? I can see a slight bump on the base of the casing, where the motor spindle is located.

Quote:
Get several of those Medalist drives and swap heads on open air. Then do a full mhdd scan on those drives ..... Can you still access the data ? If NOT forget about opening the drive you want to recover ..... This assuming faulty heads of course but you have to start by a TTL log so that you are sure that the problem is indeed heads. You don't want to swap heads or open the drive if the problem is for example firmware related or PCB related.

Alright. So first get a TTL adaptor, and attempt to properly diagnose the issue.


Quote:
If the hdd is old - remove an electronic board and clean all connection. Be careful and do not break any tape.
I would start from this

Could be an issue indeed, especially considering that the HDD was used in Africa, hot weather and whatnot. I'll try but with rather little hope it'll be enough.


Attachments:
File comment: ST32122A recording with Yamaha C24
20180110_0111.zip [860.61 KiB]
Downloaded 67 times
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 Post subject: Re: Old 2GB HDD, starts spinning & shuts down, possible DIY
PostPosted: January 10th, 2018, 16:34 
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Joined: December 19th, 2006, 8:49
Posts: 9981
Location: Portugal
- You can buy TTL adaptor from ebay. If you want a com port one you can buy from the provided site - http://www.hddoracle.com/viewtopic.php?f=46&t=192#p855

- For Seagate you should connect the TTL like this - http://www.hddoracle.com/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=193#p1394 - Same goes for Medalist.

- You can use TTL with Samsung, Quantum, Toshiba and to do some operations on WD as well. You connect on diferent places for difernt drives.

- For Seagate / Medalist you plug the TTL on the jumpers block.

- For the sound i don't think it's bad heads. Heads don't click as they hit the limiter, instead they calibrate correctly, read firmware and the drive shuts down. If this were a WD drive with WDC MCU I would be certain that this would be a firmware problem (translator). The idea that i get from the sound is that the drive reads bad firmware and re-starts but i might be wrong. I don't have huge experience with those VERY OLD Medalist drives.

- That sound (rattling) is normal on those very old drives when the heads calibrate ok and start to read.

- I would start by checking TTL log. At this point there are several possibilities but with bad heads / pre-amp normaly those drives just click non-stop with strong "clunk" sounds of the heads movind to the end of the platter space and hitting the limiter and they don't stop at each attempt. Only mre recent models will click 11 times and completly stop the spindle. The fact that it "reads" and stops and then starts again i would say that it's firmware related, maybe bad S.M.A.R.T. or G-List but it's just a big guessing.

- Firmware is located on the platters (majority of code and defect list, translator, S.M.A.R.T., etc) and the PCB contains code as well so that the drive will spin and read the code on platters. So we can say that firmware is stored on both. SA modules / CPs / whatever normaly are the info you get from platters and on PCB there are what we call ROM or NVRAM depending on the model.

- Modern Seagate F3 ARCH drives (starting from 7200.11 and above) will have UNIQUE adaptive information on PCB ROM so a direct PCB swap doesn't work. For older models - 7200.10 and below those "adaptives" are stored on the platters and are read once the drive starts spinning so you can replace the PCB as long as the ROM version of the new PCB is the same as the one on the old PCB. If you did never update drive firmware you can replace the PCB for a PCB of another drive with the same FW version (check drive stickers). This of course assuming you don't have tools to write ROM.

- For the info you provided i would say that most likely it's firmware related and it could be PCB related as well. I would say there are chances for heads problems but that would be the last on my list for the sound of the drive.

- There are cases where the spindle is faulty as well, so this is also a possibility but it sounds that is spinning and it shuts down / re-start when it reads something. Stuck spindle wouldn't spin at all. Normaly damaged spindle will be stuck.

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 Post subject: Re: Old 2GB HDD, starts spinning & shuts down, possible DIY
PostPosted: January 13th, 2018, 19:58 
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Joined: June 8th, 2006, 19:44
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Location: Atlanta, GA
This is a case where inspection of the heads and media would be especially enlightening for differential diagnosis. In a clean rom environment, with proper tools and experience, of course . . .

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 Post subject: Re: Old 2GB HDD, starts spinning & shuts down, possible DIY
PostPosted: January 14th, 2018, 6:00 
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Joined: August 15th, 2006, 3:01
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Location: CDRLabs @ Chandigarh [ India ]
jono-ats wrote:
This is a case where inspection of the heads and media would be especially enlightening for differential diagnosis. In a clean rom environment, with proper tools and experience, of course . . .


Well,
Cleaning These Heads Should Be Good Enough If They Are Too Old And Not Bent / Broken

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