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HDD stopped working

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July 10, 2006 6:13:27 PM

I was installing some sunbeam neons in my computer and when I tried to power up the pc.. well.. the neons didn't work.. and I heard some weird beep codes.

So.. I power off the pc, unplug the neons, try to plug it like it was before, still beeped. I take off the molex from my IDE HD. It boots up!!!!

now, I tried a different molex connector for my HD and it didn't work either.. and the one that was usually plugged in the HD works great (tried it with a case fan)

So now, I look over the molex connectors from the power cables of the neons and I notice one of them damn molex pins is loose from the female molex. Tried putting it back in and it wouldn't work.. it seems it came broken with the neons :( 

Now.. is my HD dead? because I had some important files in it ;/

More about : hdd stopped working

July 10, 2006 8:25:21 PM

Check your SATA or IDE cable to see if you maybe unseated a connection when you were installing the lights. Good luck
July 10, 2006 8:54:41 PM

also, make sure your neons are not groundingthem self to your case some how. and after data cables are checked try just plugging in the molwex to the harddrive and nothing else to see your harddrive even powers on.
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July 10, 2006 10:14:45 PM

what do you mean by the neons grounding themselves to the case???

I tried plugging the molex connector to the drive and it still doesn't power up.. I keep hearing some beeps!!!
July 11, 2006 1:08:08 PM

The cabling you use for neon power could be touching the metal of the case making the case ground the neons and potentinaly killing the motherboard. this hapened to me only once. but it's something to look for if the neons do not work neither. Also, if you hear the same type of beep every time it's time to look at your manual for the beep codes and see just what those beeps mean and then you can start troubleshooting a little more completely.
July 11, 2006 4:12:58 PM

I cleared the CMOS this morning, then when I tried to plug the cathodes only.. they lit up (both of them) but it was only a small part of the cathodes that actually worked (it's like.. half the cathode was illuminated but not the rest)

I then tried to plug in both the cathode and the HD, it would POST but when it was coming up on 3rd master.. it wouldn't detect my drive

what should I do next? does this mean my PSU is damaged? (which I doubt because the rest of my stuff wouldn't work)
July 11, 2006 4:32:21 PM

Sounds like the disk is toast. You'll need to recover your data from your backups.

BTW, I'd take those lights and throw them in the dumpster until I figured out what else I might have fried in my machine.
July 11, 2006 5:11:29 PM

Neons are very high voltage devices, the power-up peak is about 10000V and if you don't use correctly insulated cables you'll burn mobo and/or HDD.
You must use very well insulated cables (rated for at least 250V continuous operation) and you must be sure that no neon power cable goes to case ground, you always must connect their power cables to the power supply directly.
And obviously you must not connect the neon power with a split Y cable derived from an HDD or floppy cable, always connect to a cable that goes directly inside the PSU.
July 11, 2006 5:48:23 PM

So I must connect the cathodes directly to one of the molex coming from my PSU? not from a Y splitter (which is what I did because my front LCD had a splitter)
July 11, 2006 6:45:23 PM

Exactly, you must not use an Y splitter cable if it powers also HDD or other devices connected to the mobo logic.
Not always this causes fails or burns, but it coudl do because of the high voltage spikes the neons generate: if you provide a fast clean path towards the PSU ground plane they are fastly discharged, but if you have other devices connected they can be beated because of the little differential between the PSU ground and the device ground. It is matter of milliohm, but with voltages in the reange of KV they can easily generate big currents.
July 11, 2006 7:58:55 PM

ok so my cathodes and the HD are probably toast right??

concerning the HD, is there any way I can recover data from what just happened?
July 11, 2006 8:04:28 PM

Just get the data back from your backup.

I guess you don't have a backup, so now you need a miracle? :D  You can try to get another exact same disk and replace the controller on your current disk with the new one. Or, you can send it out to a data recovery house and spend a couple thousand dollars to get your data back.
July 11, 2006 8:07:38 PM

The cathodes I think not... maybe the startup inductance (or the electronic circuit if they use a solid state DC-DC converter for anodic voltage).
The HD... try if it works on another mobo, if it starts it's the SATA controller that burned out.
If you have very important data you can search for a data-recovery company, but it will cost you something.
You can also try to buy another identical HD and replace the controller board, but it hardly works nowadays, because the calibration and sector allocation data are written in the e2prom during factory final test. But you may still try...
July 11, 2006 9:34:47 PM





I took a couple of pictures to show you what happens with the cathode. Only a small part of it actually lights up.. but you can see in the other picture it's a 12inch one.. not a 4inch :) 

Do you think it's broken? or could it be just the little blue box that's broken (that's where you insert the cathode cables and the little ccfl power cable)
July 11, 2006 10:48:43 PM

It may be either things... I suggest you check the box functionality with another tube (maybe from a friend of yours): a broken box can't do any damage at a good tube if you leave it connected for a few seconds only.
!