The most important tool you MUST have if data is irreplaceable
PRINTED CIRCUIT BOARD EXCHANGE OR PCB REPAIR INFORMATION
Information on PCB exchange and repair, to temporarily fix your hard drive in order to extract lost data.
WARNING: If you choose to attempt any type of repair or PCB swap, make sure to mark and keep track of all original components
Remember if data is important please consider the experts!
- In many instances from component failure to corrosion to faulty construction methods a PCB would fail leaving you scratching your head on what to do to recover your data. Many people purchase identical hard drives on eBay in the hopes that they can simply replace the PCB and all will be good in the world, but unfortunately this is NOT the case.
- Firmware is important and is unique to the drive! In most cases part numbers will not assist you in matching this.
- If you were to buy two new identical hard drives and decided to exchange the printed circuit boards over to each other, the chances of the drives still functioning correctly is probably in the high 90's.
- But if you were to attempt this same procedure six months after normal operation, the chance of the drives working would drop to 5% and lower!
- The reason being that during a hard drive operation it will relocate sectors with degrading read times, this extends the life of a hard drive with automatic relocation of slow sectors. Unfortunately, this information alters firmware making the PCB unique to that drive , so it is imperative during PCB failure to physically remove this chip containing this unique firmware to a functioning matching PCB. In short, you can match the printed circuit board by model, family and country but firmware will need to be transferred and/or read and written to the new donor parts.
- Is when you replace the unique components from a failed hard drives printed circuit board to a matching replacement PCB or replace the failed component on the original PCB
- In some cases depending on model of the hard drive the firmware information has been embedded in the main MCU or micro controlling unit. Unfortunately, this makes for a very difficult physical chip exchange and is much more convenient to simply read the information from the chip to a file and then write that information to a functioning matching PCB, there are tools designed for this very function but are costly and best left to the professionals
- Blow is an example of a PCB that has NO physical firmware chip.
I have collected and branded many circuit boards to enable me to read and write firmware to enable the repair of a hard drive
- Here is a simple tip for checking and cleaning the contacts on a printed circuit board using an pencil eraser.
- This corrosion can cause slow reads and even clicking of the read write heads in the hard drive assembly, the smaller contacts lead to the power of the spindle motor to enable correct RPM of the drive platters and the other long grouped pins are contact directly to the red write heads, very important considering this has complete data communication with the hard drives electronics and your computer.