Hard drive spins, isn't detected by BIOS, no clicking sounds


I connected the wrong power cable to a USB DVD drive, and managed to kill off the motherboard of my media PC. I've given up on that, but the internal hard drive also died (though a USB one didn't), and there were photos on this drive waiting to be copied into our backup system, which is rather shameful.

It was a 2.5" SATA hitachi 500Gb (I'll get the precise product ID tonight if needed). I've put it in another PC and it spins, but is not detected by the bios at all. It makes no clicking sounds that I can detect above the noise of the rest of the PC. The PC takes longer to POST with this disk connected (the bios is set to a 15 sec HD detection delay, this might be due to that, I'm not sure).

I've changed around the SATA and power cables, to no effect. The system it's now in has 2 other SATA hard drives, and a SATA DVD drive.

As this was caused by a power issue, is this likely to be a situation that could be fixed by replacing the disk's PCB? If not, is there anything else I ought to try, besides sending the disk off to an expensive data recovery company?

Thanks for reading.
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More about hard drive spins detected bios clicking sounds
  1. Is a power "incident" (as described) likely to have damaged more than just the PCB of a hard drive?
  2. I think the you have a power issue probably from a power failure, unless you can consult a data recovery pro as sdrs1086 said you its pretty much gone
  3. A PCB failure would normally result in a no-spin symptom. Therefore ISTM that the drive's PCB is probably OK. In any case a PCB swap should cost you at most US$50, including transferring the NVRAM chip.

    The other apparent inconsistency in your story involves the "wrong power cable". Was this the 4-pin mini DIN type, or a barrel type DC plug? If the latter, then the damage would have been restricted to the 12V electronics, not the 5V. A 2.5 inch drive runs from 5V only.

    Furthermore, your motherboard connects to the drive via a SATA data cable. This interface should not have been affected by the overvoltage.
  4. Hey,

    Thanks for the help!

    It was a barrel-type DC plug, rated 18.5V, and plugged into a USB DVD drive. The PC in question was an Acer Apsire Revo, which uses a laptop-style external power adaptor.

    It sounds like its worth me doing a few more checks to ensure that I've not done something stupid in connecting the drive to the new PC. I'll remove all the other drives, and try it in a SATA port I know works, using a power connector I know works.

    If the BIOS detects it, I'm getting somewhere. If not, I'll try to locate a replacement PCB.

    Thanks again,
    I'll post my results.
  5. IME USB-SATA bridge boards that are powered from a single 12VDC supply will have an onboard 12V-to-5V switchmode DC-DC converter. This converter is usually designed to tolerate a 40VDC input, so the drive's 5V logic should have been unscathed. The 12V supply, however, is passed directly to the drive, resulting in damage on this input. In a typical 3.5" HDD there will be a shorted 12V TVS diode. I don't know about optical drives, though.

    In any case, I can't see how the above mistake could damage the Revo's motherboard, nor can I see how it could affect a 2.5" internal HDD.
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