Question about Hitachi 500GB External USB 2.0 Hard Drive

2 Answers

Hitachi 500GB External- strange tones at startup, won't recognize

I have a Hitachi 500 GB USB 2.0 External.
No problems until now- had the drive hooked up to my XP Pro laptop and I was burning a dvd from files on the drive.
I got up to go in to the other room and tripped over the cable knocking the drive to the floor.
It pulled the power and usb cables out of it and hit kind of hard.
I turned it off, plugged it back in, and fired it up.
The red light comes on and then it make a series of strange tones.
It is unlike any hard drive noise I have head before.
No clicking, buzzing, or grinding-
Just these tones over and over.
I assume it is trying to tell me something, but I've search a few sites and found no info on this.
I made a 15 second clip of the sound-
I have a decent amount of computer experiences, so I'm hoping that something just came unplugged inside the case, but figured I should ask around before I rip it open.
Thanks in advance,
Toad InOhio

PS this thing is full too and I was in the process of backing it up to DVD :(

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  • 4 more comments 
  • Toadinohio May 13, 2008

    Thanks for the fast reply!

    I really do think it's toasted.

    The sound is comming from inside the box-

    I'm sure I'll end up ripping it apart but I'm gonna wait til I have a drive that I can back up the data to in the off chance I do get to recover it.

    Any other input more than welcome.

  • Anonymous Jun 10, 2008

    I have the same exact problem with the same exact noise! Sounds like a
    manufacturing defect if two make the same sound. I'm going to try a new
    case, have you done this and if so what were your results?

  • scalescaro Jun 29, 2008

    I have the same promblem same sound! But does anyone know how to actually fix this promblem?

  • shayky Jul 07, 2008

    Same exact issue as these folks...I WON'T be purchasing another Hitachi. I have the same "sing-song" tones coming from the drive after a 6-7 inch (yes, INCH) drop onto CARPET! Not exactly as robust as my iPod. If anyone has found a solution other than the 300-500 dollar option of shipping it off, please share. I'm sick over this. My next buy will be a more proven brand...and I'll back-up my back-ups I suppose. Sigh...

  • Frank_Castle Jul 11, 2008

    I have the same problem but I need help, see my drive still has the warranty, but I want to crack it open and hook it up as a slave drive to see if the data is still there, but if I do that it will void the warranty. Any ideas/suggestions

  • D-Lane May 11, 2010

    Part Number = H3500U
    FRU Number = 0A35777
    Serial Number = R40T99GH
    Purchased at Best Buy in Grand Rapids Michigan about a year ago.

    Problem Description:
    When turning on the power switch the device emits and repeats a three step tone (melodic) several times with the "Red Circle" Light on.

    Twenty-nine repeats of this 3 note sequence at the initial "pitches" then a pause, one 3 note sequence at a lower pitch, then it repeats the initial pattern (I think is was another 29) then stops.

    I do not hear the drive spin up as I always could in the past total quiet, no drive sound for either spinning or accessing (movement mechanism) sounds.

    The red circle light lights on when the power switch is turned on and remains on constant (no blinking) through the "tone" sequences described above then remains on after the second tone sequence competes and stops with total quiet form the drive. Repeats the same sequence and symptoms at each power on.

    Tried this with and with out the USB cable connected.

    Moved it to another machine and have the same results.

    The drive is not recognized by either Windows XP or Vista when connected via USB cable.

    The problem occurred when turning the device on as it was working fine.

    The PC that it was connected to did have a problem and I had to press and hold the power button to shut it off as it would not power down though the normal Windows sequence. I don't know if that may have corrupted the Hitachi's operation software. This had happened before with that machine and the Hitachi drive was not affected.

    Connected a know good power supply (12V DC at 700mA rating) with the same results.

    The supplied switching 18 watt adaptor feels mildly warm to the touch as in "normal"operation when the drive worked.

    Is diagnostic software available to assist diagnosing this issue? If so, what version and where may I download?

    Please let me know some additional trouble shooting steps or what these sound sequence codes indicate.

    I am an electronics engineer by background and have been a quality manager in a medical device electronics PCB assembly plant for the past 11 yrs and also have access to IT and many technical personnel to assist.

    I'd like to retrieve the data from this drive if at all possible with out spending hundreds of $'s to a recovery service.

    Let me know if you have any questions or need anything else.

    Any and all assistance is greatly appreciated!



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  • 143 Answers

It sounds to me like there is a seek problem.Is this the sound coming from the inside the box itself? If so, that is NOT good. Usually when you hear crazy noises like that from a hard drive, its internal damage. I imagine when you tripped on the cable and it fell to the ground, it exceeded the g-force rating for the drive. That and the fact it was under power and doing read seeks, the heads could have crashed. I guess you could disassemble the unit and hook up the hard drive as a slave inside your computer and bypass the external unit to see if that solves it. Its worth a try. It really does sound like its not a good situation. Sorry about that. I hope this helps!

Posted on May 13, 2008

  • Eric Smale
    Eric Smale May 13, 2008

    Hi. Sorry to hear that! I know what its like to lose data. I have so many hard drives around here I could open a store! I have toasted some, but that was years ago. I have been lucky in the past 5-7 years to have not dropped any. The only solution if the drive is bad, is to send it off to a clean room recovery place. Not sure on the expense... its gotta be cheaper than 8 years ago when the company I worked for needed data off of a server drive. At any rate, I will cross my fingers for you! Take care.

  • Eric Smale
    Eric Smale May 13, 2008

    Just saw a link to the right of my comment:

    Cheap - $285-485 - if no data to recover, no charge. Thats pretty cheap. Shop around, if it comes to that.


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  • 95 Answers

Clip is deleted...
Does it sounds similar to these: ?
Most likely it's a head crash. That's really bad.

Posted on Nov 07, 2008


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