HIGH QUALITY, HARD TO GET AND CUSTOM ELECTROLYTIC CAPACITORS FOR POWER SUPPLIES, DISPLAYS, TVs, MOTHERBOARDS AND MORE!

Hard drive mods

Discuss or get help with HDDs here. And yes, SSDs go in this category too.

Hard drive mods

Postby Pentium » October 21st, 2013, 5:07 pm

So, this is pretty much aimed at LongRunner. You're the local HD guru :-)

Since I don't know a whole lot about hard drives, I'm curious as to what mods you have done to hard drives to improve their reliability? It really is amazing how much longer the older drives seem to last, with of course the 7200.7 being my favorite (They never die!)
Pentium
Veteran Member
 
Posts: 106
Joined: December 31st, 2012, 12:06 pm

Re: Hard drive mods

Postby LongRunner » October 23rd, 2013, 1:54 am

I haven't actually done such a thing, but I can think of two ideas for the Seagates:
  • Enhanced power filtering - for the 7200.7 (PATA and original, bridged SATA versions). Each of the +5V and +12V rails have a tiny ceramic capacitor (if I was to guess, those would be C0G types filtering noise in the MHz) right next to the connector, and some more substantial caps (filtering at around PSU frequencies I imagine) a bit further away. [Looking at my ST3120026A] The 7200.7s I've seen are factory fitted with a size 3216 (metric) ceramic cap on the +5V (two on the SATA version) rail and a large(-ish) tantalum capacitor on +12V, though there is provision for an extra 3216 or 3225 (metric) ceramic capacitor on the +12V and (PATA version) +5V rails - and that's where the opportunity is.
    The current catalog for TDK's series of standard MLCCs (multi-layer ceramic chip capacitors, the full name for the type already mentioned) shows 16V X7R types in 10µF for 3216 metric or 22µF for 3225 metric. (Yes, they are capable of making electrolytics look bulky.) So you can have 20µF or 44µF, total, on the +5V input, no ghetto mods necessary. You could also remove the original tantalum capacitor (either 6.8µF or 15µF 35V - the voltage is de-rated as they can be damaged by inrush current) and replace it with a 10µF ceramic, relieving yourself of the explosive potential of a failing tantalum. (I don't advise getting 6.3V ceramics for this purpose, as they have no markings and you probably won't gain much from the higher capacitance density, any more than you want to avoid blowing them up by installing them in the wrong position.)
    And it's more than likely that X7R is overkill and X5R or X6S (which are more compact) would be fine. (No ordinary HDD can withstand 85°C even when powered down.)
  • SeaSink (made up name) - for Barracuda ATA V and earlier (and also some early 7200.7s which still had the holes for the SeaShield, before they stopped drilling them), an aluminium sheet cut, drilled and formed to shape, with an area stamped inward to press on top of the MCU (with thermal compound at the junction), cooling it down (it's quite a hot chip). Especially of interest, IMO, for the Barracuda ATA IV (and III, II but those were less popular), where the MCU is in BGA (but at least with leaded solder). Or, of course, there's the ghetto version - using thermal epoxy to stick a small finned heatsink directly to the MCU. But I don't think anyone wants to permanently modify their HDD in a way that restricts its usage.
If you're going to solder on the PCB, it's best to uninstall it from the HDA (head/disk assembly) and set the HDA aside, as you don't want to break the good drives you have. (For the Seagates in question, this requires a size 8 Torx screwdriver.)

I too like the 7200.7, but the Western Digital drives of 2005~2006 are at least as good.
Authoritarianism is for wimps.

Smart people don't buy "smart" devices without very carefully weighing up the risks and benefits beforehand.

My PC: Core i3 4130 on GA-H87M-D3H with GT640 OC 2GiB and 2 * 8GiB Kingston HyperX 1600MHz, 2 * WD3003FZEX-00Z4SA0, Pioneer BDR-209DBKS, Seasonic G-360, Silverstone PS08, Windows 7 Pro (somewhat begrudgingly).
LongRunner
Moderator
 
Posts: 788
Joined: May 17th, 2013, 5:48 pm
Location: Albany, Western Australia

Re: Hard drive mods

Postby LongRunner » November 10th, 2013, 3:27 am

Attached is a photo of the PCB on my ST3120026A with coloured rectangles indicating which supply rail a part works with:
Red and yellow - obvious
Orange - +3.3V (regulated on-board, used by the SDRAM, flash and part of the MCU)
White - -5V (generated on-board by a buck-boost converter for the head preamplifier)
Pink - +1.5V (regulated on-board, used only by the MCU)
Cyan - +24V (curious...the capacitor on that rail is referenced to +12V, not ground)

The buck-boost converter is made up of the large inductor, the 8-pin chip near it (which contains a MOSFET and a Schottky diode) and the surrounding MLCCs. The small filtering inductors on +3.3V were, for some reason, replaced by 0Ω links in later production. My drive doesn't have a discrete flash chip, but when one was used, a tiny MLCC was installed on +3.3V adjacent to it.

The large black components across the +5V and +12V rails are transient voltage suppressors. Those provide some degree of protection from voltage spikes, but they can fail shorted if abused (or defective). In data recovery they are often simply removed but for continued use, they should be replaced.

And as it turns out, you can install not one, not two, but four good-sized MLCCs on +5V - talk about overengineering. :cool:

If you need to, when setting the drive as "slave" you can park the jumper across pins 5 and 7, which are both ground (look closely and you can see that pins 1, 5 and 7 of the jumper block have thicker traces - the same goes for the ground pins on the data connector).

There are different versions of the PCB so make sure you know what you're dealing with.
Attachments
IMG_0120 (scaled and marked).JPG
IMG_0120 (scaled and marked).JPG (250.36 KiB) Viewed 4456 times
Authoritarianism is for wimps.

Smart people don't buy "smart" devices without very carefully weighing up the risks and benefits beforehand.

My PC: Core i3 4130 on GA-H87M-D3H with GT640 OC 2GiB and 2 * 8GiB Kingston HyperX 1600MHz, 2 * WD3003FZEX-00Z4SA0, Pioneer BDR-209DBKS, Seasonic G-360, Silverstone PS08, Windows 7 Pro (somewhat begrudgingly).
LongRunner
Moderator
 
Posts: 788
Joined: May 17th, 2013, 5:48 pm
Location: Albany, Western Australia

Re: Hard drive mods

Postby LongRunner » November 11th, 2013, 1:39 am

Did someone post a reply and then delete it??? If so, who did it and why???
Authoritarianism is for wimps.

Smart people don't buy "smart" devices without very carefully weighing up the risks and benefits beforehand.

My PC: Core i3 4130 on GA-H87M-D3H with GT640 OC 2GiB and 2 * 8GiB Kingston HyperX 1600MHz, 2 * WD3003FZEX-00Z4SA0, Pioneer BDR-209DBKS, Seasonic G-360, Silverstone PS08, Windows 7 Pro (somewhat begrudgingly).
LongRunner
Moderator
 
Posts: 788
Joined: May 17th, 2013, 5:48 pm
Location: Albany, Western Australia

Re: Hard drive mods

Postby c_hegge » November 11th, 2013, 11:47 am

Not me.
User avatar
c_hegge
Seasoned Veteran
 
Posts: 1647
Joined: March 16th, 2011, 8:45 pm
Location: North Coast, NSW, Australia

Re: Hard drive mods

Postby LongRunner » November 11th, 2013, 11:58 am

Note: You don't need to say "not me" unless someone suggested that it was you.
Authoritarianism is for wimps.

Smart people don't buy "smart" devices without very carefully weighing up the risks and benefits beforehand.

My PC: Core i3 4130 on GA-H87M-D3H with GT640 OC 2GiB and 2 * 8GiB Kingston HyperX 1600MHz, 2 * WD3003FZEX-00Z4SA0, Pioneer BDR-209DBKS, Seasonic G-360, Silverstone PS08, Windows 7 Pro (somewhat begrudgingly).
LongRunner
Moderator
 
Posts: 788
Joined: May 17th, 2013, 5:48 pm
Location: Albany, Western Australia

Re: Hard drive mods

Postby shovenose » November 17th, 2013, 11:19 am

I don't recall doing anything...
User avatar
shovenose
Seasoned Veteran
 
Posts: 1912
Joined: March 16th, 2011, 5:36 pm

Re: Hard drive mods

Postby LongRunner » February 9th, 2015, 6:54 am

A bit late, but another thing I'd suggest (this one is at no cost, and with minimal risk) is to clean the contact pads on the back of the PCB. (They are generally plated with silver or on pre-RoHS drives, tin/lead; silver in particular is prone to tarnishing which makes it a highly questionable choice of material. You can use an eraser to remove the oxide/sulfide, restoring the contact surfaces to like-new condition. However, don't use erasers on gold contacts, as it wears them out; use isopropyl alcohol instead.) In the case of Barracuda IV/V/7200.7 there are 22 contacts (two rows of 11) for the head assembly and 3 for the spindle motor (as is obvious from the photo).
Authoritarianism is for wimps.

Smart people don't buy "smart" devices without very carefully weighing up the risks and benefits beforehand.

My PC: Core i3 4130 on GA-H87M-D3H with GT640 OC 2GiB and 2 * 8GiB Kingston HyperX 1600MHz, 2 * WD3003FZEX-00Z4SA0, Pioneer BDR-209DBKS, Seasonic G-360, Silverstone PS08, Windows 7 Pro (somewhat begrudgingly).
LongRunner
Moderator
 
Posts: 788
Joined: May 17th, 2013, 5:48 pm
Location: Albany, Western Australia

Re: Hard drive mods

Postby LongRunner » November 4th, 2016, 5:23 am

And now for something a bit more adventurous: Spin-up current adjustment

If you look again at my ST3120026A, you can see two prominent parallel groups of 5 resistors each near the motor driver (SH6950 made by Texas Instruments). The group of 1.58Ω resistors (directly above the SH6950 in the photo, and with a small parallel capacitor) is used to sense the spindle current, while the group of 1.00Ω resistors (to the right of them, and oriented 90° differently) is used to sense the current in the head actuator (VCM). It follows that altering their resistance will change the current limit.

So this is a somewhat accidental finding on my part; I had the charger for a Nintendo Wii U Gamepad (which I plan to examine in my mini-review thread, together with the PSU for the console itself) die and figured I could use one of the 1.58Ω resistors – not from my ST3120026A, but from an ST340014A (which also had one of the ceramic caps on +3.3V already busted off, though it still worked) – to replace a blown parallel pair of current sensing resistors in the primary circuit. All that happened then was that it blew up the resistor I scavenged (plus another of the original resistors), but I did find that the drive still worked (as far as I can test it; I don't have a working way to connect to PATA drives at the moment) only taking slightly longer to spin up. (I verified the resistor assignment against this close-up photo.) I then attempted to take another one of the 1.58Ω resistors (in part to see if I could get it off undamaged), but only managed to break it :silly:. Fortunately, the PCB itself survives, so restoring the board to the original configuration isn't out of the question. And the drive is apparently still operational, only taking significantly longer to spin up than originally.

So I may have found a workable modification; if the resistance is increased (either by removing 1 or 2 of the original resistors, or by installing higher-value replacements), the drive will take longer to spin up but draw less peak current, reducing stress on the motor driver and the PSU feeding the drive. Alternatively, you could put in lower value resistors to increase the current limit, making the drive spin up faster at the expense of greater stress. (It might also help a drive with a mild case of stiction to get going, although I wouldn't do it for any vaguely critical purpose.)

This is at your own risk, of course (such tampering definitely wouldn't be covered by any warranty – though all of these drives are long past that anyway), and I wouldn't mess with the resistor bank sensing the VCM. Decreasing the current limit too far may cause the drive to fail to even start spinning, and increasing it too far may fry the motor driver (and possibly the motor coils themselves).
Authoritarianism is for wimps.

Smart people don't buy "smart" devices without very carefully weighing up the risks and benefits beforehand.

My PC: Core i3 4130 on GA-H87M-D3H with GT640 OC 2GiB and 2 * 8GiB Kingston HyperX 1600MHz, 2 * WD3003FZEX-00Z4SA0, Pioneer BDR-209DBKS, Seasonic G-360, Silverstone PS08, Windows 7 Pro (somewhat begrudgingly).
LongRunner
Moderator
 
Posts: 788
Joined: May 17th, 2013, 5:48 pm
Location: Albany, Western Australia


Return to Hard Drives

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest

cron