Home · Register · Search · View Winners · Software · Hosting · Software · Join Upload & Sell

Moderated by: Fred Miranda
Username   Password

  New fredmiranda.com Mobile Site
  New Feature: SMS Notification alert
  New Feature: Buy & Sell Watchlist
  

FM Forums | Post-processing & Printing | Join Upload & Sell

  

Archive 2011 · Dying hard drive?
  
 
alexhibbert
Offline
• •
Upload & Sell: Off
p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Dying hard drive?


Hi all,

I was wondering if you might help diagnose a potential hard drive problem.

My primary HDD for photos is a 2TB G-Drive FW800 connected to my iMac but sat under my desk on the floor. Three days ago a puff of smoke came from under the desk and an acrid burning smell also - but no sign of anything more after. I can't pinpoint it to the HDD as there is an amplifier, printer and two other drives under there too.

Today, I woke up and the G-Drive didn't show on the desktop and neither did the drive daisy chained downstream of it. I restarted both and they appeared. Both were verified as ok in Disk Utility.

I then tried to open a few jpegs in CS5 Bridge and it said it couldn't due to disk error. I tried the same files on the backup HDD and same story. Other files and photos on the same G-Drive seemed to open fine. After a reboot everything seems perfect again and those jpegs seem undamaged.

Do you think the G-Drive is dying or it's just a software hiccup? Everything seems fine as of now. I did a mirror from the G-Drive to it's onsite backup and only files which I expected to be copied or updated were (new photos from that day). It doesn't seem that files on the G-Drive are corrupting or changing because otherwise they'd be copied onto the mirror having been detected as modified?

Thanks!

Alex.



Dec 14, 2011 at 04:01 PM
WAYCOOL
Offline
• • • •
Upload & Sell: Off
p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Dying hard drive?


First thing I would do is give the drive a good sniff. That smell tends to stick around for a while. If up close there is no smell hook the G-Drive up as the only device in the chain and see if the erratic behavior continues. If the drive either smells or continues acting up my guess would be the enclosure and not the drive. You should be able to take the harddrive out and put it in a new enclosure.


Dec 14, 2011 at 05:18 PM
Alan321
Offline
• • • • •
Upload & Sell: Off
p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Dying hard drive?


Letting the smoke out is not a software hiccup. The drive may be damaged, the controller board in the enclosure may be damaged, the cooling fan may be damaged, or the mains adapter may be damaged. Something let the smoke out and is therefore damaged.

Try one external drive without the other to see if only one (and which one) is suspect. Try a different mains adapter on the suspect one if you can - but only if the enclosure does not smell burnt.

The data may or may not be corrupted or lost. The problem may be that the drive is not getting enough voltage from the adapter to make it spin fast enough. Or the voltage could be fine and the drive is as good as dead.

I hope you have backups. Even if the data is not lost, consider this a warning to make backups before it is too late. And remember that one big voltage spike could zap all of your powered-up drives at once.

- Alan



Dec 14, 2011 at 10:38 PM
Dan Doucette
Offline

Upload & Sell: Off
p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Dying hard drive?


It's also possible that there was an electrical short somewhere. I once had an electric baseboard heater melt through the insulation on a cord, which then caused a short when the metal inside the cord touched the metal of the heater. Perhaps a damaged but not totally destroyed cord is causing the problem.


Dec 15, 2011 at 05:08 PM
15Bit
Offline
• • • •
Upload & Sell: Off
p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Dying hard drive?


Once the magic smoke escapes electronics generally don't work again. The fact that you have managed to make contact with the drive again is a positive sign.

I would remove the other stuff from the chain and try to talk to the drive on its own. If that doesn't work, rip the physical hard disk out of the caddy and plug it directly into the computer (it might be the box electronics that failed, not the disk. If you can't plug it in directly, try a USB to SATA adapter.



Dec 15, 2011 at 07:20 PM
morganb4
Offline
• • • • •
Upload & Sell: Off
p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Dying hard drive?


STOP do not try and talk to the unit as is in any way as you could further jeopardise the disk.

Remove the caddy and attach it to the computer via a brand new external USB cradle/swap-caddy, i.e. don't plug it straight into the computer as you are then putting the computer at risk too.



Dec 15, 2011 at 10:02 PM
alexhibbert
Offline
• •
Upload & Sell: Off
p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Dying hard drive?


To be honest the drive seems to be working fine! I've backed up the data onto two drives, one onsite and one offsite. I might just leave the drive to see if it dies at some point. I'm starting to wonder if the smoke was dust getting into the amplifier or something.


Dec 15, 2011 at 11:56 PM
harrygilbert
Offline
• • •
Upload & Sell: Off
p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Dying hard drive?


You bring up a good point: electronic equipment can collect dust, which can catch fire from heat, or short circuit.

I take my stuff outside every Spring and blow off the dust with a small air compressor. Amazing the clouds of dust (and the occasional spider web) that comes out.



Dec 16, 2011 at 04:47 AM
 

Search in Used Dept. 



morganb4
Offline
• • • • •
Upload & Sell: Off
p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · Dying hard drive?


Burning dust does not smell acrid.


Dec 16, 2011 at 05:04 AM
15Bit
Offline
• • • •
Upload & Sell: Off
p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · Dying hard drive?


morganb4 wrote:
Burning dust does not smell acrid.


Quite. There is no way you could mistake burning dust with electronics giving up.



Dec 16, 2011 at 06:09 AM
alexhibbert
Offline
• •
Upload & Sell: Off
p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · Dying hard drive?


The odd thing is that the hardware seems to have recovered and shows no errors in disk utility or disk warrior......


Dec 16, 2011 at 09:14 AM
cbbm
Offline

Upload & Sell: Off
p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · Dying hard drive?


I think you'd better to get a new power adapter for this dying G-drive. It sounds like the smell is from the adapter. it could only from the firewire pcba board or chip, even though it's problematic, it might still get you up and running for a while.


Dec 16, 2011 at 09:47 PM
morganb4
Offline
• • • • •
Upload & Sell: Off
p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · Dying hard drive?


Burning acrid smell is not usually dust. When coupled with a drive failure its not a software fault.

You are heading for a failure and potential fire hazard.




Dec 17, 2011 at 01:08 AM
alexhibbert
Offline
• •
Upload & Sell: Off
p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · Dying hard drive?


Thanks for the input. I've made sure everything's on a hard surface but I can't just throw out or send back 5 peripherals in case one is about to die.


Dec 17, 2011 at 12:39 PM
dlodi
Offline
• •
Upload & Sell: Off
p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · Dying hard drive?


I'm not sure this applies to you, but had a drive die in my MacBook Pro over the summer. In retrospect I think it had been going bad for a while. It was not obvious, but it was getting slow and quirky. Very quickly it progressed to the point where I could not access any of my files. So, in an effort to "repair" the disk, I ran software called Disk Warrior (or something to that effect). The drive later started clicking (bad sign). I called a disk recovery service and was told that the recovery software put too much strain on the disk and the heads locked up. If a drive is failing, and you cannot access your data, stop using it immediately. Do not try to repair it with software. It is very easy for a professional service to recover your data at this point, and its not too expensive...like $99. In my case, running the disk repair utility was the straw that broke the camel's back. Now the recover process is more likely between $500 and $1,000, because they have to take the drive apart. The pros also recommended using solid state drives for backup, which is my next step.


Dec 20, 2011 at 11:13 PM





FM Forums | Post-processing & Printing | Join Upload & Sell

    
 

You are not logged in. Login or Register

Username   Password    Reset password