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Broken serial data connector on WD Raptor.

Last response: in Storage
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June 8, 2011 5:20:57 PM

Hello,

First time poster looking for a bit of advice.

My C: drive has died. The plastic housing has sheared off the serial data connnector. For a time all I needed to do was 'jiggle' it and it would show up in BIOS and then boot normally. Increasingly jiggling was quite unreliable until about two months ago no amount of jiggling would work.

You guessed it...ALL my important docs are on there and they aren't backed up! I'm in so much trouble as my partner has suggested I clone the C: to one of the old drives I've got knocking around (I used to do this but have gotten really, really lazy) but I never did it.

I managed to find a near identical drive (same s/n, model etc) to try and swop the controller board over. The donor drive was about 2 weeks apart from the C: but no joy. I was quite surprised I managed to get such a fit in drives and was sure it would work.

Turns out that someone I had look at the C: reckons one of the 7 pins is loose; in fact it's about to fall out.

SO: does anyone think I should see about soldering the pin back? Maybe even buy a replacement serial data connnector? Has anyone here done this before? Would someone be able to do it for me for a small price?

I think the controller board swop didn't work as the board is unique to this drive.

I'd rather not shell out the £600 quid these recovery firms are asking if it's such a simple fix.

Oh, and the drive whirrs fine and has never been dropped. I don't think it's anything major.

I just want BIOS to pick the drive up so I can clone the whole OS etc to the new donor drive. I've even contacted WD and they will do an RMA on the C: but I don't want to do that until I get the data off.

Sorry for the length of post but I hoped giving you all the details would help. I posted a similar cry for help on another forum but didn't get too much help (apart from one guy who was amazing but couldn't quite get it working)...

Looking forward to your thoughts.
a c 104 G Storage
June 8, 2011 10:05:48 PM

Hi there,

Really depends if one of the data pins has fallen off, or is just loose. Also you might study a photo of the male connector. 3 of the pins are grounds, 4 are data. If it is a problem with one of the data pins, you will need to have the plastic 7 + 15 connector replaced as it is single unit.

It's about an hours job to unsolder the 7 + 15 pins and resolder a replacement back on. It's not something technically hard, but would need be done by someone experienced with PCB board desoldering, like a high end computer shop, or even a TV repair shop. You would have to have the replacement connector.

Backing up your data is so important - ahead of time is best.
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June 9, 2011 8:56:12 AM

If the pin can be soldered back on that could work, but if it ripped a board trace out with it, you will have to follow the board trace until you reach a solder point on a chip or component at the other end of the trace. Then solder a jumper wire from that solder point to the pin.

Then using a new sata cable, when it is working, use something like silicone or hotmelt to permanently secure the cable to the drive.

-It might be easier to find another wd raptor drive that is the same size/model and do a circuit board swap. However this is not that easy and someone who knows that kinda of stuff should do it, the ribbon cable plugs are tiny and easily broken.
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June 9, 2011 1:09:49 PM

john_vanKirk & need4speeds:

Thank you to you both for your reassuring replies. I had tried the controller swop to no avail...I read that over time the pcb gets coded uniquely to the drive?

At any rate I guess I'm wondering if anyone would be willing to do the soldering for me? I've even got a replacement drive for parts (I've two donors, in fact) if they need the unit that has the power and data.

I live in London and would pay a small fee as it sounds a simple job. I'd also include enough that the drives can be sent to you and back via recorded delivery.

Email me at gregorywhitehead@live.co.uk if you think you're expert enough to do this safely and reliably for me.
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a c 104 G Storage
June 9, 2011 1:52:29 PM

Hi Greg,

First thing to consider that was mentioned is to solder an insulated #25 or #28 gauge wire to the solder point of the missing SATA data connector, bring it around outside the black plastic, strip the insulaion off the distal end, flatten it with a pair of pliars, and place it in the missing data pin spot. Then very carefully see if you can put a data cable end in it. Use a separate power SATA connector so it doesn't effect the data cable.

If you could get it running to pull your data off the drive, you could use your other SATA Drive for a replacement.

You really need desoldering tools to remove PCB solder from connections. Most are soldered by machine, or solder placed on the points and the whole PCB board heated in a special oven until the solder runs into all the connection holes. I would try a high end TV sales/repair store, since they work with PCB boards and component replacement frequently.

Finally, you might repost your request specifically asking if any one of the hobbiests were willing to de/resolder it. There has to be an enthusiast in London who could help you out.
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