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Replacing the Circuit Board on a Western Digital Hard Drive

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July 3, 2009 10:49:12 PM

So i blew my Western Digital external hard drive. I actually saw smoke come out of it. I have heard that it will cost anywhere between $1000-$6000 for professional "clean-room" data recovery service. However, before going this route, I was wondering if anyone has actually been successful in replacing the circuit board and successfully recovering the data.

I have a WD3200SJ. I have already purchased a Vantech Nextstar 3 to try to salvage the drive; however, there was no life breathed into it. The hard drive still didn't spin and was unrecognizable by the computer.

Assuming that the actual core of the drive is still intact, and that there is no data corruption, I have read that simply replacing the external circuit board of the drive with an identical circuit board will possibly work.

I have learned that the Drive Parameters (the LBA #) and the DCM code need to match up.

Is it worth it to only spend about $65 on an identical Western Digital Hard Drive? Has anyone actually been successful with this?

-Ryan
July 3, 2009 11:49:26 PM

I've heard of it working before. But you need to be sure it's the exact same model drive. But it's not guaranteed to work since you can't be sure only the circuit board was damaged. But, if you really want the data off the drive, it's certainly worth a try for only $65 if it can save you $6k.
July 8, 2009 9:43:01 PM

Is there anyone who has actually done it and been successful?

-Ryan
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September 26, 2009 12:32:56 PM

If you go buy the exact same HD you can switch the circuit board, or place your old platters in the new HD case.
a c 415 G Storage
September 26, 2009 4:42:08 PM

mousethecomic said:
...or place your old platters in the new HD case.
That's almost guaranteed to kill the platters unless you have a clean room to do the work in. And by "clean room" I mean an industrial grade pressurized room with micro-filtration systems.
September 28, 2009 5:14:22 PM

Isn't the platter assembly in a sealed unit with the drive motor attached ?

I would think you could move the entire platter assembly from the damaged drive to a new identical model drive. I'm currently faced with doing the same thing with a 200 GB Seagate drive however it didn't smoke, it just quite talking to my PC. I found an identical drive on Ebay as the Drive model I have is manufacture discontinued. First I am going to have to find a Star tool to remove the case and Platter Assembly mounting screws. Good luck to all, should have backed up my drive when I had the chance; famous last words !
a c 415 G Storage
September 28, 2009 11:34:58 PM

rltmlt said:
Isn't the platter assembly in a sealed unit with the drive motor attached ?
There's no additional "sealed unit" inside the metal casing that you see in a bare drive. The platter assembly is sealed inside that casing. If you open the casing to remove the platters, they'll be contaminated by airborne dust and it will pretty much be game over.
a c 271 G Storage
May 28, 2011 10:41:07 AM

The usual result of an overvoltage on an external drive is a shorted protection diode. The fix in most cases is to remove the diode. It's that simple.

Can you upload a photo or scan of the component side of the drive's PCB?
October 29, 2011 11:54:07 PM

I too am having the same issue. I used a high volate power supply for my hard drive and it's not working now. When I connect it to my PC nothing happens. I don't even hear a clicking or spinning sound. I've uploaded the photo of PCB. Please tell me how to remove the protection diode. I never soldered anything before but I've lot of sensitive data on this hard drive and I can't afford to lose it.

Sorry, I'm unable to upload the picture. I don't see an option to upload it. Is there another way to send you the picture.
November 29, 2011 2:30:24 AM

how hard is it to recover data from a WD5000 "Blue" Caviar SE-16 with a bad circuit board?
November 29, 2011 2:58:47 AM

1768775,1,447659 said:
So i blew my Western Digital external hard drive. I actually saw smoke come out of it. I have heard that it will cost anywhere between $1000-$6000 for professional "clean-room" data recovery service. However, before going this route, I was wondering if anyone has actually been successful in replacing the circuit board and successfully recovering the data.

I have a WD3200SJ. I have already purchased a Vantech Nextstar 3 to try to salvage the drive; however, there was no life breathed into it. The hard drive still didn't spin and was unrecognizable by the computer.

Assuming that the actual core of the drive is still intact, and that there is no data corruption, I have read that simply replacing the external circuit board of the drive with an identical circuit board will possibly work.

I have learned that the Drive Parameters (the LBA #) and the DCM code need to match up.

Is it worth it to only spend about $65 on an identical Western Digital Hard Drive? Has anyone actually been successful with this?

-Ryan[/quotemsg
A tech at WD told me this could not be successfully done. Have you had any luck? Thanks
January 4, 2012 12:39:53 AM

Replacing the circuit board can sometimes saved your data. In most cases, you should exchange the BIOS chip before you swap hard drive PCB; Move the Main Controller IC is a complex job which need you have certain technique. Finding a matching pcb you can search on HDD Zone, Moving the Main Controller IC Some electronics repair shop can do it.
October 16, 2012 10:33:19 PM

I had a failed PCB for a WD 3TB drive. The unit would not see the drive at all

I pulled the unit apart to try to access the drive directly. However I learned that with or wthout a password the drive contents are encrypted by the controller.

I tried using controllers from other drives but this too failed.

After leaving the PB unplugged for a day, i tried it again with the drive disconnected.
This time the LED on the PCB lit up but all went dark when the drive was connected.

FREEZING
Finally, suspecting PCB components were iffy but not dead I tried an old experimenter's trick.
Drop the PCB in a plastic sandwich bag, seal it and pull the PCB in the freezer for an hour.
I then removed the PCB, connected the drive and powered up. Life!!!

It probably wont last long but it was enough to recover key files!


January 20, 2013 4:12:17 AM

1. If your HDD can't spin, you can swap PCB to try.
2. The replacement PCB should have the same board number as yours. The board number is etched on the PCB, begins with 2060-
3. Find the BIOS on the damaged PCB and move it to the replacement PCB. If the PCB doesn't have BIOS, the BIOS is integrated on the Main Controller IC. You should exchange the Main Controller IC. (You can move the BIOS from your original PCB by using hot-air gun, then solder it on the replacement board. Please refer: http://www.datarecoveryunion.com/hard-drive-rom-chip-sw.... Or you can find the electronics repair shop to help you.)
4. Swap PCB
!