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Smoke from hard drive. Fault of hard drive or PSU?

Last response: in Storage
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January 28, 2012 6:04:56 AM

A friend gave me a hard drive from her now non functional PC to see if I can get some data out of it. (an old Seagate PATA IDE drive) Upon connecting, however, when I turned my PC on, ghastly smelling smoke came out from where the Molex power connector was connected. I instantly turned it off and removed the drive.
Now what I want to know is, could this have been a fault of my hard drive, or is it a fault of my PSU, meaning all of my componenets are in danger? Even after that incident a few hours ago, my PC is still working without any problems. But I'm worried whether there's something wrong with my PSU and would cause my other components to go poof at a later time. Any way I could find out whether the problem is with the hard drive?
January 28, 2012 6:10:36 AM

Nah usually it's the motor controller chip on the HDD that fails and smokes or some instances catches fire.

Not uncommon on older drives as well
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January 28, 2012 7:30:08 AM

kitsunestarwind said:
Nah usually it's the motor controller chip on the HDD that fails and smokes or some instances catches fire.

Not uncommon on older drives as well

Thanks for the reply. Hope that kinda thing is what has happened. Now, seeing as my PC is working without any issues after that, would it be safe to assume that whatever fault was not with my PSU?
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January 28, 2012 9:46:53 PM

I'd play my money on the fact the drive is more then likely old and was heading towards death anyway.
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a c 316 G Storage
January 28, 2012 10:14:21 PM

If a TVS diode shorted, then the fault would have originated externally.
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January 29, 2012 2:02:02 AM

Can you tell me what might be the TVS diode from here?
(Sorry for the crap quality. I don't have a camera) What I have circled is what has gotten sorta roasted.



(HDD model: Seagate ST340015A)
(I'm a total noob when it comes to electronics, so sorry if this is some kinda silly question.)

By the way, my PSU is working very well. None of my other devices was subject to any kind of problem. Any idea how I could test my PSU to see whether there's a risk of more smoke?
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a b G Storage
January 29, 2012 3:01:51 AM

what was the position of the yellow cable for power when you put it on the ide drive
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January 29, 2012 3:28:00 AM

scout_03 said:
what was the position of the yellow cable for power when you put it on the ide drive

From the above pic, it would be the right corner pin. (Cornermost pin)
By the way, am I supposed to change positions of the cables in the power connectors for different HDDs? Cause that connector only fits in one way. (Again, sorry if noob question. I have fixed many HDDs that way, but I dunno anything about the underlying power mechanisms at work.)

EDIT: Here's a better pic I found on the net.



Oh, and on closer inspection, the circled component that is "roasted" also appears to be cracked.
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a b G Storage
January 29, 2012 4:08:25 AM

look like it got overpower so burn and crack could not tel you exactly seem a part the power for the board could you read a number on it
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a c 316 G Storage
January 29, 2012 4:23:17 AM

That's the 5V TVS diode. This means that there was an overvoltage on the +5V supply. The quick fix is to remove the diode with flush cutters. However, be aware that you will also be removing the overvoltage protection, so you will have no second chances.
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January 29, 2012 4:34:47 AM

fzabkar said:
That's the 5V TVS diode. This means that there was an overvoltage on the +5V supply. The quick fix is to remove the diode with flush cutters. However, be aware that you will also be removing the overvoltage protection, so you will have no second chances.

Thanks. :) 
Any idea how an overvoltage could've occured on the +5V end? Is it something wrong with my PSU? (Ie. All my parts are in danger?)
And I have an external power supply that I sometimes use to power HDDs to connect to laptops. (using SATA to USB adapters) I could use that power supply for this HDD after removing the diode.
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January 29, 2012 6:38:25 AM


I don't think replacing a diode is something within my skills, so I'm looking more towards just removing the diode altogether.
So, anyway, I took a pair of cutters and pulled out the whole thing, and it literally crumbled to bits soon after I picked it up. Not just into two parts off the crack, but into like 10 or so tiny parts. Anyway, now the diode's no longer on the HDD. So I would like to plug it in again and see whether it would spin.
But before that, I have a question I hope some of you could kindly answer. :D 
I know another voltage surge would kill the drive. But would that also kill some other part connected to the PC? Mobo or something? Or shall I just wait until I get that external PSU back from my friend just to be on the safe side?
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January 29, 2012 10:36:40 AM

UPDATE: So I borrowed my dad's multimeter and checked all the Molex connectors on my PSU. Perfect 5V and 12V. So how could this have happened? :S
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January 29, 2012 11:44:22 AM

Those diode's do degrade over time perhaps it supressed one spike on last time and it's silicon junction collapsed
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a b G Storage
January 29, 2012 5:02:27 PM

since it was given from a non fonctionnal pc that could be your friend psu fried it or id did connected reverse so when you try it everything went out
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a c 316 G Storage
January 29, 2012 5:07:03 PM

There could have been an overshoot at switch-on.
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Anonymous
January 29, 2012 6:26:35 PM

starjet said:
A friend gave me a hard drive from her now non functional PC to see if I can get some data out of it. (an old Seagate PATA IDE drive) Upon connecting, however, when I turned my PC on, ghastly smelling smoke came out from where the Molex power connector was connected. I instantly turned it off and removed the drive.
Now what I want to know is, could this have been a fault of my hard drive, or is it a fault of my PSU, meaning all of my componenets are in danger? Even after that incident a few hours ago, my PC is still working without any problems. But I'm worried whether there's something wrong with my PSU and would cause my other components to go poof at a later time. Any way I could find out whether the problem is with the hard drive?


You know you can probably buy the exact drive off of ebay for next to nothing and replace the pcb if you are still trying to get her data back.
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January 30, 2012 10:36:41 AM

Okay, so with the diode removed, the HDD seems to spin very quietly. (Not sure whether it's normal for this drive) And of course, PC doesn't detect it. So I guess it's time to throw it away? (Other than replacing PCB?)
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Anonymous
January 30, 2012 1:12:38 PM

starjet said:
Okay, so with the diode removed, the HDD seems to spin very quietly. (Not sure whether it's normal for this drive) And of course, PC doesn't detect it. So I guess it's time to throw it away? (Other than replacing PCB?)


Unfortunately, I would say yes. I have replaced many pcb's with success of data recovery however.
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a b G Storage
January 30, 2012 6:08:13 PM

what the control panel peripheral says for it
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January 30, 2012 10:47:03 PM

scout_03 said:
what the control panel peripheral says for it
Sorry, didn't get that. :S
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a b G Storage
January 30, 2012 10:56:10 PM

if you got a question mark or something else for the drive in the device
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January 31, 2012 2:33:21 PM

Nah, nothing like that. The BIOS itself doesn't recognize it.
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a b G Storage
January 31, 2012 2:36:01 PM

if you got a external you could try it in and connect in a usb port,but would not be suprise that you cannot acces it anymore
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!