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Hard drive failure

I have a Freecom 500 Gb USB drive that has failed. There is no activity of any hdd activity, even though the power light shines. If I managed to buy another drive and swop the new circuit board over onto the faulty drive, do you think it may solve the problem?

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Re: Hard drive failure

If the board is the problem, perhaps. But often a drive failure is a head crash, in which case only data recovery services can help. Before you take apart the drive itself, make sure it is not a simpler problem-- one inside the enclosure.

There are a couple different possibilities here. 1) The hard drive has died. 2) The power supply for the external enclosure has died. 3) The controller circuitry for the enclosure has died. To determine what is the problem, you'll probably need to open the enclosure. Chances are, if the power light comes on, the power supply is working in some capacity.
Disconnect the drive's USB cable from the computer, and turn off the drive, usually with a small switch on the rear.
Now, place the drive flat against your head so that you can listen to the inside. Do not make any sudden moves at this point, shake the drive, drop it, etc. As the drive turns on, it is susceptible to damage.
Turn on the drive and listen for a "whirring" sound that indicates the drive is spinning up. After the initial spin up, it will become quieter. Make note of what you hear, and turn the drive off-- put it down after a few moments, giving the drive time to spin down again. A drive that is powered up can be damaged by handling it roughly.
If you did not hear the drive spin up, proceed with opening the enclosure.
If you heard it whine as it spun up, the problem is more likely with the cable you use to connect it, or the drivers/hardware in the system. Replace the USB cable. Uninstall your USB interface/hub inside the Devices control panel and Scan for Hardware Changes-- this may reload corrupted USB drivers.

Opening the Enclosure - First unplug the drive.
Open the case. Generally this is by removing two or more small phillips head screws on the back or bottom, sometimes they are covered by rubber feet
The outer shell will often pull off of or slide away from an inside chassis.
Carefully open the enclosure, taking care not to disturb cables. You should immediately see a fuse on the power supply you can check for replacement.
At this point you should also check to make sure the ribbon cable and power leads are firmly in place.
On the PCB (printed circuit board) look for burned or scorched areas, bulging or split capacitors (small, colored "can" looking components soldered on)-- also, is there a burnt smell?
If the fuse was blown, see if replacing it solves the problem. If the power connector and/or ribbon cable were not inserted fully, or were loose, unplugging them and then re-inserting them firmly may solve the problem.
If there are bulging capacitors, a smell, or discoloration, the power supply may be bad. Replacement enclosures can be purchased online for under $30. Be sure to get the right size (5.25" or 2.5" drive?) and interface (IDE or SATA).
If none have these have helped, the drive indeed may be bad. Many drives like these are under warranty. Look for the manufacturer's name and website on the drive. Most makers will have warranty information displayed prominently on their support page. They will often allow you to enter the drives' serial number to determine if it is under warranty, in which case they will issue an RMA (Return Merchandise Authorization) for repair or replacement.
If the drive is not under warranty, you can still purchase a "bare" OEM drive of similar capacity for around $110, and replace it yourself. Take care to purchase the right type of drive -- most are IDE but some are SATA. A wide ribbon cable means IDE. Simply make note of how it is installed in the enclosure (usually a couple screws) and mount the new one the same way. Close up the case and re-connect it to your PC.

Posted on Nov 09, 2007

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Re: Hard drive failure

Open the case and you will find a standard ATA or SATA drive with a SATA to ATA converter. Most likely the converter has gone bad. You can buy a external converter(IDE to USB) from the market (I have one without a casing which converts 3.5 and 2.5 to USB and I got it for $10) connect the converter to the drive and it will work. You will be able to recover your data.

Hope it helps

Posted on Nov 09, 2007

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